Rupee ends lower on month-end dollar demand

Last Updated: Fri, Apr 26, 2013 11:54 hrs

The rupee ended down on Friday, falling 0.8 percent for the week, dragged by month-end dollar demand from importers and weak equities.

Weakness in local stocks, which snapped a four-day winning streak, to end 0.62 percent lower hurt the currency, dealers said.

Continued month-end dollar demand from importers, particularly crude oil importers, had also been a drag on the rupee, they said.

The focus now shifts to the Reserve Bank of India's rate setting meeting next week which is widely expected to lower policy rates by 25 basis points.

A Reuters poll on Thursday showed that bullish bets returned on the rupee for the first time in over a month.

Global currency markets are awaiting the release of U.S. GDP, and a strong number will be able to lift the risk sentiment.

"The fall in the rupee is basically on account of the month-end dollar buying and squaring-off of positions," said Satyajit Kanjilal, chief executive at ForexServe.

"If the U.S. GDP numbers are good, it will give a boost to risk-on and the rupee."

The partially convertible rupee closed at 54.375/385 per dollar, weaker than its Thursday's close of 54.21/22.

Broadly, sentiment still favoured the rupee with the government likely to take more steps to revive growth in the next two-four months.

The Indian government pitched for a rating upgrade on Thursday at a meeting with ratings agency Standard & Poor's, a top finance ministry official said, citing steps taken by it to control a high fiscal deficit and revive investments.

In the offshore non-deliverable forwards, the one-month contract was at 54.61, while three-month was at 55.19.

In the currency futures market, the most-traded near-month dollar/rupee contracts on the National Stock Exchange, the MCX-SX and the United Stock Exchange all closed around 54.56, with a total traded volume of $4.6 billion.

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