The rupee today closed at fresh three-week low of 66.94 against the dollar on renewed concerns over potential interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve. Scripting its biggest one-day fall in over three months, the rupee lost a whopping 41 paise, or 0.62 per cent, at close. Overall sentiment turned highly volatile after the much-awaited minutes of Federal Open Market Committee last night showed that the Federal Reserve may go for a rate hike at the end of this year.
A hike in US interest rates may trigger foreign fund outflows from the country.
Buoyant dollar overseas alongside robust greenback demand from importers predominantly weighed on rupee trade.
Domestic equities too reacted sharply and witnessed frantic selling with key indices plunging to hit multi-month lows amid lingering global growth worries on the back of disappointing Chinese trade data.
As per provisional exchange data, foreign investors sold stocks worth Rs 911.53 crore on net basis today.
Some caution ahead of September CPI data release later in the day also put pressure on the local unit, a dealer said.
The home currency resumed sharply lower at 66.84 against Monday's closing value of 66.53 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market. It drifted further to hit an intra-day low of 66.96 before concluding at 66.94, showing a steep loss of 41 paise, or 0.62 per cent.
This is the weakest close of the rupee since September 21, when it settled at 67.02.
In worldwide trade, the dollar index surged to a seven-month high of 98 in early trade before trading modest lower at 97.83, down 0.13 per cent, against a basket of six currencies.
The RBI today fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 66.8473 and euro at 73.6657.
In cross-currency trades, the rupee maintained its strong rally against the pound sterling to end at 81.65 from 82.60 and also rose against the euro to settle at 73.79 from 74.25 earlier.
However, it fell further against the Japanese yen to 64.53 as compared to 64.35 per 100 yens previously.
In the forward market, premium for dollar remained under immense pressure due to sustained receiving by exporters.
The benchmark six-month premium for March dropped to 166.5-168.5 paise from 170-171 paise and the forward-September 2017 contract also slipped to 344.5-346.5 paise as against 344.5-346.5 paise on Monday.
The benchmark BSE Sensex tumbled 439.23 points to end at 27,643.11, while broder Nifty slumped 135.45 points to 8,573.35.
Meanwhile, crude prices declined for the second-day on profit-taking as investors turned cautious after recent steep rally amid concerns about the output freeze promised by OPEC and Russia.
Meanwhile, domestic stocks ended tad a lower on profit taking after a spectacular three-straight day rally amid concerns over profitability margins ahead of Q3 earnings season. The benchmark Sensex declined by 9.10 points to end at 27,238.06, while broader Nifty down 6.85 points at 8,400.35. Meanwhile, foreign funds remained net sellers in equities and sold shares worth a net Rs 117 crore today. In the forward market, premium for dollar edged higher owing to renewed paying pressure from corporates. The benchmark six-month premium for June edged up to 144-146 paise from 143-145 paise and the far-forward December 2017 contract also moved up to 286-288 paise from 284-286 paise yesterday. Crude oil prices came under further selling pressure through the Asian session on doubts over extent of total OPEC production cut that was agreed previously.