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Rupee Goes From Worst to Better


Name a foreign currency exchange traded product that has been a better bet than the U.S. dollar over the past month. The CurrencyShares Euro Trust (FXE) and the CurrencyShares British Pound Trust (FXB) may not be surprises.  The WisdomTree Indian Rupee Fund (ICN) is a surprise.

ICN has jumped 4.2% in the past month, a strong move for a currency ETF in a short amount of time, but an arguably stunning move for a product tied to one of this year’s worst-performing emerging markets currencies.  ICN hit a multi-year low in August as fears regarding the impact of Federal Reserve tapering on India escalated. [Rupee Volume Spikes as Currency Plunges]

The rupee may not be entirely out of the woods, but it is no longer the worst emerging markets currency.  The rupee rose about 9 percent against the U.S. dollar in September, also outperforming major global currencies, according to CNBC. 

Indian equities and the rupee got some much-needed relief when Raghuram Rajan, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, took over the Reserve Bank of India. Rajan has already used activist language, indicating he will not sit idly by as Asia’s third-largest economy struggles with slack growth. [New RBI Chief Could Redirect India ETFs]

Rajan stated that existing banks would be able to open new domestic branches without RBI go-ahead and that new banking licenses would be issued by January. The RBI will also issue inflation-indexed savings certificates and encourage low-income financial services. Additionally, he promised to improve bad loan recovery.

“On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund revised down its growth forecasts for India. It expects India’s economy to grow 3.8 percent this year, compared with a previous forecast of 5.6 percent,” CNBC reported.

Caution is still warranted with the rupee. Tapering has been postponed, not completely eliminated from the conversation. The current account deficit is wide because India must import most of its energy needs and the government has proven basically impotent in thwarting consumer demand for gold.

Interestingly, some investors are betting on increased near-term stability for the rupee.  ICN had $27.9 million in assets under management in late August. That number is up to $31.3 million as of Tuesday.

WisdomTree Indian Rupee Fund

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.