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Rupee fares worst among Asian currencies in Q1; plunges 8.6%

Mumbai, June 30, 2013, PTI:

The rupee leads the losers’ chart among Asian currencies in the April-June quarter by plunging 8.6 per cent, during the period due to massive capital outflows on worries of withdrawal of the US stimulus and reported cash crunch in China.

The rupee lost 8.6 per cent in the quarter as foreign investors sold a whopping $7 billion in June alone in debt and equities, recording the worst fall in a decade among the Asian currencies, as per an analysis of the currency.

The rupee closed at an all-time low of 60.72 against the US dollar last week on June 26 on heavy capital outflows and month-end dollar demand from importers.

Since May 27, FIIs have pulled out nearly $8 billion, from the domestic market after pumping in over $15 billion into the country since January, according to Sebi data.

At the close of the last trading day of Q1 on Friday, the rupee had lost a whopping 8.6 per cent against the dollar, the steepest percentage fall since 2003. Among other weak Asian currencies, Thai baht has lost 5.8 per cent in the quarter, the Philippine peso shed 5.6 per cent, the South Korean won lost 2.7 per cent, the Singaporean dollar lost 1.9 per cent, and the Malaysian ringgit slid 2.5 per cent.

Rupee is the second worst performer among the BRICS currencies after the South African rand. At the third slot is the Brazilian peso.

The rupee had attempted a recovery on Friday with 91 paise gain, or 1.4 per cent, to close at 59.385. This was on the unexpected improvement in the current account deficit, which in the March quarter fell to 3.6 per cent against 6.7 per cent in the December quarter of last fiscal, the rupee suffered more from outflows than other Asian currencies.

For the full fiscal 2013, the CAD stood at a high of 4.8 per cent of the GDP, which again was an unexpected improvement from a consensus 5.2 per cent, but still higher than the previous fiscal when it was 4.2 per cent, according to the data released by the RBI two days in advance.

The only tangible action the RBI did this year was that it released the data before the market hours Friday, which also led to massive 2.75 per cent rally or 520 points on the Sensex.

While last year it talked down and down the rupee, this year, the RBI was conspicuous by its silence as there was not single comment from the RBI since mid-May, when the rupee began to get battered on worries about US Fed turning its liquidity tap.

The RBI action came a day after the rupee plunged to its life-time low of 60.72 to the dollar despite the central bank intervening thrice in the market on June 26.

Traders said on June 26 that they had shorted the rupee and had put a stop-loss at 60. So once it breached the psychological level, it soon slipped further to a low of 60.78.


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