Virus reports send rupee to 15-month low

Only weak Asian currency on Monday

The fall in the equity markets — following reports of fresh cases of COVID-19 in India — spilled onto the currency market, with the rupee closing the day at a 15-month low, despite a strong opening.

The rupee opened higher at 72.07 against the dollar compared with the previous close of 72.18, but fell sharply during the latter part of trade and closed the day at 72.74 a dollar, down 0.73% from its previous close. The rupee was the only Asian currency that weakened on Monday.

The uncertainty around the virus impact is worrying investors, currency dealers said and added that the crisis was still unfolding. The silver lining for the currency market is that the Reserve Bank has an adequate foreign exchange reserves — $476.12 billion, or 10 months worth of imports — which act as a cushion in times of high volatility.

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