Mumbai: The rupee on Monday slipped from the six-week high level to close at 64.68 a dollar, down 13 paise on fresh demand for the American currency from banks and importers.
Surging oil prices worldwide and a sudden spike in capital outflows also triggered volatility in the domestic currency market. Foreign investors pulled out around Rs 9,690.84 crore from equity markets on Friday.
Country’s foreign exchange reserves also fell for the second straight week to USD 398.761 billion, as per RBI data.
Crude zoomed to trade above the USD 62 a barrel on signs that global inventories are shrinking. The prices also got support from expectations that the OPEC and allied producers will extend their glut-reduction accord beyond its March expiry.
In the meantime, it was a mixed finish for the local stock market Monday with the benchmark Sensex closing at a record high, while the Nifty ended soft after climbing past yet another new milestone level in intra-day action.
The rupee opened weak at 64.66 against last Friday’s close of 64.55 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (FOREX) market as the home currency lacked catalyst to extend its weekend rally.
The domestic currency hit a low of 64.74 in afternoon deals as banks stepped up dollar purchases for their importer clients.
It finally settled at 64.68, revealing a fall of 13 paise, 0.20 per cent.
The RBI, meanwhile, fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 64.7267 and for the euro at 75.1801.
On the global front, the greenback held steady against other major currencies, as investors were still digesting the flurry of US economic reports and awaited additional information on a US tax reform plan.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against a basket of six major currencies, was up at 94.92 in early trade.
In cross-currency trades, the rupee retreated against the pound sterling to finish at 84.76 from 84.37 per pound and also drifted back against the Japanese yen to settle at 56.71 per 100 yens from 56.56 earlier.
The rupee, however, hardened against the euro to close at 74.99 from 75.14 previously.
Elsewhere, the euro is trading little changed against the greenback after services activity indices in the Eurozone eased in October, but still indicating solid rate of economic expansion.
Pound Sterling, however, edged higher, recovering some of the ground it lost late last week on Bank of England interest rates guidance.
In forward market Monday, premium for dollar remained weak owing to sustained receiving from exporters.
The benchmark six-month premium payable in April moved down to 136.50-138.50 paise from 137-139 paise and the far forward October 2018 contract also eased to 275.50-277.50 paise from 276-278 paise.
On the international energy front, global crude prices hit their highest levels since July 2015 early on Monday amid speculations that OPEC aims at lifting oil prices to USD 70 per barrel.
Strong US macroeconomic data and hopes that a tax reform would further stimulate growth have depicted an optimistic demand growth outlook, boding well for the demand/supply rebalancing.
Brent futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, hit USD 62.44 per barrel in early Asian trade.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude hit USD 56.00 per barrel in early trading and was at USD 55.83, up 19 cents, or 0.3 per cent from the last settlement.