At $14.7bn, forex kitty posts biggest weekly jump in a yr – Times of India

Mumbai: The country’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $14.7 billion during the week ended November 11, 2022 to hit $544.7 billion — the highest level since September 2021.
After falling to $530 billion in the week ended November 4, a drop of over $100 billion from the beginning of the year, reserves rose to $544 billion in seven days. Data released by the RBI showed that this was the fastest pace of growth since August 2021.
Before last week, forex reserves rose by $16.7 billion during the week ended August 27, 2021. However, the increase was due to a one-time allocation of special drawing rights (SDRs) worth $17 billion by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). That August 2021 week saw foreign currency assets decline by $1.4 billion. Without factoring in the SDRs, the increase in foreign currency assets is the fastest ever.
“This has not come as a surprise. We expected the reserves to bounce back strongly, given valuation gains. There could be a marginal decline next week as the dollar has appreciated since. Still, we are unlikely to see the reserves decline materially from here as there is a reversal in the valuation cycle,” said Barclays India chief economist Rahul Bajoria.
While the reserves have gone up, the rupee is not expected to gain significantly from current levels. “The rupee is likely to be range-bound in the near term. Our forecast for the end of the year is 83. We expect some incremental weakness as the Fed is expected to retain its hawkish stance despite recent inflation numbers,” said Bajoria.
Commentators have raised concerns over the sharp depletion in foreign currency assets since the Ukraine invasion, which prompted the central bank governor Shaktikanta Das to compare the forex kitty to an umbrella that had to be used in a rainy day and the RBI was putting the reserves to its intended use.
“The trend of declining reserves has been stalled, which is positive news. The increase in reserves would be a combination of three factors — outright purchase of dollars by the RBI, an outcome of the RBI entering into buy-sell swaps, and valuation gains in non-dollar assets. Given the scale of the increase, a large contribution may have come from outright purchases,” said DBS Bank head (treasury) Ashhish Vaidya.
Bajoria agrees on the positivity in the development but says that most of the gains are due to change in valuation. “The good news is that the decline in reserves, which was quite precipitous, has got arrested for now. Just as the earlier drop had a significant contribution from valuation losses, the current increase is not entirely on account of dollar accretion, and it is largely valuations playing through,” said Bajoria.
According to IFA Global Research, the increase in reserves is predominantly on account of revaluation impact of gold and currencies other than US dollar. “Between November 4 and 11, euro, pound and yen had appreciated 4-6% against the dollar. Gold had appreciated about 5% during the same period. All of this is likely to have resulted in a cumulative revaluation impact of about $9 billion. The remaining increase could have been on account of spot dollar purchases as the RBI could have stepped in to halt rupee appreciation post the lower than expected US October CPI print,” said IFA Global.

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