The Reserve Bank of India logo is pictured outside its head office in Mumbai
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) logo is pictured outside its head office in Mumbai, on 25 January 2011.REUTERS

Foreign exchange reserves of Asia's third-largest economy dropped $1.46 billion to $350.36 billion in the week ended Feb. 19, according to the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) weekly statistical supplement released Friday.

The fall was mainly due to the $1.43 billion decrease in foreign exchange assets to $328.58 billion, even as gold reserves remained unchanged at $17.69 billion.

The country's foreign exchange reserves rose $347.2 million in the preceding week to $351.83 billion on the back of a $1.58-billion spurt in foreign exchange assets.

Sensex, rupee gain

The domestic currency gained 10 paise on Friday to close at 68.62 to the US dollar, while the benchmark stock market index, the Sensex, rose 178 points to close at 23,154 points, helped by an optimistic projection of the growth rate of 7-7.75 percent for the financial year 2016-17 in the Economic Survey 2015-16.

Friday was the last trading day before the presentation of the Union Budget 2016-17 on Feb. 29, which is widely expected by analysts to give a push to rural consumption to spur growth.

Most analysts also expect the government to achieve the fiscal deficit target of 3.9 percent of the GDP, notwithstanding the projected shortfall of about Rs 40,000 crore in direct tax collection for the current fiscal.

Trading on Monday will be guided by announcements on speculations about capital gains tax, securities transaction tax, service tax and corporate tax, among others.