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USD to INR Forecast 2024 and Beyond: Indian rupee to rise modestly in next three months

Cristian Cochintu
Cristian Cochintu
11 April 2024

The Indian rupee is forecasted to marginally strengthen against the US Dollar over the coming months and gain slightly in a year as Reserve Bank of India uses its foreign exchange reserves to manage volatility and keep the currency relatively strong, according to FX strategists. We look in more detail at what has been driving the rupee price and where it may go next, including the latest USD to INR forecast for 2024, and 2025-2030. 

Unlike most emerging market currencies, the Indian rupee has showed remarkable stability against the US dollar, thanks to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s hefty foreign exchange reserves of over $619 billion, which it has used to absorb excess volatility.  

 While most emerging market currencies have weakened against the dollar so far this year, the rupee has traded in a tight range of 82.64/$-83.45/$ and is down less than 0.5%. 

In 2023, India managed to grow 7.7%, not only beating all other major economies but exceeding the forecasting community's expectations and accelerating into the second half of the year as the rest of the world slowed. 

USD to INR Forecast – Summary

  • USD to INR Forecast Q4 2023: Although there is a good chance that India will see a similarly impressive performance this year, the latest forecasts show the Indian rupee will strengthen only marginally over the coming three months. 
  • USD to INR Forecast 2024: Growth (in the U.S.) has been holding up, which may lead the Fed to delay its rate-cut cycle, which will make the case for a stronger dollar in the near term. Still, the rupee was forecast to gain nearly 1.1% to 82.50/$ in six months and around 1.7% to 82.00/$ in a year.
  • USD to INR Forecast 2025-2030: While some algorithm-based currency pair forecasts USD to INR remain within a range for several years, other are pointing towards an INR strength to 90 by 2025 and 100 by 2030. AI Predicts +21.46% rate increase by 2030.

With CAPEX.com you can trade USD/INR with tight spreads starting at 0.90 pips and 1:20 leverage.

    

USD to INR Forecast – Fundamental Outlook: Full Speed Ahead

In 2023, India will have the fastest-growing major economy. While other countries in the region seem to be struggling, India seems to be doing well. Even though the Indian rupee is one of the strongest in the region, inflation is still high but is predicted to drop much more during this year as Indian government bonds are set to be included in international indexes.  

Economic growth 

With aggressive capital investment and infrastructure initiatives that have fostered the environment for private investment to flourish rather than discouraging it, the Union Budget of 2023 provided a firm foundation for India's robust growth in 2023.  

The economy expanded by an amazing 8.4% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2023, resulting in a 7.7% annual growth rate. This exceeded even the most optimistic predictions of +7% and crushed the mainstream expectation for a downturn to 6.4%.

When analysing the factors that fuelled growth in 2023, capital investment was the most reliable source. Furthermore, this capital spending is neither especially inflationary nor likely to reverse in the next quarters if it is increasing the economy's productive capacity. 

USD to INR Forecast – Fundamental Outlook: Full Speed Ahead
Contribution to YoY% GDP growth (%) - Source: CEIC, ING 

Infrastructure spending

The allocation of funds by the government to infrastructure in the Union Budget for 2023–2024 was seen as beneficial. India's growth potential is significantly increased by improved logistics and transportation, which is positively influencing private investment.

For ING analysts it looks like a good bet that this positive cycle continues in 2024–2025 because the infrastructure push was maintained in the 2024–2025 Union Budget, which was authorised in February and included a double-digit growth in government capital expenditure. Even though they have lowered their growth estimate for 2024 from 7.7% in 2023 to 6.7%, if this growth rate is realised, it will still represent a robust performance.

There is one little warning worth mentioning. In addition to the GDP report, the sectoral production measure of GDP, or more specifically, gross value added, or GVA, did demonstrate a fall in 4Q23, in keeping with the consensus estimate for GDP. Even yet, India's GVA increased at a rate of 7.2% over the course of the entire year. The stark stock-building we witnessed in the second half of the year could be the cause of the two series' discrepancy; it wouldn't be shocking to see this unwind in 2024 and bring the two series back into alignment.

