By Nimesh Vora
MUMBAI, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The Indian rupee is expected to open slightly higher against the dollar on Wednesday following an uptick in most Asian currencies ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's speech, which could give cues on the likely path of rates next year.
The rupee is seen at around 81.64-81.68 in opening trades, compared with 81.72 in the previous session.
The local unit on Tuesday, once again, was unable to move past the 81.50 resistance. It has been holding an 81.44 to 81.90 range over the last two weeks.
With Asia broadly positive, USD/INR may open "offerish", and then probably be quiet, similar to the recent days, a trader at a Mumbai-based bank said.
It is quite evident that the rupee needs a major trigger for it to fall below 82 or convincingly scale the 81.50 level. The trader said.
Asian currencies were mostly higher, adding to Tuesday's advance, while the dollar index inched lower. Asian shares were mixed, while the 2-year Treasury yield was just below 4.50%.
Fed Chair Powell is due to speak later in the day and his comments will be scrutinized for more cues on interest rates.
While it is expected that the Fed will slow the pace of rate hikes from December, there is significant uncertainty on the outlook. Fed officials have mostly advocated continuing rate hikes and that rates will remain high next year.
India will publish gross domestic product growth data after market hours on Wednesday. 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. The data is due after markets close for the day.
India's robust growth outlook has prompted a revival in foreigners returning to domestic equities. So far this month, overseas investors have bought more than $4 billion of Indian shares.
** One-month non-deliverable rupee forward at 81.77; onshore one-month forward premium at 12.75 paise
** USD/INR NSE Dec futures settled at 81.8125 on Tuesday
** USD/INR Dec forward premium at 11.0 paise
** Dollar index down at 106.66
** Brent crude futures up 1% at $83.9 per barrel
** Ten-year U.S. note yield at 3.74%
** SGX Nifty nearest-month futures flat at 18,750
** As per NSDL data, foreign investors bought a net $319.9 million worth of Indian shares on Nov. 29
** NSDL data shows foreign investors bought a net $28.2 million worth of Indian bonds on Nov. 29 (Reporting by Nimesh Vora; Editing by Savio D'Souza)