Mumbai: The Indian rupee strengthened marginally on Thursday, tracking gains in its Asian peers as the greenback held near a two-month low following weak retail sales data out of the US. A fall in global crude oil price also lent support to the domestic currency.

In early deals, the rupee traded at 71.40 a dollar, a tad higher than Wednesday's close of 71.44. The Indian unit had opened at 71.38 a dollar.

Retail sales in the US fell for the first time in seven months in September. The US Commerce Department retail sales fell 0.3% last month as households slashed spending on building materials, online purchases and especially automobiles.

Global oil prices fell after an industry report showed a sharp jump in US inventories, adding to concern that supply keeps growing as demand ebbs.

Back home, the yield on the 10-year Indian government bond was at 6.457% today compared with its previous close of 6.466%.

In pre-opening today, the benchmark Sensex was up 0.17% or 67.35 points at 38666.34. So far this year, the index has gained 7.02%.

In the year so far, the rupee has weakened 2.1%, while foreign investors have bought nearly $8.60 billion in Indian equities and $3.94 billion in debt.

Other Asian currencies also traded higher. Philippines peso was up 0.15%, South Korean won 0.14%, Malaysian ringgit 0.12%, Taiwan dollar 0.08%, Singapore dollar 0.08%, Indonesian rupiah 0.06%.

The dollar index, which measures the US currency’s strength against a basket of major currencies, was at 97.994, down 0.01% from its previous close of 98.002.

Bloomberg contributed this story

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