* Rupee ends at 53.92/93 per dlr vs 53.82/83 on Wed
* Losses in domestic shares pushes rupee to day's low
* Dollar demand from oil firms offset by exporter sales
By Swati Bhat
MUMBAI, Feb 14 (Reuters) - The Indian rupee weakened on
Thursday tracking losses in the domestic sharemarket but dollar
demand from oil firms was largely met by supply from exporters,
preventing a further slide.
Traders said weak domestic shares raised concerns of foreign
funds pulling out their investments, which are critical for
India at a time when it is battling a high current account
India's trade gap for January widened to $20 billion, the
second-highest ever, but exports showed some improvement,
raising hopes of a turnaround in the sector.
"The rupee weakened on the back of the stock market fall but
demand from oil was mostly met by exporters. The next key
trigger to watch out for now will be the budget later this
month," said N.S. Venkatesh, treasurer at IDBI Bank.
"Despite exports having improved, the high trade deficit
remains a worry and will keep the rupee under pressure. If the
government announces a pro-growth budget with emphasis on
reforms, the rupee may gain to 52. Until then I see the rupee
holding in a 53.50 to 54.10 range."
The government is scheduled to unveil its last full budget
before the elections in 2014, on Feb. 28 .
Indian shares fell on Thursday, snapping a two-day
recovery, as State Bank of India dropped after bad loans weighed
on its Q3 earnings, while Maruti ended lower after exclusion
from MSCI indices.
The partially convertible rupee closed at 53.92/93
per dollar versus its previous close of 53.82/83.
Traders said the better-than-expected inflation data pulled
the rupee off the day's lows briefly.
India's headline inflation rate moderated to its lowest
level in more than three years in January, helped by a slower
rise in fuel and manufactured goods prices, which could give
policymakers more leeway to revive a slowing economy.
In the offshore non-deliverable forwards the
one-month contract was at 54.19, while the three-month was at
In the currency futures market, the most-traded near-month
dollar/rupee contract on the National Stock Exchange, the MCX-SX
and the United Stock Exchange all closed at around 54.05 with
total traded volume of $4.8 billion.
(Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)