Rupee rises as equities fall

Rupee rises as equities fall

Mumbai: The rupee closed higher for a second straight day on Friday, erasing earlier losses triggered by a fall in local share prices, as exporters sold dollars expecting a further strengthening of the local unit. The partially convertible rupee ended at 46.96/97 per dollar, about 0.5% stronger than its 47.21/22 close on Thursday, when it touched a low of 47.6250, its weakest since 5 October.

It touched an intra-day high of 46.84 on Friday.

“The rupee had weakened in line with the stock market. But, with signs of the rupee’s gains seeming sustainable, exporters sold dollars," said a senior dealer with a foreign bank.

Indian shares fell 7.2% in October and logged their biggest monthly fall in a year, after they closed 1% lower on Friday.

Foreign portfolio inflows into local shares are a key driver of the rupee. Foreign investors have bought more than $14 billion of local equities so far this year, after being sellers of more than $13 billion in 2008.

Traders said the customary month-end dollar buying by refiners limited the rupee’s gains. Oil is India’s biggest import and refiners step up dollar purchases from the currency market towards the end of the month to meet import commitments.

One-month offshore non-deliverable forward contracts were quoted at 46.99/47.09, weaker than the onshore spot rate.

In currency futures, the most traded near-month contracts on the National Stock Exchange and MCX-SX was at 47.07 and 47.06 respectively, from Thursday’s 47.28 and 47.2750.