Indian rupee flat; lower retail inflation spurs rate cut hopes

Last Updated: Fri, Apr 12, 2013 11:50 hrs

* Rupee ends flat at 54.52/53, unchanged from Wednesday's close

* March inflation data due on Monday

* Local shares fall, Infosys slumps

By Subhadip Sircar

MUMBAI, April 12 (Reuters) - The Indian rupee ended flat on Friday as a slump in local stocks after a weak revenue guidance from IT bellwether Infosys, was evened out by hopes the central bank would cut interest rates next month after data showed slowing consumer inflation.

The rupee gained a modest 0.5 percent for the week, which has been marked by concerns about outflows after foreign investors sold a net $37.29 million in equities in April and a net $510.57 million of debt, according to the latest available regulatory data.

Traders are looking ahead at wholesale price inflation on Monday which will be key in setting expectations ahead of the Reserve Bank of India's May 3 policy review, after cutting interest rates at each of its two previous meetings this year.

Wholesale prices have likely risen an annual 6.40 percent in March, a Reuters poll showed.

"The rupee gave up early gains as the stock markets fell on Infosys and the global dollar strength against other currencies. If the inflation data gives a positive surprise on Monday, it will build up rate cut hopes which will be positive for the currency," said Sudarshan Bhat, chief of currency trading at Corporation Bank.

The partially convertible rupee ended at 54.52/53 per dollar, unchanged from its close on Wednesday. Earlier in the session it had risen to 54.34, a 1-week high.

Currency markets were shut on Thursday for a local holiday.

Local shares recorded their biggest single-day fall since late February, after Infosys Ltd gave a much-lower-than-expected revenue guidance for 2013/14.

The rupee found some early support after data showed factory output rose more than expected in February, while retail inflation slowed in March.

In the offshore non-deliverable forwards, the one-month contract was at 54.82 while the three month was at 55.44.

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 about 54.68, with a total traded volume of $4.4 billion. (Editing by Sunil Nair)

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