India’s Rupee Drops a 2nd Day as Refiners Step Up Dollar Buying

India’s rupee fell a second day, retreating from the strongest level in three months, on speculation oil companies boosted purchases of the dollar.

The local currency had gained earlier after the government raised the duty on bullion and platinum to 6 percent from 4 percent, as part of efforts to narrow the current account deficit. Gold purchases comprise about 80 percent of the shortfall in the current account, according to the central bank. A decline in the benchmark stock index also raised concerns that capital inflows may slow, according to Sudarshan Bhatt, chief currency trader at state-run Corporation Bank.

“Importers, particularly oil companies, took advantage of the currency’s initial gains to buy dollars,” said Mumbai-based Bhatt. “Concerns over the large trade gap remain.”

The rupee weakened 0.1 percent to 53.8075 per dollar in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 53.38 earlier, the strongest level since Oct. 23. One-month implied volatility in the rupee, a gauge of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, was little changed at 10.35 percent.

India’s current-account deficit swelled to a record $22.31 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30, central bank data show. Indian shares retreated for the first time in four days, with the BSE India Sensitive Index, or Sensex, losing 0.6 percent.

Foreigners have bought a net $2.67 billion of shares this year, 94 percent more than at the same time in 2012, data from the regulator show.

Asia’s third-largest economy will remain open and competitive and there’s “no case at all” for a downgrade in the sovereign-debt rating, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said in Hong Kong today.

Three-month onshore rupee forwards traded at 54.79 per dollar, compared with 54.84 yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Offshore non-deliverable contracts were at 54.60 versus 54.71. Forwards are agreements to buy or sell assets at a set price and date. Non-deliverable contracts are settled in dollars.

To contact the reporter on this story: V. Ramakrishnan in Mumbai at rvenkatarama@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Regan at jregan19@bloomberg.net

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