India's rupee, the worst performer in 2011 among currencies in the biggest emerging markets, will post its smallest annual gain since 2008 as rising inflation aggravates an economic slump, the most accurate forecasters say.
The rupee will end the year at 44.50 per dollar, unchanged from Tuesday, to cap 2011's advance at 0.5 per cent after gains of more than 4 per cent in each of the past two years, according to the median estimate of five banks that Bloomberg data show made the best predictions in the last six quarters. Axis Bank Ltd, the top forecaster, expects the rupee to reach 44.40 by December 31 while second-ranked Nordea Bank AB forecasts 45.00.
"The rupee is under pressure," Dariusz Kowalczyk, a Hong Kong-based senior strategist at Credit Agricole SA, said in an interview. "It is actually one of the currencies we think will underperform the rest of Asia."
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The rupee's advance is slowing after consumer prices surged 9.44 per cent in June from a year earlier, the highest inflation rate after Argentina's 9.7 per cent among the G20. The yield on India's ten-year bond is 119 basis points, or 1.19 percentage point, less than inflation, while similar rates exceed the pace of price gains by 581 basis points in Brazil and 41 in Germany.
The rupee is up 0.6 per cent this year, compared with an 8.8 per cent advance in the Russian ruble, 6.1 per cent rise in the Brazilian real and 2.2 per cent increase in the Chinese yuan.