• Pakistan Rupee (PKR) slips for a second straight session
  • Rising cement & steel prices could hamper construction sector recovery
  • US Dollar (USD) slips versus major peers as market mood improves
  • US jobless claims, durable goods and PCE in focus

The US Dollar Pakistan Rupee (USD/PKR) exchange rate is advancing on Wednesday for a second straight session. The pair settled +0.3% higher in the previous session at 160.30. At 10:15 UTC, USD/PKR trades +0.1% at 160.50.

The price of cement and steel has continued to trend higher as global demand for both commodities has surged since the announcement of covid vaccine developments in late October.

Steel and cement are the main inputs for the construction sector. The rising prices of these commodities are hampering the recovery of construction activity in Pakistan. Given that this is the second largest employment generating sector in Pakistan after agriculture, the news is concerning.

Oil prices were also showing signs of recovery after falling steeply at the start of the week.

The US Dollar is trading higher versus the Pakistan Rupee. However, the green back is edging lower versus its major peers. The US Dollar Index which gauges the US Dollar versus a basket of 6 major peers trades -0.2% lower.

The US Dollar is retreating amid a slightly improved mood in the market amid the reopening of the UK French border for freight transport. This signaled a step towards normality bringing some calm to the markets.

Even so the likelihood is that the new virus strain has established itself in Europe and the US so looking ahead more and tighter lockdowns could be on the cards.

The US Dollar was shrugging off news that Trump was throwing into doubt the US covid rescue package. So far the President has refused to sign the package saying that the direct payments to Americans at $600 was to small.

Attention will now turn to US data with jobless claims, durable goods data and personal income and spending figures.