Dollar to fall below Rs 50 in three months – Assocham study

If you are worried by the rising petrol prices, you may have relief in sight, according to a study by Assocham.

Dollar, which rose to the current Rs 53-57 level at the beginning of this year, is likely to drop below Rs 50 in less than three months, a study by the industry association claimed.

The triggering factors will be government’s policy reforms, return of FIIs into the Indian stock market and a weakening of the US dollar against major currencies of the world, it said.

After rising 25 per cent in the last one year, the dollar has already been witnessing a sharp correction in the last two weeks after global investors turned back to India following the government’s determination to push ahead with the reforms. At present, rupee is trading at around 53 to a dollar, it noted.

“The decisions on FDI in multi-brand retail and hiking diesel prices in the face of widespread political opposition were the turning point. It so happened that these decisions coincided with the quantitative easing in the US and Europe resulting in rush of liquidity in the global markets,” Assocham President Rajkumar N Dhoot said.

The most immediate gain from easing of dollar against rupee would be a sharp reduction in the landed price of the crude oil and the raw gold. These two items are the largest in the country’s import basket and big grains on the country’s current account deficit. Besides other imports such as pulses, edible oil would also see easing of pressure, the study said.

“To the extent, rupee gains, our infamous imported inflation would also come down,” the ASSOCHAM President said stressing the need for keeping the reforms momentum in tact. India meets about 80 per cent of its crude oil requirements from imports and its gold imports last year were USD 60 billion.

If the trend of dollar depreciation continues and there is some downward movement in the international crude prices, there could be a pleasant surprise in terms of the oil marketing companies even reducing the pump prices, the study said. “After all, it was on account of these two factors that the oil firms were compelled to increase the petrol and diesel prices,” it said.

The projection of rupee gaining again is based on several factors combining into one big positive for the Indian economy. These factors are : reduction in merchandise imports, upbeat mood among those who want to bring in foreign direct investment, release of funds from the dollar assets in the global markets and the foreign institutional investors betting again on the Indian equity.

After a kind of lull, the FIIs are seen active in September pushing the Sensex.

While exports have fallen in the backdrop of slowdown in the western economies, imports too have dropped due to slowdown in the domestic demand. So is the demand for gold. After a record imports of USD 60 billion, gold imports are expected to show a considerable decline, according to Assocham. “This will also result in less demand for the hard currency required for the imports,” the ASSOCHAM study said.

The April-August period of the current period has seen a lower trade deficit of USD 71 billion against USD 76 billion in the comparable period of the last financial year. The F.Y 2013 as a whole may see a much lower trade gap than USD 185 billion in 2011-12.

The study said that while depreciation of dollar may not be appear to be a good news for exporters of goods and services, it augurs well even for these areas since a strong rupee would also mean reduction in cost of raw material and manpower.

“To that extent, our exports would become competitive. Reduction in raw material cost has a huge bearing on the final cost of the shipments, especially in the case of manufactured exports. Bulk of India’s merchandise exports are manufactured goods such as engineering, gems and jewellery, petroleum products, textiles etc,” the study said.