• Indian Rupee (INR) advances for a second day
  • Indian stock market surges 1.8% & trades at highest level since the pandemic started
  • US Dollar (USD) eases on safe haven outflows amid election optimism
  • Federal Reserve interest rate decision in focus

The US Dollar Indian Rupee (USD/PKR) exchange rate is extending losses for a second straight day on Thursday. The pair settled -0.3% lower in the previous session at 74.36, at the low of the day. At 12:15 UTC, USD/INR trades -0.4% at 74.08.

The Indian Rupee tracked domestic equities higher. Indian shares closed at the highest level since mid-February, after strong earnings from The State Bank of India lifted banks, whilst risk on sentiment in the broader market helped lift metal & energy stocks.

The Nifty 50 jumped 1.8% to close over 12,000 for the first time since the start of the covid pandemic. The Sensex also closed 1.8% higher. Direct foreign investors were net buyers.

Risk sentiment is also receiving a boost from the latest developments in the US elections. Whilst no winner has been announced, Joe Biden has moved into the lead with 264 of the 270 electoral college votes required. Trump has mounted several legal challenges in various states. Even so, the Senate has remained in the hands of the Republicans. This means that should Biden win, his planned tax hikes are unlikely to make it through the Senate. If Trump wins, there are more market friendly policies coming.

The win, win position for corporate America is lifting risk appetite, boosting US equity futures higher, which is undermining the safe haven US Dollar. Riskier currencies are in favour, such as the Indian Rupee.

Attention will now turn to the US Federal Reserve which is due to make its policy announcement later today. Recent data from the US has been reasonably solid, markets have also been relatively stable. There is little reason for the Fed to adjust policy this month, particularly as all eyes are on the US elections.