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Are tough times ahead of rupee amid global headwinds, fiscal risks?

Technically, we expect the USD/INR to fall towards 69.50 in the medium term and bounce towards 72 and then 74 levels in the long term.

November 30, 2019 / 08:13 AM IST

Rahul Gupta

The US-China trade war, which began in July 2018, continues to make the market suspicious. The ongoing tariff brinkmanship has put tremendous pressure on the business activity in China and the rest of the world.

This overextended trade deal, along with a slowing domestic economy, continued to keep the Indian rupee on an edge throughout 2019. After depreciating by 8.45 percent in 2018, the overall movement was in a broad range (68.30-72.40) with depreciation of another 2.2 percent in 2019.

The Reserve Bank of India’s continuous cutting of its benchmark repurchase rate since February 2019 to a total of 135 basis points further added to the downdraft in rupee.


RBI may once again cut rates by 15 bps at a December 5 policy meet. However, this can possibly be the end of easing cycle for this fiscal year as CPI (4.36 percent) has elevated and crossed RBI’s medium term target of 4 percent.

The spread between India’s 10-yr bond yield and repo rate (around 1.33 percent) reflects that market has priced in less than a 50 bps rate cut, while it remains concerned over achieving its fiscal deficit target of 3.3 percent of the GDP. The consecutive reduction of the repo to boost growth and revive liquidity and credit support in the economy has eroded the interest-rate advantage the rupee has over the dollar, denting its attractiveness as a high yielder. The foreign investors’ participation in Indian debt started falling since September.

Meanwhile, the government’s announcement over a corporate tax cut is expected to boost corporate profits, making India a competitive manufacturing hub along with positive news from the Trump administration that led to bouts of optimism over trade negotiations and attracted stable portfolio flows in equities.

Despite a seesaw movement in 2019, the long-term outlook for Indian rupee remains foggy as global headwinds, poor growth conditions and fiscal risks may keep weighing on rupee in 2020. Globally, the market is looking for a ‘Phase-One’ trade deal before the end of 2019. However, looking forward we expect phase two and phase three to be increasingly difficult and that rupee may depreciate towards 74+ levels. Technically, we expect the USD/INR to fall towards 69.50 in the medium term and bounce towards 72 and then 74 levels in the long term.


The author is Head of Currency-Research at Emkay Global Financial Services.

Disclaimer: The views and investment tips expressed by investment expert on moneycontrol.com are his own and not that of the website or its management. Moneycontrol.com advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decisions.
Moneycontrol Contributor
first published: Nov 30, 2019 08:13 am

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