Wiping initial gains, the rupee edged lower by one paise against the US dollar on Tuesday, April 20, to settle at 74.88 amid concerns over the rising COVID-19 cases, that could impact the economic recovery in the country. At the interbank foreign exchange market, the local unit opened at 74.65 against the dollar and touched an intra day high of 74.64. It witnessed a low of 74.98. In an early trade session, the domestic unit appreciated 23 paise to 74.64 against the greenback. According to traders, the rupee closed in red as the second wave of COVID-19 weighed on investor sentiment.
Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, slipped 0.04 per cent to 91.03.
''Sentiments a bit positive as government opens vaccination for all 18 years and above citizens. Stock markets up, Asian currencies up against dollar and European currencies also up against the dollar. RBI seems to be protecting 75.00 levels. All exporters to sell above 75.00 levels while importers to wait to buy near 74.20/30 levels,'' said Anil Kumar Bhansali, Head- Treasury, Finrex Treasury Advisors.
According to the Health Ministry data on Tuesday, the country's total tally of COVID-19 cases has reached 1,53,21,089 with active cases surpassing the 20-lakh mark.
''In comparison to the daily record of cases in the United States, India is now recording over 2,70,000 daily infections, and the economic effect of the current wave is expected to be significant at least until the end of June 2021. So far, investors have taken a net USD 615 million out of their portfolios, with the trend indicating that portfolio outflows will continue during the upcoming sessions,'' said Kshitij Purohit, Product Manager, Currency & Commodities at CapitalVia Global Research Limited.
On the domestic equity market front, the 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex ended 243.62 points or 0.51 per cent lower at 47,705.80 and broader NSE Nifty slipped 63.05 points or 0.44 per cent to 14,296.40.
"The market registered an extremely volatile session, the nifty/ Sensex closed 63/243 points lower. Post yesterday sharp fall today, the Nifty/ Sensex opened with over 150/ 500 points gap up but after a strong opening, it failed to sustain above 14500/48400 resistance mark and due to consistent selling pressure at higher levels along with tepid global cues the benchmark index corrected sharply,'' said Shrikant Chouhan, Executive Vice President, Equity Technical Research at Kotak Securities.
“Markets continue to remain in consolidation phase with high volatility within the range. Immediate support is seen at 14200; volatility to increase as we approach April expiry. Medium-term trend remains extremely positive with consolidation/correction in the short term. Energy, Pharma, Realty stocks are in trading in the buying zone while Metals continue to remain unfavorable for fresh positions,'' said Sahaj Agrawal, Head of Research- Derivatives at Kotak Securities.
According to exchange data, the foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market on April 19 as they sold shares worth Rs 1,633.70 crore. Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, advanced 0.88 per cent to $ 67.64 per barrel.