* Rupee ends at 54.22/23 per dlr vs 53.92/93 on Thursday
* Macquarie says it remains cautious on INR ahead of the
* Rupee falls for second week, down 1.3 percent
By Subhadip Sircar
MUMBAI, Feb 15 The Indian rupee fell to its
lowest in nearly a month on Friday, hurt by weaker local shares
and a slump in the euro following weak economic growth data.
The weakness in the stock markets ahead of the budget has
raised concerns about future capital inflows, which has been
crucial to the rupee's fortunes, making it one of Asia's top
winners in 2013 so far.
That has been reflected in the rupee's performance which
fell 1.3 percent this week, its biggest weekly loss in three
Currency dealers are also awaiting the outcome of the G20
meeting over the weekend.
"The rupee will remain weak in the run-up to the budget. The
initial euphoria over the euro zone seems to be fading and local
factors like the current account deficit will weigh," said
Abhishek Goenka, chief executive at Indiaforex Advisors.
He expects the rupee to trade in a 53.50-55 band in the
run-up to the budget.
The partially convertible rupee closed at 54.22/23
per dollar versus its previous close of 53.92/93, a second
successive session of falls. It fell to 54.24 in the session,
its lowest since Jan. 17.
Indian shares fell to their lowest this year as corporate
earnings disappointed, while the euro fell after data showed the
euro zone sinking more deeply into recession than expected.
Macquarie said it remains cautious on the rupee ahead of the
budget session which begins on Feb. 21.
"If the budget contains more populist measures and less
fiscal reform just ahead of the 2014 election, it could weigh on
the INR," the investment bank said in a note on Friday.
The caution also comes amid doubts about how aggressively
the Reserve Bank of India will cut interest rates given the high
current account and fiscal deficits, even as data this week
showed headline inflation easing to a three-year
In the offshore non-deliverable forwards the one-month
contract was at 54.53, while the three-month was at 55.13.
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 54.335 with a
total traded volume of $4.2 billion.
(Editing by G.Ram Mohan)