Falling for the second straight day, rupee on Wednesday weakened by eight paise to close at Rs. 54.69 against the U.S. dollar amid interest rate cut hopes dashed by RBI Governor D. Subbarao’s view that inflation is “still high”.

Weakness in local stocks and sustained demand of the U.S. currency from importers pulled the rupee down while capital inflows worth Rs. 1,029.50 crore from FIIs in stock markets helped cap the currency’s losses to an extent, said dealers.

At Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the rupee resumed lower at Rs. 54.77 a dollar from Tuesday’s close of Rs. 54.61.

A sluggish dollar overseas was seen supporting attempts by the rupee to script a recovery. However, the domestic currency later moved erratically in a range of Rs. 54.68 and Rs. 54.88 amid hopes of interest rate cut dimming after RBI Governor’s comments, treasury officials said.

The rupee finally settled at Rs. 54.69, a fall of eight paise or 0.15 per cent. On Tuesday, it had declined by 12 paise.

Pramit Brahmbhatt, CEO, Alpari Financial Services (India) said: “Rupee extended its weakness on weak global cues and fall in domestic equity markets. Bonds continue to trade lower on the RBI Governor’s comment about inflation remaining high…

“If the same stance is adopted by RBI in its upcoming policy meet, then rupee shall fall to the 55.60 levels in no time,” he added.

The Indian stock market benchmark Sensex on Wednesday tumbled by 169.19 points, or 0.85 per cent after RBI Governor D Subbarao on Tuesday evening said inflation is “still high”.

WPI inflation in December had fallen to a three-year low, fanning hopes of a rate cut soon.

The dollar index, a gauge of six major global rivals, was down by 0.18 per cent while New York crude oil was trading near $ 93.50 a barrel in Europe on Wednesday.

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