Mumbai: The Indian rupee Tuesday lost another 18 paise to close at 69.60 against the US dollar, marking its third straight session of decline owing to sustained demand for the greenback from importers and rising global crude oil prices. The local currency has depreciated by 68 paise in the last three days. Besides, strong dollar against its rival currencies built additional pressure on the rupee. However, persistent foreign fund inflows and heavy buying in domestic equities supported the rupee and capped the losses to some extent. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalAt the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market, the rupee opened lower at 69.55 and fell further to touch the day’s low of 69.69. It finally ended at 69.60 per dollar, down by 18 paise against its previous close. The rupee on Monday had declined by 25 paise to close at 69.42 a dollar. “The strength in dollar index against basket of six currencies and delay of dollar inflow by Essar steel lead to weakness in the rupee,” said V K Sharma, Head PCG and Capital Markets Strategy, HDFC Securities. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostMoreover, there was caution in the market in a holiday-truncated week. Forex and equity markets will remain shut on Wednesday on account of “Mahavir Jayanti” while most of the major financial markets are closed on Friday for the start of the Easter holidays. The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.04 per cent to 96.97. Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.13 per cent to USD 71.27 per barrel.