Rupee down by 19 paise

Mumbai: The Indian rupee was down 19 paise at Rs 45.98 per US dollar in early trade today on strong dollar demand from banks and importers amid a sharp decline in the equity market and dollar gains overseas.

The rupee resumed lower at Rs 45.96/97 per dollar on the Interbank Foreign Exchange, as against last weekend`s close of Rs 45.79/80 per dollar, and moved down further to Rs 45.98 per dollar before quoting at Rs 45.91/92 per dollar at 1030 hours.

Fresh dollar demand from banks and importers in view of dollar firmness in overseas markets mainly affected the rupee value against the American currency, a forex dealer said.

The dollar rose against major rivals in the Sydney market in early trade, extending gains made last week when investors turned to the US currency for its perceived safe-haven appeal.

Meanwhile, the Indian benchmark Sensex was down by 222 points, or 1.32 per cent, in early trade today.