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Rupee Ends at 3-wk High on Dollar Inflows; Fed Meet in Focus

BENGALURU, July 24 (Reuters) - The Indian rupee strengthened to its highest level in three weeks on Monday, helped by likely corporate dollar inflows, with traders now focusing on key central bank meetings later this week for further direction.

The rupee ended at 81.8150, its strongest since July 3 to the U.S. dollar, compared with 81.9450 on Friday.

Likely corporate dollar inflows related to an Indian conglomerate was the major driver for the rupee's move, traders and analysts said.

There are possibilities of central bank intervention given that it has previously bought dollars in the 81.85-81.90 range, said Dilip Parmar, research analyst at HDFC Securities.

The appreciation in the rupee is also on the moderate side given the rise in the dollar index, Parmar said.

The Reserve Bank of India bought dollars when the rupee strengthened to sub-82 levels, according to traders. This has partly helped India's forex reserves to climb past $600 billion.

The dollar inflows into equities have also been helping the rupee, traders added.

The dollar index , on the other hand, has recovered from 15-month lows hit last week and was up 0.2% on Monday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve will announce its interest rate decision post Indian market hours on Wednesday and many market participants expect it to likely be the last hike of the current tightening cycle.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan's policy decisions are also due later this week.

For the FX market, a clear signal of a pause by the Fed could trigger a sell-off in the dollar index, said Avni Jain, an economist at HDFC Bank.

Reporting by Sethuraman NR in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema

Source: Reuters

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