The rupee recovered marginally from its lifetime low to trade at 68.95 per dollar in late morning deals on Thursday amid heavy month-end demand for the American currency from importers and banks.

The domestic unit plunged to a record low at 69.10 before gaining ground to 68.95 at 10.30 am, still down by 34 paise.

The Indian unit resumed sharply lower at 68.89 from yesterday’s closing level of 68.61 at the inter-bank foreign exchange here.

Rising crude oil prices have deepened concerns about the country’s current account deficit and inflation.

Crude oil prices rose in Asia as the US pressured allies to stop buying Iranian crude amid concerns over supply disruptions in Libya and Canada. Brent crude futures surged to USD 77.50 a barrel, the highest since 2014, on tight supply.

Meanwhile, the US dollar was steady against its peers in early Asian trade, having failed to extend overnight gains amid conflicting signals from Washington on a proposal to restrict Chinese investment.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was trading up by 13.92 points or 0.04 per cent at 35,231.03 at 1105 hrs.

Earlier in the morning, benchmark Sensex fell over 90 points in early trade today after the rupee sank to a lifetime low of 69.10 against the US dollar amid firming crude oil prices.

There was also caution among investors on the expiry day of the June series derivatives contracts, brokers said.

The 30-share index, which had lost 272.93 points in the previous session, fell further by 90.26 points, or 0.25 per cent to 35,126.85.

The NSE Nifty also dropped by 31.30 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 10,640.10.
Sectoral indices led by realty, capital goods, PSU, oil and gas, infrastructure, banking and power remained in the negative zone, declining up to 1.43 per cent.

Brokers said market sentiment was fragile following the rupee hitting a new low of 69.10 against the dollar amid rising crude oil rates.

Brent crude was trading at nearly USD 78 a barrel in Asian trade on Thursday. Besides, lingering trade war concerns between the US and China accelerated selling on the domestic bourses, they added.

The laggards included NTPC, Coal India, L&T, Hero MotoCorp, ICICI Bank, Power Grid, SBI, Tata Motors, Adani Ports, Asian Paints, HDFC Ltd, Maruti Suzuki, Yes Bank and Bajaj Auto, falling up to 2.48 per cent.

Bucking the trend, stocks of software exporter such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro were trading higher by up to 2.12 per cent, largely supported by a weak rupee.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.20 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.44 per cent in early deals. Shanghai Composite Index too was up 0.20 per cent.

The US Dow Jones ended lower by 0.68 per cent in yesterday’s trade.