Mumbai: Breaking a two-day fall, the rupee on Friday strengthened by 34 paise to end at two-week high of 54.01 against US dollar on robust capital inflows linked to Nalco offer-for-sale and heavy selling of the American currency by exporters.
At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the rupee resumed strong at 54.15 a dollar from last close of 54.35 and moved in a range of 53.97 and 54.21. It finally ended at 54.01, highest closing after February 27 when rupee had finished at 53.86. Thus, the rupee clocked a gain of 34 paise or 0.63 percent today.
Banks and exporters preferred to reduce their dollar position at the current stage in view of sustained capital inflows coupled with weakness in dollar overseas, forex dealers said.
Though the Indian benchmark S&P BSE Sensex today closed down by 142.88 points, FIIs pumped in Rs 1,018 crore in stocks. The offer for sale in Nalco was oversubscribed, guaranteeing at least Rs 515 crore to government.
Globally, the dollar declined by 0.35 percent against major rivals ahead of a slew of US economic data due out later in the global trading day.
Pramit Brahmbhatt, CEO, Alpari Financial Services (India) said, "The rupee spot had a gap up opening by 20 paise. It improved further taking cues from the dollar which traded weak against the major currencies mainly against the euro. The trading range for the USD/INR spot next week is expected to be within 53.70 to 54.30."
Euro was trading up 0.1 percent at USD 1.30, recovering from yesterday's three-month low of USD 1.29. The bounce back in the Euro also helped rupee to gain today, said Abhishek Goenka, Founder & CEO, India Forex Advisors.
"The markets will remain cautious ahead of the RBI monetary policy on March 19. It will be a close call for the central bank considering the latest IIP and inflation figures," said Goenka.
Meanwhile, the premium for the forward dollar recovered slightly on stray payments from banks and corporates.
The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in August edged up to 175-1/2-177-1/2 paise from overnight close of 175-177 paise.
Far-forward contracts maturing in February also moved up to 336-338 paise from 335-337 paise.
The RBI fixed the reference rate for the US dollar at 54.1605 and for euro at 70.5023.
The rupee fell back against the pound sterling to 81.81 from Thursday's close of 81.18 and also turned negative to end at 70.51 per euro from 70.20.
It, however, improved further against the Japanese yen to 56.22 per 100 yen from previous close of 56.35.