The rupee appreciated 38 paise to settle at 74.66 against the US dollar on Friday tracking weakness in the greenback and gains in the domestic equity market amid optimism over potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Forex traders said investors were bullish on emerging market assets following encouraging vaccine test results. Moreover, positive domestic equities, steady crude oil prices and weak US currency supported the local unit.

The rupee opened at 74.60, and settled for the day at 74.66 against the US dollar, registering a jump of 38 paise over its previous close.

It had settled at 75.04 against the greenback on Thursday.

During the four-hour trading session, the rupee witnessed an intra-day high of 74.60 and a low of 75.02.

A potential COVID-19 vaccine indigenously developed by the Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila Healthcare has got approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for human clinical trials.

The approval process was fast-tracked following recommendation by the subject expert committee on COVID-19, considering the emergency and unmet medical need during the pandemic.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, fell 0.11% to 97.20.

On the domestic equity market front, the 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex was trading 145.54 points higher at 35,989.24 and broader NSE Nifty rose 45.30 points to 10,597.00.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market as they sold shares worth ₹ 556.72 crore on Thursday, according to provisional exchange data.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, fell 1.11% to USD 42.66 per barrel.

Meanwhile, the number of cases around the world linked to COVID-19 has crossed 1.08 crore and the death toll has topped 5.20 lakh.

In India, the death toll due the disease rose to 18,213 and the number of infections spiked to 6,25,544, according to the health ministry.

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