* Rupee ends at 54.185/195 per dlr vs 54.22/23 on Friday
* Asian currencies, yen weaken after G20 weekend
* RBI chief says limited room for monetary easing
By Subhadip Sircar
MUMBAI, Feb 18 The rupee came off one-month lows
to end higher on Monday, as late inflows related to foreign
funds selling dollars outweighed demand from oil importers and
weak Asian currencies which were weighed down by continued
worries about the potential for competitive devaluations.
Flows are expected to determine near-term movements as
investors wait for the 2013/14 budget to be unveiled on Feb. 28.
A budget that soothes foreign investors could help support
the rupee as the current account deficit is near record highs
and the scope of monetary easing remains limited.
India's central bank chief struck a hawkish note on Saturday
and said there are upside risks to inflation from food and
commodity prices, while calling room for monetary easing
"Profit taking by some custodial banks and also small
selling interest from some corporates took spot to close at
54.1800," said Ashis Barua, forex dealer at IndusInd Bank.
If the dollar weakens against other majors, the rupee may
gain to 53.75-53.80 levels on Wednesday, he added. The local
forex market is closed on Tuesday for a local holiday.
The partially convertible rupee closed at
54.185/195 per dollar versus its previous close of 54.22/23. It
fell to 54.44 in the session, its lowest since Jan. 17.
The soft tone in regional markets came after G20 leaders
over the weekend refrained from singling out Japan over its
policy to weakn the yen, while its promises not to
devalue currencies was seen doing little to lead to stable
The rupee was supported by dollar selling by custodian banks
in a session in which domestic shares edged higher, recovering
from the 2013 lows hit on Friday.
In the offshore non-deliverable forwards the
one-month contract was at 54.51, while the three-month was at
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 54.31 with a
total traded volume of $4.6 billion.
(Editing by Sunil Nair)