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Rupee at over 1-month
May, 05th 2010

The rupee weakened to its lowest level in more than a month on Wednesday as broad dollar buying due to fears of a Greece contagion weighed on the euro and other Asian currencies.

A more than 1 percent fall in domestic shares, taking the main index below 17,000 points for the first time in two months, also hurt the rupee.

At 9:45 a.m. (0415 GMT), the partially convertible rupee was at 44.97/98 per dollar after hitting 44.9850, its lowest since March 31, and 0.8 percent weaker than its previous close of 44.61/62.

"Heard there has been good dollar/rupee buying in the offshore markets mainly by equity hedge funds. Going by the global concerns dollar is getting bought against everything," said Ashtosh Raina, head of foreign exchange desk at HDFC Bank.

"Forwards might also get paid due to this but some dollar selling should be seen around 45 levels," he said. One-month offshore non-deliverable forward contracts were quoted at 45.11, weaker than the onshore spot rate.

The euro's losses deepened against the dollar on concerns about contagion in the euro zone from Greece's debt problems, propelling the single currency to its lowest in nearly nine months against the British pound.

The index of the dollar against six major currencies was up 0.2 percent. Most Asian currencies were weaker compared to the dollar.

Dealers said they would monitor the performance of the domestic sharemarket for cues on the direction of foreign fund flows which are crucial to the rupee's fortunes. So far in 2010, foreign funds have invested a net $6.5 billion in domestic shares.

In 2009, record inflows of $17.5 billion had helped the rupee gain 4.7 percent. In the currency futures market, the most traded near-month dollar-rupee contracts on the National Stock Exchange and MCX-SX were both at 45.0625, with the total traded volume on the two exchanges at about $1.3 billion.

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