* Rupee ends at 54.68/69 per dlr vs 54.99/55.00 Monday close
* U.S. "fiscal cliff" deal, positive local shares aid
* Weak current account data limits sharper rise in the rupee
By Swati Bhat
MUMBAI, Jan 1 The Indian rupee started 2013 on a
positive note tracking gains in local shares after U.S.
lawmakers agreed on a deal which would help avert the "fiscal
cliff" but weak domestic data limited a sharper rise.
The Senate moved the U.S. economy back from the edge of a
"fiscal cliff" on Tuesday, voting to avoid imminent tax hikes
and spending cuts in a bipartisan deal that could still face
stiff challenges in the House of Representatives.
India's current account deficit widened to a record high of
5.4 percent of GDP in the September quarter as export growth
slowed more sharply than imports, data released just around
market close on Monday showed.
Traders said going by the current data it was likely that
the data for the Oct-Dec quarter would be even worse and it
would be a key factor that forex participants would watch out
for in the coming months.
Traders broadly expect the rupee to gain in 2013 on the back
of rate cut hopes, recently announced reforms and the likelihood
of sustained dollar inflows on the back of loose monetary policy
in most countries globally.
"There are enough negatives like increasing imports and
current account deficit, political instability, high fiscal
deficit, high inflation, uncertainty in Europe," said Samir
Lodha, managing director at QuantArt Market Solutions.
"However, at this stage we feel moderately bullish about the
rupee - assuming capital flows will weigh on current account
deficit for a while. I see the rupee at around 53 levels by
The partially convertible rupee closed at 54.68/69
per dollar versus its previous close of 54.99/55.00.
Traders said gains in the domestic sharemarket also boosted
sentiment for the rupee.
India's main share index ended up 0.8 percent after
the U.S. deal.
In the offshore non-deliverable forwards, the
one-month contract was at 54.96 while the three-month was at
In currency futures, the most-traded near-month
dollar/rupee contracts on the National Stock Exchange, the
MCX-SX and the United Stock Exchange all closed at around 55.04
with total traded volume on the three exchanges at $2.99
(Editing by Sunil Nair)