Rupee climbs to 8-week high; rises 29 paise against US dollar

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Mumbai, May 21 (PTI) The Indian rupee surged by 29 paise to hit an eight-week high of 72.83 against the US dollar on Friday, tracking positive domestic equities and upbeat Asian peers against the American currency.

At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened at 72.98 against the greenback and witnessed an intra-day high of 72.83 and a low of 73.09.

It finally ended with a gain of 29 paise at 72.83 to the US dollar – the level not seen since March 26.

On a weekly basis, the rupee has appreciated by 46 paise against the American dollar.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, fell 0.10 per cent to 89.71 on Friday.

'The Indian rupee appreciated on Friday aided by a weak dollar index and dollar inflows,' said Sriram Iyer, Senior Research Analyst at Reliance Securities.

The rupee ended at 72.83, its highest level in nearly two months, Iyer said adding that Asian currencies were broadly higher on Friday and gained this week and lent support.

'Overall the sentiments are quite risk-on amid economic revival and reopening of the Western countries. Also, in India the improving trend of moderation in daily new COVID cases is boosting risk sentiments,' said Rahul Gupta, Head Of Research- Currency, Emkay Global Financial Services.

'So, forex traders will monitor the COVID situation and trend in the US dollar, and keep the spot within 72.50-73.50 with a negative bias,' Gupta said.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.95 per cent to USD 65.73 per barrel.

On the domestic equity market front, the BSE Sensex ended 975.62 points or 1.97 per cent higher at 50,540.48, while the broader NSE Nifty advanced 269.25 points or 1.81 per cent to 15,175.30.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the capital market on Thursday as they purchased shares worth Rs 71.04 crore, as per exchange data.

Meanwhile, with 2.59 lakh new cases recorded in a single day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases climbed to 2,60,31,991 and the death toll climbed to 2,91,331 with 4,209 daily deaths, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday. PTI DRR MKJ MKJ

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