The Indian rupee on Thursday breached the 72-mark against the United States dollar for the first time ever, before recovering to finish at an all-time low of 71.98 per dollar, 23 paise below Wednesday’s close. The currency fell for the seventh consecutive day on Thursday amid speculation that the United States may impose more tariffs on China.

The rupee opened at 71.65 against the dollar, but soon declined in the morning session.

The Reserve Bank of India did not seem to intervene to curb the drop, though it may have engaged in “mild selling of dollars”, Reuters quoted two dealers as saying.

The BSE Sensex closed 224.50 points up at 38,242.81, after gaining over 300 points in the afternoon session, despite the continuing decline in the rupee. The National Stock Exchange’s Nifty finished 59.95 points higher at 11,536.90. The rise in the markets was the result of the rupee recovering in the afternoon, and a surge in the stock prices of Reliance Industries, HDFC and HDFC Bank, Moneycontrol reported.

Reliance Industries, Power Grid Corporation, Coal India, Sun Pharmaceuticals and Adani Ports were the biggest gainers on the Sensex. On the Nifty, the top stocks were Reliance Industries, Cipla, Coal India, Sun Pharma and Power Grid Corporation.

The stocks that declined the most on the Sensex were Yes Bank, Maruti Suzuki, Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank and Asian Paints. The biggest losers on the Nifty were Zee Entertainment, Hindalco, Maruti Suzuki, Yes Bank and Bajaj Finance.

Other Asian markets took a hit following speculation that the trade war between the United States and China would escalate. The Hong Kong Hang Seng tanked over 269 points, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell over 92 points, The Australian market 71 points, the Taiwan index over 70 points and the Shanghai SE Composite Index over 12 points.

Finance minister says rupee declining due to global reasons

Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley on Wednesday claimed that the reasons behind the continuous fall of the rupee against the United States dollar were global, no domestic. “In the last few months, the dollar has strengthened against every currency,” Jaitley said.

The finance minister also defended the Reserve Bank of India. “The RBI is certainly doing whatever is necessary [to check the fall of the rupee],” he said. “I don’t think there is any need for the world’s fastest-growing economy to panic and have knee-jerk reactions.”