The Indian rupee. Photo: AFP
The Comptroller General of Accounts' data for April 2020 show that the federal government's share of tax collection during April was 167 billion rupees (US$2.21 billion) compared with 553 billion rupees in the previous year. Photo: AFP

Consistent dollar demand from banks and importers coupled with escalating trade war concerns have pushed the Indian rupee to a record intra-day low. At the interbank foreign exchange market on Wednesday it fell to 72.91 against the US dollar.

The Indian currency was also hurt by sustained capital outflows. It opened at 72.75 but soon fell 22 paise in early trade from Tuesday’s close of 72.69. On Tuesday it had touched a low of 72.74, Press Trust of India reports.

Among importers, it is mainly oil refiners who are buying US dollars to pay for rising crude oil prices. Oil prices rose again on Wednesday after a report of falling crude inventories and looming sanctions against Iran.

The rupee has lost nearly 12% this year, making it the worst performing Asian currency. There is pressure on the Reserve Bank of India to take stringent action and the Indian Government has written to the central bank seeking “aggressive steps”. The central bank has already raised interest rates twice since June and spent billions of dollars to bolster the currency, but with little success.

The Indian currency markets will remain closed on Thursday for the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.