* RBI intervenes as USD/INR gains to 54-levels
* USD/INR's record high of 54.30 could be hit-traders
* Rupee starting to look fundamentally attractive-analyst
By Subhadip Sircar
MUMBAI, May 9 The Indian rupee suffered its
biggest percentage fall in nearly five months against the dollar
on Wednesday as investors pull out of global risky assets,
sparking a new round of suspected intervention from the central
Foreign investors have sold a net of nearly 10 billion
rupees ($187.88 million) of domestic equities in the previous
two sessions, as political uncertainty in Greece combines with
continued worries about taxation for investments from
The falls prompted suspected intervention from the Reserve
Bank of India when the rupee fell around the 53.80 levels to the
dollar, according to five dealers.
The central bank is believed to have been active selling
dollars in the past few sessions whenever the rupee approaches
the psychologically key 54.00 level.
"I think the RBI will be actively protecting the 53.80/90
levels," said Hemal Doshi, currency strategist at Geojit
The rupee fell 1.36 percent against the dollar to
53.82/83, its biggest daily percentage loss since Dec. 12. It
had closed at 53.12/13 on Tuesday.
Despite the RBI's interventions, traders warn the rupee
could soon surpass a record low of 54.30 hit in December.
India remains buffeted by the twin deficits on the external
account and fiscal side, leaving it vulnerable to volatile
capital inflows to plug its balance of payments.
However, to some analysts, the sharp falls in the rupee are
making its valuations more alluring.
"These factors make the currency fundamentally attractive
and recent positive policy moves suggest that the timing to buy
the INR looks right," Credit Agricole said in a note.
It expects the rupee to trade at 50 to the dollar by
The one-month offshore non-deliverable forward contracts
were at 54.18.
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 ended
around 54.0625 on a total volume of $5.42 billion.
($1 = 53.2250 Indian rupees)
(Editing by Rafael Nam)