Falling oil price, higher fund inflows ease pressure on Indian currency.

The Indian rupee has been steadily gaining against the UAE dirham over the last few weeks on the back of increased foreign fund inflows, a weaker US dollar and fall in oil prices.

Industry executives from the forex market predict that the rupee will strengthen to 18.50 versus the dirham due to favourable economic conditions in 2019. But it could fall to a record low of 20.50 in 2019 if the trade deficit is not contained due to the surge in dollar and oil prices.

“We do not expect the rupee to trigger a significant slide or prop up in the coming few months. It could possibly experience a slight weakening around the general election period in India. At its weakest, the Indian rupee could hit 72.10 against the US dollar [or 19.63 against the dirham],” says Adeeb Ahamed, managing director, LuLu Financial Group.

For the whole year, Rajiv Raipancholia, CEO, Orient Exchange, forecast the dirham to trade between 18.00 to 20.50 against the dirham in 2019, depending on various factors.

Promoth Manghat, executive director of Finablr and CEO of UAE Exchange Group, noted that the major part of 2018 saw the rupee staying low and weak, much to the joy of Indians staying abroad. But the recent gain by about 6 per cent against the UAE dirham was due to the weakening US dollar and depreciation in crude oil prices by 35 to 40 per cent.

“In 2019, rupee is excepted to be in the range of 18.50 to 20.50 versus the UAE dirham. The oil prices and the upcoming national elections can also have an impact on the rupee next year,” Manghat added.

The Indian currency was trading at 19.01 on Sunday.

In 2018, the rupee slid on account of rising oil prices and the general bearish movement of the equity markets, hitting its lowest of 20.25 against the dirham on October 10. It has lost 9.37 per cent against dirham year to date.

“After a nearly 15 per cent drop earlier in the year, the rupee has gained significantly over the past few weeks on account of the decline in oil prices, weakening of the US dollar and general bullishness in the equity market. Furthermore, increased FPIs have further strengthened the rupee. We believe the Indian rupee could close between 69.50-69.80 against the US dollar by year-end,” Ahamed said.

Raipancholia said the Indian rupee has been strengthening due to multiple factors, mainly due to increased foreign fund flow into Indian market, a weaker US dollar and a sharp fall in crude oil prices. “The US dollar has been weakening due to renewed worries over US-China trade tension.”

Key factors for rupee in 2019
Raipancholia predicted that the crude price is an important factor for the Indian rupee in 2019.

“General elections scheduled in May 2019 is another important factor for the Indian rupee. US interest rates movement is also another trigger to watch out that can dictate the rupee,” Orient Exchange CEO said.

Adeeb Ahamed believes general elections in the first half of 2019, trade deficit and fluctuating oil prices will decide the rupee’s movement.

“While the general elections might affect the rupee movement, it might only be temporary. India would have to keep an eye on its export and import bill, as a widening gap between them will put pressure on the current account deficit, which in turn can mean trouble for the Indian rupee. Furthermore, fluctuating oil prices along with global aspects such as the trade conflict, stock market movement and other economic factors too can affect the rupee movement in 2019,” Ahamed added.

Source: Khaleej Times