Rupee ends lower at 49.66 per US dollar

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Mumbai, Nov 17 (UNI) Rupee today drifted lower at 49.66 against the US dollar with a loss of 32 paise from its last finish of 49.34 on good demand for dollars from importers and foreign banks.

The rupee slipped as another sharp fall in shares added to concerns that foreigners were likely to continue selling their holdings to repatriate funds and cut risk exposure.

The partially convertible rupee was at 49.60 per dollar at the opening session, off a low of 49.80 but still well down from Monday's close of 49.34. The rupee had hit a record low of 50.29 on October 27.

''With the global economic downturn continuing and world stocks taking a battering, the rupee's fall is expected,'' said the chief dealer with a state-run bank.

''If it breaks 50, then in the near term we will see new territories for the rupee, otherwise it's likely to hold in the 48 to 50 band for a while,'' he added.

Foreign funds have sold a net USD 13 billion worth of Indian stocks so far in 2008 after buying a record USD 17.4 billion in 2007.

However, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today fixed the reference rate for US dollar at Rs 49.68 per unit, up by 69 paise, against its yesterday's rate of Rs 48.99 per dollar. Similarly, the reference rate for Euro increased by Rs 1.01 to Rs 62.58 per unit from its last close of Rs 61.57 per unit, a RBI release said.

Meanwhile, the six-month and annualised forward dollar premiums were higher by 2.58 (2.18) per cent and 1.88 (1.60) per cent respectively.

The Rupee closed weaker at 62.74/76 (62.20/22) per unit against the Euro. It closed at 74.66/68 (73.44/46) per unit against the Pound Sterling and at 51.64/66 (50.96/98) per hundred units aginst the Japanese Yen, brokers added.

UNI AR OBB NP1843

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