Indian rupee gains for third day in low volumes, range-bound outlook

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SummaryIndian rupee gained for a third straight session, strengthening to a one-week high against US dollar.

The Indian rupee gained for a third straight session, strengthening to a one-week high on exporter US dollar sales, but weaker domestic shares limited a further rise.

Check: NSE Nifty

Volumes were poor with the markets closed on Wednesday for Christmas and no major events left for the rest of the year.

One source of support has been foreign buying in shares and domestic debt this month. Foreign funds have bought a combined $3.3 billion in debt and equities so far in December.

"The market is dull amid poor volumes due to the year end. Risk-averse exporters are seen selling dollars, while oilers in general will keep up the dollar bids, holding the rupee in a range," said Vikas Babu Chittiprolu, a senior foreign exchange dealer with state-run Andhra Bank.

"I expect a 61.60 to 62.50 range continuing until the year-end."

The partially convertible rupee closed at 61.79/80 per dollar on Tuesday compared with 61.9525/9625 on Monday. The unit rose to 61.78 during the session, its highest since Dec. 18.

Traders will continue to monitor local shares, euro and other Asian units for direction in the near term.

In the offshore non-deliverable forwards, the one-month contract was at 62.25, while the three-month was at 63.07.

HIGHLIGHTS

* Rupee ends at 61.79/80 per dlr vs 61.9525/9625 previous close

* Range-bound trading expected to continue till yr-end

* Shares to be watched for cues on foreign fund flows

FACTORS TO WATCH

* Dollar edges higher on strong U.S economy outlook

* Baht skids to near 4-year low, rupiah wobbles

* Equities buoyed by Nikkei high, dollar edges up

* Foreign institutional investor flows

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