The Indian rupee fell for the first time in six days, dropping 21 paise to 61.25 against the US dollar today on demand from importers for the US currency and as local equities declined.
Increased capital inflows and a weaker dollar overseas limited the losses, a forex dealer said.
The government today said the trade deficit narrowed to USD 9.21 billion in November, the second-lowest level in the current financial year, even as export growth slowed to a five-month low.
At the interbank foreign exchange market, the Indian rupee opened bearish at 61.23 a dollar from yesterday close of 61.04 and dropped to the day's low of 61.42 as local stocks fell.
It rebounded in line with a recovery in shares and foreign fund inflows to settle at 61.25, still registering a fall of 21 paise or 0.34 per cent.
"Today's trade deficit data provided some support to the rupee but the gains were quite short-lived. Negative closing of the local stock markets was seen putting pressure on rupee," said Abhishek Goenka, CEO of India Forex Advisors.
The 30-share benchmark Sensex closed 84 points lower today, the second day of losses.
Foreign institutional investors infused USD 551.69 million on December 9, as per SEBI data. They picked up shares worth Rs 395.68 crore yesterday, according to provisional data with stock exchanges.
With a week to go for the next monetary policy review, the Reserve Bank today said it will focus on controlling inflation and on improving liquidity by rolling back measures taken to check the rupee's volatility.
The dollar index was trading nearly stable with downward bias ahead of next week's Federal Reserve policy decision.
Forward dollar premiums fell slightly on fresh receipts by exporters.
The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in May declined to 249-251 paise from 251-253 paise previously and far-forward contracts maturing in November softened to 489-491 paise from 489-1/2 to 491-1/2 paise.
The RBI fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 61.3313 and for the euro at 84.3780.
The rupee edged up to 100.39 against the pound from the last close of 100.41. It dropped to 84.32 per euro from 83.93 and dipped to 59.76 per 100 Japanese yen from 59.19.