MUMBAI The rupee rose for a third session on Thursday, its biggest winning streak in over a month, as continued capital inflows helped absorb steady dollar demand from oil refiners.
The rupee was also helped by a late surge in the euro which hit a session high in European trade after good demand at a Spanish bond auction.
Capital inflows into India's outperforming stocks are at $1.4 billion this year, adding to robust inflows of over $24 billion in 2012.
That has helped the rupee mitigate some concerns about the current account and fiscal deficits which have been a constant bugbear for the currency.
Dealers said oil demand, which has been steady around $300-$400 million on an average daily basis, was being easily absorbed by inflows.
"The next trigger for the rupee will be the RBI's rate decision. A cut will be positive," said Sudarshan Bhat, chief forex dealer at Corporation Bank.
He expects the rupee to trade in a 54.20-55.20 band in the near term.
The partially convertible rupee closed at 54.56/57 per dollar, stronger than Wednesday's close of 54.75/76. It rose to 54.5650 in session, its strongest level since Jan 3.
The rupee's winning streak matched a similar three-session gain that ended December 6.
India will release November factory numbers on Friday with data likely to show that manufacturers barely increased production in the month.
More crucially, the December inflation data is due on Monday with a Reuters poll showing wholesale prices likely rose 7.40 percent.
In the offshore non-deliverable forwards, the one-month contract was at 54.90, while the three-month was at 55.47.
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 around 54.78 with a total traded volume of around $4.8 billion.
(Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)