Rupee ends at nearly 18 month low at 44.18 per USD

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Mumbai, Aug 29 (UNI) The Rupee today crashed by 25 paise to end at a nearly 18 month low at 44.18/19 against the US dollar, from 43.93 on the previous day, on heavy dollar purchases by local bankers and oil exporters, traders said.

Rupee closed at its lowest level against the dollar as importers stepped up dollar purchases and as a record monthly trade deficit weakened sentiment.

The currency resumed low at 44.10 and later it fluctuated in a wide range between 44.06 and 44.24 per dollar during the session.

Finally, it closed at 44.18 per dollar, its lowest close since mid-March 2007 and 0.5 percent lower than Friday's close of 43.93/94. It fell to as low as 44.23 in early deals.

Dealers said ''The currency weakened at the end of the session as dollar demand from importers and oil refiners sectors. It is likely to fall again in the near future''.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today fixed the reference rate for US dollar at Rs 43.79 per unit, six paise up against yesterday's rate of Rs 43.73 per dollar.

The six-month and annualised forward dollar premium was quoted higher at 2.89 (3.32) per cent and 2.60 (2.94) per cent, respectively.

The Rupee ended the day at 64.60/62 (64.34/36) per unit against the Euro. It closed at 79.64/66 ( 79.94/96 ) per unit against the Pound Sterling. Rupee ended at 40.90/92 ( 40.22/24 ) per hundred units against the Japanese Yen.

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