Mumbai: In lacklustre trade, the rupee on Friday fell for the first time in three days weakening by five paise to end at 54.33 against dollar amid continued worries over political stability and the Cyprus issue keeping global financial markets on tenterhooks.
Hopes of foreign fund inflow in the government's 5.82 percent offer for sale (OFS) in Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL), helped the rupee limit losses, said a forex dealer.
The rupee started lower at 54.35 a dollar from overnight close of 54.28 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market here today. Trading was later confined to a narrow range of 54.26 and 54.41 before the rupee concluded at 54.33, showing a fall of five paise or 0.09 percent.
It had gained 9 paise in previous two sessions.
The dollar index was down by about 0.35 percent against a basket of six major global units as yen strengthened against it and euro moved in a narrow range on uncertainty about whether Cyprus will be able to secure a bailout.
Pramit Brahmbhatt, CEO, Alpari Financial Services (India) said,"Rupee ended weak as equity markets closed on a bearish note. Looking at the global scenario, expect rupee to trade weak with political uncertainty which was reflected in the local equities. We could see 55 levels (spot) as domestic concerns are coming at a time when investors are also growing concerned about foreign flows after Cyprus issue."
The Indian benchmark Sensex, in a high volatility, dipped by 57.27 points or 0.30 percent, extending losses for the sixth straight trading day. As per provisional data, FIIs net sold stocks worth Rs 14.2 crore (at stock exchange level).
"The rupee was seen trading in a very thin range today.
The steady pace of rupee was supported by dollar inflows for the SAIL OFS. Any sustained break below 54.05 will lead to a correction in USD/INR pair.
Whereas, any sustained break above 54.40 will trigger a bullish trend for the pair," said Abhishek Goenka, Founder and CEO, India Forex Advisors.
Meanwhile, the premium for the forward dollar declined further on continued receipts by exporters.
The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in August ended lower at 173-175 paise from Thursday's close of 175-1/2-177 paise.
Far-forward contracts maturing in February also dropped to 338-1/2-34-/12 paise from 341-1/2-343 paise.
The RBI fixed the reference rate for the US dollar at 54.3350 and for euro at 70.1005.
The rupee eased further against the pound sterling to 82.58 from last close of 82.51 while fell back to 70.41 per euro from 70.08.
It slipped against the Japanese yen to 57.36 per 100 yen from previous close of 57.00.