Mumbai, Jan 17 (Agencies): Rupee dropped further by 24 paise against the US currency on persistent dollar demand from banks coupled with sustained capital outflows by foreign funds in view of weak equity markets.

In fairly active trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the local currency opened lower at 45.42/43 per dollar as against the last weekend's level of 45.36/37 per dollar and declined further to 45.60 per dollar before quoting at 45.51/52 per dollar.

It moved in the range of 45.42 per dollar and 45.60 per dollar during Monday morning deals.

The Indian benchmark Sensex failed to maintain initial gains and eased by 6.34 points or 0.03 per cent in the early trade.

Meanwhile, crude oil was mixed in Asian trade on Monday amid expectations that prices would soon hit USD 100 a barrel again, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, eased two cents to USD 91.52 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for March delivery was five cents higher at USD 98.43.