Rupee ends flat, shares fall offset dollar inflows

Rupee ends flat, shares fall offset dollar inflows

Mumbai: The rupee ended steady on Friday as dollar inflows were offset by losses in domestic shares and a weak euro, but US jobs data due later this evening was eyed for further cues.

The partially convertible rupee closed at 45.5950/6050 per dollar, little changed from Thursday’s close of 45.60/61, after touching an intraday low of 45.70.

“In the market there was some amount of inflows that aided the rupee. Otherwise, it could have declined further," said Rohan Naik, head of foreign exchange trading at Standard Chartered Bank in Mumbai.

Foreign institutional investors bought Indian shares worth $145.04 million on Thursday, after being net sellers in the previous five sessions.

Foreign investors have pulled out $1.35 billion from Indian shares this year until Feb. 3, on concerns over high inflation.

Dealers said the rupee would take cues from the key US jobs data.

Economists polled by Reuters see the US economy adding 145,000 jobs in January, increasing for the fourth straight month, although the jobless rate is also likely to rise.

On Monday, the rupee is unlikely to fall beyond 45.75 per dollar, a broker with a state-run bank said, explaining that dollar inflows would support the unit.

The euro steadied on Friday, having slid after European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet cooled expectations for a near-term hike in interest rates, while the dollar consolidated ahead of jobs data.

The dollar index, a measure of the greenback’s performance against six major currencies, was up 0.05% at 77.782 points during the close of the Indian forex market.

Indian shares declined for the fourth week in five, shedding 2.4% in choppy trade on Friday, as worries of continued high global oil prices worsening the domestic inflationary pressures hit investor sentiment.

India’s food inflation accelerated for the second straight week on rising prices of onions and petrol, putting pressure on headline inflation and reinforcing expectations of more monetary action this year.