14 May, 2021

Slide Down An Oil Slick

A falling rupee and unstable oil prices may threaten recent robust growth, hitting trade in particular

Illustration by Sajith Kumar
Slide Down An Oil Slick

An unsteady rupee together with continuing volatility in crude oil prices in the wake of US sanctions against Iran and Russia have become a major cause of worry for India. The downward slide of the rupee over the last several weeks was triggered by the US Treasury Dep­artment’s move on April 16 when it put India—for the first time—on a list of countries being monitored for possible currency manipulation. In addition, US President Donald Trump’s protectionist moves have not helped India. The country is yet to work out how to minimise the impact on consumers as crude oil prices hover over $75 per barrel and the rupee sliding to more than 67 rup­ees to the dollar. For India, which dep­ends on imports for over 75 per cent of its crude oil dem­and, a weak rupee is a big drawback as it threatens to undo the last quarter’s ­robust economic growth. A major concern for policymakers is, will global oil prices scale over $80 per barrel in the near future, as witnessed recently ­before the slide to $75 levels?


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