Usual discussions on the fall in the rupee
bring up macro-economic matters such as slowing economic growth, corporate earnings and market volatility. However, the woes aren't restricted to corporate corridors or the Dalal Street. For the common man, the falling rupee is going to hit where it hurts the most-the pocket.
From essentials such as food and education to foreign vacation and the swanky gadget you plan to buy, the falling rupee will hurt you in more ways than one.GROCERY BILL
High inflation has been pinching you for more than a year now. Now, the weakening rupee
has made crude oil, fertilisers, medicines and iron ore, which India imports in large quantities, costlier. Though these items are not for your daily consumption, they impact your finances indirectly.
For instance, since India depends on imports for a large part of crude oil it consumes, a weak rupee will influence petrol and diesel prices. "Fuel being directly connected with the cost of transportation, prices of goods that are transported from one part of the country to another, such as food, are bound to rise. This will have a direct impact on the household budget," says Paresh Parekh, Tax Partner, Ernst & Young.
Crude palm oil prices set the pace for prices of other edible oils. It is imported in large quantities and any rise in its price will add to the inflationary pressure
Fund Manager, Fixed Income, Quantum Asset Management
FMCG, or fast moving consumer goods
, such as soaps, detergents, deodorants and shampoos, of which crude oil is an input, are likely to become more expensive.
"The impact of rupee depreciation on the FMCG sector will be due to higher cost of imported raw materials. The companies were already facing cost pressures. The rupee depreciation has added to their woes. They will have to revise prices. Hindustan Uniliver and Procter & Gamble have already taken steps in this direction. Many others will increase prices in the coming months," says Kaustubh Pawaskar, FMCG analyst, Sharekhan.
Pulses and oil, which account for a large part of India's imports, will also be affected. "Crude palm oil prices set the pace for prices of other edible oils. It is imported in large quantities and any rise in its price will add to the inflationary pressure," says Arvind Chari, fund manager, fixed income, Quantum Asset Management.
"The depreciation of the rupee has considerably affected the price of the edible oil complex in a big way, as we import 60-70% of our requirement. For instance, in November-December 2011, the price of refined soya oil shot up by Rs 75 per 10 kg from Rs 651 to Rs 724," says Hanish Kumar Sinha, head, trade and commodity intelligence group, NCMSL. Sinha expects that refined soy oil will test the Rs 800 per 10 kg level by April.
For Abin Biswas (21), a B.Tech in biotechnology, an opportunity to work as a trainee intern in a Harvard-MIT joint venture project was a dream come true and a proud moment for his parents. The cost was high but Dr Anup Biswas, Abin's father, decided to bear the expenses.
"The institute is providing him just a daily travel allowance. So, nearly all expenses have to be borne by us. Though the amount was huge for us, we agreed to send him as the platform he was getting was big as well," says Rinijhini Biswas, Abin's mother.
With the rupee weakening, the burden has increased. The rent ($378) of a room he shares with friends was Rs 17,000 (at Rs 45/$) in mid-August 2011 when he went. Now, it is Rs 19,500 (Rs 51.52/$). A meal ($6) which cost him Rs 270 then now costs Rs 300. This means an additional food expense of Rs 1,800 per month.
"Abin's monthly budget, roughly $1,000, has risen from Rs 45,000 to Rs 53,000, the last instalment we paid. It will be difficult for us to bear his expenses if the trend continues," says Rinijhini Biswas.
Students who have taken loans to fund their foreign degree are also bearing the brunt. Education loans are usually in rupees, but as students pay their expenses in a foreign currency, the cost of education and stay has increased. For $100,000, a student had to pay Rs 45 lakh. Now, he has to shell out Rs 52-54 lakh, depending upon the exchange rate.
"The cost is in a foreign currency while the borrowing is in rupees. So, the students may fall short of funds as the loan would have been taken according to the initial requirements. In such a scenario, either the student's personal contribution will have to increase or he will have to ask the bank to increase the loan amount," says Ashutosh Khajuria, president, treasury, Federal Bank.JOBS AND REMUNERATION
Not only is the rupee falling, for some, the pay cheque may shrink as well. Every industry which is dependent on imports will have to face an increase in cost of production and operations.
"In order to nullify the increase, these companies will have to rationalise costs within their control. One of this will be human resources. So, either lesser number of people will be hired or the salary bill will be kept constant or reduced," says Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and senior vice president, TeamLease Services.
However, it is a good time for industries which earn in dollars. "The information technology sector stands to gain, but global recessionary conditions may set off the impact," says Chakraborty.VACATIONS
The falling rupee is bad news for itinerant Indians and vacationers to a foreign country. "Air fares are going up due to an increase in fuel surcharge. The stay will be costlier by at least 3-5%. Also, shopping can become expensive by 5%. Eating out will also be costlier by the same percentage," says Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox & Kings India.
Air fares are going up. Your foreign stay will be costlier by at least 3-5 per cent while shopping can become expensive by 5 per cent. Eating out will also be costlier by the same percentage.
Head, Relationships, Cox & Kings India
However, that holiday package you booked in advance before the rupee fell is safe. The impact of rupee depreciation will not become evident immediately as most people usually make travel plans well in advance.
"The real impact will be felt by summer of 2012. We have received requests for cancellations, but these are within the normal range. There are certainly some changes in travel patterns'holidays are being cut short, short-haul destinations are being preferred and people are opting for non-dollar destinations such as Sri Lanka, Dubai, Bali and Phuket or sticking to domestic destinations such as Kashmir, Kerala and Goa," says Anand Kandadai, senior vice president, holidays, Makemytrip.com.
The travel cover, mandatory in some cases, may cost more as well. "At present, travel policies' benefits are denominated in US dollars. The depreciation of the rupee will not impact customers but will cost re-insurers more. But if this trend continues there is a strong case for upward revision of premiums," says Gaurav Garg, MD and CEO, Tata AIG General Insurance.BUYING A CAR
The depreciation of rupee has impacted the automobile sector in three ways. First, input costs have risen as these companies use imported components. Second, some companies will have to pay higher royalty to foreign parent firms. Third, many have foreign currency loans in the form of external commercial borrowings and foreign currency convertible bonds.
Therefore, more or less all auto companies will have to increase prices. "We expect at least a further 2% increase in prices. Maruti has already revised prices twice in last two months. Others like Hyundai, Honda and Ford that have large import content in their cars will have to soon increase prices to protect margins," says Deepak Jain, assistant VP and research analyst, Sharekhan Institutional Research.ENTERTAINMENT
The imported paperback, your favourite pizza and the latest laptop will also become more expensive. "There is an increase in the cost of imported books as well as the cost of sourcing them.
In most cases we are trying to absorb the increased cost, but there may be scenarios where the end-user will get impacted," says Ankit Nagori, VP, categories, Flipkart.com.
Electronic consumer goods such as computers, televisions, mobile phones, etc, with imported components will also become costlier. International food chains which run outlets in India are not denying the impact on profitability.
"The depreciating rupee has had a significant impact on our capital expenditure as we import a lot of special kitchen equipment. There has been an indirect impact too as a small part of inputs are imported by our suppliers. If the trend continues, we will be forced to pass on some burden to customers," says Vikram Bakshi, managing director and JV Partner, McDonald's India (North & East).