The Indian rupee appreciated by 18 paise to Rs 45.29 a dollar in early trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange today, tracking gains made by other Asian currencies.

Dealers said dollar weakness against other Asian currencies and a higher opening on the stock exchanges kept the rupee sentiment firm.

The rupee had lost 13 paise to close at nearly a three-week low of Rs. 45.47/48 in the previous session due to fresh dollar demand from importers and banks.

Meanwhile, the Bombay Stock Exchange index Sensex crossed the psychological 20,000 points level by gaining 116.36 points to 20,005.24 in opening trade today.

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