Rupee hits 7-week high at 44.98/99,up over 21paise against USD

Mumbai, Feb 21 (PTI) The rupee today appreciated by over21 paise to touch a seven-week high at 44.9850/9950 againstthe US dollar following strong equities and increased capitalinflows despite a firm dollar overseas.

Forex traders said that sustained sale of dollar byexporters and some banks too aided the rupee sentiment,helping it to complete three straight sessions of gains.

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex, which wasdown by nearly 129 points in late mid-session trade, bouncedback on fag-end buying to close up by 226.79 or 1.25 per cent.

Increased capital inflows too kept the rupee on strongfoot. Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) were net buyersto the Tune of USD 161.98 million in the last week.

Meanwhile, global crude oil was trading above USD 89 abarrel on unrest in Middle-East and the dollar index was up by0.14 per cent against six major currencies in European markettoday.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, thedomestic currency resumed nearly stable at 45.19/20 a dollarfrom last weekend''s close of 45.20/21 and immediately toucheda low of 45.21 on early resistance in equities.

However, late recovery in local stocks helped the rupeeto rise to the day''s high of 44.98 before concluding at44.9850/9950, level not seen since January 4, 2011 when it hadended at 44.98/99.

According to Alpari Forex (India) CEO Pramit Brahmbhatt,the rupee will be range bound with positive bias between 44.50- 45.50 levels during the week and its movement will bedetermined by the performance of the domestic stock,uncertainties in the Middle-East and capital inflows.

The rupee premium for the forward dollar fell back onfresh receivings by exporters. The benchmark six-month forwarddollar premium payable in July closed weak at 123-125 paisefrom 126-128 paise last weekend.

Far-forward contracts maturing in January also settledlower at 255-257 paise from 259-261 paise previously.

The Reserve Bank of India has fixed the reference ratefor the dollar at Rs 45.11 and the euro at Rs 61.70.

The rupee recovered to Rs 72.92/94 against the poundsterling from last Friday''s close of Rs 73.25/27 while firmedup further against the yen to Rs 54.10/12 from Rs 54.22/24previously.

It, however, reacted downwards to Rs 61.52/54 per eurofrom its last close of Rs 61.29/31.

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