Rupee ends at 52.73/74, down 19 paise

Mumbai: The rupee today dropped by 19 paise to close at nearly four-month low of 52.73/74 against the US currency on continued capital outflows and month-end dollar demand from importers. Firm dollar overseas also weighed on the rupee while rally in local equities capped the fall to some extent, a dealer said.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the domestic unit opened higher at 52.45/46 a dollar from last weekend`s close of 52.54/55 and immediately touched a high of 52.43 on firm local stocks. However, month-end dollar demand from importers, mainly oil refiners, put pressure on the rupee and it fell back to a low of 52.75. It closed at 52.73/74, a fall of 0.36 per cent.

Previously, it had settled at 52.98/99 on January 5, 2012. Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) pulled out a total USD 377.36 mln in first five days of the last week. FIIs invested a total Rs 479.53 crore in equities today, as per provisional BSE data. The dollar index was up by over 0.15 per cent against a basket of currencies, recovering after fall on last Friday on softer-than-expected gross domestic product data.

"Lack of FII inflows slowed the momentum in equities and only a clarity from the government over GAAR shall bring the FII`s back on deck," Pramit Brahmbhatt, CEO, Alpari Financial Services (India) said.