Indian rupee gains as shares hit record closing high

Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:03am EST

Related Topics

* Rupee ends at 61.8150/8250 per dlr vs 61.88/89 on Tuesday

* USD/INR fwd premiums rise after cbank panel recommends inflation targeting

* Benchmark share index closes at record high

By Subhadip Sircar

MUMBAI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - The Indian rupee rose slightly on Wednesday as a central bank report recommending bringing down consumer inflation to a target of 4 percent is seen benefitting the currency, despite raising concerns about economic growth in the near term.

The Reserve Bank of India report recommended making consumer inflation a priority for monetary policy, with a target of 4 percent although within a plus or minus 2 percent band.

That would likely mean elevated interest rates given consumer price inflation stands at 9.87 percent, thus making the rupee higher yielding. Bringing down inflation would also remove a key constraint in the value of the rupee.

But higher rates in the near term could undermine confidence about an economy growing below the decade low of 5 percent seen in the previous fiscal year ended in March 2013, while other uncertainties such as general elections due by May remain.

"We'd say that the impact of a new policy framework could be mixed for INR in the near term," said Sacha Tihanyi, a senior currency strategist at Scotiabank.

"In the interim, the biggest risks to INR remain a negative confidence shock, perhaps relating to the elections this year, though less related to U.S. tapering, particularly if rates in India continue to rise."

India's benchmark index rose 0.4 percent to a record closing high on Wednesday, gaining for a third consecutive session.

The partially convertible rupee closed at 61.8150/8250 per dollar compared with its Tuesday close of 61.88/89.

The cost of holding one-year forward dollars rose to 482.75 basis points from 472.75 bps on Tuesday.

Dealers said the rupee was also supported by some dollar selling by state-run banks, and after the benchmark BSE index rose 0.4 percent to a record closing high as drug makers rallied.

Investors will now await the central bank's monetary policy review as well the Federal Open Market Committee meet next week for directional cues.

In the offshore non-deliverable forwards, the one-month contract was at 62.21 while the three-month was at 63.02.

FACTORS TO WATCH * Aussie jumps on inflation rise, eyes on UK data * Lira, rouble, rand hold above multi-year lows versus dollar

* Asian shares edge up, PBOC cash injection calms China markets * Foreign institutional investor flows * For data on currency futures

DIARIES & DATA: Indian Data Watch European diary Indian diary US Diary (Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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