The rupee plunged to a record low of 51.17 per dollar on Friday, hit by importer demand for dollars and share market losses after data showed growth slowed to its weakest in nearly six years at the end of 2008.
The partially convertible rupee closed at 51.10/12 per dollar, 1.3 per cent weaker than Thursday’s close of 50.45/47 and taking its losses in 2009 to 4.7 per cent. The rupee shed 2.7 per cent this week, its worst performance since the week to November 14 when it fell 2.8 per cent.
“Everyone was a (dollar) buyer today, the state-run banks were selling sporadically to smoothen the fall,” a senior dealer with a private bank said.
“When a life low breaks, everything changes. Lots of people with imports, loans etc, who are unhedged are forced to take
decisions, while exporters simply disappear from the market temporarily,” he said.
Asian currencies tumbled across the board on Friday on concerns over the region’s grim economic outlook, with the South Korean won tumbling to an 11-year trough.
“There was underlying (dollar) demand from corporates and oil companies weighing on the rupee today,” said Agam Gupta, head of forex trading at Standard Chartered Bank.
Adding to the rupee’s woes, Sensex fell 0.7 per cent, with the market posting its second monthly drop of 2009, as grim growth data indicated the global financial crisis was damaging the domestic economy more than expected.