The Indian rupee edged down on Thursday as dollar buying by importers and dollar's strength against majors outweighed the positive push from local share gains and strong Asian currencies. Dealers do not expect major foreign fund inflows during the day, which could put downward pressure on the rupee, as the subscription for Coal India's initial public offering closed on Wednesday for institutional investors.
State-run Coal India's IPO to raise as much as $3.5 billion was nearly 12 times covered on Wednesday as big investors rushed into the offer during the final hours for institutional orders. "We expect the rupee to remain in a tight band today. There are no local trigger for the rupee today. Market will keep an eye on the euro-dollar movement," said a dealer at a foreign bank. Dealers expect the unit to move in 44.20-44.50 per dollar band intra-day.
At 10:54 a.m. (0524 GMT), the partially convertible rupee was at 44.42/43 per dollar after rising to 44.29 in early trade and weaker than its previous close of 44.35/36. Foreign funds have so far this year bought shares worth a record $23.6 billion, of which $10.9 billion came in since September, pushing the rupee up by 6 percent since last month. The rupee is up 4.8 percent on the year.
Persistent dollar demand from oil importers may prevent the rupee from rising sharply even if foreign funds stay invested in Indian equities ahead of a clutch of share sales due in coming months, dealers said. Oil is India's biggest import and refiners are the largest buyers of dollars in the domestic currency market. Indian shares were up 0.4 percent taking cues from firm Asian markets.
"Broadly, this week most of the events are over. Since more public issues are lined up, we don't expect rupee to fall much from here," said a dealer at a private bank. State-run Power Grid Corp, Steel Authority of India and Indian Oil Corp are some of the companies that are planning large share sales in coming months, which could attract more foreign fund inflows.
The dollar rose on Thursday on short-covering after comments by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner that major currencies were roughly in alignment, but tempered its gains ahead of a G20 meeting likely to debate currency policies. The dollar index against six major currencies was up 0.33 percent.
One-month offshore non-deliverable forward contracts were quoted at 44.68, weaker than the onshore spot rate. In the currency futures market, the most traded near-month dollar-rupee contracts on the National Stock Exchange , MCX-SX and United Stock Exchange were at 44.47, 44.47 and 44.4625 respectively, with the total traded volume on the three exchanges at a low $1.3 billion.