Our Bureau

Mumbai, Feb. 24

The foreign exchange reserves increased for the fourth week in a row, according to the Reserve Bank of India's Weekly Statistical Supplement.

For the week ended February 17, 2006, the forex reserves increased by $811 million to touch $141.240 billion, against $140.429 billion, as per the latest figures.

According to a senior bank official, the reasons for the rise in reserves were FII inflows into the equity market and the strengthening of the euro. The euro strengthened from $1.1860 to $1.120 during the week. The RBI was also seen buying dollars to keep the rupee under check, which also led to an accretion to the reserves, he said.

Foreign currency assets increased by $815 million to touch $134.806 billion in the week concerned. Foreign currency assets expressed in dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as euro, sterling and yen.

Gold and SDRs were unchanged at $5.680 billion and $3 million, respectively.

India's reserve position in the IMF fell by $4 million to touch $751 million.

Next week, the rupee is likely to trade in the range of 44.25-44.55, said dealers. The rupee would track the movement of the yen or the yuan, more the stock market inflows.

If the Budget has measures encouraging FII inflows, that could help the rupee, said dealers.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 25, 2006)
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