The Indian rupee edged higher on Tuesday, extending its winning streak to a sixth session, as the dollar dropped versus major currencies and traders would watch the stock market for direction of fund flows.
At 10:05 a.m. (0435 GMT), the partially convertible rupee was at 44.81/82 per dollar, stronger than 44.95/96 at close on Monday, when it had risen to 44.7950, which was its highest since Nov. 12.
"44.80 is a key level to watch out for. If this level holds and we get back above 45.10, then we could see 45.50-45.70 levels again," said a senior foreign exchange dealer with a private bank.
"If we break 44.80, then we could see 44.50-44.20 levels and then a move back up to 45," he added.
Dealers expect importers to come in to buy dollars around 44.80. Oil is India's biggest import and refiners are the largest buyers of dollars in the domestic currency market.
"Rupee is now in perfect sync with dollar moves against the euro and the resultant impact on emerging market currencies," J. Moses Harding, head of global markets at IndusInd Bank , wrote in a daily note.
"There will be little traction with the stock market, which is expected to be in a consolidation mode without any clarity on immediate direction," he added.
The dollar fell to a three-week low against the yen on Tuesday, dropping below its 55-day moving average of 82.53 yen as traders tried to trigger stop-loss sell orders said to be around 82.50 yen.
The index of the dollar against six major currencies was down 0.15 percent at 79.454 points. Asian currencies were trading mixed versus the dollar.
Indian shares were down 0.3 percent with investors consolidating their positions due to global economic concerns and mixed Asian markets.
Foreign funds had bought $638 million worth of shares over last week, latest data shows, taking net investments to a record $29.3 billion in 2010, on top of the $17.5 billion purchased last year.
One-month offshore non-deliverable forward contracts were quoted at 45.03, weaker than the onshore spot rate, suggesting a bearish near-term outlook.
In the currency futures market, the most traded near-month dollar-rupee contracts on the National Stock Exchange, MCX-SX and United Stock Exchange were all at 44.9950, with total traded volume on the three exchanges at a moderate $710 million.