The rupee on Monday lost 19 paise to close at 45.98/99 against the U.S. currency due to fresh dollar buying by importers and some banks amid weak equity markets.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the domestic unit opened lower at 45.96/97 a dollar from the last weekend’s close of 45.79/80.

It concluded the day at 45.98/99, displaying a fall of 0.41 per cent. Last Friday, it had gained 29 paise.

Dealers said fresh dollar demand from importers and some banks in view of firmness in the greenback in overseas markets affected the rupee sentiment. The dollar rose as investors turned to the U.S. currency for its perceived safe-haven appeal, they added.

India Forex Advisors CEO Abhishek Goenka said, “Friday’s dismal Non Farm Payments (NFP) data enhanced the demand for safe haven assets like the US dollar. Also, the local unit was tracking the weakness in euro and local stock markets.”

“All Asian currencies were trading weak against the Greenback,” he added.

The dollar index, consisting of six major rivals, was up by 0.13 per cent. The New York crude oil was trading below USD 85 a barrel in European market today.

Meanwhile, the Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex fell by over 108 points on sluggish global cues following murky US jobs data released last Friday.

FIIs infused USD 509.87 million last week, as per SEBI data.

The rupee premium for the forward dollar turned negative on fresh receivings by exporters.

The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in February settled weak at 64-66 paise from last weekend’s close of 70-73 paise and far-forward contracts maturing in August also ended lower at 123-126 from 132-1/2-135-1/2 paise previously.

The RBI fixed the reference rate for the dollar at Rs. 45.9375 and the euro at Rs. 64.9718.

The rupee remained firm against the pound sterling to end at Rs. 74.16/18 from last Friday’s close of Rs. 74.22/24 and also strengthened to Rs. 64.90/92 per euro from Rs. 65.27/29 previously. It, however, fell back against the Japanese yen to Rs. 59.80/82 per 100 yen from last close of Rs. 59.63/65.

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