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BLBG: India Rupee Falls to Five-Year Low as Capital Outflows Escalate
By Anil Varma

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- India's rupee slumped to the lowest since 2003 as Asian stocks slid, adding to speculation investors will take money out of the region.

The currency is set for its eighth weekly loss, the longest drop since December 2005, on signs the U.S. economy is headed for a recession that may damp global growth. The rupee also fell after India's central bank said the current-account deficit widened to a record in the three months to June 30.

``There's very strong pressure on the rupee,'' said Arun Kaul, New Delhi-based treasurer at Punjab National Bank, India's third-biggest by assets. ``Capital inflows into India's economy have slowed amid the global financial crisis. Also, the current- account deficit is widening.''

The rupee fell as much as 1.4 percent to 47.295 per dollar, the lowest since May 2003, before trading at 47.005 as of 9:59 a.m. in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency has lost 0.9 percent this week.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 1.7 percent, set to slump 7.3 percent this week to the lowest level since August 2005. The gauge is headed for its biggest weekly decline since the five days to Aug. 17, 2007. India's Sensitive Index, or Sensex, fell 1 percent.

Overseas investors have sold Indian equities worth a record $9.2 billion more than they bought this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

India's current account shortfall, the amount by which imports exceed exports remittances and other income from abroad, increased to $10.72 billion from a $1.04 billion gap in the previous quarter, the Reserve Bank of India said Sept. 30.

To contact the reporters on this story: Anil Varma in Mumbai at avarma3@bloomberg.net.