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Forex manipulators under watchdog Sebi-RBI’s lens

As rupee continues to trade near 60 level against the US dollar, certain brokers and traders have come under regulatory scanner for possible manipulation in the forex spot and derivative markets. Sebi is looking into possible manipulations in currency derivatives, which are forward value contracts for pairs of two currencies including rupee and dollar, sources said.

The regulator also suspects that brokers and traders might be indulging in unathorised trading of foreign exchange in the spot forex market, sources said, while adding that these issues are being flagged to the Reserve Bank. While it is the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that mainly regulates the forex market, currency derivatives come under Sebi's jurisdictions and they are traded on the stock exchanges.

However, the suspected manipulations are mostly taking place outside the stock exchange platform and the brokers are luring gullible investors to place bets on currency pairs on promises that rupee is going to touch even lower levels. With an aim to help in government efforts to stem falling rupee, Sebi last week tightened the exposure norms for currency derivatives to check large scale speculative activity in the market.
The decision was taken after consultations with banking regulator RBI, which has also tightened its norms for banks' exposure to the forex derivatives. Currency derivative trading allows traders to take forward views on various currency pairs, including rupee-dollar.

In recent times, there have been apprehensions that large-scale speculations on currency pairs is adding to the downward pressure on the rupee, which recently fell to a new low below Rs 61 level against the US dollar.

However, it has recovered some of the lost ground since then and now trades slightly above Rs 60 level, after regulators unleashed a slew of steps to curb speculative trades.
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