Market Speaks: Weak Rupee Could Weigh On Local Commodities

Weak Rupee is likely to become a critical factor for locally traded commodities in near term. The Indian currency extended its recent losses and tested a 15-month low of 67.20 against the US dollar today as the greenback extended gains and soaring crude oil prices triggered worries about Indias current account deficit. The US dollar index soared to a near five month high of around 93 levels today, rising for a third session after the crucial break above 90 mark. The dollar has been supported of late on strong economic data and the upward potential for US interest rates. Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve kept monetary policy unchanged but signaled its intention to raise rates later this year thanks to underlying strength in the US economy. A June rate hike remains on the table, as the Fed has projected at least two more rate hikes in 2018 following the most recent tightening in March. Also in March, the Fed raised its growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019 and projections pointed to an extra rate increase in 2019. Moreover, it was revealed that wages and prices are now growing at 2% a year, according to the Feds preferred inflation measure. Core inflation, excluding volatile food and energy costs, jumped to 1.9% on an annual basis in March compared to 1.6% in February.