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India's rupee at near 6-month-high on reform boost

06 october 2012, 11:12
Indian currency notes. ©REUTERS
Indian currency notes. ©REUTERS
The Indian rupee on Friday soared to its highest level against the dollar in almost six months after the embattled government pushed ahead with more measures to attract foreign investment, AFP reports.

The unit was trading at 51.56 to the dollar, after peaking at 51.36 in early trade -- its strongest since April 18 -- on optimism about foreign fund inflows to the country's capital markets.

Indian shares were down 1.44 percent at 18,783.81, off a day's high of 19,137.29, as investors started taking profit in index heavyweights, with prices at 15-month highs.

The government on Thursday pushed ahead with its make-or-break reform agenda, approving contentious new measures to open up the insurance and pensions sectors to foreign investors.

Both proposals require parliamentary approval.

Last month, the cabinet kicked off the reforms rush in a blitz of measures ending years of policy deadlock, changing the law to allow foreign supermarkets into the retail sector and opening up the broadcasting and aviation industries as well as hiking heavily subsidised diesel prices.

India's growth right now is bumping along at 5.5 percent -- its slowest pace in around three years -- and ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned in June that it could lose its investment-grade rating.

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