Rupee, gold tumble

Mumbai, Feb. 21 (PTI): The rupee today tanked 40 paise to end at 54.48, its weakest level in over a month, as the dollar spurted on speculation that the US Fed may withdraw its monetary stimulus sooner-than-expected triggering a global sell-off across asset classes.

The rupee resumed lower at 54.37 per dollar against the last closing level of 54.07 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) Market. Tracking weak global stock markets and rising dollar demand, the rupee further fell to 54.60.

Despite FIIs pumping over $220 million in Indian stocks, according to provisional exchange data, the rupee failed to make a turnaround and closed at over a one-month low of 54.47, recording a loss of 40 paise, or 0.74 per cent.

The rupee had closed at 54.69 a dollar on January 16.

In terms of fall, today's rupee losses are the biggest since the 57-paise drop on January 4 to end above 55-mark.

Dollar demand from banks and importers during the day on the back of higher dollar in the overseas market affected the rupee value, a forex dealer said.

The dollar gained after minutes of the US Federal Reserve's last meeting that were disclosed yesterday showed many Fed officials were worried about the costs and risks associated with the $85 billion�per�month asset-purchase programme.

"The FOMC minutes gave signals that the Fed might end the quantitative easing round 3, which will be positive for the dollar index," said Abhishek Goenka, founder and CEO, India Forex Advisors.

Losing shine

Gold prices today fell below the Rs 30,000-level for the first time in seven months here because of hectic selling by stockists triggered by a global meltdown.

In New Delhi, the precious metal tumbled Rs 480 to Rs 29,720 per 10 grams, a level last seen on July 21, 2012. Gold had lost Rs 215 in last two days.

Pure gold slid Rs 645 per 10 gm to close at Rs 29,720 in the Calcutta bullion market from Tuesday's closing level of Rs 30,365 per 10 gram. Silver ready (.999 fineness) also fell Rs 2,200 per kg to finish at Rs 53,800 against Rs 56,000 on Tuesday.

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