The rupee on Thursday fell sharply by 36 paise against the U.S. currency due to heavy month-end dollar demand from importers following high crude oil prices and a hefty decline in equity markets. The rupee settled at 45.48/49, a steep fall of 0.80 per cent, or 36 paise over the previous close of 45.12/13.

Heavy month-end dollar demand from importers, mainly oil refiners, following rising global crude oil near two-year high pulled the rupee down, dealers said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for April delivery was trading near $101 in European market after worsening situation in Libya that could spread to other oil producing countries in North Africa. As a result, importers turned heavy buyers for dollar, putting pressure on the rupee.

At the interbank foreign exchange market, the rupee opened lower at 45.25/26 from the last close of 45.12/13 and immediately touched a high of 45.23. However, weak equities following global turmoil led the rupee to tumble to the day's low of 45.50 before concluding at 45.48/49.

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark indeed, Sensex, crashed by nearly 546 points or 3 per cent, completing three-sessions of losing string that influenced the rupee's fall.

The dollar fell to its lowest level against the euro in three weeks in New York on Wednesday while it was trading down by 0.1 per cent against six major currencies in London.

Dealers expected more capital outflows in the coming days after distinctly sluggish equities.

The Reserve Bank of India has fixed the reference rate for the dollar at Rs.45.37 and for the euro at Rs.62.39.

Keywords: currency value

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