Mumbai: The rupee strengthened by 22 paise to 73.54 against the US dollar in opening trade on Thursday, as positive domestic equities and weak American currency buoyed investor sentiments.

At the interbank forex market, the domestic unit opened at 73.60 against the US dollar, then gained further ground and touched 73.54, registering a rise of 22 paise over its previous close.

On Wednesday, the rupee closed at 73.76 against the US dollar.

“Asian currencies have started stronger against the US dollar this morning and could lend support,” Reliance Securities said in a research note.

However, month-end importer bids, equity-related outflows and the Reserve Bank of India’s presence to curb volatility could limit gains of the currency, it added.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, was trading 0.19 per cent down at 93.70.

On the domestic equity market front, the 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex was trading 517.22 points higher at 38,585.15 and broader NSE Nifty surged 139.10 points to 11,386.65.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market as they offloaded shares worth Rs 712.48 crore on Wednesday, according to provisional exchange data.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, fell 0.19 per cent to USD 40.95 per barrel.

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