Monday, March 4

Rupee seen edging higher as Asian cues offset bond index delay

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MUMBAI — The Indian rupee is expected to open marginally higher against the dollar on Thursday as gains in Asian currencies countered JP Morgan’s decision to hold off the inclusion of Indian bonds into its global index.

The rupee is tipped to open at 81.45-81.50, slightly up from 81.52 on Tuesday. Indian financial markets were shut on Wednesday.

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After trading hours on Tuesday, JP Morgan said India will remain on its radar for inclusion in its influential emerging market debt index after its latest review, dashing hopes of inclusion of Asia’s third largest economy in its index this year.

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Investors had hoped the index provider would move towards including Indian bonds this year, following Russia’s exit from the index. According to some estimates, the inclusion would have resulted in additional flows of as much as $30 billion.

USD/INR non-deliverable forwards (NDFs) rose immediately following JP Morgan’s announcement, but the impact was muted by what were mostly positive cues for the rupee.

“There was not a big reaction on the NDFs to the bond news,” a trader at a private sector bank said.

“A part of it is probably that expectations of inclusion were tempered down following recent reports and a part was the ongoing recovery in EM (emerging market) FX.”

Asian currencies were trading higher as risk appetite was broadly positive. The offshore Chinese yuan rose above 7.0400 to the dollar after having fallen below 7.25 last week.

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Asian shares and US equity futures rose, while the dollar index dipped to just below 111.

Risk appetite has seen a bit of revival, dampening demand for the dollar. Still, the greenback is likely to be supported from the US Federal Reserve’s rate forecast and concerns over the global economic outlook.

Meanwhile, oil prices gained for a fourth day after deep production cuts pledged by OPEC+ members.


** One-month non-deliverable rupee forward at 81.80; onshore one-month forward premium at 22 paise

** USD/INR NSE Oct futures closed on Tuesday at 8075

** USD/INR forward premium for end current month is 16.8 paise

** Dollar index at 110.96

** Brent crude futures up 0.2% at $93.6 per barrel

** Ten-year US note yield at 3.75%

** SGX Nifty nearest-month futures up 0.5% at 17,425

** Foreign investors bought a net $156.3 million worth of Indian shares on Oct. 3, as per NSDL data

** NSDL data shows foreign investors sold a net $0.51 million worth of Indian bonds on Oct. 3 (Reporting by Nimesh Vora)