The Indian rupee today depreciated 39 paise, logging its biggest daily loss in nearly two months, to end at 61.34 versus the dollar on fears of capital outflows from emerging markets after Federal Reserve chief signalled a sooner than expected hike in US benchmark interest rates.
Yesterday night, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said the time-frame for raising interest rates could be on the order of around 6 months after the stimulus ends. The Fed also voted to cut its monthly bond purchases by USD 10 billion.
The dollar traded strong against its major global peers with the dollar index up 0.32 per cent.
Higher interest rates in the US may reduce the attractiveness of emerging market assets leading to outflows, said experts, adding that a US rate hike in mid-2015 is 6-7 months earlier than what markets had expected.
Fresh dollar demand from importers and some banks as well as weak local scrips also weighed on rupee today.
At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the domestic unit resumed lower at 61.36 a dollar from previous close of 60.95. It tried to recover in afternoon deals to a high of 61.0650 on sustained dollar selling by exporters and some recovery in stocks.
Howver, it fell back to a low of 61.40 before concluding at 61.34 -- a fall of 39 paise or 0.64 per cent. Previously, it had plunged 44 paise or 0.70 per cent on January 27.
The Indian benchmark S&P BSE Sensex today dropped by 93 points, or 0.42 per cent, while FIIs picked up shares worth Rs 722.02 crore today, as per provisional data with exchanges.
Pramit Brahmbhatt, CEO, Alpari Financial Services, India said: "Indian rupee lost more than half percent
taking cues from dollar which traded strong after Fed policy makers signaled that they will probably raise interest rates by the middle of next year. The trading range for the Spot USD/INR pair is expected to be within 60.80 to 61.80."
Exporter selling prevented a sell-off beyond 61.40/60 resistance area today for the rupee, said Anindya Banerjee, currency analyst, Kotak Securities.
"The USD/INR pair is seen inching higher after taking strong support at 60.80 levels," said Abhishek Goenka, Founder and CEO, India Forex Advisors.
Meanwhile, forward dollar premium remained weak on persistent receipts by exporters.
The benchmark six-month premium payable in August dipped to 222-224 paise from 230-232 paise previously.
Far forward contracts maturing in February, 2015 also tumbled to 466.5-468.5 paise from 475-477 paise.
The RBI fixed the