Seeking to calm the frayed nerves on the foreign exchange market,the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday said the current account deficit (CAD) in the current fiscal will come down to $56 billion,less than 3 per cent of GDP,and lower than the government estimate of $70 billion and $88 billion reported last year.
RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan assured the markets that the latest trade data suggest we have made significant progress in curbing the size of the likely deficit for this year and there is no fundamental reason for volatility in the value of the rupee.
The rupee,which opened lower at 63.90,recovered on fresh dollar sales by exporters and some banks to a high of 63.28 before settling at 63.30,a rise of 41 paise or 0.64 per cent after the RBI Governors soothing comments. The rupee had slumped 209 paise or 3.39 per cent in the previous five sessions.
We have $32 billion less of CAD to finance this year,and till yesterday,we raised $18 billion through new channels. So if other financing remains the same as last year,which it seems on track for,even if foreign investors pull out significantly more money this year than they have so far,we still can break even on capital flows, he said while addressing hurriedly called media conference here.
Also remember that the major outflows in summer were debt outflows. That money has not come back,indeed our FII debt exposure,both corporate and sovereign,has come down from $37 billion on May 21 to $19 billion today. I presume what is left is more patient money,but given its diminished size,I do not see its possible exit as a huge risk, he said.
Rajan said the RBI allowed oil marketing companies to return and purchase more and more oil from the markets,starting on October 14. Today,a month later,I am glad to report that the majority of oil marketing company demand for dollars is back on market. The market absorbed the additional demand quite smoothly in fact,participants did not even know it was back until some talk from the finance ministry last week, he said.
However,he said there has been some turmoil in currency markets in the last few days.
But I have no doubt that once markets calm down,the remaining demand will be absorbed easily. We have no intention of rushing this process, he said. On the growth front,Rajan said Tuesdays data suggested still weak growth as the IIP numbers came below expectations.
Nevertheless,I am still hopeful that the good monsoon and the associated pick up in consumption,the very healthy exports,and the strong growth in the power sector should lead to stronger growth numbers for the second half of the fiscal year, he said.
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