Devaluation of currency can stable Rupee: Arvind Subramanian


With the fear of ongoing trade war and falling of Rupee with U.S. Dollar, India’s outgoing chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian said, “The Indian rupee should be allowed to depreciate in sync with currencies of the rest of the world as trade wars may quickly turn into currency wars”. This can absorb shocks from high oil prices and strong dollar.

“If oil prices rise and other currencies depreciate, the rupee depreciating has to be part of the adjusting mechanism,” Subramanian said on Wednesday. “To say that the rupee should not depreciate when all these shocks are happening is just bad economics.”

“We have a stable macro-policy, growth is coming back and we have foreign exchange reserves to cushion this disruption. There is not a whole lot we can do to change what is happening in the world. But the two things we can do is to allow the adjustment to be gradual and non-disruptive for which we have the capability.”

Subramanian said the government may need to infuse additional capital into state-run banks this fiscal year. More so, as 19 of the 21 state-run banks reported combined losses of 85,370 crore, with total non-performing assets (NPAs) of about 9 trillion, wiping out the 1 trillion capitalization by the government in 2017-18.

The rupee has depreciated by 8% this year to breach the 69-mark against the dollar, making it one of the worst-performing currencies among its peers.

Given that unilateral tariff hikes on steel and aluminium by the Donald Trump administration has forced many countries, including India, to retaliate, and the US is showing no signs of backing down, it could soon turn into full-blown trade wars, said Subramanian.

A survey of market participants in Singapore and Mumbai by Moody’s Investors Service released on Wednesday showed that high oil prices were the top risk to India’s economy and that the government’s recapitalization package for banks is insufficient.

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