The rupee snapped its two-day rise against the US dollar and ended lower by 13 paise at 66.81 on fresh bouts of dollar demand from banks and importers. Heavy capital outflows along with a smart rebound in dollar value in the midst of impending Fed rate hike largely kept rupee under pressure throughout the day.
The dollar recouped recent loses helped by bullish comments from one of the most influential officials on the Federal Reserve.
However, the overall mood remained fairly calm as investors looked ahead to the European Central Bank’s interest rate decision later in the day alongside eurozone’s monetary guidance.
At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the rupee resumed virtually steady at 66.68 per dollar largely helped by a relatively strong opening of the domestic equity market.
But weighed down firm greenback overseas, the home unit immediately started to weaken and kept descending. It touched a fresh intra-day low of 66.8350 in mid-afternoon deals before ending at 66.81, showing a loss of 13 paise or 0.19 per cent.
It had appreciated by a good 20 paise in two trading days.
In worldwide trade, the American dollar traded with solid strength against all major emerging currencies after the third and final US presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
The euro was trading near a three-month low against the dollar before an European Central Bank meeting.
The dollar index, which measures its broader strength against a basket of currencies, was up at 97.91.
The RBI on Thursday fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 66.7145 and euro at 73.2125.
In cross-currency trades, the rupee recovered mildly against the pound sterling to settle at 81.94 from 81.96 and also regained against the Japanese yen to end at 64.44 as compared to 64.50 per 100 yens on Wednesday.
On the other hand, it fell back against the euro and finished at 73.38 from 73.19 earlier.
Meanwhile, domestic bourses staged a smart turnaround recouping the overnight losses following heavy buying in rate sensitive counters and also supported by Q2 corporate earnings reports.
The benchmark BSE Sensex jumped over 145 points to end at 28,129.84 and broader Nifty rose 40.30 pts to 8,699.40.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) once again turned sellers and sold shares worth a net Rs 282.77 crore yesterday.
In the forward market, premium for dollar remained sluggish on the back of sustained receiving by exporters.
The benchmark six-month premium for March dropped to to 151-153 paise from 157-159 paise and the forward-September 2017 contract also slumped to 325-327 paise from 332-334 paise
Crude prices were softer on Thursday after two-day steep rally on positive comments from Saudi Arabia’s energy minister that the global oil industry would soon exit its two-year funk and prices could rise sharply on a looming supply shortage.
Brent crude was down 0.2 per cent at USD 52.55 a barrel.