The US dollar is flat against the Indian rupee on Monday as US President Donald Trump arrives in India to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the hopes of starting the process of securing a US-India bilateral trade deal. A sharp pickup in the number of coronavirus cases outside of Asia, notably in Italy and Iran caused a sharp downturn in global stock markets, including the BSE Sensex and Nifty.
USD/INR was lower by 3 pips (-0.05%) to 71.84 with a daily range of 71.76 to 71.94 as of 10am GMT. The currency pair initially rose as the Dollar Index tracked towards 100 but slipped in later trade to little changed.
The INR benefits from low oil price and no coronavirus cases found in India
A fall in the price of oil, as well as no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in India is cushioning the Indian Rupee against broader US dollar strength. Brent crude oil was lower by -$1.67 per barrel while gold rallied $15.10 as investors price in more economic uncertainty from the outbreak.
Before his visit, President Trump seemed to downplay the prospect of an imminent US-India trade deal so there is little expectation that something significant is announced this time. Some headline-grabbing US investments into India, Indian investments into the United States and joint projects seem likely but nothing comprehensive. Still, if Modi can Keep Trump happy, India can avoid the prospect of China-like tariffs being imposed on their exports to the US in the short-term and keep alive the idea of higher future trade in the coming months if a trade deal can be done.
The USD doesn’t grow due to uncertainty over the coronavirus outbreak
The shock decline in the US service sector according to data on Friday may prove to be a watershed moment to the market reaction to the coronavirus. The US composite PMI compiled by HIS Markit fell into contraction for the first time since 2013. The sense beforehand had been that the economic impact would be localised in China and there would be a rapid recovery in activity in one or two months. There is now a greater perceived risk that the recovery will be more of a ‘U’ and less of a ‘V’.