Rupee dips tracking Asia FX, eyes Fed chief testimony this week

By Sethuraman N R

BENGALURU (Reuters) – MUMBAI, June 19 (Reuters) – The Indian rupee ended little changed against the dollar on Monday, shrugging off weak regional cues as traders sought further clarity on the outlook for interest rates in the U.S.

The rupee ended at 81.9350 to the dollar, compared with a close of 81.93 on Friday. The Indian unit traded in a narrow 11-paise band and saw lacklustre volumes on account of a trading holiday in the U.S. in observance of Juneteenth.

Foreign fund inflows are dragging the USD/INR pair lower, said Dilip Parmar, research analyst at HDFC Securities.

The pair has strong support between 81.90 to 81.60, while resistance is placed at 82.25, Parmar said.

The Korea won led Asian currencies lower, dropping 0.8% to the dollar. Most other currencies were down at least 0.1%, while the dollar index edged higher to 102.41.

Asian equities were also broadly lower.

After several central bank rate decisions last week, investors will watch out for comments from a host of U.S. Federal Reserve speakers this week, including Chair Jerome Powell’s congressional testimonies on Wednesday and Thursday.

Powell’s comments will be keenly eyed on the outlook for interest rates. Last week, the Fed kept rates unchanged but signalled two more rate hikes in 2023.

Most analysts are now pricing in just one more hike by the Fed next month, following mixed U.S. data last week.

Investors are also eyeing cues from China on Tuesday, wherein the central bank is expected to cut its one- and five-year loan prime rate (LPR) lending rates by 10 basis points to 3.55% and 4.20%, respectively.

The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates by a quarter point to a 15-year high of 4.75% on Thursday.

(Reporting by Siddhi Nayak; Editing by Sonia Cheema)