In a volatile trade, the Indian rupee today ended almost flat at 68.46 against the US currency after touching a fresh 30-month low of 68.58 in intra-day trade.
After two straight days of losses, the rupee today started on a higher note at 68.39 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange in early trade and strengthened to 68.32 during the day on fresh bout of dollar selling by exporters and banks.
However, the home currency later turned highly volatile and surrendered all its early gains following renewed dollar demand from importers and some banks amid fresh capital outflows.
It fell back further in mid-afternoon trade to hit a fresh intra-day low of 68.58 before rebounding smartly to settle the day at 68.46, showing a gain of one paisa.
Suspected RBI intervention as well as dollar unwinding by speculative traders ahead of long weekend too largely supported the local currency, a forex dealer said.
The domestic currency market will remain shut tomorrow, February 19 on account of “Shiv-Jayanti”.
In worldwide trade, the US dollar softened against its major peers after the latest dovish Federal Reserve minutes indicated that the US central bank is concerned about global economic turmoil.
Moreover, policy makers affirmed that future monetary decision would be dependent on incoming data amid concerns over worsening China’s slowdown, which may potentially drag down the US economy, though labour market remained robust.
The dollar index, which tracks the world’s reserve currency against a basket of its peers, is marginally up 0.04 per cent at 96.82.
In the meantime, brent futures rallied to surpass USD 35 a barrel mark after Iran welcomed plans by Russia and Saudi Arabia to freeze output and also report showed a surprise drop in US inventories.
The flagship stock market index Sensex surged by over 267.35 points to end at 23,649.22, while 50-share Nifty rose 83.30 points to finish at 7,191.75. Meanwhile, the foreign portfolio investors remained net sellers and sold shares net worth Rs 560.00 crore yesterday.
In forward market, premium for dollar recovered owing to mild buying pressure from banks and importers.
The benchmark six-month premium July contract moved up to 196-198 paise from 195.5-197 previously and far forward January 2017 contract also inched up to 416.5-418.5 paise against 415-416.5 paise earlier.
The RBI fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 68.4940 and for the euro at 76.3297.
In cross-currency trades, the rupee retreated against the pound sterling to end at 98.34 from 97.95 yesterday and also fell back against the yen to settle at 60.13 compared to 60.00 per 100 yens previously.
However, the home unit strengthened further against the euro to finish at 76.08 from 76.34.