Indian rupee breaches 72 to the dollar to hit new low

The Indian rupee has fallen nearly 2 percent this month and more than 12 percent this year. (AP)
Updated 06 September 2018
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Indian rupee breaches 72 to the dollar to hit new low

MUMBAI: The Indian rupee breached the 72 to the dollar mark for the first time on Thursday, extending losses as a rout in emerging markets kept investors on edge.
The rupee fell to a record low of 72.11 to the dollar at one point, but pared the day’s losses after mild selling of dollars likely by the Reserve Bank of India, dealers said.
At 0829 GMT, the rupee was trading at 71.9350 to the dollar compared with its previous close of 71.7750.
“This is not intervention, it is just mild selling (of dollars) to smoothen out the volatility and not to protect any level anymore,” said a senior forex analyst at a state-run bank.
The rupee has fallen nearly 2 percent this month and more than 12 percent this year, making it Asia’s worst performing currency.
Dealers estimate the RBI on Thursday to have sold about $1 billion, which they said is not much given the pace of the rupee’s fall.
The RBI anonymously intervenes in the forex market through banks, and publishes its forex reserves numbers with a week’s time lag. Typically, traders can only estimate the intervention number from the weekly data.
While the sharp fall in the rupee and the RBI’s light-handed approach in the forex market have surprised several traders, government officials have not shown much concern about the currency’s rapid depreciation.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said late on Wednesday there was no need for a panicked reaction to the rupee’s fall while the commerce secretary, Anup Wadhawan, said the slide was due to global developments and was helping India’s exports, which rose 14.32 percent in July to $25.77 billion from a year earlier.
“It is quite puzzling to the markets what the government and RBI want on the rupee, and why the government is sending out such signals that they are not worried about the rupee,” said a forex trader at a state-run bank.
The next Fibonacci technical level for the rupee will be 72.50-72.80 to the dollar, the forex analyst said.


Google puts up $1B to ease housing headaches it helped cause

Updated 1 min 43 sec ago
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Google puts up $1B to ease housing headaches it helped cause

  • A report by Working Partnerships called upon Google to build more than 17,000 homes in the area to help offset the anticipated price increases caused by the new campus
SAN FRANCISCO: Google is pouring $1 billion into easing the high-priced housing headaches that it and its Silicon Valley peers helped give the San Francisco Bay Area.
The pledge announced Tuesday by Google CEO Sundar Pichai consists of a $250 million investment fund and $750 million of company-owned land. It will be used to build at least 15,000 homes that will include low- and mid-income housing.
Google’s commitment eclipsed a recent $500 million pledge made by Microsoft to combat housing shortages in the Seattle area and a $500 million housing fund created by a consortium including Facebook.
Google is extending a helping hand as it draws up plans to expand into sprawling offices beyond its headquarters in Mountain View, California. That suburban city of roughly 80,000 people has been swamped with affluent tech workers since Google moved there shortly after its 1998 inception.
Since then, Google’s payroll has swelled from a few dozen workers to the more than 103,000 people now working for it and its corporate parent, Alphabet Inc. Nearly half of those workers are based in the Bay Area.
While Google has been expanding, so have a wide variety of other technology companies, including Apple, Facebook, Oracle, Salesforce and Netflix — all of whom also lavish their workers with six-figure salaries and stock options that can yield multimillion-dollar windfalls.
The high incomes have resulted in bidding wars for the limited supply of homes in the Bay Area that can only be afforded by the affluent, a group increasingly dominated by tech workers, while people employed in other lines of work struggle to make ends meet on more modest incomes.
That is making it impossible for people on the lower end of the economic spectrum to buy a home in the Bay Area, where a mid-priced house sold for $990,000 in April, according to the California Association of Realtors, a trade group. In 1999, a mid-priced home sold for $308,000.
It’s even worse in San Francisco, a city from which many tech workers ride company buses to the Silicon Valley suburbs. A mid-priced house in San Francisco sold for nearly $1.7 million in April, according to the realtors’ group, quadruple the price of 20 years ago.
Google’s next big project will be in the Bay Area’s most populous city, San Jose, where it plans to build a corporate campus consisting of offices and housing where 15,000 to 20,000 of its employees will work and live.
The project faced resistance from community activists worried about its effect on housing prices. Last week, a report by Working Partnerships called upon Google to build more than 17,000 homes in the area to help offset the anticipated price increases caused by the new campus. The report by the labor-union backed labor group envisions apartment rent increases of $235 million by 2030 if action isn’t taken.
“For several months, we have encouraged Google to make a bold commitment to address our region’s affordable housing challenge,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement applauding the company’s $1 billion pledge.