* Rupee ends at 53.8450/8550 per dlr vs 53.50/51 on Fri
* Dlr demand from oil firms, lack of supply hurts
* INR seen in 53.50 to 54.00 range until factory data
By Swati Bhat
MUMBAI, Feb 11 (Reuters) - The Indian rupee weakened to a
two-week low on Monday, dropping for a fourth straight session,
as dollar demand from oil firms and other importers weighed.
Traders said the rise in global crude oil prices on Friday
pushed up greenback demand from oil importers, the largest
buyers of dollars in the domestic currency market.
Concerns about economic growth also continued to weigh after
Reserve Bank of India Governor Duvvuri Subbarao said inflation
was "still high," casting doubt about whether the central bank
would cut interest rates at its March policy review in spite of
sharply slowing economic growth.
"The rupee was mostly stuck in a band in light volumes but
there was good demand from oil firms which pushed the unit
down," said A. Ajith Kumar, a foreign exchange dealer with
Federal Bank, adding the market would now await the factory
output data on Tuesday for near-term direction.
The partially convertible rupee closed at
53.8450/8550 per dollar versus its previous close of 53.50/51.
It dropped as low as 53.86, its lowest since Jan. 29.
A weaker euro also hurt sentiment, with the common
currency within sight of a two-week low against the dollar,
while regionally trading was muted as most Asian markets were
closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Traders said lack of dollar supplies also hurt the rupee
with the unit expected to move in a broad range of 53.50 to
54.00 until the factory output data on Tuesday.
The worst is probably over for flagging Indian factories but
production was likely subdued in December and may have risen an
annual 1.1 percent as global demand remained weak, a Reuters
In the offshore non-deliverable forwards, the
one-month closed at 54.12 while the three-month closed at 54.70.
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 53.98 with a total traded volume of $3.7 billion.
(Editing by Sunil Nair)