Government finances

The most recent Union Budget not only supported increased capital spending but also carried on the process of reducing the fiscal imbalance. The 6.4% (%) GDP equivalent deficit target for 2023–2024 was set but given that outturns have been greater than required to meet that objective, ING's analysts think it will be surpassed, whatever the results of the final month of the fiscal year will show. Therefore, they believe that this should be doable even with an even smaller target deficit of 5.9% in 2024–2025.

If so, the debt-to-GDP ratio might continue to drop for another year. India's debt-to-GDP ratio is high—too high for an economy at this stage of development—around the mid-80% mark. Consistent increases in this percentage will free up funds for more useful uses, as debt service remains the single biggest annual expense on the budget, around equal to the whole of defence and transportation spending put together.  

The existing sovereign ratings of India, which are BBB- (S&P and Fitch) and Baa3 (Moody's), all with stable outlooks, are certainly too low to discuss upgrading, but with additional improvements, this may turn into a more serious conversation.

Bond inclusion

The addition of Indian government debt to the JP Morgan Global bond index in June would be the other major development for the upcoming year.  

The estimated amount of capital inflows to India that would result from this is estimated to be roughly $25 billion, and the financial account of the balance of payments may already show some indication of this.

According to ING, inflows of portfolio investment (PI) did indeed increase over the second half of 2023, as expectations of the bond inclusion grew and were then confirmed. Net portfolio investment for the full year was just under USD24bn – close to the analysts' estimations in terms of capital inflows. Net inward direct investment (DI) remained very modest.

The Indian stock market is still strong; in 2023, it increased by 18%, and is marginally higher in Q1 2024. Compared to Chinese stocks, which plummeted in 2023 but have since risen a little more recently, this performance is far stronger. The market is less hesitant to purchase Indian stocks. In comparison to the Hang Seng index, which has a PE ratio of 8.7 and a price-to-book ratio of 0.94, the Sensex index has a PE ratio of 24 and a price-to-book ratio of 3.7.  

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USD to INR Forecast – The Latest Calls for Central Banks

Central bank rates are reaching their peak globally, and we're already starting to see rate cuts in certain regions. Here's what investment banks expect from policymakers from US and India over the next few months.

Federal Reserve

The U.S. Federal Reserve is widely predicted to start reducing U.S. borrowing costs in June. But the risk the FED may not only cut rates later but also cut fewer times than currently expected is increasing. The key risk to USD to INR trajectory will be a further push back in the Fed's rate-cut cycle beyond June.

Inflation has produced several hotter-than-expected prints in 2024 in some way or another which has led the FED to dismiss any notion of imminent rate cuts. The risk in Q2 is that the hotter, seasonal factors buoying inflation, reverse. Rapidly declining inflation alongside robust jobs market significantly weakens the argument for maintaining rates at elevated levels.

In addition, the US economy is moderating – declining from annualised growth of 4.9% in Q3 to 3.2% in Q4 and on track for 2.1% in Q1 this year. Should signs of weakness appear, the Fed will be motivated to cut rates to avoid a recession.  

Reserve Bank of India

The RBI is expected to cut the repo rate starting with the third quarter. The Indian rupee (INR) has been under strict control of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) since October 2023, with the exchange rate hovering around USD/INR 83.0. Although this strategy began at a time when the US dollar was confusing expectations for some decline and instead placing pressure on developing market currencies to depreciate, the RBI has not offered any explanation for it.  

In recent times, there appears to have been some asymmetric flexibility in the RBI's currency management policies. The INR has been allowed to gain very slightly when the USD has shown symptoms of weakness, and the RBI has supported the INR when the USD has rebounded and put pressure on its devaluation.  

To stop the depreciation of the Indian rupee, foreign exchange reserves will need to be used as part of this currency stability. If India maintains its current level of foreign exchange reserves—currently at $642.63 —the strategy appears to be well-intentioned and even growing. 

USD to INR Forecast – Technical Outlook: Loses Momentum Above the Key Support Level

USD/INR trades weaker on the daily chart and remains confined within a multi-month-old descending trend channel around 82.60–83.15 since December 8, 2023.  

