The Indian rupee fell by 8 paise to 44.53/54 against the US dollar today on sustained dollar demand from importers and banks.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange, the domestic unit opened slightly lower at 44.47/48 per dollar against yesterday’s close of 44.45/46 per dollar.

It later moved down further to 44.55 per dollar before ending at 44.53/54 per dollar.

The rupee moved in a range from 44.42 to 44.55 per dollar during the day.

Forex dealers said month-end dollar demand from importers, mainly oil refiners, coupled with a firming dollar in the New York market yesterday, led to the rupee’s decline against the American currency.

However, dollar selling by reserve managers in other parts of the world pushed the US currency down against the euro and other currencies.

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) benchmark Sensex today fell by 64.33 points, or 0.32 per cent, vis-a-vis its previous close.

Global crude oil was trading above USD 82 a barrel in London today.

Meanwhile, food inflation declined sharply to 13.75 per cent for the week ended October 16 from 15.53 per cent in the previous week.

The rupee premium for the forward dollar turned weak on fresh receivings by exporters. The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in March closed lower at 125-127 paise from 132-1/2-134-1/2 paise on Wednesday and the premium on far-forward contracts maturing in September also finished marginally down at 239-1/2-241-1/2 paise from 249-251 paise previously.

The Reserve Bank of India has fixed the reference rate for the dollar at Rs 44.49 and the euro at Rs 61.56.

In cross-currency trade, the domestic unit declined against the pound sterling, the euro and the Japanese yen.

The rupee fell to Rs 70.70/72 against the pound sterling from Wednesday’s close of Rs 70.32/34 and declined to Rs 61.66/68 against the euro from Rs 61.30/32 previously.

It also lost ground against the yen, falling to Rs 54.79/81 per 100 yen from the previous close of Rs 54.45/47.

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