The rupee declined by 26 paise to 74.54 against the US dollar in opening trade on Tuesday, tracking the strength of the American currency in the overseas market.

Forex traders said growing concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus and its impact on economic recovery as well as firm crude oil prices weighed on the local unit.

At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened weak at 74.49 against the US dollar, then fell further to 74.54 against the greenback in early deals, registering a decline of 26 paise from the last close.

On Monday, the rupee settled at 74.28 against the US dollar.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, rose by 0.04 per cent to 96.25.

Global oil benchmark Brent crude futures rose by 0.53 per cent to US$ 79.40 per barrel.

On the domestic equity market front, the 30-share Sensex was trading 323.98 points or 0.55 per cent higher at 59,507.20, while the broader NSE Nifty advanced 88.95 points or 0.5 per cent to 17,714.65.

Foreign institutional investors remained net buyers in the capital market on Monday, as they purchased shares worth Rs 902.64 crore, as per exchange data.

Meanwhile, India’s exports in December 2021 surged 37 per cent on an annual basis to US$ 37.29 billion, the highest-ever monthly figure, on the back of healthy performance by sectors like engineering, textiles and chemicals, even as the trade deficit widened to US$ 21.99 billion.

Imports in December too rose by 38 per cent to US$ 59.27 billion on account of an increase in oil imports, which soared 65.17 per cent to US$ 15.9 billion, government data showed on Monday.