The rupee depreciated 3 paise to 64.96 against the US dollar in early trade on Friday at the forex market on increased demand for the US currency from importers and foreign fund outflows.

Strength in dollar against other currencies overseas as traders eye next week’s US Federal Reserve meeting, and a lower opening in domestic equities kept pressure on the domestic unit, dealers said.

Meanwhile, data released by the commerce ministry showed, exports grew by 4.5 per cent in February, the lowest expansion in the last four months, to USD 25.8 billion as shipments of engineering, textiles and gems and jewellery declined, while trade deficit narrowed to a five-month low of USD 12 billion.

Yesterday, the rupee fell by 10 paise to end at 64.93 against the American currency due to sustained foreign fund outflows amid growing prospects of rate hike by the US Fed next week.

Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex fell 136.94 points, or 0.40 per cent, to 33,548.60 in opening deals on Friday.