RBI Reserve Bank of India
RBI Reserve Bank of IndiaReuters file

India's foreign exchange reserves declined for the second consecutive week, after scaling historic highs in the previous weeks. The country's reserves fell $968 million and stood at $361 billion in the week ended May 13, according to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data released on Friday.

The fall was largely due to the $950-million drop in foreign currency assets (FCAs) that form the largest component of India's foreign reserves. FCAs stood at $337 billion, according to the weekly data. Gold reserves remained unchanged at $20 billion.

India also holds foreign exchange reserves in the form of special drawing rights and reserve position in the International Monetary Fund.

In the previous reporting week ended May 6, the reserves fell $1.13 billion to $361.99 billion from the all-time high of $363.12 billion of April 29. 

During the week under review, the Indian rupee depreciated from 66.44 to 66.76 against the US dollar on account of increasing demand for the greenback and equity markets remaining weak at the end of the week.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were net sellers of Indian equities worth Rs. 324 crore on May 11 and were net buyers for the rest of the trading week, according data available with the stock exchanges. 

Rising crude oil prices in the global markets as reflected in Indian prices also was a reason for higher demand for the US dollar. The international crude oil price of Indian basket was $45.17 per barrel on May 13, up from $42.68 on May 9, according to data provided by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), a body under the Indian petroleum and natural gas ministry.