Technically, the pair maintains the bearish outlook unchanged in the near term as the pair is below the 100-day Exponential Moving Average (EMA) on the daily chart. It’s worth noting that the 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) lies below the 50.0 midlines, suggesting the path of least resistance is to the downside. 

USD to INR Forecast 2024
Any follow-through buying above the confluence of the 100-day EMA and a psychological round mark of 83.00 might convince the bulls to charge again, possibly taking the pair to the upper boundary of the descending trend channel near 83.15. A break above this level will pave the way to the next upside target near a high of January 2 at 83.35, en route to the 84.00 round figure.

On the downside, the key support level for USD/INR is seen near the lower limit of the descending trend channel at 82.60. A breach of the mentioned level will see a drop to a low of August 23 at 82.45, followed by a low of June 1 at 82.25. 

USD to INR Forecast – Institutional and AI-Algorithms Price Predictions 2024, 2025, 2030

Below is the updated data of the USD to INR forecasts as of July 2024. It either can be altered or can be proved to be wrong as it is based on essential factors like interest rates and central bank policy, in line with market assumptions. It is important to research and analyse keeping in mind that past displays do not assure future outcomes.

USD to INR Forecast by Reuters Poll – Indian Rupee to rise marginally

The rupee was expected to gain slightly to 83.11/$ in a month and 82.90/$ in three months from Wednesday's rate of 83.43/$, the March 28-April 3 Reuters poll of 46 foreign exchange analysts showed.

That outlook has remained unchanged for several months and has been unaffected by the greenback's relative strength so far this year. 

Growth (in the U.S.) has been holding up, which may lead the Fed to delay its rate-cut cycle, which will make the case for a stronger dollar in the near term. Still, the rupee was forecast to gain 1.1% to 82.50/$ in six months and around 1.7% to 82.00/$ in a year. 

USD to INR Forecast by CareEdge Ratings: longer trading range of 82.60–83.15  

As crude oil prices are expected to stay elevated in the near term, CareEdge revised their projections for India’s current account deficit (CAD) by 20bps to 1.8% of GDP in FY24 from 1.6% projected earlier. This is still lower than CAD of 2% in FY23.  

Their projection assumes the Indian crude oil basket would average USD 87 per barrel in FY24 versus USD 85 per barrel assumed earlier. India’s net foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows have fallen to ~USD 5 billion in Q1FY24 from ~USD 13.4 billion in Q1FY23.

They expect FDI flows to moderate in FY24, as businesses delay investments amidst a global slowdown. Elevated UST yields and a strong Dollar Index are weighing on foreign portfolio investments (FPI). India’s net FPI inflows fell to USD 2.2 billion in August from USD 5.8 billion in July and a peak of USD 6.9 billion in June.  

September has seen net FPI outflows of USD 0.5 billion so far. CarryEdge expect FPI flows to gain momentum once the Fed signals that interest rates have peaked. They maintain the initial view that India will witness net FPI inflows in FY24 as UST yields moderate eventually and as India benefits from favorable growth differentials arising from being the fastest-growing major economy.

In the last two MPC meetings, RBI has emphasized its commitment to bring inflation to its 4% target. Hence, CarryEdge expects RBI to intervene to contain rupee volatility and imported inflation. India has adequate forex reserves, equivalent to an import cover of ~11 months, to support RBI intervention. Further, RBI’s forward book position looks comfortable at net purchases of USD 19.5 billion as of July 2023.  

Elevated UST yields, weak yuan, and crude oil prices are expected to weigh on the rupee in the near term. Thereafter, some moderation in UST yields and crude oil prices should offer support.

In the coming second half of the fiscal year 2023-24, they forecast USD to INR exchange rate to fluctuate within the range of 82 to 84, gradually gravitating toward the lower boundary of this range. This projection marks a shift from their previous forecast of 81 to 83.

Though, the agency forecast SAR to INR to trade within the 21.866-22.40 range and forecast AED to INR to trade within the 22.325-22.87 range within the next 6 month.

INR to USD forecast by Goldman Sachs: the Indian currency may lag its Asian counterparts

Global brokerage firm Goldman Sachs predicts a positive trajectory for the Indian rupee in 2024, forecasting that it may rise to 81 against the US dollar by the end of the year.

