Rupee may touch 70/$ mark
If analysts are to be believed, the Indian rupee could soon touch the Rs.70 per $ mark. UBS, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, etc. expect the rupee to touch the 70/$ mark by as early as Mar'16. Kotak Mahindra Bank has predicted rupee weakening to Rs.70-72/$ in fiscal 2016-17 mainly because of Yuan devaluation. Rupee is already trading quite close to all time low of 68.85/$.
The Chinese economy is facing a slowdown, which has caused its central bank to devalue Yuan to revive falling exports. This has triggered a panic among investors about the growth prospects in emerging markets, more so because World Bank has cut its growth forecast for global economy. Consequently, foreign investors are pulling out money from emerging markets including India causing the rupee to depreciate.
The rupee was a better performer than other emerging market economies, owing to higher foreign exchange reserves and lower debt. The Indian forex reserves offered a cushion of 11 months of imports, better than Indonesia, Turkey, Thailand, Mexico, etc. RBI was successful in reducing volatility and kept the rupee in 65-67.5/$ band for most part of the financial year 2015-16.
The rupee declined further, crossing the Rs.68/$ mark on 20 January owing to growing demands of the dollar by importers. This is the first time since Sept 2013 that the rupee has crossed Rs.68/$.
The level of rupee, although close to Sept'13 level, is not worrisome because the crude oil prices are down to 1/3rd. Thus, lesser chances of surging imports affecting India's trade deficit. The 2013 depreciation was mainly due to issues in Indian economy like inflation, high trade deficit, etc. which is not the case now. Additionally, India has more foreign-exchange reserves now than in 2013.
Comparison of Indian rupee with its trading partners (measured by Real Effective Exchange Rate index) shows that it is still over-valued by about 12-13%, thus there is a scope for further depreciation. Infact, this is one major reason that Indian exports are becoming less competitive and hence falling. Moreover, the decline in Rs. (6% since since Aug'15) is in tandem with Chinese Yuan (5.6%).
Experts feel that the Indian Rupee may depreciate by 3-4% in 2016. Although international markets significantly influence performance, a lot will depend on domestic policies. The pace of government reforms including passing of the GST (Goods and Service Tax) in the upcoming monsoon session will determine the inflows from foreign investors. This may increase the rupee demand and eventually balance out the rupee depreciation.