Indian rupee pressured by strong dollar, RBI support eyed

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A man counts Indian currency notes inside a shop in Mumbai, India, August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

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MUMBAI, Aug 19 (Reuters) - The Indian rupee slipped against the U.S. currency on Friday as the dollar got a boost from U.S. labour data and hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials.

The rupee was trading at 79.7350 per U.S. dollar by 0436 GMT, down from 79.6725 in the previous session. It opened at 79.7575 and since then has traded in an about 4 paisa trading range.

It is "not entirely unexpected" that after a higher opening move, there is "not much follow through", a trader at a Mumbai-based bank said.

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"Thanks to RBI, there will be hesitancy to buy dollar near to 80."

The Reserve Bank of India has been regularly stepping in to manage the rupee's volatility. The local currency last month reached a record low of 80.0650. According to RBI's monthly bulletin, released On Thursday, the central bank sold a net $3.7 billion in June.

The dollar index rose 0.2% on Friday to 107.72, adding to the previous session's advance read more . Asian currencies were broadly weaker, notably the Chinese yuan. The offshore yuan fell to 6.8290 to the dollar, the lowest level in three months.

Data out on Thursday showed an unexpected dip in U.S. jobless claims, signalling that the labour market was holding up well to the rise in interest rates and that the Fed could keep hiking borrowing cost aggressively.

Meanwhile, comments by Fed officials continued to emphasise the need for more rate hikes. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said that given the strength of the economy he is currently leaning toward supporting a third straight 75-basis-point interest rate hike in September.

Indian shares (.BSESN) were almost flat, while U.S. equity futures dipped. Oil prices retreated slightly after climbing 3% in the previous session. USD/INR NSE August futures rose and open interest was barely changed.

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Reporting by Nimesh Vora

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