Rajan not in favour of depreciating Indian rupee

Mumbai, August 26

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan said he was not in favour of depreciating the Indian rupee and joining a global wave of monetary measures that have weakened currencies, as per a newspaper interview today.

The comments, in an interview with The Economic Times, reiterate Rajan’s frequent criticisms of the competitive devaluations he has said are occurring globally because of actions taken in the eurozone, Japan, and most recently China.

Instead, Rajan said India needed to work on making its economy more competitive, while noting India is now ‘quite healthy’ and in a better position to handle global turbulence than it was in 2013.

“Unnatural movements in other currencies do certainly impinge on us and we would not want to take the route of making ourselves a less attractive destination for investments which would be one quick and sure way of depreciating our own exchange rate,” Rajan was quoted as saying.

“I would rather say that let us focus on making our economy more flexible so that we can absorb some of these changes.”

The devaluation of the yuan and growing fears over the Chinese economy have caused large falls across emerging markets, including India, pushing the Indian rupee to a two-year low of 66.76 to the dollar on Tuesday.

The moves in the yuan, which were followed by China’s latest cut in interest rates on Tuesday, have sparked some market expectations the RBI may also ease monetary policy to avoid destabilising inflows and to help out exporters.

India has seen hefty flows from foreign investors, who have bought shares worth $5.8 billion and debt worth $8 billion so far in 2015.

“I don’t think we are in panic mode by any stretch of imagination ... We are in vigilant mode,” Rajan said. “I have no doubt that we have enough ammunition, reserves, good policies to withstand that.”