The rupee retreated from its day's high of 65.28 to close flat against the US currency due to fag-end demand for the greenback amid ballooning trade deficit of the country. Sustained unwinding by foreign portfolio investors and lacklustre stocks amid geopolitical disturbances largely dampened the forex market sentiment. Some caution adopted by currency traders ahead of the import-export trade data also weighed on the trading front. The home currency had lost 48 paise in the last two trading sessions to hit a one-month low due to strong dollar demand. The local unit opened on a firm footing at 65.33 from previous close of 65.42 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market on bouts of dollar selling and firmed up further to hit an intra-day high of 65.28 in mid-morning deals. It then swiftly lost upside momentum and pared initial strong gains to touch a low of 65.54 on bouts of dollar demand and also dragged down by losses in local stocks. However, staging a smart rebound toward the fag-end trade, the rupee managed to end flat at 65.42. The RBI, meanwhile, fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 65.5171 and for the euro at 76.4781. The trade data released today showed that trade deficit widened to USD 14 billion in October as export declined over 1 per cent by imports rose by 7 per cent fuelled by rising oil import bill. The rupee gave up its initial strong gains to trade weak briefly after dollar attracted strong demand from importers for settlement purposes, a forex dealer commented. In the meantime, inflation, based on wholesale rates, shot up to a 6-month high of 3.59 per cent in October, largely led by food articles, while the CPI inflation, which came in yesterday, had jumped to a 7-month high of 3.58 per cent in October. On the global front, the dollar index, which measures the greenback's value against a basket of six major currencies, was down at 94.05 in early trade. In cross-currency trades, the rupee drifted back after a brief recovery against the Pound sterling to end at 85.72 from 85.61 per pound and remained weak against the euro to finish at 76.69 from 76.23 yesterday. The home unit, however rebounded against the Japanese yen to settle at 57.57 per 100 yens from 57.74 earlier. In forward market today, premium for dollar fell modestly due to sustained receiving from exporters. The benchmark six-month premium payable in April eased to 131.50-132.50 paise from 132-133 paise and the far forward October 2018 contract also edged down to 271.50-272.50 paise from 271.50-273 paise previously. On the International energy front, crude prices held largely steady on growing expectation of further rises in US output.
Brent crude futures were down 5 cents at USD 63.11 per barrel while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 13 cents at USD 56.63.
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