inr-bank-notes - INR
  • Indian Rupee (INR) heads lower for second day
  • Services PMI declined to 53.7 in November
  • US Dollar (USD) trades lower versus major peers on risk flows
  • Jobless claims data in focus

The US Dollar Indian Rupee (USD/INR) exchange rate is extending gains on Thursday for a second straight session. The pair settled +0.38% on Wednesday at 73.76 just off the daily high. At 11:15 UTC, USD/INR trades +0.25% at 73.93.

Growth in Indian’s service sector lost momentum in November. The Nikkei/ IHS Markit Services PMI declined to 53.7 in November, down from 54.1 in October, but still above the level 50 which separates expansion from contraction.

Travel restrictions, low footfall and weak consumer confidence points to customers preferring to stay at home rather than risk catching covid. This trend is being captured in the weaker PMI. Demand from abroad was also weak as many countries reimposed lockdown measures amid a second wave of covid.

A slowdown in expansion in India’s dominant sector is clouding hopes of a quick economic recovery from the covid pandemic. India fell into recession in the last quarter for the first time in 8 years and is expected to only post a modest recovery early next year.

Attention will now turn to the Reserve Bank of India which is expected to announce its monetary policy decision tomorrow. The central bank is not expected to move on rates despite high levels of inflation., instead opting to keep rates low to support growth.

The US Dollar is advancing versus the Indian Rupee; however, it trades on the back foot versus its major peers. The US Dollar Index which tracks the US Dollar against a basket of major currencies trades -0.07% lower at the time of writing.

The safe haven US Dollar is struggling to find demand amid vaccine optimism and hope of additional US fiscal stimulus as talks restart.

The health of the US labour market remains in focus today after weak ADP private payroll data in the previous session. Jobless claims are due later today.