Rupee extends fall; down 5 paise to 64.13 against dollar

Extending its downtrend for the third straight day, the rupee today ended lower by 5 paise at 64.13 against the US dollar due to sustained demand for the American currency from importers and corporates.

This was the lowest closing level for the domestic unit in more than a week.

In line with weak equity markets, the rupee fell sharply to hit a fresh two-week low of 64.28 in late morning deals before staging a smart rebound toward fag-end trade.

Tumbling local equities in the face of heavy unwinding by foreign investors and funds along with mounting geopolitical tensions between the US and North Korea largely weighed on the rupee sentiment.

Foreign investors, who have been a major contributor to the market rally, have sold shares worth Rs 1,171 crore yesterday.

In the meantime, domestic bourses crumbled to hit their fresh one-month lows following broad-based sell-offs.

Struggling to register any meaningful recovery, the rupee opened sharply lower at 64.20 against Thursday’s close of 64.08 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market.

Later, it drifted to hit a fresh two-week low of 64.28 following strong dollar demand, also impacted by generally bearish sentiment.

However, the local unit managed to pare early losses towards the fag-end trade to end at 64.13, showing a modest fall of 5 paise, or 0.08 per cent.

It touched a high of 64.11 during the day.

For the week, the rupee finished with a steep 55 paise fall, snapping its four-week rally.

The dollar was moderately higher against other major currencies on Friday as investors awaited the release of US inflation data later in the day.

The RBI, meanwhile, fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 64.1693 and for the euro at 75.4567.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against a basket of six major currencies, was sharply down 92.96.

In cross-currency trades, the rupee rebounded against the pound sterling to finish at 83.25 from 83.30 per pound, but remained weak against the Japanese yen to settle at 58.78 per 100 yens from 58.36 yesterday.

It also dropped further against the euro to conclude at 75.48 from 75.04 earlier.

In worldwide trade, the dollar tumbled to an eight- week low against the yen on Friday as escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea triggered yet more investor flight to safety with gold and silver holding near fresh multi-week highs.

In forward market today, premium for dollar declined further on the back of sustained receivings from exporters.

The benchmark six-month premium payable in January slipped to 129-131 paise from 133-135 paise and the far forward July 2018 contract also moved down to 263.50-265.50 paise from 268-270 paise.

On the international commodity front, crude prices retreated from its two-and-a-half month high largely impacted by growing worries about oversupply despite a bigger-than- expected draw-down in US crude inventories.

Investors were also keeping a close eye on the broad market impact of tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 30 cents at USD 51.60 per barrel in early Asian trade. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 31 cents at USD 48.28 a barrel.

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