Climbing for the second straight session, the rupee darted up 21 paise to end at 73.55 against the US dollar on Thursday amid sustained foreign fund inflows and positive domestic equities.
A weak greenback overseas and expectations of the UK and EU reaching a Brexit deal very soon also enthused participants, traders said. At the interbank forex market, the rupee opened at 73.66 against the US dollar and witnessed an intra-day high of 73.54 and a low of 73.66.
The domestic unit finally closed at 73.55, registering a rise of 21 paise over its previous close. On Wednesday, the rupee had settled at 73.76 against the American currency.
The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, slipped 0.20 percent to 90.23.
On the domestic equity market front, the BSE Sensex ended 529.36 points or 1.14 percent higher at 46,973.54, while the broader NSE Nifty jumped 148.15 points or 1.09 percent to 13,749.25.
Foreign institutional investors remained net buyers in the capital markets, purchasing shares worth Rs 536.13 crore on Wednesday, according to provisional exchange data. Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, fell 0.35 percent to USD 51.02 per barrel.
"The Indian rupee appreciated against the US dollar this Thursday supported by sales by foreign banks, equity portfolio inflows and an easing dollar index," said Sriram Iyer, Senior Research Analyst at Reliance Securities. Most Asian currencies were stronger against the greenback and as risk appetite improved as the UK and EU could be on the verge of a Brexit trade deal, he added.
For the week, the rupee ended flat offsetting the weakness seen in earlier sessions. "Signs that a trade deal between the bloc and the UK was imminent boosted investor sentiment, with reports stating member states intend to implement a deal from Jan 1, 2021. "The ease in travel restrictions from the UK origin, where a COVID-19 variant was reportedly first identified, also comforted investors," said Ankit Agarwal, Managing Director, Alankit Limited. Devarsh Vakil, Deputy Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities, said, "The local currency appreciated versus American dollar as central bank stayed away from dollar buying while weakness in dollar index continued." Pound advanced aginst all major G-10 peers after Brexit negotiators secured an outline for trade pact.
"Incessant foreign fund inflows are helping rupee bulls. Foreign institutions have bought equities worth USD 6.36 billion and USD 594 million debt so far this month," Vakil added. Spot USD-INR is having resistance at 73.90 and support at 73.45, he said.