Rupee ends higher at 48.98 per US dollar

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Mumbai, Oct 21 (UNI) Rupee today closed higher at 48.98 against the US dollar compared to 49.02 on the previous day, amid thin volumes as state-run banks, who form bulk of the dollar suppliers in the market, were not quoting due to a strike by central bank's staff.

The partially convertible rupee resumed high at 48.95 per dollar and later fluctuated in a narrow range at 48.95 and 49.10 per dollar in intra day trade.

The foreign exchange market was open, traders said, but volumes were low because some state-run banks, which generally form the bulk of the market, were not trading and there were no central bank reference rates.

Dealers said traders were wary of pushing the rupee past 49 per dollar after the central bank was seen selling dollars around that level on Monday, helping hold the unit in a tight range.

India's main share index was up nearly 4.50 percent, offering some support to the rupee.

The central bank unexpectedly slashed its key lending rate for the first time in more than four years on Monday, stepping up measures to shield the economy from the slowdown effects of the global financial crisis. Analysts and traders said that ''The outlook for the rupee remains bearish in the near term, but Bank of America said it expected the currency to retrace some of its steep losses and end the year at 46 per dollar.

Meanwhile, the six-month and annualised forward dollar premiums were minor changes by 0.52 (0.51) per cent and 0.46 (0.45) per cent respectively due to strike by RBI.

The Rupee today ended at 65.48/50 (65.84/86) per unit against the Euro. It closed at 83.04/06 (85.26/28) per unit against the Pound Sterling and at 48.38/40 (48.20/22) per hundred units against the Japanese Yen.

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