Type to search

Indian Rupee Hits a Record Low as Oil Prices Surge

The Indian rupee fell to a historic low on Monday, after a sharp rise in global prices of crude oil stirred concern on inflation and possible interest rate hikes by the central bank

An image of an Indian rupee note. File photo: Reuters.
India started exploring a rupee settlement mechanism with Russia soon after the invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Reuters


The Indian rupee fell to a historic low on Monday, while bond yields surged as a sharp rise in global prices of crude oil stirred concern about domestic inflation, strengthening prospects for interest rate hikes by the central bank.

India imports more than two-thirds of its oil needs and high prices are likely to widen its trade and current account deficits and boost imported inflation.

The partially convertible rupee INR=IN was trading at 76.86/87 against the dollar by 0545 GMT, after having touched 76.96 for its weakest level ever. It closed Friday at 76.16.

The rupee struck its previous record low of 76.9050 on April 22, 2020, in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There was some dollar selling that came in from state-run banks soon after the rupee touched life lows,” a senior trader at a private bank said.

“But depending on how stocks perform, we can see the rupee weaken again unless there is heavy intervention.”

The Reserve Bank of India usually sells dollars via state-run banks to prevent sharp moves in the rupee. With forex reserves at $631.53 billion by early March, traders feel it has enough firepower to avert a much sharper fall in the currency.


Concern on Inflation

The key concern, however, is whether the RBI will be forced to act to contain inflation by raising interest rates in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis.

So far, the RBI has reiterated its commitment to reviving economic growth and keeping policy accommodative.

Oil prices soared more than 9%, touching their highest since 2008.

Last week, economists and analysts said India‘s trade and current account deficits were likely to widen, putting pressure on the rupee, as global oil prices surge and the domestic economy re-opens from a third wave of the pandemic.

The benchmark 10-year bond yield IN065432G=CC was trading at 6.88%, up 7 basis points on the day.

Traders will continue to monitor domestic shares and moves in global crude for further direction during the session.

Indian shares tumbled more than 2%, with investors dumping risky assets as oil prices soared after the United States and European allies were said to be mulling a Russian oil import ban.


• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard




Indian Police Arrest Former NSE Boss Chitra Ramkrishna


Illegal Activities of Chinese Firms Under Lens in India – ET


Indian Tax Officials Search Offices Of China’s Huawei


India’s Central Bank to Focus Energies on Economic Growth



Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


AF China Bond