Rupee gains 21 paise to 76.33 against US dollar in early trade

The rupee surged 21 paise to 76.33 against the US dollar in the opening trade on Tuesday, tracking moderating global crude oil prices amid hopes that negotiations between Russia and Ukraine might provide a resolution to the current geopolitical crisis.

However, persistent foreign capital outflows and volatile domestic equities restricted the rupee’s gain, forex traders said.

At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened strong at 76.40 against the US dollar and gained further momentum to quote 76.33, registering a rise of 21 paise over the last close.

On Monday, the rupee had settled at 76.54 against the US dollar.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, slipped 0.13 per cent to 98.89.

Meanwhile, the European Union announced that it has approved a new set of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

International crude oil prices fell sharply on hopes that negotiations between Russia and Ukraine – scheduled to resume on Tuesday – may provide a resolution to the crisis. The fourth round of talks started on Monday but remained inconclusive with no major breakthrough.

Global oil benchmark Brent crude oil futures declined 4.63 per cent to USD 101.95 per barrel.

On the domestic equity market front, the 30-share Sensex was trading 61.86 points or 0.11 per cent higher at 56,547.8, while the broader NSE Nifty gained 15.45 points or 0.09 per cent to 16,886.75.

Retail inflation inched up to an eight-month high of 6.07 per cent in February, remaining above the RBI’s comfort level for the second month in a row, mainly on account of a rise in food prices, official data released after market hours on Monday showed.

The wholesale price-based inflation in February rose to 13.11 per cent on hardening of prices of crude oil and non-food items, even though food articles softened.

Foreign institutional investors remained net sellers in the capital market on Monday as they offloaded shares worth Rs 176.52 crore, according to stock exchange data.