Rupee Approaches Four-Week Low as Importers Boost Dollar Buying

India’s rupee approached a four-week low on speculation importers stepped up purchases of dollars after the Asian currency reached the strongest level since October last week.

Wholesale prices rose 6.62 percent last month from a year earlier, official data showed today, compared with 7.18 percent in December and 6.98 percent predicted in a Bloomberg survey. India will auction 667 billion rupees ($12.4 billion) of debt-purchase permits to overseas investors on Feb. 20, according to a statement on the capital markets regulator’s website. The rupee’s losses will be limited by inflows into local-currency bonds, according to Andhra Bank.

“We are seeing oil importers buying dollars, while this week’s data has already been factored into prices,” said Vikas Babu, a Mumbai-based trader at the state-run lender. “Foreign investors will be readying flows for the debt-quota auctions next week.”

The rupee declined 0.2 percent to 53.9300 per dollar in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 54.1075 on Feb. 12, the lowest level since Jan. 18. The currency reached 52.8900 on Feb. 6, the strongest level since Oct. 17. One-month implied volatility, a gauge of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, fell 26 basis points, or 0.26 percentage point, to 9.09 percent.

Industrial production fell 0.6 percent in December after a revised 0.8 percent drop the previous month, official data showed Feb. 11. India’s exports climbed 0.8 percent in January from a year earlier and imports advanced 6.1 percent, leaving a trade deficit of $20 billion, Director General of Foreign Trade Anup Pujari said in New Delhi yesterday.

Three-month onshore rupee forwards traded at 54.92 per dollar, compared with 54.81 yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Offshore non-deliverable contracts were at 54.76 versus 54.64. 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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