Mumbai, Feb 24: The rupee today ended below 49-mark at 48.93/94 -- its three-week high level—against the American currency on sustained dollar selling by exporters and some banks.
At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the domestic unit opened strong at 49.04/05 on early rise in local stocks but later fell to a low of 49.16 on reversal of trend in equities which showed weakness.
The rupee later bounced back to settle at 48.93/94, a gain of 26 paise or 0.53 per cent from its previous close.
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs), who were mainly responsible for the appreciation in the rupee, have pumped in nearly USD 5.5 billion in equities so far in the current calendar year.
Meanwhile, the BSE benchmark Sensex dropped below the 18,000-mark to close at 17,923.57, down 155 points.
Forex dealers said continued dollar weakness in overseas markets amid sustained dollar selling by exporters and some banks helped the rupee rally despite bearish local equities.
The dollar index, a gauge of the US currency against six major currencies, was down nearly 0.15 per cent and the New York crude oil was trading above USD 108 in European markets.
The rupee premium for the forward dollar recovered on fresh paying pressure from corporates and banks.
The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in July ended up at 157-159 paise from Thursday's close of 154-156 paise while far-forward contracts maturing in January recouped to 289-291 paise from 287-289 paise previously.
The RBI has fixed the reference rate for the US dollar at 49.0650 and for euro at 65.5701.
The rupee softened against the pound sterling to end at Rs 77.34/36 and also declined against the euro to Rs 65.65/67.
It, however, bounced back against the Japanese to Rs 60.79/81 from last close of Rs 61.40/42.