MUMBAI, April 12 (Reuters) – The Indian rupee made slim gains against the US dollar on Wednesday, as the greenback slipped ahead of a crucial US inflation report that could influence the Federal Reserve’s next policy move.
The rupee was trading at 82.0750 per dollar by 10:44 a.m. IST compared with 82.1250 in the previous session.
Asian currencies were mostly higher, while the dollar index extended losses ahead of March US consumer price index data. Core CPI, in focus, likely rose by 0.4% month-on-month in March, according to economists polled by Reuters.
That would be down from the 0.5% increase in February, but well above the pace required for bringing annual inflation to Fed’s 2% target. Headline inflation is expected to rise 0.2%.
Following the robust jobs report, investors have increased their bets of a 25 bps points hike by the Fed at the May meeting to 70%.
There is a lot of risk ahead of the event as this is the last major data release before the Fed’s May 2-3 meeting, said Gaurang Somaiya, FX and bullion analyst at Motilal Oswal Financial Services.
“A soft inflation reading has been priced in by the markets, but in case of slightly contrary data, there could be a major reaction”.
India’s headline inflation probably eased in March to 5.80%, dipping below the Reserve Bank of India’s upper tolerance limit of 6% for the first time this year, according to a Reuters poll.
The data, also due later in the day, follows the RBI’s surprise move last week to hold its key interest rate at 6.50%, after which USD/INR forward premiums have been on a declining trend.
The 1-year implied yield fell a further 3 bps to 2.34%, down over 20 basis points since last Thursday.
(Reporting by Nimesh Vora; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)