Rupee down on Fed policy bets, falls less than peers on likely RBI help

A man counts Indian currency notes inside a shop in Mumbai

By Anushka Trivedi

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Indian rupee declined against the dollar on Monday, as Asian currencies fell on the prospect of the U.S. Federal Reserve hiking interest rates further and for longer.

The rupee finished at 82.8350 per dollar, against its previous close of 82.75.

The currency weakened up to 82.9475 during the session, its lowest level since Oct. 20, 2022 when the rupee hit a record low.

Further declines on Monday were capped by a likely Reserve Bank of India (RBI) intervention via state-run banks, traders said.

For comparison, the Philippine peso shed 1.2% and the Malaysian ringgit declined 1% as the dollar index held a seven-week peak after data showed U.S. personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index rose more than expected in January.

The Fed tracks the PCE price indexes for monetary policy.

Following the data, investors have fully priced in a 25 basis points Fed rate hike at the next two meetings in March and May and are looking at a possibility of another one in June.

"Heading into the week, the rupee could come under pressure if the dollar index continues to gain," wrote HDFC Bank economists in a note.

"The USD/INR pair could also shift to a new range above 83 if the RBI does not intervene actively," they added, expecting the central bank to defend the upper bound of the new range at anywhere between 83.10 and 83.25 in that case.

Markets will keep an eye on U.S. February manufacturing and services prints due on Wednesday and Friday, respectively, to see whether January's strong economic momentum continued.

Additionally, India's December-quarter economic growth data will be released after market on Tuesday, which is likely to show growth slowed amid weakening demand, a Reuters poll said.

(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)