The rupee depreciated by 15 paise to close at 68.97 against the US dollar on Thursday, amid heavy selling in domestic equities and rising crude oil prices. The rupee opened on a positive note but failed to sustain the gains and settled for the day in the negative territory. This is the third straight day of fall for the rupee, during which it has lost 43 paise.
Forex traders said, foreign fund outflows and weak Asian currencies weighed on the local unit. At the interbank foreign exchange (forex) market, the domestic currency opened at 68.76 per dollar, but lost ground during the day and finally settled at 68.97, down 15 paise over its previous close.
The rupee had settled at 68.82 against the US dollar on Wednesday. "Foreign fund outflows, rebound in crude oil price and weaker Asian currencies weighed on Indian Rupee in Thursday's session," VK Sharma, Head PCG & Capital Markets Strategy, HDFC Securities said adding "recent bottom registered at 68.29 in USD/INR would act as a strong support".
Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, climbed 0.90 per cent to USD 64.23 per barrel. The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, fell 0.04 per cent to 97.18.
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital markets, pulling out Rs 16.97 crore Wednesday, provisional data showed. Snapping its three-day rising streak, equity benchmark BSE Sensex settled in the negative territory Thursday. The 30-share Sensex, remained subdued throughout the session and finally closed at 38,897.46, down by 318.18 points or 0.81 per cent.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty cracked below the 11,600 mark, ending 90.60 points or 0.78 per cent lower at 11,596.90. Meanwhile, the 10-year government bond yield was at 6.38 per cent Thursday.
Financial Benchmark India Private Ltd (FBIL) set the reference rate for the rupee/dollar at 68.8051 and for rupee/euro at 77.1434. The reference rate for rupee/British pound was fixed at 85.3908 and for rupee/100 Japanese yen at 63.60.