Interview: Forex Forecasting With Vikram Murarka by Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan
Beyond The Horizon
Vikram Murarka has been forecasting, trading, and hedging currencies since
1991. Beginning his career as a currency trader at Essar Group, he managed a
forex exposure of $1.2 billion. In 1996 he founded Kshitij Consultancy Services,
a leading forex risk management advisory firm in India. He regularly writes on
forex risk management issues, including a series titled “Color Of Money.” He
has contributed articles to this magazine as well as to industry journals such
as the Euromoney Foreign Exchange Handbook (UK), Global Treasury News
(UK), The Outlook Magazine (India) and in financial newspapers such as the
Hindu Business Line in India. Since 2010, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has
been including his currency forecasts in its quarterly Professional Forecasters’
Survey, which sometimes serves as an input for policymaking.
Stocks & Commodities Editor Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan interviewed Murarka
via Skype and email in mid-July 2013.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
How did you get interested in
the financial markets and specifically
the forex market?
My getting into the forex market was
an accident I would say, a bit like Obelix
falling into the cauldron of magic potion.
I was in my first job, in the finance department
of a large conglomerate — Essar
Steel — in Mumbai. Initially, I was given
odd jobs like depositing checks into the
bank and filing papers.
Slowly, I found myself helping a
coworker who used to do the hedge
transactions (forward contracts) for the
company, negotiating the rates with the
banks. The company had a very large
forex loan book, some $1.2 billion in
1991, and the hedges were to mitigate
the forex risk on these loans.
I remember she didn't use to file any papers
or keep any records. The bosses were
not very happy about that, of course. I took
it on myself to build a filing system and
keep proper track of the forward contracts
we entered into – in those days, it was all
calculators and large paper registers. At
one point, I was asked to stand in for her
when she took a marriage leave. But when
she returned after a couple of months, I
was not asked to discontinue. Rather, they
reassigned her to another post. Incidentally, she resigned shortly thereafter.
The moral of the story: If you want
to get into forex, file papers.
Going further into history, maybe
it was destiny. I do remember being
intrigued by currency rates even
as a nine-year-old kid and later in
college where I studied economics.
I remember asking my professor
what determined the currency rates
between different countries. She
was flummoxed. I don’t blame her. I am
sometimes still flummoxed today!