The Indian rupee extended its losing streak against the US dollar for the fourth straight session today, shedding 13 paise to a two-month low of 45.70/71 per dollar amid weakness in domestic equity markets and sustained demand for the American currency from importers.
At the Interbank Foreign Exchange, the domestic currency opened slightly lower at 45.60/61 against the previous close of 45.57/58 and immediately touched a high of 45.55 in line with an early jump in share values.
However, late profit-booking in equities and good dollar demand from importers looking to meet their month-end commitments pulled down the rupee to a low of 45.8350 before it marginally recovered to close at 45.70/71.
The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex today settled down by 231.99 points, or 1.18 per cent. Outflows of capital are expected to continue in the coming days on the back of weakness in domestic equities, with foreign institutional investors (FIIs) pulling USD 306.13 million out of the Indian economy on November 23 alone, as per data from market regulator Sebi.
The US dollar gained against major currency rivals in the New York market yesterday after South and North Korean troops exchanged artillery fire, which prompted investors to pull out funds from Asian markets and plough them into safer investment avenues.
European markets were also down as concerns over the political and sovereign debt turmoil in Ireland refused to abate.The dollar index was up by nearly 0.1 per cent against a basket of major currencies in London today.
Meanwhile, global crude oil was trading above USD 81 a barrel in Europe today.
The rupee premium for the forward dollar ended lower on sustained receivings by exporters. The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in April finished lower at 104 -106-1/2 paise, as against 111-113 paise on Tuesday.
Furthermore, far-forward contracts maturing in October also closed weak at 191-193 paise, compared to 200-1/2-203 paise previously.
The Reserve Bank of India has fixed the reference rate for the dollar at Rs 45.66 and the euro at Rs 61.12.
In cross-currency trade, the domestic currency moved up further against the pound sterling and the euro, but continued to lose ground to the Japanese yen.
The rupee strengthened to Rs 72.22/24 against the pound sterling from Tuesday's close of Rs 72.57/59 and also hardened to Rs 61.06/08 per euro from Rs 61.79/81 previously.
It, however, dropped further against the yen to Rs 54.91/93 per 100 yen from the previous close of Rs 54.67/69.