The rupee today lost 30 paise to close at 54.85 against the dollar due to fresh demand for the US currency from oil importers, amid some weakness in the local equities.

The local unit opened lower at 54.67 against the dollar from its previous close of 54.55 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market.

It, however, marginally recovered to 54.64 but, emergence of dollar demand from importers, mainly oil refiners, and fall in local equities weighed on the rupee and it fell back to a low of 54.90 before concluding at 54.85, a fall of 30 paise, or 0.55 per cent.

Yesterday, rupee had risen by 30 paise. "The rupee today fell mainly due to fresh dollar demand from oil importers. Thin trading volume on account of upcoming Christmas holidays also weighed on the local unit," IDBI Bank Head (Treasury) N S Venkatesh said.

Meanwhile, the BSE benchmark Sensex also fell by 22.08 points to 19,453.92.

Forex dealers said heavy capital inflows amid a weak dollar overseas, however, restricted the fall in rupee's value.

Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) picked up shares worth USD 286.32 million yesterday, as per Sebi data, taking a total to over USD 23 billion till December 19 this year.

The dollar index, a gauge of six major global rivals, was down by over 0.30 per cent on concerns over the US fiscal cliff talks, while New York crude oil was quoting below USD 90 a barrel in Europe today.

In the United States, the fiscal cliff is a term used to refer to the economic effects that could result from tax increases, spending cuts and a corresponding reduction in the US budget deficit beginning in 2013 if existing laws are not changed by the end of 2012.

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