The rupee on Thursday weakened by 16 paise to close at a five-and-a-half month low against the U.S. currency due to sustained dollar demand from importers and weak stocks.

Extending losses for the eighth session in a row, the rupee ended lower by 16 paise at 45.41/42, a level not seen since February 24, 2011, when it had finished at 45.48/49.

In eight days, the rupee lost 134 paise, or 3.04 per cent.

Importers, mainly oil refiners, bought dollar in view of falling oil prices in overseas market, dealers said.

New York crude oil was trading at $82 a barrel on Thursday.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the rupee opened lower at 45.30/31 a dollar from yesterday’s close of 45.25/26 and immediately it touched a low of 45.50 due to weakness in stocks.

However, it recovered to a high of 45.20 in afternoon trade in line with smart rebound in equities when the Sensex was trading in positive zone.

Later, it fell back to settle at 45.41/42 a dollar, as the Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex again tumbled 71 points to close 0.42 per cent down.

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