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MUMBAI: The Indian rupee was expected to open slightly stronger against the US currency on Thursday, amid weaker oil prices and as the dollar dropped overnight on growth concerns in the world’s top economy.

The partially convertible rupee was seen around 82.30-82.35 per dollar in the opening trades, compared to its previous close of 82.47.

As in most of the sessions over the past two weeks, the rupee may not be able to sustain these gains as any dip in the USD/INR pair sees a lot of dollar-buying interest, said a foreign exchange trader.

Monitoring debt and equity inflows will be key, but the rupee could head towards 82.50-levels, the trader added.

Indian rupee likely to fall after robust US data sparks rate hike fears

Oil prices traded around $77.75 per barrel after falling to their lowest level this year overnight, giving up gains since the conflict in Ukraine sparked a global energy crisis on worries over a likely recession in developed economies.

The dollar index slipped and benchmark US yields declined to 3.44% as latest productivity data remained weak, adding to investor worries over high interest rates pushing the US economy into a recession next year. Several executives at top US banks this week have warned about this possibility.

Asian currencies were tepid, while equities mostly declined. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India hiked the key repo rate by 35 basis points (bps) to 6.25% on Wednesday but sounded more hawkish than market expectations about fighting inflation.

“We expect a final rate hike of 25 bps in February to 6.50%, followed by a policy pause,” Nomura economists wrote in a note, anticipating spillovers from a global slowdown in India to be more significant.

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