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Forex kitty swells $1.8 bn despite dollar selling by FIIs
June, 28th 2008

Indias foreign exchange (forex) reserves rose $1.8 billion during the week ended June 20 despite sustained selling by foreign portfolio investors, indicating that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was a net buyer of forex assets in the market.

The rise in reserves comes after a steep dip of close to $5 billion in the previous week. According to the latest data released by RBI, forex reserves, including gold and SDR (special drawing rights) rose $1,794 million during the week ended June 20 to touch $312.5 billion. While foreign currency assets rose $1,789 million, reserves with IMF rose $5 million. The value of gold and SDR currency with the IMF remained unchanged during the week.

The $1,794-million forex assets mop-up by the central bank during the week translates into rupee funds worth Rs 10,721 crore. This would mean that the central bank has spent almost Rs 60 to buy one US dollar from the market. But the forex assets expressed in dollar terms include the impact of appreciation and depreciation of non-US currencies (such as euro, sterling, yen) held in reserves.

More importantly, the central bank also intervenes in non-dollar currencies. Though the currency break-up of reserves is not made public, the central bank makes public the break-up of the SDR-dollar, sterling, euro yen and non-SDR currencies. Over the years, the share of non-SDR currencies in reserves such as the Canadian dollar, yuan and the Australian dollar has been going up. On the domestic front, the Centre has parked its unspent surplus revenues worth Rs 13,007 crore with RBI during the week ended June 20. These are largely advance tax collections from corporates and other businesses.

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