* Rupee ends at 53.30/31 per dollar vs 53.76/77 on Tuesday
* Exporters sell dollars on expectations of more supply in
* USD/INR may fall to 52.50 levels in the next one
By Swati Bhat
MUMBAI, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The Indian rupee strengthened to
its highest level in nearly three-and-a-half months on
Wednesday, helped by dollar inflows for upcoming share sales and
positive sentiment on the back of a strong euro.
The Indian government expects to raise more than $465
million by selling a 10 percent stake in Oil India Ltd
on Friday, while an about $2 billion stake sale in power
producer NTPC is likely to take place on Feb. 7.
The gains in the rupee came despite caution about whether
the Reserve Bank of India will continue to cut interest rates
after lowering the repo rate by 25 basis points on Tuesday.
These worries have hit domestic bond prices, and capped share
"The flows for the stake sales via qualified institutional
placements and offer for sales which are in talks are helping
the rupee. Exporters, too, are selling on expectations of more
dollar supply," said Vikas Babu Chittiprolu, a senior forex
trader at state-run Andhra Bank.
"I expect the rupee to gain towards 52.50 in the next
one-month," he added.
The partially convertible rupee closed at 53.30/31
per dollar, 0.9 percent stronger than its close of 53.76/77 on
Tuesday. The unit rose as high as 53.28, its strongest since
Traders said the rupee benefited from a gain in the euro to
14-month highs against the dollar ahead of the Federal Reserve's
first policy meeting of the year. The Fed is widely expected to
stick to its super-easy policy until U.S. unemployment falls
Traders said larger gains in the rupee were capped by demand
for the greenback from oil firms, the biggest buyers of dollars
in the domestic currency market, whose demand peaks at the end
of each month when they are required to make payments.
In the offshore non-deliverable forwards, the
one-month contract was at 53.53 while the three-month was at
In the currency futures market, the most-traded near-month
dollar/rupee contracts on the National Stock Exchange, the
MCX-SX and the United Stock Exchange all closed at around 53.52
with a total traded volume of $5.02 billion.
(Editing by Anand Basu)