(Reuters) - The Indian rupee firmed on Wednesday, amid chatter of dollar inflows hitting the market, while Asian currencies extended their gains on growing hopes of China gradually reopening its economy.
The rupee finished the session at 81.4225 per U.S. dollar, against its previous close of 81.72. The currency has faced stiff resistance at the 81.50 mark due to strong dollar demand recently, traders have said.
Most of the rupee's gains on Wednesday came in the final hour of trading, with dealers citing MSCI inflows – due to six companies being added to the global equity index, effective Nov. 30 – expected to fetch about $1 billion.
Meanwhile, the currency also posted its first monthly gain this year to end its longest losing streak in about four decades.
However, the rupee's 1.6% gain in November lagged the 3%-to-7% increase in its Asian counterparts, the South Korean won, the Singapore dollar, the Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht.
Asian markets broadly rose for a second day, after Chinese health officials said on Tuesday they will speed up COVID-19 vaccinations for the elderly, aiming to overcome a key stumbling block in efforts to ease unpopular "zero-COVID" curbs.
The dollar index drifted lower ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later in the day.
Investors will parse through his comments carefully as bets have growth that the Fed would pivot from aggressive rate hikes as soon as next month.
Meanwhile, market participants also await India's second-quarter gross domestic product data, due later in the day.
The economy likely returned to a more normal 6.2% annual growth rate in July-September, after double-digit expansion in the previous quarter, according to a Reuters poll.