The bullish USD to INR forecast is fuelled by expectations of substantial foreign capital inflows, particularly as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) continues to accumulate inflows and bolster forex reserves at every available opportunity, according to Goldman Sachs Chief India Economist Santanu Sengupta.

USD to INR forecast by Capital Economics: significantly better 2024 for Indian Rupee

Given their view that the U.S. Fed will cut rates more aggressively next year than currently priced in by markets, Capital Economics think that the rupee will strengthen against the U.S. dollar.

They forecast the Indian rupee to climb to 78 to the dollar by end-2024. The market has currently priced in about six Fed rate cuts in 2024 as inflation and growth both slow, while the central bank has forecast only three. A big part of how rupee and other EM currencies perform next year will primarily depend on how the Fed's easing cycle shapes up in relation to what is currently expected, they said.

USD to INR forecast by Economic Times: the Indian rupee is likely to appreciate

The Indian rupee is expected to appreciate against the US dollar in 2024, after a stable 2023, driven by anticipation of continued foreign inflows, with USD to INR forecast to trade at 82, according to analysts at Economic Times.

Robust foreign inflows into the domestic market have played a pivotal role, providing resilience to the rupee amidst global uncertainties. The RBI's proactive measures throughout the year have successfully curbed volatility, preventing the local currency from further weakening.  

USD to INR forecast by Bank of Baroda: RBI to steady hold on INR

Bank of Baroda forecast USD to INR to appreciate gradually over the next few months. However, the RBI is likely to absorb these additional inflows, keeping a steady hold on INR.  

India's robust domestic growth along with stable external macros have been underpinning the strength in INR in recent times...FPI (foreign portfolio investment) inflows and range-bound oil prices have also supported INR, explained the bank's economist. 

AED to INR Forecast 2024, 2025, 2030SAR to INR Forecast 2024, 2025, 2030Egyptian Pound Forecast 2024, 2025, 2030

USD to INR Forecast by ING

Analysts forecast USD to INR has some downside potential (INR appreciation) when the USD finally does turn weaker is more limited than some other currencies, as the currency is currently only supported in a narrow range and has not seen the same level of depreciation as other regional currencies.

USD to INR Forecast by ING
USD to INR Forecast - Source: ING

AED to INR Forecast by Trading Economics

Trading Economics forecast USD to INR to be priced at 83.017 by the end of 2023 and at 83.39 in one year, according to its global macro models projections and analysts' expectations. 

USD to INR Forecast by Wallet Investor

Wallet Investor forecast USD to INR to close 2023 at 83.693 and expects a Rupee appreciation during the next year. 

USD to INR Forecast 2025
USD to INR Forecast, Long-Term Rate Predictions for Next Months and Year: 2023, 2024 – Source: WalletInvestor

The 2024 USD to INR price prediction towards an all-time high of 87.054, and a closing rate of 86.987. The 2025 USD to INR forecast is showing a potential maximum rate of 90.311 and a closing rate of 90.234. The USD to INR forecast for the next 5 years is bullish, with the AI algorithm predicting a new all-time high of 99.496.

USD to INR Forecast 2025 by AI Pickup

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Pickup algorithm supports the statement that the strength of the prevailing trend and the live inflationary climate will continue to weaken the rupee in a long-term forecast until 2027. The AI algorithms USD to INR forecast 2025 points towards an advance up to 89.1.

Summary of USD to INR Forecast

  • The Indian Rupee has recently breached the 83-level against the US Dollar, but its decline has been curtailed by interventions by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) across various markets, including the spot, Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF), and futures markets.  
  • In the coming second half of the fiscal year 2023-24, most institutions and AI-algorithms forecast the USD to INR exchange rate to fluctuate within the range of 82 to 84, gradually gravitating toward the lower boundary of this range.  

     

Sources:

FAQs about USD to INR forecast

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Cristian Cochintu
Cristian Cochintu
Financial Writer

Cristian Cochintu writes about trading and investing for CAPEX.com. Cristian has more than 15 years of brokerage, freelance, and in-house experience writing for financial institutions and coaching financial writers.