The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to spend at least $20 billion more to support the rupee and increase the forex kitty through the reminder of the financial year, taking its overall forex intervention to $93 billion, according to a report.
The report by the Wall Street brokerage Bank of America Securities also expects the central bank to raise banks’ HTM (held-to-maturity) limits of excess government securities by 2% of their books to fund the fiscal deficit if high forex intervention limits its open market operations (OMOs).
So far this fiscal, the central bank’s forex intervention has touched $73.7 billion, according to the assessment by Bank of America Securities India economists Indranil Sen Gupta and Aastha Gudwani.
They also feel the RBI to intervene with $45 billion in 2021-22 if the current account deficit (CAD) remains 0.5% of gross domestic product (GDP).
After eight years, the RBI under the current Governor Shaktikanta Das has been building up the foreign exchange (forex) reserves, which as of January 15 stood at $586.1 billion, a lifetime high.
While delivering the Nani Palkhivala lecture last Saturday, Das repeated his resolve to not let the 2008 or 2013 run on the rupee to be repeated again.
“Our BoP (balance of payment) forecasts place RBI forex intervention at $93 billion ($73.7 billion so far) in 2020-21 and $45 billion in 2021-22 if the the CAD remains at 0.5% of GDP, which is dependent on the crude oil averaging at $50 a barrel,” the report said.
It, however, added that since high forex intervention is limiting OMOs, the RBI is expected to raise banks’ HTM limits by 2% of their books to fund the fiscal deficit.
The report further said they are more confident now that the RBI will continue to buy forex when the dollar is weakening and let the rupee depreciate when it strengthens.
On Saturday, Das had said, “To mitigate global spillovers, EMs (emerging markets) like India have no recourse but to build their own forex reserve buffers, even though at the cost of being included in the currency manipulators list.”
This aspect needs greater understanding on both sides so that EMs can actively use policy tools to overcome capital flow related challenges, he had said.
Das further said a weak external sector can pose a threat to domestic financial stability in the face of swift changes in the global economic environment as was the case during the 2008 crisis or the taper-tantrum period in 2013.
According to these economists, this public statement marks a signal departure from the over 15 years of RBI stance of intervening in the forex market only to contain rupee volatility.
“Das has achieved a silent rupee revolution by returning the RBI to adequacy of forex reserves after eight years. This will ensure the rupee stability putting large depreciations in global crises years of 2011, 2013…
Go to the news source: Forex intervention by RBI to touch $93 billion by March: Report