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Rupee ended flat, Pound lower vs. Dollar

Tuesday,   14-May-2019   05:30 PM (IST)

The Indian rupee ended the session flat at 70.4350/4450 levels compared to its opening at 70.4450/4550 levels after touching the high of 70.31/32 levels as local shares recovered and government bonds saw some foreign portfolio inflows on heightened interest rate cut hopes. Appreciation in the rupee came on the back of increased rate cut bets after the April inflation print remained within central bank’s target. This also contributed to gains in the local shares which have witnessed a strong rebound. Rupee dropped to 70.51/52 levels in afternoon deals today on dollar buying in the market. India's Wholesale Price Index (WPI) slipped to 3.07 percent in April, as against 3.18 percent in March. Brent oil prices surged above $71 per barrel after Saudi’s energy minister says yesterday's oil tanker sabotage and today's oil pipeline drone attack target international oil market. Indian shares snapped a nine-session losing spree to end higher today with pharmaceutical stocks among the top boost, a day after the country’s retail inflation data brought hopes of a key interest rate cut in June. The benchmark BSE Sensex closed up 0.61% at 37,318.53, while the broader NSE Nifty ended 0.66% higher at 11,222.05. Indian government bonds ended higher today, as expectations of another rate cut were boosted by the fall in core inflation. In the forward segment 1mth, 3mth and 6mth annualized premia ended the day at 4.66%, 4.31% and 4.20% respectively.

Sterling held near a two-week low on Tuesday as British employment data showed wage growth in the quarter ending March was lower than expected, signalling the possible start of a turbulent period for the broader economy. Wages in Britain had grown at strong rates over the past year or so but slowed to 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019, data showed, lower than predictions of 3.4 percent and down from the previous reading of 3.5 percent. The data also showed employment growth slowed to 99,000, well below a median forecast of 135,000 in a Reuters poll of economists. Sterling slipped on Tuesday to a two-week low of $1.2928 in early trade before settling at around $1.2948. It was also slightly down against the euro at 86.66 pence. The Bank of England has said in the past that a rate hike would be contingent on strong wage growth pushing up inflation. Money markets expect one rate hike in the first half of 2020. Any further hits to wage growth and employment numbers could also be a sign that British businesses are hurting from uncertainty over Brexit, analysts said. While most economic data in Britain has been solid in recent months even in the face of messy EU divorce proceedings, the worry for investors is that months of inventory stockpiling by British firms could show up this quarter.