Rupee nearly flat this week, premiums extend slide

FILE PHOTO: A customer hands Indian currency notes to an attendant at a fuel station in Mumbai

By Nimesh Vora

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Indian rupee nudged lower against the dollar on Friday and was little changed for the week, while forward premiums slipped to fresh 10-year lows.

The rupee dipped to 81.6850 per U.S. dollar from 81.63 in the previous session. The local unit had managed to climb above 81.50, but dollar demand from importers dragged it lower in the last hour of trade, according to traders.

On a weekly basis, the rupee remained little changed from last Friday's level of 81.6850. The local unit held a 81.44 to 81.9150 range amid a further decline on the dollar index and importer demand for cash and forward dollars.

The dollar was down about 1% this week on disappointing U.S. data and the more-dovish-than-expected Federal Reserve November minutes.

The minutes and the data reaffirmed expectations the Fed will opt to raise rates by 50 basis points in December compared with 75 bps in the previous four meetings.

Next week, investors will be eyeing the U.S. ISM manufacturing data and the monthly jobs report to assess how the economy is faring amid the aggressive Fed monetary tightening.

The India September quarter GDP data is due next week alongside the U.S. prints.

The rupee underperformed most of its Asian peers this week other than the Chinese yuan. The offshore Chinese yuan declined 0.7% this week on concerns over the country's growth outlook.

The People's Bank of China said it would cut the reserve requirement ratio for banks by 25 basis points (bps), effective from Dec. 5.

Meanwhile, rupee forward premiums dropped this week with the 1-year implied yield falling to 2.05% from 2.17% last week. The 1-year implied yield was hovering near its lowest level in more than a decade on buy/sell swaps by interbank and corporates.

(Reporting by Nimesh Vora; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)