• Pakistan Rupee (PKR) weakens for second straight day
  • Pakistan fiscal deficit widened in H1 FY2020/1
  • US Dollar (USD) traces US treasury yields higher
  • US jobless claims expected 830,000

The US Dollar Pakistani Rupee (USD/PKR) exchange rate is extending gains for a second consecutive session. The pair settled +0.06% on Wednesday at 159.90. At 09:45 UTC, USD/PKR trades +0.38% at 160.50.

The Ministry of Finance reported that the fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP widened to 2.5% in the first half of the fiscal year 2020/21 (July – December). The country experienced a 2.7% fiscal deficit in the same period in 2018 – 19. Although in the first half of 2019-20 the fiscal deficit was 2.3% of GDP.

Meanwhile total expenditure in the first 6 months of full year 2020/21 amounted 9.9% of GDP.

Separately the price of oil was on the rise. West Texas Intermediate trades +0.85% at the time of writing on Thursday, its fifth straight day of gains. WTI has rallied over 7.5% across the week so far.

The US Dollar is trading higher across the board on Thursday. The US Dollar Index which gauges the greenback against 6 major peers trades +0.25%, boosted by rising US Treasury yields amid an improving outlook for the US economy.

The mood towards the US Dollar has been improving lately, boosted by the prospect of a massive covid stimulus package under the Joe Biden Administration. Furthermore, the ramping up of the vaccination drive and improving economic data are adding to upbeat sentiment towards the greenback.

US ADP payroll data released on Wednesday showed that the US private sector added 174,000 new jobs in January after shedding 123,000 in December. Analysts had penciled in 49,000 jobs to have been added.

Today investors will be looking towards the release of US jobless claims data ahead of Friday’s closely watched non-farm payroll data. Expectations are for 830,000 Americans to have signed up for unemployment benefits. This would represent a marginal fall from 847,000 last week.