Indian rupee and U.S. dollar banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Rupee Gains 20 Paise To Close At Two-Week High

The rupee appreciated by 20 paise to 69.36 against the dollar, registering its third consecutive session of gain amid easing crude oil prices and weakening of the greenback against other major currencies overseas.

Foreign exchange dealers said selling of the American currency by exporters and sustained foreign fund inflows also propped up the rupee.

At the interbank foreign exchange market, the domestic unit opened at 69.60 per dollar and advanced to a high of 69.62 during the day.

It finally settled at 69.36, registering a rise of 20 paise over its previous close.

The rupee had settled at 69.56 against the dollar on Tuesday. Currency market was shut on Wednesday on account of Maharashtra Day.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, slipped 0.93 percent to $71.51 per barrel. Crude prices have recovered significantly from their six-month high of $75.60 per barrel.

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"Oil prices fell today, pulled down by record U.S. crude production that led to a surge in inventories. Brent is set for a weekly loss, which would break its longest string of weekly gains for a year," said VK Sharma, Head PCG and Capital Markets Strategy, HDFC Securities.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, slipped 0.05 percent to 97.63.

Foreign institutional investors remained net buyers in the capital markets, putting in Rs 114 crore on Tuesday, according to provisional exchange data.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve held key interest rates steady amid lack of inflationary pressures.

Equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty ended on a negative note after a volatile session Thursday as weakness in banking, IT and auto stocks weighed on investor sentiment amid mixed global cues.

The BSE Sensex settled 50.12 points, or 0.13 percent, lower at 38,981.43. In similar movement, the broader NSE Nifty slipped 23.40 points, or 0.20 percent, to close at 11,724.75.

The Financial Benchmark India Private Ltd. set the reference rate for the rupee/dollar at 69.5419 and for rupee/euro at 77.8841. The reference rate for rupee/British pound was fixed at 90.7870 and for rupee/100 Japanese yen at 62.34.

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