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Rupee ends marginally higher but falls for fourth straight week

FILE PHOTO: A cashier checks Indian rupee notes inside a room at a fuel station in Ahmedabad

By Jaspreet Kalra

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Indian rupee ended stronger on Friday, aided by the softness in U.S. treasury yields and some easing in the dollar after concerns of U.S. interest rates staying higher for longer pushed the local unit towards a record low earlier in the week.

The rupee closed at 83.1025 against the U.S. dollar, up 0.05% on the day. On the week, however, the currency declined 0.31%.

On Thursday, the unit slipped to 83.16, hovering near a record 83.29 low hit in October.

Equity outflows and crude prices have kept the rupee from strengthening further, a foreign exchange trader at a state-run bank said. At this point, the movement in the rupee is "not about INR weakness but dollar strength," the trader added.

The dollar index gained on Friday as the greenback seemed on track for a fifth consecutive week of gains led by the demand for safer assets as U.S. treasury yields likely stayed elevated amid lingering concerns about the Chinese economy.

"In the near term we could see further upward pressure on the USD/INR, as dollar remains supported by rising UST yields. Possible announcement of stronger China stimulus could add upward pressure on crude oil prices," IDFC Bank said in a note.

India's equity markets were also under pressure on Friday, with the benchmark equity index BSE Sensex down 0.31%. The 10-year US Treasury yield was at 4.22% after hitting a 10-month high of 4.32% on Thursday.

The rupee should remain rangebound between 82.75 and 83.25 heading into next week, said Mandar Pitale, head of treasury at SBM Bank India. "But oversized regulatory intervention could push the rupee to strengthen beyond that."

(This story has been corrected to say the rupee moved 'towards a record low,' not hit a record low, in paragraph 1)

(Reporting by Jaspreet Kalra; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil)