RBI net-seller of dollars in November, unwinding USD 644 million

In first five months of this fiscal year, the central bank has sold a whopping USD 34 billion as the rupee was on a roller-coaster, plumbing a low of 74 to the American unit.

Published: 13th January 2019 06:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2019 06:58 PM   |  A+A-

Rupee, Rupee fall

Representational image.


MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank remained a net seller of dollars in November 2018, as it sold USD 644 million of the greenback on a net basis in the spot market, according to the latest data from the Central bank.

As against this, in November 2017, the Central bank had purchased USD 2.570 billion from the spot market and sold USD 1.706 billion, while in the reporting month, the monetary authority bought USD 3.127 billion from the spot market, and sold USD 3.771 billion, show the data.

The rupee had a better run in the past fiscal, while it was one of the worst among its emerging market peers this fiscal year, which explains the reasons for the RBI intervention in the forex market. In October 2018 also, the RBI was a net seller of dollars, after it purchased USD 945 million and sold USD 8.149 billion of the US currency in the spot market.

Normally, the central bank sells dollars to contain rupee volatility as it does not officially set a price level for the rupee, which is only partly fully floating as the country does not allow full capital account convertibility.

In first five months of this fiscal year, the central bank has sold a whopping USD 34 billion as the rupee was on a roller-coaster, plumbing a low of 74 to the American unit.

Between April and November 2108, the central bank has net sold USD 26.51 billion of dollars in the spot market. This compares with a net purchase of USD 18.017 billion made in the same period in 2017.

The RBI has, so far, remained a net-seller of the US currency in the current fiscal. In FY18, the apex bank had net purchased USD 33.689 billion from the spot market, taking its total dollar purchase to USD 52.068 billion, while selling USD 18.379 billion, this helped the country for the first time scale a life-time peak of USD 426.028 billion for the week to April 13, 2018 in forex reserves.

But since then, the forex kitty has been fluctuating and mostly sliding. In FY17, the RBI had bought USD 12.351 billion on a net basis. In the forward dollar market, the outstanding net forward sales at the end of November 2018 was USD 1.924 billion, compared to sale of USD 2.888 billion in October, show the RBI data.

In the week to January 4, 2109, the forex kitty swelled by USD 2.68 billion to a tad over USD 396 billion, making the week the best in terms of accretion in the past 12 months period.

Overall reserves had increased by USD 116.4 million to USD 393.404 billion in the previous reporting week. In the reporting week, foreign currency assets, a major component of overall reserves, rose USD 2.215 billion to USD 370.292 billion.

The value of the gold reserves increased by USD 465.5 million to USD 21.689 billion in the reporting week, the apex bank said. It can be noted that the RBI has been buying bullion after almost a decade.

During its fiscal year ending June 2018, the RBI had added 8.46 metric tonnes of gold. The central bank now holds total 566.23 tonne of the yellow metal. The purchase was made to diversify foreign currency assets, the RBI had said in its annual report.

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