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India: Should they rename it the Droopee?

India's currency hit a new all-time low against the dollar Wednesday, continuing a 12-month-long plunge
India droopee renameEnlarge
Should they rename it the Droopee? India's currency hit a new all-time low on Wednesday, dropping to 54.52 rupees against the U.S. dollar. Despite the rupee's plunge of more than 20 percent over the past 12 months, analysts said India's currency won't go into freefall, as the central bank is committed to propping it up. But finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's halfhearted pledge to institute some austerity measures on Wednesday failed to spur much enthusiasm. (AFP/Getty Images)

Should they rename it the Droopee?

The Indian rupee hit a new all-time low against the US dollar on Wednesday, breaching 54.52 against the sawbuck. And though analysts say it's not headed for "freefall" -- despite plummeting more than 20 percent over the past 12 months -- nobody was very excited by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's halfhearted claims that some austerity measures are on the horizon. Result: the central bank looks more or less helpless to arrest the plunge.

As FirstPost.com reports, “The government has been only talking about fiscal consolidation but there are no steps at all, nothing being done to reduce the fiscal deficit,” said Rupa Rege Nitsure, chief economist at Bank of Baroda.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press quoted analysts as saying they expect the rupee to breach 55 to the dollar, while others suggested it could drop to 57 or 58 in the near future.

“It is very hard for the central bank to turn the currency around,” Robert Prior-Wandesforde, an economist for Credit Suisse in Singapore, told FirstPost. “Without doubt, the investors are looking for steps from the government in terms of structural reforms, be it in the form of news on goods and services tax or the direct tax code or some measures that might encourage infrastructure investments.”

Speaking of the Associated Press.... One excellent reason not to change to Droopee is all the effort India put in last year to develop a new symbol for the currency. It's not clear how much cash the government had to lay out, and if I'm not mistaken they relied on design submissions from ordinary citizens.

But whatever they paid I'm willing to bet they got more bang for their buck for the Hindi-esque R than the US-based news agency got for its new logo.

Rumor has it that AP plumped for a redesign because its old trademark looked bad on TV. There was a long research process. Consultants were brought in. Many man-hours (and presumably, many US dollars) later, the new logo was revealed with great fanfare: a black, sans serif AP with a red line beneath it that was dubiously compared to the Nike swoosh.

Mmmm hmmm. People: It's just a line.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/india/india-rename-rupee-droopee