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INR bank notes
  • Indian Rupee (INR) trades flat for second day
  • AstraZeneca vaccine could be available by January
  • US Dollar (USD) rises versus major peers on safe haven inflows
  • US economy expected to contract in Q1 -1%

The US Dollar Indian Rupee (USD/INR) exchange rate traded flat on Friday for a second straight day. The pair flat on Thursday at 74.10. At 17:15 UTC, USD/INR trades just a tick higher at 74.11. The pair is on track to book losses of -0.6% across the week, after booking gains of 0.8% across the previous week.

India could have access to the AstraZeneca vaccine by January according to the head of the factory contracted by AstraZeneca to make the vaccine. The news comes as the number of coronavirus cases in India crosses 9 million and after AstraZeneca announced that its covid vaccine candidate produced a robust immune response, particularly in older adults. Phase 3 trials are awaited and these will reveal how effective the vaccine is.  Given that Moderna and Pfizer have both confirmed that their vaccine candidates are 95% effective which bodes well for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

India has the world’s second highest number of infections and whilst health care workers and elderly Indians could have the vaccine as soon as January, it could take as many as two to three years for the whole of India’s 1.3 billion population  to be covered.

Meanwhile the US Dollar is trading higher versus its major peers. The US Dollar Index which measures the greenback versus its major peers trades 0.1% higher. The US Dollar is advancing on safe haven flows as fears over rising covid cases and the fallout of tighter lockdown restrictions unnerve investors.

The risk of sentiment was also evident in US stock markets with the S&P 500  and the Dow Jones trending lower.

Confirming investor fears, investment bank JP Morgan are forecasting a contraction in the US economy next quarter. The world’s largest economy is expected o shrink by 1% in the January – March period.