The rupee gained 5 paise on Thursday to close at 44.43/44 against the U.S. currency following bullish local equities amid frenzied capital inflows despite a firm dollar overseas.

At the Interbank foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the domestic unit opened higher at 44.42/43 a dollar from the last close of 44.48/49. It later settled at 44.43/44.

Fresh dollar selling by exporters too helped the rupee to rebound from the day’s low.

Dealers said the Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex’s 351.33 point- or 1.88 per cent-rally to close above the 19k-mark after two months, mainly supported the rupee rise.

Sustained portfolio investments by foreign funds too aided the rupee sentiment, they added.

Abhishek Goenka India Forex Advisors CEO said, “It must be noted that even over the $2.2 billion foreign fund inflows in equities in the last two weeks have not enabled the rupee to break the crucial level of 44.30.”

The dollar index of six major currencies was up by over 0.2 per cent while New York crude oil was trading above $97 a barrel in European market on Thursday.

The U.S. dollar advanced against the euro on Wednesday as concerns about the debt of European’s peripheral countries increased following Moody’s downgrade of Portugal.

The rupee premium for the forward dollar remained weak on sustained receivings by exporters. The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in December closed down at 136-1/2-138-1/2 paise from 139-141 paise on .

Far-forward contracts maturing in June also settled lower at 240-1/2-242-1/2 paise from 244-246 paise previously.

The RBI has fixed the reference rate for the dollar at Rs. 44.4173 and the euro at Rs. 63.6291.

The rupee improved further against the pound sterling to end at Rs. 70.98/71.00 from Wednesday’s close of Rs. 71.16/18 and strengthened against the euro to Rs. 63.41/43 from Rs. 63.75/77 previously.

It, however, recovered modestly against the Japanese yen to Rs. 54.87/89 per 100 yen from last close of Rs. 54.89/91.

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