The Indian rupee strengthened by 9 paise to Rs. 48.88 per US dollar in early trade on the Interbank Foreign Exchange on Tuesday, tracking gains registered by most of its Asian counterparts against the American currency.

Forex dealers said a strong opening in the stock market and dollar losses against other Asian currencies kept the rupee sentiment firm.

The rupee had gained 18 paise to close at one-week high of Rs. 48.97/98 against the US dollar in the previous session amid strong selling of the American currency by exporters and banks.

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