omicron: Lower oil prices to counter Omicron fears; yet rupee to remain subdued

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MUMBAI: Concerns over new Covid-19 variant Omicron, as well as continued foreign fund outflows, will keep Indian rupee subdued during the upcoming week.
Besides, rising trade deficit along with fears of US tapering measures are likely to hamper any appreciation move.
However, the downside will be capped by lower oil prices. “Rising trade deficit and taper had it’s toll on rupee. Continuos FPI pull out from equities has been countered by IPO inflows so far, and may continue for some more time,” said Sajal Gupta, Head, Forex and Rates, at Edelweiss Securities.
“The Omicron variant is also a problem less discovered. This would take time to decipher. However, India should benefit from its large vaccinated population,” he added.
Last week, the rupee closed at 75.10 to a greenback, weakening significantly.
“Risk sentiment is on the backfoot as worries over Omicron created uncertainty over sustainability in growth,” said Devarsh Vakil, Deputy Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.
“Rupee traders are focusing on movement of dollar index, crude oil, fund inflows and news flow on the new stain of the virus, which will be crucial for directional trade,” Vakil added.
He cited that forex market is likely to remain turbulent in the week ahead.
“The rupee is expected to remain within the range of 74.70 to 75.70,” he said.
According to Gaurang Somaiya, Forex & Bullion Analyst, Motilal Oswal Financial Services: “Next week, market participants will be keeping an eye on the RBI policy statement and expectation is that the central bank could start the process of normalising policy amid signs of higher inflation by lifting the reverse repo rate from its current record low of 3.35 per cent.
“Any hawkish commentary from the RBI Governor is likely to restrict major fall for the rupee.”
The ‘Currency Desk’ of Emkay Global Financial Services said: “Next week, we have RBI policy and a likely tightening by raising the reverse repo rate may limit any rise in USDINR spot.
“So we expect USDINR spot to continue oscillating in between 74.70 and 75.50. As long as it trades above 74.70, it will continue the uptrend.”

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