Mumbai: Rising for the second day, the rupee on Thursday appreciated by 16 paise to close at one-week high of 54.56 against the US dollar on hopes of robust capital inflows in view of a series of PSU share sales starting with RCF tomorrow.
Continued dollar selling by exporters and some banks as also weak dollar overseas ahead of European Central Bank's monthly policy meet late today boosted the rupee, foreign exchange dealers said.
At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the domestic unit commenced lower at 54.87 a dollar from previous close of 54.72 and immediately touched a low of 54.91 on early hesistency in local stocks.
However, rupee later turned positive on late rally in local stock markets on the back of firm European opening and dollar selling by exporters and some banks to a high of 54.50 before settling at 54.56, a rise of 16 paise or 0.29 percent.
Yesterday, it had risen by 20 paise or 0.36 percent.
"The rupee was seen appreciating today against the US dollar. The gains were supported by the slight recovery in the Euro. The positive closing in the Indian stock markets also lent support to the rupee. Hopes of dollar inflows in the disinvestment of RCF scheduled tomorrow too supported the rupee," said Abhishek Goenka, Founder and CEO, India Forex Advisors.
The government's 12.15 percent stake sale in Nalco is likely next week and 10.82 percent disinvestment in SAIL may take place on March 20. The public offer to sell 12.5 percent stake in Rashtriya Chemical and Fertilisers (RCF) is scheduled to be launched tomorrow. Besides, stake sale in trading giant MMTC is expected to happen on March 14.
The Indian benchmark S&P BSE Sensex, which was moving in and out of positive terrain by over 60 points, finished higher by 161 points or 0.84 percent on fag-end buying.
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) infused over USD 130 million in Indian stocks today, as per provisional data.
The dollar index was down by around 0.15 percent against a basket of six major global currencies.
"Technically, rates were seen taking support near 54.50 levels. Going forward, decisions by the central banks from UK and Europe due later in the day will be closely watched for further direction," Goenka added.
The premium for the forward dollar continued to rule weak on sustained receipts by exporters.
The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in August moved down further to 183-1/2-185 paise from overnight close of 185-187 paise.
Far-forward contracts maturing in February also ended down at 344-346 paise from 345-347 paise.
The RBI fixed the reference rate for the US dollar at 54.7393 and for euro at 71.1265.
The rupee shot up further against the pound sterling to 81.84 from Wednesday's close of 82.64 and also remained firm against the euro to 71.00 from 71.34.
It strengthened against the Japanese yen to 57.95 per 100 yen from previous close of 58.57.
First Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013, 18:20