Rupee edges up but importer dollar demand likely to limit upside

By Jaspreet Kalra

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Indian rupee inched up on Wednesday, supported by strength in some of its Asian peers, but gains on the local unit are likely to be limited on dollar buying interest from local oil companies and importers.

The rupee was at 83.15 against the U.S. dollar as of 10:15 a.m. IST, compared to its close at 83.18 in the previous session.

The rupee is expected to “hover in its routine 5-10 paisa range,” a foreign exchange trader at a state-run bank said.

Oil companies have been lapping up dollars and they are likely to be active on Wednesday as well, the trader added.

Weakness for the rupee “seems capped at 83.20-30 region,” with room for potential appreciation amid supportive global cues, Amit Pabari, managing director at fx advisory firm CR Forex said.

The dollar index fell nearly 0.4% on Tuesday and was last quoted steady at 102.16 in Asia hours as burgeoning rate cut expectations in the United States kept the greenback on the back foot.

Asian currencies were mostly higher with the Korean won leading gains up by 0.6%.

Market participants have raised bets on the U.S. Federal Reserve cutting policy rates in March to nearly 70%, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool, despite some pushback from Fed officials.

While equity markets surged after Fed Chair Powell hinted at rate cuts next year, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Austan Goolsbee struck a cautionary note on Tuesday.

Markets “got a little ahead of themselves” with “euphoria” over the thought of Fed interest-rate cuts, Goolsbee said, adding that the U.S. central bank won’t be “bullied” by markets.

Investors now await personal consumption expenditure (PCE) inflation data due in the U.S. on Friday which is expected to show that month-on-month core PCE inflation was unchanged at 0.2% in November.

(Reporting by Jaspreet Kalra; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)