The rupee weakened 43 paise to an all-time low of 81.52 against the US dollar in early trade on Monday as a strengthening US currency and risk-averse investor sentiment hit the local unit. In addition, escalating geopolitical risks due to the conflict in Ukraine, a negative trend in domestic stocks and a significant outflow of foreign funds dampened investor appetite, forex traders said.
In the interbank foreign exchange market, the rupee opened at 81.47 against the dollar before falling to 81.52, down 43 paise from its previous close. On Friday, the rupee fell 30 paise to close at a new all-time low of 81.09 against the US dollar. The Indian rupee is likely to remain weaker as investors expect the US Fed to continue raising interest rates aggressively to cool inflation, said Sriram Iyer, principal research analyst at Reliance Securities.
“The focus now shifts to the RBI meeting this week with a decision on Friday. We expect the RBI to hike rates by 50 basis points to cool stubbornly high inflation and prevent further currency weakness,” Iyer said. Meanwhile, the dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, gained 0.67 percent to 113.94.
Global benchmark Brent crude futures fell 0.58 percent to $85.65 a barrel. In the domestic stock market, the 30-share BSE Sensex was trading 797.73 points, or 1.37 percent, lower at 57,301.19, while the broader NSE Nifty was down 260.80 points, or 1.51 percent, at 17,066.55 point. Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market on Friday, offloading shares worth ₹2,899.68 crore, according to exchange data. Meanwhile, the country’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $5.219 billion to $545.652 billion in the week ended September 16.