USD/PKR: Rupee Stable at the Start of 2020 ahead of US Data 

Thursday’s trade saw USD/PKR within the range 154.70-154.94. The pair closed flat at 154.70 for a ninth straight trading day. 

With the official signing of the Phase One trade deal between Beijing and Washington only two weeks away, risk-on sentiment continued to persist amid light trading volumes. 

Meanwhile, a report by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed annual consumer inflation had accelerated to 12.42% in December, or a level unseen since September, from 12.28% in November. Annual inflation was fueled by a sharper increase in prices of food & non-alcoholic beverages, housing & utilities, clothing & footwear, transport and communication. 

In other news, on January 2nd the SBP issued amendments to the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, aimed at simplifying the tax regime for non-resident investors in debt instruments. The amendments are expected to deepen Pakistan’s capital markets, support availability of long-term PKR financing sources and reduce the cost of debt for Pakistan’s government. 

The current foreign exchange framework enables non-residents to invest in debt instruments and government securities via the Special Convertible Rupee Account maintained with domestic banks. The capital gains tax will be subject to withholding at the rate of 10% and will constitute final discharge of the tax liability, the SBP said. 

The US Dollar Index was 0.01% weaker to 96.79 in late Asian trade on Friday. 

Today’s focus will be on the US. Activity in United States’ manufacturing industry probably contracted for a fifth consecutive month in December, with the respective Purchasing Managers’ Index coming in at a reading of 49.0, according to market expectations. In November, the gauge was reported at 48.1 due to a sharper drop in the sub-indexes of new orders and employment. In case the PMI improved more than expected in December, this would have a strong bullish effect on USD due to positive implications regarding US economy’s health. The Institute for Supply Management is to publish the official report at 15:00 GMT. 

At 19:00 GMT the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will release the minutes from its meeting on policy held on December 10th-11th. The minutes offer detailed insights on the FOMC’s monetary policy stance. High volatility of the currency pairs containing USD is usually present after the publication. The Federal Reserve kept its target range for the federal funds rate intact at 1.50%-1.75% last month and indicated no plans for further cuts in 2020. 

USD/PKR was edging up 0.12% to 154.88 in late Asian session on Friday.


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