• Indian Rupee (INR) falls as risk sentiment drops
  • COVID fears send riskier assets lower
  • US Dollar (USD) trades lower versus major peers
  • Weekly gains on hawkish Fed expectations

The US Dollar Indian Rupee (USD/INR) exchange rate is surging higher, paring losses in the previous session. The pair settled -0.17% lower on Thursday at 74.47. At 10:00 UTC, USD/INR trades +0.51% at 74.85. The pair is set to gain 0.7% across the week.

The Indian Rupee is falling in risk off trade after the discovery of a new COVID variant in South Africa. The new variant has multiple mutations and is being described as the most significant variant seen yet.

Travel restrictions have been put in place in some countries for flights to South Africa and some other African nations. The news surrounding the discovery has provoked a strong risk off reaction in the market with riskier assets and currencies such as the Indian Rupee being sold off.

The US Dollar is trading higher versus the Rupee but is falling versus it’s major peers. The US Dollar Index, which measures the greenback versus a basket of major currencies trades -0.47% at the time of writing at 96.35.

Interestingly whilst riskier currencies are out of favour, the safe haven US Dollar was also losing ground. Other safe havens such as the Swiss Franc and the Japanese Yen were seeing a sharp increase in safe haven flows.

Even so, the US Dollar is still on track to book gains across the week after the greenback was supported by expectations that the Fed could start to raise interest rates sooner than initially planned.

US data this week has revealed that inflation is at a 30-year high but that consumers are also keen to spend after consumer spending jumped 1.3% in October, double September’s 0.6% increase. Jobless claims also fell to the lowest level since 1969. The combination of an improving labour market, surging inflation and consumers willing to spend is likely to prompt a more hawkish Fed.