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Rupee may open marginally higher, upside largely capped

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MUMBAI — The Indian rupee is likely to open slightly higher against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, following a bit of moderation in aversion to riskier assets.

The rupee is expected at around 82.66-82.70 at open compared with 82.7550 on Tuesday. The local currency in the last three days has run into support at 82.85-82.90.

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Public sector banks have been selling dollar around that level, fueling speculation of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) presence.

Upside (on USD/INR) is protected (by public sector banks) and there is not much appetite to take the pair lower, a trader at a Mumbai-based bank said. A 82.50 to 83.00 range is likely to play out for the rest of the month, he said.

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Asian equities were mostly higher following the slide post after the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) hawkish shift, while U.S. equity futures advanced. The dollar index was hovering near 104, helped by the pullback in the Japanese yen after Tuesday’s rally.

The yen jumped 3.8% against the dollar on Tuesday after BOJ decided to allow the 10-year bond yield to move 50 basis points (bps) either side of its 0% target, wider than the previous 25 bps band.

The investors are assessing how interest rates will pan out next year after the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and BOJ have all adopted a hawkish tone. The hawkish outlook has prompted increased concerns on growth.

U.S. yields have resumed their upward march with the 10-year now above 3.70%, about 30 bps above its recent low.

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Rising U.S. yields, potential risk aversion and China coronavirus concerns are all negative for the rupee and the bias remains towards more depreciation, said Srinivas Puni, managing director at QuantArt Market Solutions.

KEY INDICATORS: ** One-month non-deliverable rupee forward at 82.80; onshore one-month forward premium at 14 paise ** USD/INR NSE Dec futures settled on Tue at 82.7950 ** USD/INR Dec forward premium at 3 paise ** Dollar index at 104.06 ** Brent crude futures up 0.3% at $80.2 per barrel ** Ten-year U.S. note yield at 3.71% ** SGX Nifty nearest-month futures up 0.4% at 18,506 ** As per NSDL data, foreign investors sold a net $16.6mln worth of Indian shares on Dec. 19 ** NSDL data shows foreign investors sold a net $71.5mln worth of Indian bonds on Dec. 19 (Reporting by Nimesh Vora; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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