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Rupee ends little changed as budget, Fed meeting awaited

A man counts Indian currency notes inside a shop in Mumbai

By Anushka Trivedi

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Indian rupee ended flat on Monday, as the choppiness in equity markets soured the mood at the beginning of a week packed with the domestic Union budget and global central bank meetings.

Having moved in a narrow band throughout the session, the partially convertible rupee finished at 81.4950 per U.S. dollar, compared to its previous close of 81.5225.

There were corporate dollar inflows in the latter half of the session, otherwise, the day was fairly quiet, said a private bank trader.

The mood was sombre amid volatility in Indian stock markets, following a two-day selloff fuelled by a U.S. short-seller's report on the Adani Group flagging concerns about the conglomerate's debt levels and its use of tax havens. [.BO]

In the short-term, typically, incidents like these make investors question a range of similar companies, said Rob Carnell, head of ING's Asia-Pacific research.

"It's entirely possible that we may see capital outflows and that could weigh on the rupee for a bit."

Foreign investors have been net sellers of more than $700 million of Indian equities on Friday, according to preliminary exchange data.

Investors will be keeping tabs on key events such as India's budget and the U.S. Federal Reserve policy decision, both due on Feb. 1, followed by central bank meetings in Europe and England.

Alongside the Indian government's fiscal stance, forex traders will watch the budget for any incentives to entice foreign investments and any update on the inclusion of domestic bonds in global indices, analysts said.

Given the number of risk events this week, the rupee could trade in a broad 81-82 per dollar range, HDFC Bank economists wrote in a note.

(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi; Editing by Savio D'Souza)