` drops 19 paise to fresh 15-month low on rising crude, capital flight
Mumbai: The rupee on Wednesday tumbled to a low of 67.48 before closing at fresh 15-month low of 67.27, down by 19 paise against the US currency, due to growing concerns over surging crude prices and foreign capital outflows.
This is the lowest closing for the rupee since February 7, 2017 when it had settled at 67.41 against the dollar.
Panic dollar demand from importers and traders sent the Indian unit tumbling by a sharp 40 paise to 67.48 in early trade, triggering the central bank's intervention to defend the sinking currency, a currency dealer said.
Some state-owned banks were seen selling dollars aggressively possibly on behalf of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which prevented the rupee from falling sharply, the dealer said.
Forex market sentiment wobbled after crude prices surged more than 3 per cent to hit three-and-a-half-year high following the US President Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Iranian nuclear deal and extend sanctions on the oil producer country.
The Brent North Sea crude touched $77.20 dollars -- the highest level since November 2014. The West Texas Intermediate hit $71.17 which was the highest in more than three years.
Sanctions, if imposed, would take out around one million barrels of crude supply from the market, according to analysts.
Some analysts projected crude to touch $80 a barrel level due to uncertainty in Venezuela, production cut by Russia-OPEC and drop in US stockpiles.