The rupee on Monday tumbled by 19 paise to a near one-month low of 71.47 against the US dollar as fresh concerns over US-China trade deal and Hong Kong unrest kept forex market participants edgy. Investors also played their bets cautiously in view of India's rating outlook cut by Moody's Investors Services last week. Opening marginally lower, the Indian currency dropped to a low of 71.54 to the US dollar before settling at 71.47, showing a fall of 19 paise.
This is the lowest closing level for the domestic unit since October 15. Forex traders said that rupee loss was somewhat checked by lower crude prices and a weaker dollar against major currencies overseas. The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, fell by 0.14 per cent to 98.21. Global crude oil benchmark Brent Futures fell 1.22 per cent to trade at USD 61.75 per barrel.
"India's rupee declined for a second day in line with other Asian currencies as fresh doubts over US-China trade deal and unrest in Hong Kong. Risk sentiment worsened following escalating tensions in Hong Kong and after Trump said the US has not agreed to roll back all tariffs on China," said V K Sharma, Head PCG & Capital Markets Strategy, HDFC securities. The 10-year government bond yield was up 0.14 per cent at 6.57 per cent.
On the equities front, the BSE Sensex ended 21.47 points, or 0.05 per cent, higher at 40,345.08. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty edged up 5.30 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 11,913.45. Foreign institutional investors purchased shares worth Rs 932.20 crore on Friday, according to provisional exchange data. Moody's Investors Service last week cut India's credit rating outlook to negative - the first step towards a downgrade, saying the government has been partly ineffective in addressing economic weakness, leading to rising risks that growth will remain lower.
"Rating agency Moody's changed its outlook on India to negative from stable which triggered off a slight sell-off in Indian assets - currency, equities and bonds," said Rajesh Cheruvu, Chief Investment Officer, Validus Wealth. Uncertainty surrounding the US-China trade deal triggered fresh worries among investors globally, which got an additional boost from the news of increased protests in Hong Kong. Indian forex and bond markets will be shut on Tuesday on account of "Guru Nanak Jayanti".