Rupee hits three-week low; Indian Rupee outlook

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The rupee ended largely steady on Tuesday after dropping to its lowest in three weeks earlier as data showed a contraction in industrial output but continued high consumer inflation raised uncertainty about how aggressively the RBI would cut interest rates this year.
Continued heavy dollar demand from oil firms and other importers also pressured the rupee on Tuesday, which fell for a fifth consecutive session, its longest losing streak in two months.
Still, the local unit saw strong support at 54.00-54.05 levels, helping it to close off the day's lows.
Traders will now await the wholesale priced-based inflation on Thursday for a clearer view on future rate cut prospects. WPI-based inflation likely eased again in January to 7 percent, its lowest level in over three years, according to a Reuters poll.
"Oil firms were there in the market and we saw other importers panic too. NDF was higher and the weak IIP data triggered further weakness," said Vikas Babu Chittiprolu, a senior foreign exchange dealer with state-run Andhra Bank.
"We saw some exporters come in to sell (dollars) in the last hour. I expect 54.30 to be a strong support for the rupee, holding the unit in a 53.40 to 54.30 range for the rest of the week," he added.

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