* Rupee ends at 53.50/51 vs Thursday's close of 53.22/23
* Shares fall for seventh session, longest loss since Nov.
* Rupee snaps four weeks of gains, down 0.52 pct this week
By Subhadip Sircar
MUMBAI, Feb 8 The Indian rupee fell the most in
over a month on Friday, extending its losses for a third
session, as continued weakness in local shares and prospects of
a worse-than-expected slowdown in the economy weighed down the
Local stocks declined for a seventh successive session, its
longest losing streak in over a year, raising concerns about the
future of continued fund flows into now expensive equities.
So far in 2013, the rupee has been the second best performer
in Asia driven mainly by foreign fund inflows into Indian stocks
which have already crossed $6 billion.
Most recently, the Indian government netted $2.15 billion by
selling shares in NTPC with more than half the bids coming from
But, the country's economic growth remains a concern after
a government projection estimated economic growth in the fiscal
year will be worse than expected.
The government said the country's slowest growth in a decade
could be much worse than earlier projections. Preliminary data
released on Thursday showed the economy set to have grown 5.0
percent in the fiscal year ending next month, underscoring the
urgent need for reforms to boost growth.
The euro's weakness also hurt the rupee. The common currency
hovered near a two-week low on Friday after the European Central
Bank chief hinted at concern about the impact of the currency's
recent strength on the economy, in remarks that analysts said
went further than they had expected.
"The global dollar strength and stock weakness is hurting
the rupee. I do not see any fresh inflows till the budget. That
will keep the rupee in a 52.75-53.90 range," said Sudarshan
Bhat, chief forex dealer at Corporation Bank.
The partially convertible rupee closed at 53.50/51
per dollar, versus its previous close of 53.22/23, down 0.52
percent, and its biggest daily percentage fall since Jan 4.
It earlier fell to 53.6525 in the session, its lowest level
since Jan. 29. It was also the rupee's first weekly fall after
four weeks of gains.
The rupee will strengthen about 1 percent to 52.50 in the
next 12 months, a Reuters poll showed.
In the offshore non-deliverable forwards, the
one-month contract was at 53.81, while the three-month was at
In the currency futures market, the most-traded
near-month dollar/rupee contracts on the National Stock
Exchange, the MCX-SX and the United Stock Exchange all closed at
about 53.74 with a total traded volume of $4.9 billion.
(Editing by Anand Basu)