The rupee edged higher to 75.58 against the dollar on Monday amid gains in Asian currencies. After starting the session at 75.62 against the greenback, the rupee moved in a range of 75.52-75.65 against the US currency during the session, before shutting shop at 75.58 for the day. That marked a gain of 0.08 per cent against the dollar compared to 75.64 on Friday. At the current level, the rupee is down 5.91 per cent against the US currency so far this year.
Domestic stock markets fell on Monday as a jump in coronavirus cases across the world and at home stoked fears of renewed restrictions that could hit business activities, dimming hopes of a quick economic recovery.
The S&P BSE Sensex index ended 209.75 points – or 0.60 per cent – lower at 34,961.52, and the Nifty settled at 10,312.40, down 70.60 points – or 0.68 per cent – from its previous close.
Most Asian currencies moved higher against the US dollar, with the Japanese yen rising 0.04 per cent, the Chinese yuan edging 0.03 per cent higher, the Singaporean dollar rising 0.07 per cent and the South Korean won rising 0.16 per cent.
The dollar index – which measures the greenback against six currencies – fell as much as 0.30 per cent on Monday.
Crude oil prices moved lower as sharp spikes in new coronavirus infections around the world forced some countries to resume partial lockdowns, raising concerns about the pace of economic recovery and fuel demand. Brent crude futures – the global benchmark for crude oil – was last seen trading down 1 per cent at $40.58 per barrel.
“We saw the nationalised banks aggressively buying dollar, likely on behalf of the RBI and defending the 75.40 level yet again. Month end exporter selling could likely cap up side in USD-INR,” said Abhishek Goenka, founder and CEO of forex advisory firm IFA Global.
Currency markets currently operate within reduced trading hours due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown. The temporary timings are from 10 am to 2 pm, instead of the normal timings of 9 am to 5 pm.