Rupee at near 3-week high of 64.36 ahead of RBI policy

Photo: Reuters
Rallying for the fourth straight session, the rupee on Monday strengthened by 8 paise to close at a near three-week high of 64.36 a dollar on steady selling of the American currency by state-owned banks and exporters.

The rupee's previous best was seen on May 17, when it had closed at 64.15.

A spectacular record-breaking bull run in local stock markets along with robust capital inflows predominantly weighed on the home currency, despite strong dollar overseas.

Foreign funds and investors have pumped $4.2 billion in the country's capital market in May in view of the country's preparedness for the goods and services tax (GST) roll-out from the next month.

Expectations of normal monsoon also added to the optimism.

Extending its strong upmove, the rupee resumed substantially higher at 64.35 against last weekend's close of 64.44 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) Market.

It gained further ground to hit an intra-day high of 64.29 in late morning deals.

But, some caution adopted by participants ahead of the apex bank meet along with modest dollar demand, which pressurised the home currency to give up early strong advances to hit a low of 64.39 before ending at 64.36, showing a gain of 0.08 paise, or 0.12 per cent.

The RBI, meanwhile, fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 64.3485 and for the euro at 72.4886.

The GST regime came a step closer to meet its July 1 target of rollout after the GST Council on Saturday fixed the rates for almost all the remaining items, such as precious metals (gold and silver), diamonds, biscuits, textiles, and footwear.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is scheduled to meet on June 6-7 to decide key policy rates in its bi-monthly monetary policy announcement.

Stocks witnessed yet another upbeat session on Monday, extending its dream run ahead of the RBI meet against the backdrop of heightened global uncertainty and overall subdued domestic GDP growth.

On the global front, the US dollar pulled away from seven-month lows against a basket of other major currencies despite subdued jobs data, while sterling pushed higher in the aftermath of a weekend terrorist attack in London.

The dollar index, which tracks the US currency against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.24 per cent at 96.85.

In cross-currency trades, the rupee retreated against the British pound to finish at 83.08 from 82.85 per pound and fell back against the euro to conclude at 72.35 as compared to 72.26 last Friday.

The local unit also drifted against the Japanese Yen to close at 58.21 per 100 yens from 57.78.

In the meantime, country's forex reserves fell by $547 million to $378.8 billion during the week ended 26 May 2017. Reserves touched an all-time high of $379.3 billion during the preceding week.

The benchmark Sensex rose by 36.20 points or 0.12 per cent to close at 31,309.49 today, while the broader Nifty climbed 21.60 points to record 9,675.10.

In the forward market on Monday, the premium for dollar mixed on bouts of receivings and payments from exporters.

The benchmark six-month premium payable in November eased to 145-147 paise from 146-147 paise Last Friday and far forward May 2017 contract inched up to 295-297 as against 295-296 paise.

In the international commodity front, crude prices reversed their strong early gains to trade weak on Monday as concerns over global supply glut re-emerged after cutting off ties with Qatar by top crude exporter Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.

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