Mumbai: India's foreign exchange reserves fell by USD1.74 billion to USD290 billion for the week ended May 25, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed Saturday.

The reserves registered a sharp drop for the fourth week in a row, largely due to suspected sale of dollar by the central bank to defend rupee, according to the data.

The forex reserves had declined by USD1.80 billion, USD1.37 billion and USD2.18 billion, respectively, in the previous three weeks.

Foreign currency assets, the biggest component of the forex reserves kitty, fell by USD1.71 billion to USD254.40 billion during the week ended May 25, according to RBI's weekly statistical supplement.

The RBI did not provide any reasons for the change in foreign currency assets. It said the assets expressed in US dollar terms included the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the pound sterling, euro and yen held in reserve.

However, the RBI is understood to have sold dollars from the reserves to curb the slide in the value of rupee. The Indian rupee slumped to a record low in recent weeks and stood 55.54 against a dollar Friday.

The rupee witnessed loss for the ninth consecutive week, the longest losing streak since the 2008 economic crisis. The value of special drawing rights fell by USD18.6 million to USD4.38 billion, and India's reserves with the International Monetary Fund fell by USD12.1 million to USD2.85 billion. The value of gold reserves remained unchanged at USD26.61 billion.

(Agencies)

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