Rupee Declines to Seven-Week Low as India’s Export Slump Deepens

  • Exports fell 6.7% in April in 17th straight month of decline
  • Nomura sees India’s current-account deficit widening in FY17

The rupee fell to its weakest level since March as a slump in Indian exports deepened and U.S. retail sales data boosted the dollar.

Overseas shipments contracted 6.7 percent in April from a year ago, a 17th month of declines, while imports dropped 23.1 percent, official data showed after the close of markets on Friday. The trade data “paint a gloomy picture” on both domestic and global demand, according to a Nomura Holdings Inc. report. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback versus 10 peers, extended gains after reaching a six-week high on Friday.

“The rupee lacks inherent strength as there are no local factors supporting the currency,” said Ankur Jhaveri, co-head of currencies and rates at Edelweiss Financial Services Ltd. in Mumbai. “The dollar’s gain has weighed on emerging-market exchange rates.”

The rupee retreated to as low as 66.9150 a dollar, the weakest level since March 23, before closing down less than 0.1 percent at 66.8050 in Mumbai, prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg show. The currency has dropped 1 percent this year in Asia’s worst performance.

India’s foreign-exchange reserves fell $1.1 billion from a record high in the week to May 6, after rising in each of the previous five weeks, central bank data showed Friday. Nomura expects the nation’s current-account deficit to widen to 1.6 percent of gross domestic product in the 12 months through March 2017, from 0.9 percent in the previous fiscal year, economists Sonal Varma and Neha Saraf wrote in the note dated May 13.

The yield on sovereign bonds due January 2026 was little changed at 7.45 percent, according to prices from the central bank’s trading system. It climbed three basis points on Friday, the most since April 21, following data that showed gains in consumer prices accelerated last month.

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