Mumbai : A strengthening US dollar, coupled with the central bank's attempts to curb the volatility in the rupee's value, depleted India's foreign exchange reserves (Forex) kitty by $750.2 million, experts said on Saturday. Overall, the Forex reserves stood at $351.61 billion for the week ended November 27. India's Forex kitty had fallen by $149.7 million to $352.36 billion during the previous week ended November 20.
"The dollar's appreciation in the week under review against major global currencies like pound sterling, euro and yen led to the Forex reserves depletion," Anindya Banerjee, associate vice president for currency derivatives with Kotak Securities, told IANS.
The Indian foreign reserves consists' of nearly 20-25 percent of major non-dollar global currencies. The individual movements of these currencies against the US dollar impacts the overall reserves value.
"The dollar appreciation has taken place on the back of heightened chances of a US rate hike. The US dollar had appreciated by close to one percent during the week under review," Banerjee added. The US dollar is strengthening against emerging markets (EMs) currencies, gold and other assets classes ahead of the US rate hike.
In addition, the RBI's weekly statistical supplement revealed that the foreign currency assets (FCAs) receded by $726.2 million to $327.66 billion in the week under review. The FCA constitutes the largest component of India's Forex reserves. It consists of US dollars, major non-dollar currencies, securities and bonds.
"The FCA expressed in US dollar terms, include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the pound sterling, euro and yen held in reserve," the RBI was quoted in its statistical supplement.
According to other analysts, the depletion in the FCA can be attributed to the central bank's attempts to arrest the fall in the rupee's value during the week under review.
"RBI's selling activities could have attributed to the fall in the FCA. The RBI has been active in its attempts to stem the fall in rupee value and to maintain the Indian currency in it's comfort zone," an analyst told IANS.
On a medium term average, the RBI is seen comfortable with the rupee ranging anywhere between 65-67 to a US dollar. Anything beyond or below this limit provokes the central bank to intervene by either buying or selling the greenback.
Lately, the rupee has been on a downward trajectory due to heavy outflows of foreign funds from the equity and debt markets. On a weekly basis, the rupee weakened by 57 paise to 66.76 to a US dollar (November 27) from its previous close of 66.19 to a greenback (November 20).
The National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) figures showed that the FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors) sold Rs.1,538.66 crore or $232.44 million in equity and debt markets from November 23 to 27. The data with stock exchanges showed that the FPIs sold stocks worth Rs.1,492.84 crore in the period under review.
Notwithstanding the general slide in the reserve value, the country's gold reserves remained stagnant at $18.69 billion. The reserves had risen by $540 million during the week ended November 6.
However, the special drawing rights (SDRs) were lower by $18.2 million at $3.96 billion. The country's reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) weakened by $5.8 million to $1.28 billion.(IANS)