Mumbai: The rupee plunged by 25 paise to settle at over two month low of 66.57 against the US dollar today on month-end demand for the American currency from importers and banks on the back of higher greenback in overseas markets. Besides, foreign capital outflows affected the rupee sentiment, forex dealers said.
The domestic unit opened lower at 66.35 as against Tuesday’s closing level of 66.32 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market and dropped further to 66.67 before ending at 2-1/2 month low of 66.57, showing a loss of 25 paise or 0.38 per cent.
The local currency had last ended at 66.82 on September 7, 2015. The rupee hovered in a range of 66.34 and 66.67 during the day. The dollar index was up by 0.11 per cent against a basket of six major currencies in late afternoon trade.
Globally, the US dollar firmed up against the basket currencies in early Asian trade, while the euro remained shaky, having slid to its lowest in over seven months on the prospect of further policy stimulus from the European Central Bank (ECB). However, the dollar stabilised in Asia in late trade after several relatively upbeat US economic indicators pushed the currency higher overnight.
Several US economic indicators released on Wednesday, which were mostly positive, underscored expectations that the Federal Reserve will start raising rates in December and lifted the American currency against the euro and the yen. Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex rose by 182.89 points, or 0.71 per cent, to close at 25,958.63.
In forward market today, premium for dollar eased on good receivings from exporters. The benchmark six-month premium payable in April moved down further to 177-179 paise from 179.5-181.5 paise on last Tuesday and far forward October 2016 contract also eased to 387-389 paise from 388.5-390.5 paise. The RBI fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 66.5507 and for the euro at 70.6968.
The rupee moved down against the pound sterling to end at 100.41 from 100.26 on Tuesday. It also fell against the euro to settle at 70.64 from 70.60 in the previous session.
The domestic unit declined further against the Japanese currency to close at 54.30 per 100 yen from 54.11 in the earlier session. Meanwhile, oil prices held above USD 43 a barrel in Asia today after US commercial crude supplies rose at a slower pace while jitters over the shooting down by Turkey of a Russian warplane lingered.