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MUMBAI, Jan 18 (Reuters) - 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 54.3850/3950.
Traders said the hike in diesel prices would gradually bring down the large fiscal deficit and was a key positive for the rupee.
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)