MUMBAI: The rupee posted its sharpest single session fall in nearly a month on Monday hit by deepening worries over capital inflows, and keeping traders on guard for possible intervention from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The near-term outlook for the rupee remains weak. Concerns over growth and a lack of clarity about further interest rate cuts are being compounded by fears about foreign selling on the back of a controversial set of proposed tax rules.
Those fears got fresh fuel after Macquarie's Asia hedge fund exited its short positions in Indian single stock futures because of the uncertainty behind the proposed rules. The news also hit domestic equity markets.
On top of the domestic concerns, a weak global risk-off day kept the rupee under pressure on Monday.
"Demand for dollars is big. Let's see who comes first. A move above 53 or the Reserve Bank of India," said a senior foreign exchange trader with a private-sector bank.
The rupee ended at 52.52 to the dollar, down sharply f rom Friday's close of 52.07/08, and making this the currency's biggest one-day fall since March 29, according to Thomson Reuters data.
That marked the third session in a row that USD/INR has closed above 52, intensifying talk about whether the Reserve Bank of India will intervene, though so far no action is suspected.
Many traders in fact expect a retest of the record-low of 54.30 hit mid-December 2011 if the selling pressure on the rupee does not abate.
"Writing on the wall is pretty clear. Outlook on rupee is bearish. Foreign inflows are likely to be really subdued given the tax issues, and unlikely to bridge the gap created by the huge pent-up demand for dollars from oil importers and gold," said Subramaniam Sharma, director of brokerage Greenback Forex.
Technical charts suggest resistance for USD/INR at around 52.95-53.00, which is the 76.4 percent retracement of the December-February fall.
The one-month offshore non-deliverable forward contracts were at 52.08.
In the currency futures market, the most-traded near-month dollar-rupee contracts on the National Stock Exchange and the MCX-SX ended at 52.60, while in the United Stock Exchange, it ended at 52.61. AGENCIES