MUMBAI – The Indian rupee fell to a one-month low on Monday, as a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report prompted investors to bet on more Federal Reserve rate increases, with weaker domestic equities also weighing on market sentiment.
The rupee traded at 82.45 per dollar by 10:10 a.m. IST, down from its previous close of 81.8275.
Trading was volatile last week and the currency traded on the weaker side of 82 for most part, weighed down by losses in equities as foreign investors dumped Indian stocks amid a rout in Adani Group shares.
Adani Group stocks fell again on Monday as credit warnings trickled in, sending jitters through markets.
“The bullish movement in the dollar index and foreign portfolio outflows could pressurise the rupee,” said Amit Pabari, managing director at CR Forex.
“Friday’s U.S. data… has increased the chances of another quarter bps hike from the Fed and pushed the terminal rate higher, which is not a good sign for other currencies.”
Emerging market stocks and currencies in Asia fell sharply, with the Philippine peso and Thailand’s baht down over 1%, as the dollar and Treasury yields rose after the U.S. economy added more than two-and-a-half times the number of jobs than what economists had expected.
The data made it almost certain that the Fed would raise interest rates again at its March meeting, according to CME futures, while the probability of a hike at the May meeting almost doubled.
The 2-year Treasury yield rose 4 basis points to about 4.34% in Asia trading. It is now almost 30 bps higher from last week’s low.
Investors are now awaiting the Reserve Bank of India policy decision on Wednesday, where a 25 basis-point hike is largely expected – probably the last of this tightening cycle.