The rupee on Monday dropped by 55 paise to close at 71.80 to the US dollar, the lowest level since December 17, ahead of the Reserve Bank of India's policy review meet. This is the second straight session of loss for the domestic unit, during which it lost a total 72 paise. Forex traders said foreign fund outflows and a stronger dollar following blockbuster US employment and factory data impacted the rupee sentiment.
Moreover, investors were cautious ahead of the next meeting of RBI's Monetary Policy Committee scheduled during February 5-7. At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market, the rupee opened lower at 71.57 and fell further to touch the day's low of 71.82.
The domestic unit pared some losses before ending at 71.80 per dollar, down by 55 paise against its previous close. On Friday, the rupee had settled 17 paise lower at 71.25 against the US dollar. "Brent crude rose for fifth straight day to gain almost 6 per cent in last one week. The resultant pressure on Indian rupee is visible as it is trading lower," Sanctum Wealth Management Chief Investment Officer Sunil Sharma said.
Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was trading at USD 62.97 per barrel, higher by 0.16 per cent. Forex traders said concerns related to fiscal slippage weighed on the sentiment. "The fiscal deficit for the current financial year is likely to be around 3.4 per cent of GDP, marginally higher than the targeted 3.3 per cent," said V K Sharma, Head PCG & Capital Markets Strategy, HDFC Securities.
The benchmark BSE Sensex on Monday recovered from the day's low to end 113.31 points, or 0.31 per cent, higher at 36,582.74. The NSE Nifty also edged higher by 18.60 points, or 0.17 per cent, to close at 10,912.25. Meanwhile, foreign funds sold shares worth Rs 112.13 crore from the capital markets on a net basis Friday, while domestic institutional investors sold shares worth Rs 65.22 crore, provisional data showed.
The Financial Benchmark India Private Ltd (FBIL) set the reference rate for the rupee/dollar at 71.6580 and for rupee/euro at 81.9997. The reference rate for rupee/British pound was fixed at 93.7067 and for rupee/100 Japanese yen at 65.29.