The Indian rupee strengthened by 15 paise to 72.97 against the US dollar in early trade on Friday tracking positive domestic equities and weakness of the American currency in the overseas market.
At the interbank foreign exchange, the domestic unit opened at 72.98 against the dollar, then inched higher to 72.97, registering a gain of 15 paise over its previous close.
On Thursday, the rupee had settled at 73.12 against the US dollar.
The rupee started this Friday on a stronger note against the dollar, tracking the weakness of the greenback and improved risk appetite in the global markets, Reliance Securities said in a research note.
Strong local equities and currencies anticipated dollar inflows and improving India pandemic situation could also lend support to the local unit, the note added.
Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, fell 0.06 per cent to 89.75.
"The US dollar index has started weaker this morning in Asian trade and could be heading for a weekly loss, as traders'' initial concerns at taper talk in Federal Reserve minutes receded and while pandemic recovery boosted other currencies," the Reliance Securities'' note said.
Global oil benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.31 per cent to $65.31 per barrel.
On the domestic equity market front, BSE Sensex was trading 558.01 points or 1.13 per cent higher at 50,122.87, while the broader NSE Nifty advanced 155.45 points or 1.04 per cent to 15,061.50.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the capital market on Thursday as they purchased shares worth Rs 71.04 crore, as per exchange data.
Meanwhile, with 2.59 lakh new cases recorded in a single day, India''s total tally of COVID-19 cases climbed to 2,60,31,991 and the death toll climbed to 2,91,331 with 4,209 daily deaths, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.