The rupee edged lower by seven paise to settle at 75.01 against the US dollar on Friday, April 23, amid a record spike in new COVID-19 cases, that weighed on investor sentiment causing losses in domestic equities. At the interbank foreign exchange market, the domestic unit opened lower at 75.02 against the previous close of 74.94 and traded in the range of 74.75 to 75.07 throughout the session. In an early trade session, the local unit declined 12 paise to 75.06 against the dollar. The local unit finally ended at 75.01 against the greenback, registering a decline of seven paise over its previous close.
Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, slipped 0.34 per cent to 91.02. On Thursday, April 22, the local unit edged lower by six paise against the dollar to settle at 74.94 (provisional). On Tuesday, April 20, the rupee settled lower to 74.88 against the greenback.
According to forex traders, the heavy selloff in the domestic equities amid fears that a rapid surge of COVID-19 cases in the country can disturb the economic recovery kept many investors on edge. ''USDINR range-bound between 74.80 to 75.30 with RBI sitting on the higher end while importers and carry unwinders on the lower end of the curve. Equities down as cases and deaths surging daily. Exporters may sell near term at 75.30 while importers may buy near 74.80,'' said Anil Kumar Bhansali, Head- Treasury, Finrex Treasury Advisors.
"Next week, the focus will be on Fed policy, we expect Fed to reiterate the dovish tone and dollar to stay subdued. However, the second wave of COVID-19 in India is keeping market risk sentiment very light and the USDINR spot is afloat. So the USDINR bulls will continue to be on driver's seat, but we will only have to look for RBI intervention,'' said Rahul Gupta, Head Of Research- Currency, Emkay Global Financial Services.
On the domestic equity market front, the BSE Sensex ended 202.22 points or 0.42 per cent lower at 47,878.45, while the broader NSE Nifty declined 64.80 points or 0.45 per cent to 14,341.35.
''The last week has been volatile for traders. After a 375/ 1274 points volatility the benchmark index Nifty/ Sensex shed nearly 2 percent. This week the market witnessed non-directional activity,'' said Shrikant Chouhan, Executive Vice President, Equity Technical Research at Kotak Securities.
''Ahead of monthly F&O expiry, the sectors which would be in focus are banking, metal and pharma,'' he added. According to the provisional data, the foreign institutional investors or FIIs remained net sellers in the capital markets, as they pulled out Rs 909.56 crore on April 22. Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, were trading 0.06 per cent down at $ 65.36 per barrel.