Rising for the third day, the rupee appreciated by 23 paise to trade at a three-week high of 68.32 against the US dollar on Friday amid easing food prices, and continued selling of the greenback by banks and exporters.
Forex dealers said besides sustained selling of the American currency by exporters as well as banks, a higher opening in the domestic equity market supported the rupee.
According to two sets of official data released on Thursday, industrial production slipped to a seven-month low of 3.2 per cent in May due to sluggish performance of manufacturing and power sectors, while retail inflation continued to remain firm in June on costlier fuel.
Retail inflation spiked to a five-month high of 5 per cent in June on costlier fuel, despite easing food prices, reducing the possibility of an interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank in its upcoming monetary policy review.
Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex was up 112.10 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 36,660.51 in early trade.