The rupee crashed to a new all-time low of 73.77 against the US dollar on Thursday, reported news agency Press Trust of India (PTI).
The local currency dropped 44 paise against the US currency in the morning session as global oil prices continued to rise, deepening concerns about the current account deficit (CAD) and capital outflows. Consistent dollar demand from importers, mainly oil refiners also kept the rupee under pressure, traders said.
The Indian finance ministry announced last week that it was raising import tariffs on 19 items, coming into immediate effect. India imported close to USD 12 billion worth of these goods in the last financial year, it said.
Custom duties on fridges, and air conditioners, for example, have been doubled to 20 per cent, while aviation turbine fuel customs duty, which was previously not imposed, has been added at a rate of 5 per cent. Some plastic items and suitcases are also among the affected products. There are also expectations that there could be more steps to reduce imports.
New Delhi is hiking duties to try to support the Indian rupee, which has slumped to a series of record lows against the US dollar in recent weeks. It is Asia's worst performing currency this year, down about 13 per cent.
The state-owned oil marketing companies have also been allowed to raise USD 10 billion from overseas markets to meet their working capital needs.