Rupee breaks 3-day rally, down 3 paise at 63.87 a dollar

Snapping its three-session winning run, the rupee today ended lower by 3 paise at 63.87 against the US currency following fresh bouts of dollar demand from importers amid the US political jitters.

Trading was extremely volatile as the currency market witnessed wide swings against the backdrop of US government shutdown.

The US government shutdown went into effect at midnight on Friday after Senate negotiators failed to reach an agreement on a last minute deal to keep the government funded amid a dispute over immigration and border security.

The domestic currency oscillated between a high of 63.71 and a low of 64 a dollar.

However, the record-breaking rally in local equities along with robust capital inflows somewhat cushioned the impact of the fall.

In the meantime, country’s foreign exchange reserves rose for a fifth consecutive week to yet another record high of USD 413.825 billion in the week to January 12, the RBI said.

Foreign funds and overseas investors continued their portfolio-buying spree and infused a whopping Rs 8,700 crore in the Indian capital markets this month so far on expectation of recovery in corporate earnings and attractive yields.

According to the depositories data, FPIs infused in a net amount of Rs 5,769 crore in equities and Rs 2,940 crore in the debt markets.

In the international commodity front, crude prices rebounded after a brief fall, largely helped by a drop in US drilling activity and also impacted by fighting in Syria between Turkish forces and Kurdish fighters.

Brent crude futures were trading higher at USD 68.79 a barrel in early Asian trading.

Meanwhile, domestic markets continued their relentless upward march for the fourth session on frantic buying activity in key front-line stocks induced by acceleration in corporate earnings growth and growing optimism ahead of the Budget 2018.

In contrast, most Asian stock markets were mixed and rather muted overshadowed by US political turmoil.

The flagship BSE-Sensex shot up over 286 points to end at 35,798.01, while Nifty soared 72 points at 10,966.20.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market, the rupee opened lower at 63.88 as compared to weekend close of 63.84 due to fresh demand for the American currency from importers and banks.

It later drifted sharply to hit day’s low of 64.00, breaching the key support level on heavy dollar pressure.

The local currency, however, made a strong comeback in in later afternoon deals to touch a high of 63.71 before pulling back to settle at 63.87, showing a loss of 3 paise, or 0.05 per cent.

The rupee had strengthened by a healthy 20 paise in three-day rally after recovering from a two-week low.

The RBI meanwhile fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 63.8895 and for the euro at 78.1241.

On the global front, the greenback remained broadly lower against other major currencies, though rising Treasury yields seem to be assuring the US currency’s appeal.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against a basket of six major currencies, was down at 90.32 in early trade.

In cross-currency trades, the rupee retreated against the pound sterling to conclude at 88.79 per pound from 88.54 and remained weak against the Japanese yen to finish at 57.70 per 100 yens from 57.68 last Friday.

The home unit, however recovered marginally against the euro to close at 78.25 from 78.27 earlier.

Elsewhere, the Euro rebounded to trade slightly higher against the US dollar supported also by news of German Social Democrats (SPD) voting in favour of coalition talks with Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU.

The common currency booked a fifth straight week of gains in advance of Thursday’s ECB meeting.

At the same time, the British pound traded in a tight range ahead of the latest UK jobs and data and the first look at Q4 GDP this week.

In forward market today, premium for dollar decline due to mild receiving from exporters.

The benchmark six-month premium payable in June eased to 122-124 paise from 123-125 paise and the far forward December 2018 contract also moved down to 259-261 paise from 261-263 paise previously.

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