• Indian Rupee (INR) rises amid an upbeat market mood
  • Domestic equities jump higher
  • US Dollar (USD) falls ahead of the Fed
  • Fed interest rate decision & retail sales due

The US Dollar Indian Rupee (USD/INR) exchange rate is falling on Wednesday for a third straight day. The pair settled -0.03% lower on Wednesday at 76.41. At 10:00 UTC, USD/INR trades -0.22% at 76.21.

The Indian Rupee is heading higher as risk sentiment across financial markets improves. Optimism surrounding ongoing peace talks between Russia and Ukraine has helped lift risk appetite. Talks are, according to Ukraine’s Zelenskiy now sounding more realistic.

Indian domestic equities are pushing higher with banks and automakers helping the rebound. The Nifty 50 trades 1.9% higher at 16,980 at the time of writing and the Sensex trades 1.5% higher at 56,600.

Oil prices are edging higher today but trade 11% lower over the last 2 days which will bring some relief to India which imports around 80% of its oil needs.

The US Dollar is falling across the board. The US Dollar Index, which measures the greenback versus a basket of major currencies trades -0.42% at the time of writing at 98.68.

The US dollar fell yesterday despite wholesale inflation, as measured by the producer price index, rising to 10% year on year in February, the highest level in the report’s 12-year history. This rise in PPI suggests that consumer prices were likely to continue rising even before the fallout from the Russian invasion.

Attention is now turning to the Federal Reserve interest rate decision which is due later today. The market has fully priced in a quarter percent rate hike from the Fed, after Fed Powell Chair as good as announced the move in his testimony before Congress in early March.

The focus then will be on the dot plot and whether the Fed can match the market’s aggressive expectations for rate hikes across the year. Any sense that the Fed is turning more dovish in light of the uncertainties from the Ukraine war could pull the USD lower.