MUMBAI Jan 18 The Indian rupee strengthened to
its highest level in near two-and-half months on Friday,
breaching the key 54-per-dollar mark, on continued bullishness a
day after the government partially deregulated diesel prices.
At 9:41 a.m. (0411 GMT), the partially convertible rupee
was at 53.98/99 per dollar, after hitting 53.95, its
strongest since Nov. 2 and sharply up from its previous close of
Traders said the hike in diesel prices would gradually bring
down the large fiscal deficit and was a key positive for the
Broad gains in other Asian currencies and a risk-on mood in
global markets also aided the rupee.
(Reporting by Swati Bhat; Editing by Sunil Nair)