Rupee cheers GDP, PMI data; up 9 paise to 64.37

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Mumbai, Dec 4 (PTI): The rupee on Monday rebounded by 9 paise to end at 64.37 against the US dollar in a highly volatile trade on fresh selling of the greenback and also emboldened by encouraging Q2 GDP numbers and monthly manufacturing data.

Overall sentiment got a boost after the government’s official data showed that the country’s economy expanded by 6.3 percent in the July-September quarter, reversing the five-quarter downtrend.

Adding to the buoyancy, manufacturing activity also expanded at its fastest pace in 13 months in November backed by strong growth in new orders and higher production.

Though, caution gripped the forex trading initially as widening fiscal deficit and rising crude oil price concerns played in the minds of participants.

The official data showed that the country’s fiscal deficit at the end of October hit 96.1 percent of the budget estimate for 2017-18.

The rupee on Monday opened sharply lower at 64.55 compared to last Thursday’s close of 64.31 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market on sustained dollar pressure.

It drifted sharply to hit a fresh intra-day low of 64.57 in mid-morning deals before making a spirited recovery.

After scaling a high of 64.28 towards the fag-end trade, the local unit finally settled at 64.37, showing a gain of 9 paise, or 0.14 percent.

The rupee on Monday dropped to a low of 64.57 in intra-day trade. It had depreciated by 15 paise on Thursday.

The RBI, meanwhile, fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 64.3799 and for the euro at 76.3739.

Crude prices found a bit of belated upside momentum after OPEC and like-minded producers agreed to extend a cartel-led output cut regime due to expire in March through the end of next year.

Brent crude, an international benchmark, is trading at USD 63.70 a barrel in early Asian trade.

Meanwhile, local equities staged a modest rebound after the recent sharp correction on the back of some value-buying in select heavyweights amid continued volatility.

The flagship Sensex rose by 36.78 points to close at 32,869.72, while the broader Nifty added 6 points at 10,127.75.

On the global front, the US dollar rallied across the board after the US Senate approved the US tax-reform, giving a boost to President Donald Trump’s stimulus plans after months of struggle.

The American currency was under pressure last week after the news of former security adviser Michael Flynn reportedly ready to testify against Trump for his involvement in Russian case hit the market.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against a basket of six major currencies, was up at 93.14 in early trade.

In cross-currency trades, the rupee remained under pressure against the pound sterling to finish at 86.96 from 86.65 per pound, but recovered against the euro to end at 76.30 from 76.33.

It also strengthened against the Japanese yen to close at 56.99 per 100 yens as compared to 57.39 previously.

Elsewhere, The British pound is trading marginally lower against the US Dollar after the UK construction PMI rose to the 5-months high amid growing uncertainty over Brexit divorce negotiations.

In the forward market on Monday, the premium for dollar recovered due to mild paying pressure from corporates. The benchmark six-month premium payable in May moved up to 141-143 paise from 139-141 paise and the far forward October 2018 contract also gained to 279-281 paise from 278-279 paise previously.

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