Indian Rupee slides to its lowest in 32 months

The rupee skidded beyond 51 against the dollar to its lowest in 32 months on Friday, and was set for its third weekly fall, weighed down by rising oil import payments and slowing exports and foreign inflows.

Worsening debt crisis in Europe, which could further roil the global economy, added to the gloom, traders said.

The partially convertible rupee fell as far as 51.3700, down 0.9 percent on the day, and within sight of its 52.20 record low reached on March 3, 2009.

“The combination of dollar demand given the worries on Europe and pressure to meet commitments for oil companies is hitting the rupee,” said a senior foreign exchange dealer at a large private-sector bank.

India imports more than three-fourth of the oil it consumers and refiners are the biggest buyers of dollars in the market.

“If the rupee breaches the support level of 51.35 then it could move to 51.50,” he said.

By 11:54 a.m. (0624 GMT), the rupee was trading at 51.34/35, compared with its previous close of 50.9050/9150.

At the day’s low, it has lost 14.6 percent from its 2011 high in July, making it the worst performer among major Asian currencies this year.

Falling shares and sluggish foreign portfolio investments have also weighed on the rupee. The benchmark BSE index was trading down more than 1 percent, taking losses in the year to date to almost a fifth.

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