• Pakistan Rupee (PKR) holds steady under 159.00
  • Current account deficit drops 55% YoY
  • US Dollar (USD) rises versus major peers on elevated bond yields
  • US Fed Chair Jerome Powell to testify before congress

The US Dollar Pakistan Rupee (USD/PKR) exchange rate is trading flat on Tuesday after booking gains in the previous session. The pair settled +0.03% lower on Monday at 158.80. At 10:15 UTC, USD/PKR trades at the same level at 158.80.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan recorded a current account deficit of higher foreign expenditure compared to income for a second straight month in January. The current account deficit was $229 million mainly owing to an increase in imported food items, industrial raw material and machinery.

The growth in industrial goods and machinery imports points to expansion in businesses and economic activity. The growth in remittances helped to offset some of the impact of higher import payments.

The current account deficit was 55% lower in January compared to January 2020. It was also 65% lower compared to December 2020.

This level of account deficit is considered sustainable by analysts who believe that the account deficit will remain between $200 – $300 million per month for the coming months.

Whilst the US Dollar is trading flat versus the Rupee, it is rising firmly versus its major peers. The US Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against 6 major trades +0.15% at the time of writing after picking up from a near 6 week low in the Asian session.

Attention will now turn to US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s semi-annual testimony before Congress. His appearance comes amid rising inflation expectations on the back of economic recovery optimism, which saw the yields on the US 10 year treasury yields surge to 1.40.

Fed Powell is expected to provide assurance that this Fed will not respond to rising inflation expectations with an immediate rate hike. This could drag on demand for the US Dollar.

Federal Chair Jerome Powell is in a tough position where he needs to express confidence in the recovery without putting so much emphasis that it sends bond yields even higher.