INDIA RUPEE Rupee seen opening higher as oil falls further, Asian FX rise

An India Rupee note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/Files

MUMBAI, Dec 9 (Reuters) - The Indian rupee was expected to open firmer against the dollar on Friday, amid weaker oil prices and as Asian currencies were led higher by the Chinese yuan.

The rupee was seen around 82.25-82.30 per dollar in early trades, compared with its previous close of 82.42.

The currency has stabilised since the Reserve Bank of India hiked interest rates on Wednesday, having been sold off heavily before the event.

Risk assets may have a better session on Friday as soft U.S. data overnight pressured the dollar, with oil prices near December 2021 levels helping the rupee, said a foreign exchange dealer.

"Expected range for the rupee is 82.00-82.50 per dollar, with oil companies eyeing lower USD/INR levels to buy dollars," said Anil Kumar Bhansali, head of treasury, Finrex Treasury Advisors.

Asian equities and currencies gained, with the Chinese yuan up 0.2%.

Investor sentiment improved as Beijing reported lower COVID cases and a top official was quoted by state media on Thursday saying China's shift in COVID policy would allow the country's economy to pick up pace.

The dollar index was down for a third day. Fears around a slowdown in the United States owing to the Federal Reserve's rate hikes have taken hold off late, with a rise in jobless claims adding to those concerns.

Investors were jittery ahead of a series of economic data releases in the United States, including monthly producer prices on Friday and consumer inflation next Tuesday.

Those data would be crucial for the Fed to determine its policy decision on Dec. 14. Money markets are pricing in a 93% chance that rates will be raised by 50 basis points.

Meanwhile, India's November inflation report, due on Monday, is likely to show consumer prices cooled to a nine-month low of 6.40% mainly due to a moderation in food prices, a Reuters poll showed.

KEY INDICATORS:

** One-month non-deliverable rupee forward at 82.35; onshore one-month forward premium at 12 paise

** USD/INR NSE Dec. futures closed on Thursday at 82.4950

** USD/INR Dec. forward premium is 6.5 paise

** Dollar index at 104.63

** Brent crude futures at $76.6 per barrel

** Ten-year U.S. note yield at 3.47%

** SGX Nifty nearest-month futures up 0.4% at 18,810

** As per NSDL data, foreign investors sold a net $167.4 mln worth of Indian shares on Dec. 7

** NSDL data shows foreign investors bought a net $21.4 mln worth of Indian bonds on Dec. 7

Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Mumbai; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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