Indian rupee firms as Fed hints hiking cycle near its end

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MUMBAI, March 23 (Reuters) - The Indian rupee strengthened against the U.S. dollar on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve hiked interest rates by 25 basis points (bps), as expected, but signalled the monetary tightening cycle may be coming to a close.

The rupee opened at 82.3750 per dollar, its strongest level in a week. The currency ended at 82.6550 on Tuesday. The market was closed on Wednesday for a local holiday.

The Fed softened its language on future rate hikes, amid the banking crisis in the United States, which saw the odds of a 25 bps increase at the May meeting become almost even.

All Asian currencies traded higher, while the dollar index hit a seven-week low as, earlier this month, at least three more Fed hikes were being priced in. (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi; Editing by Savio D'Souza)