India Rupee Drops Most in a Month on Speculation Inflows Slowed

The rupee dropped the most in more than a month on speculation capital inflows have slowed after India’s biggest equity offering in a year. Government bonds were little changed.

The government raised 114.7 billion rupees ($2.1 billion) last week, selling a stake in the nation’s biggest power producer NTPC Ltd., the New Delhi-based company’s Chairman Arup Roy Choudhury said Feb. 8. The rupee weakened for a fourth day after the U.S. reported the smallest trade deficit in three years, helping improve demand for the dollar. The Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against the currencies of six major trading partners, traded near a four-week high.

“The rupee’s recent gains were due to bunched-up inflows and now they are no longer there, we’ll see bunched-up dollar demand in play,” said J. Moses Harding, executive vice president in Mumbai at IndusInd Bank Ltd. “I think the dollar will stay strong” after the U.S. trade data, he said.

The rupee declined 0.7 percent to 53.8550 per dollar in Mumbai, the biggest drop since Jan. 4, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 53.8650 earlier, the lowest level since Jan. 29. The currency fell 0.6 percent in the five days through Feb. 8, snapping a four-week advance.

One-month implied volatility, a gauge of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, rose three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, today to 9.28 percent. Markets in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia are closed today for the Lunar New Year holiday.

U.S. Trade

The U.S. trade gap narrowed 20.7 percent to $38.5 billion in December, the least since January 2010 and lower than any estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 73 economists, government figures showed Feb. 8. India’s current-account deficit, the broadest measure of trade which widened to an all-time high of $22.3 billion in the quarter through September, may be “significantly higher” in the year through March 2014, Reserve Bank of India Governor Duvvuri Subbarao said in Mumbai today.

The yield on the 8.15 percent bonds due June 2022 was 7.86 percent today, compared with 7.84 percent at the end of last week, according to the central bank’s trading system.

Three-month onshore rupee forwards traded at 54.72 per dollar, compared with 54.66 on Feb. 8, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Offshore non-deliverable contracts were at 54.61 versus 54.45. 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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