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Indian Rupee Drops, Erasing Gains, on Industrial Production Data

India’s rupee weakened, erasing earlier gains, after data showed the nation’s industrial production rose less than economists estimated.

Factory output advanced 4.1 percent in February from a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office said in a statement today, compared with a median estimate of 6.7 percent in a Bloomberg News survey of 36 analysts. The government also revised the data for January to growth of 1.1 percent from 6.8 percent, citing incorrect sugar output numbers.

“The concerns about growth could affect capital inflows and the rupee,” said Sudarshan Bhatt, chief currency trader at state-run Corporation Bank in Mumbai. “If weaker growth prompts the central bank to cut rates at the April 17 review, then the arbitrage appeal is also reduced.”

The rupee declined 0.3 percent to 51.5887 per dollar in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, after rising as much as 0.3 percent. One-month implied volatility, a measure of exchange-rate swings used to price options, fell 20 basis points, or 0.2 percentage point, to 10 percent.

The rupee had strengthened earlier after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it will maintain its loose monetary policy that has helped spur fund flows to faster-growing economies. Further policy easing “could be warranted” if the U.S. recovery falters, the central bank’s Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said in a speech in New York yesterday.

Six-month onshore forwards traded at 53.27 per dollar, compared with 53.31 yesterday, and offshore non-deliverable contracts were unchanged at 53.38. Forwards are agreements to buy or sell assets at a set price and date. Non-deliverable contracts are settled in dollars.

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