Mumbai: The rupee fell for the third day in a row to close at fresh 2-1/2-month low of 55.21 against the dollar Thursday, down by 9 paise following sustained dollar demand from importers.
However, firm stock markets and slightly weak dollar overseas amid continued foreign fund inflows capped the fall, a forex dealer said.
At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the domestic currency commenced higher at 55.08 a dollar against previous close of 55.12 and immediately touched a high of 55.01 on strong local stocks and weak dollar overseas.
Emergence of dollar demand from importers, mainly oil refiners, to meet their month-end requirements weighed on the rupee and it fell back to a low of 55.27 before concluding at 55.21, a fall of nine paise or 0.16 percent.
"The rupee reversed initial gains even after rising risk appetite in stock markets. The oil importers demand also checked the gains in the rupee," Pramit Brahmbhatt, CEO, Alpari Financial Services (India) said.
"The euro was trading slightly lower after the German and eurozone PMI figures continued to remain in contraction territory. The uncertainty prevailing in the eurozone puts pressure on the euro and subsequently on the rupee," India Forex Advisors Abhishek Goenka CEO said.
The BSE benchmark Sensex today ended higher by 56.96 points or 0.31 percent.
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) pumped in USD 47.56 million yesterday, as per SEBI data.
The dollar index, a gauge of six major global rivals, was down by 0.04 percent.
Goenka said that market participants were quite cautious ahead of the winter session which started Thursday.
The premium for the forward dollar softened following mild receipts by exporters.
The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in April slipped to 141-142 paise from Wednesday's close of 142-144 paise.
Far-forward contracts maturing in October also ended a tad lower at 283-285 paise from 283-1/2-285-1/2 paise.
The RBI has fixed the reference rate for the US dollar at 55.1575 and for euro at 70.8575.
The rupee continued to rule weak against the pound sterling to 88.07 from overnight close of 87.77 and also remained sluggish against the euro to end at 71.08 from 70.60.
It, however, improved further against the Japanese yen to 66.80 per 100 yen from last close of 66.96.