The rupee extended gains for the seventh straight day rising 24 paise against the US dollar on Friday, December 24 to settle at 75.02 (provisional) – its highest level in three weeks, as risk appetite improved amid easing fears of fallout from the Omicron coronavirus variant.
At the interbank foreign exchange market, the domestic unit opened at 75.12 against the dollar and registered an intra-day high of 75.00. It witnessed and a low of 75.20. In an early trade session, the local unit gained 14 paise to 75.12 against the greenback.
On Thursday, December 23, the rupee climbed 28 paise to settle at 75.26 against the American currency. Meanwhile, the dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against the basket of six currencies, fell 0.06 per cent to 96.01. Ahead of the holidays and extended long weekend in the United States, most major currency pairs are trading in narrow ranges, according to forex traders.
Mr Amit Pabari, MD, CR Forex: ”The risk-on sentiment is still dominating despite all-time high COVID cases are observed in the UK, Europe is struggling with stricter lockdown and now China ordered a lockdown in Xi’an, a city of 13 million people in central China.
Following the improved sentiment, oil prices are also trading at the highest levels since WHO’s announcement of the new variant-Omicron last month.
In the bond market, India’s 10-year yield is hovering near Mar-2020 level highs and the market is discounting RBI’s hawkish turn. Overall, the upcoming time will surely carry higher volatility in the pair. We are expecting a short-term range for the USDINR to be from 74.50 to 76.00.”
On the domestic equity market front, the BSE Sensex ended 190.97 points or 0.33 per cent lower at 57,124.31, while the broader NSE Nifty declined 68.85 points or 0.4 per cent to 17,003.75.
”The three-day rally was broken as worries of Omicron variant spread and concerns of a fresh lockdown triggered nervousness amongst the investors. Despite the intra-day volatility, the Nifty managed to close above the 17000 mark. The index is still holding at a lower top formation, which indicates medium term weakness.
Trading set up suggests that before a fresh breakout, the index is likely to consolidate within the range of 16800 to 17250 levels,” said Amol Athawale, Deputy Vice President – Technical Research, Kotak Securities Limited.
According to exchange data, the foreign institutional investors remained net sellers in the capital market on Thursday, as they offloaded shares worth Rs 271.59 crore. Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, fell 1.16 per cent to $75.96 per barrel.