Mumbai: The Indian rupee rallied for the second straight week, appreciating by another 27 paise to end at two-week high of 54.01 against the Greenback on sustained dollar selling by exporters and some banks amid continued capital inflows.
However, fall in local equities on the back of rise in retail and headline inflation as also allegations of money laundering on three largest private sectors bank, despite surge in industrial production data restricted the rise to some extent, a forex dealer said.
Robust capital inflows linked to Nalco offer-for-sale and heavy selling of the American currency by exporters on the last day of the week too helped the rupee rally.
At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the domestic unit commenced on a weak note at 54.42 a dollar from last weekend's close of 54.28 and moved erratically on alternate bouts of demand and supply in a range of 53.97 and 54.5325 before ending the week at 54.01, a gain of 27 paise or 0.50 percent. Last week, it had risen by 61 paise or 1.11 percent.
The Indian benchmark sensex, after spurting by almost 765 points last week, fell back by 255.67 points or 1.30 percent in the current week on profit-booking ahead of the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) monetary policy meet on coming Tuesday.
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) infused USD 490.29 million in equities on the first four days of the week, as per Sebi data.
Marketmen are now looking ahead at the RBI's monetary policy meet early next week, expecting 25 bps rate cut to support the economic growth which may help the rupee to gain a further momentum, a forex dealer said.
Mr. Pramit Brahmbhatt, CEO, Alpari Financial Services (India) Pvt. Ltd. Said, "The rupee rose to a two-week high on Friday, notching up a second consecutive week of gains, taking cues from the inflows and a weak dollar after strong US data raised chances of an early retreat from monetary easing.
Investors are widely looking ahead at the RBI's policy review on Tuesday and are expecting that the central bank will cut interest rates by 25 basis points. If there is a rate cut on Tuesday, equities may gain and the rupee will appreciate to 53.70-53.75 levels (Spot)."
"For the week, it rose 0.5 percent. Recommended to be cautious and sell USDINR on rise with the appropriate stop loss as overall Rupee is expected to appreciate with a rate cut on Tuesday," he added.
The premium for the forward dollar finished lower on fresh receipts by exporters.
The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in August closed down at 175-1/2-177-1/2 paise from last weekend's level of 180-1/2-182-1/2 paise and far-forward contracts maturing in February also finished lower at 336-338 paise as against 338-1/2-140-1/2 paise.
The RBI fixed the reference rate for the US dollar at 54.1605 and for euro at 70.5023 as against the last weekend's level of 54.4035 and 71.2385.
The rupee fell back against the pound sterling to 81.81 from preceding weekend's level of 81.58, while shot up further against the euro to end at 70.51 from previous weekend's close of 71.22.
It also remained firm against the Japanese yen to settle at 56.22 per 100 yen from last weekend's level of 56.72.