Indian currency crashes to new low

New Delhi, June 27

The embattled rupee today plunged by 37 paise or 0.54 per cent to settle at a 19-month low of 68.61 against the US dollar as growing crude oil prices fanned fears of a widening current account deficit and a spike in inflation.

This is the lowest closing for Indian currency since November 24, 2016, when it had settled at 68.73.

The Indian unit caved into a fresh intra-day low of 68.68 against the dollar in afternoon deals, prompting the central bank to intervene.

The rupee, which strengthened 5.96 per cent against the US dollar last year, has been on a general downtrend since the start of 2018.

It has lost nearly seven per cent this year so far. It had touched a historic low of 68.86 on November 24, 2016, and a lifetime closing low of 68.80 on August 28, 2013.

The RBI’s intervention cooled the market to some extent as exporters came forward to sell dollars, a forex dealer said.

Sentiment remains weak and new support levels are becoming difficult to find, he added.

The RBI, meanwhile, fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 68.5246 and for the euro at 79.8654. The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against a basket of six major currencies, was up at 94.69. In the cross-currency trade, the rupee continued to slide against the euro and settled at 79.70 as compared to 79.66 and also slumped against the Japanese yen to close at 62.41 per 100 yens from 62.23 on June 26.

The Indian currency also fell back against the pound sterling to finish at 90.45 per pound from 90.38 earlier.