Depreciation of Indian rupee

Mains Marks Booster     5th August 2023        
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Currency depreciation—a country's currency losing value relative to foreign reference currencies—can hurt an economy. The depreciation of the Indian rupee against the US dollar has raised concerns and needs further investigation into its causes, effects, and solutions.

Understanding Currency Depreciation

Under a floating exchange rate regime, a country's currency depreciates against one or more foreign currencies. It can boost exports by lowering prices. Currency depreciation can affect neighbouring countries and the economy.

Reasons for Indian Rupee's Depreciation:

Several factors have contributed to the current depreciation of the Indian rupee against the US dollar:

  • Trade deficit growth: The increase in imports, particularly due to rising oil prices, has led to India's trade deficit reaching a record high.
  • Policy differences between central banks: The Fed's low interest rates and optimistic economic outlook have strengthened the US dollar, diverging US and Indian central banks' policies.
  • Reserve accumulation: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been actively purchasing US dollars to build reserves and prepare for potential future turbulence.
  • Capital exodus and market uncertainties: The benchmark stock index, S&P BSE Sensex, has declined by almost 10% from its peak, driven by capital outflows. Concerns regarding the Omicron variant and geopolitical tensions have also contributed to market uncertainties.
  • Global factors: Various global factors, including the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, rising crude oil prices, and tightening global financial conditions, have played a role in the depreciation of the Indian rupee.

Impact of Depreciation on Indian Economy

The depreciation of the Indian rupee has both positive and negative implications:

Positive impact: 

  • Theoretically, a weaker rupee should boost India's exports. However, in the current global uncertainty and weak demand scenario, higher exports may not materialize.

Negative impact:

  • Risk of imported inflation, Challenges for interest rate management, Increased cost of imports, Adverse impact on oil and gas industry, Inflationary pressure, Impact on various sectors

Role of Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

The RBI plays a crucial role in managing currency volatility and supporting the rupee. Some steps taken by the RBI include:

  • Monitoring foreign currency markets and intervening when necessary.
  • Relaxing restrictions on foreign ownership of government bonds and increasing borrowing limits for businesses to attract foreign currency inflows.
  • Proposing rupee settlement methods to reduce the demand for US dollars in international trade.

Measures to Address Rupee Depreciation

To address rupee depreciation, several steps can be considered:

  • Encouraging foreign investment, Relaxing foreign investment caps, Selling foreign currency reserves, Promoting industrial growth, Export promotion and import reduction, Rationalizing foreign currency expenditure, Attracting NRI investments

Outlook for the Rupee in 2023

  • While the near future outlook for the rupee remains weak, considering factors such as high inflation and uncertainties, the depreciation may not persist indefinitely. 
  • As India maintains its position as the fastest-growing economy, the tide may eventually turn once the tightening of monetary policies by the US Federal Reserve concludes.

Way Forward

  • Inclusion of Indian corporations in global indices: Promoting the inclusion of large-cap companies in global indices can offset foreign portfolio outflows and enhance foreign investments.
  • Entry into bond indices: Expediting India's entry into bond indices can attract foreign inflows and positively impact interest rates.
  • Adequate forex reserves management: Maintaining a comfortable level of foreign exchange reserves and employing timely interventions to control volatility can safeguard the rupee's value.
  • Fiscal discipline and inflation control: The government should focus on limiting borrowing, while the RBI concentrates on inflation control as mandated by law.
  • Enhancing export competitiveness: Improving infrastructure, logistics, and export incentives to make Indian exports more competitive.


The Indian rupee depreciation affects many sectors and the economy. Imported inflation and trade deficits can hinder export competitiveness. Long-term stability requires fiscal discipline and inflation control. India's resilient economy may improve the rupee's outlook, but careful monitoring and proactive measures are needed to overcome the challenges.