Mumbai(PTI): Reversing its two-session rise, the rupee today took a steep plunge of 22 paise to end at a fresh one-month low of 65.16 against the US dollar due to frantic demand for the American unit from importers and corporates.
This is the lowest closing for the home currency since October 10.
Imminent higher interest rate environment arising out of the US Federal Reserve’s hawkish tone along with rapidly surging crude oil prices worldwide largely kept forex market undertone more nervous.
Besides, the overall sentiment turned little uneasy on concern over a lack of progress on tax reform in the US.
Heavy capital outflows and some caution adopted by currency traders ahead of the key domestic macro data releases including IIP and inflation also weighed on trade.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 713.75 crore yesterday.
On the other hand, domestic bourses managed to end with modest gains despite spell of fluctuations in response to the GST Council’s decision to reduce tax rate on a host of daily-use items.
The global benchmark Brent crude is trading firmly higher at 64.95, up by 0.19 per cent in early Asian trade.
At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (FOREX), the rupee resumed weak at 65.06 against Thursday’s close of 64.94 on sustained dollar demand.
Continuing the downward trend, the local unit hit an intra-day low of 65.19 in late afternoon deals before ending at 65.16, revealing a steep loss of 22 paise, or 0.34 per cent.
For the week, the domestic unit lost a whopping 61 paise against the US dollar.
The RBI, meanwhile, fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 65.0147 and for the euro at 75.7356.
On the global front, the greenback edged higher against its major trading partners as an overnight spike in US Treasury bond yields prompted some investors to take positions after some recent heavy selling.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against a basket of six major currencies, was down at 94.37 in early trade.
In cross-currency trades, the rupee fell back sharply against the pound sterling to end at 85.67 from 85.14 per pound and drifted further against the Japanese yen to settle at 57.43 per 100 yens from 57.31 earlier.
The local unit also remained subdued against the euro to finish at 75.83 from 75.53 yesterday.
Elsewhere, pound sterling bounced back after a brief overnight slide, buoyed by better-than-expected manufacturing output rose above expectations, while euro traded little changed.
In forward market today, premium for dollar recovered owing to mild pressure from corporates.
The benchmark six-month premium payable in April inched up to 132.50-134.50 paise from 132-134 paise and the far forward October 2018 contract also moved up marginally to 273-275 paise from 272-284 yesterday.
On the international energy front, global crude prices were narrowly higher, supported by continuing supply cuts and expectations that an output deal will be extended at the end of the month.
Brent crude was at USD 64.22 a barrel, up 27 cents from the previous close and 43 cents off a more than two-year high of USD 64.65 reached this week.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at USD 57.26, up 9 cents and also not far from this week’s peak of USD 57.92, its highest in more than two years.