• Pakistan Rupee (PKR) heads lower
  • Domestic equities fall on covid concerns
  • US Dollar (USD) trades mildly higher versus major peers
  • US jobless claims unexpectedly fall

The US Dollar Pakistan Rupee (USD/PKR) exchange rate is on the rise on Thursday after a subdued start to the week. The pair closed a few pips lower in the previous session at 152.50. At 14:30 UTC, USD/PKR trades +0.7% at 153.60.

The Rupee is under pressure as covid cases rise and domestic equities fall. The benchmark Karachi 100 closed 0.8% lower on concerns over rising infections in the country. Just yesterday the National Command and Operations Centre Chief warned of a lockdown in major cities if numbers didn’t start to decline.

Elsewhere foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan fell by $63 million compared to the previous week to $16,043.9 million. This was owing to an external debt payment.

The US Dollar is rising across the board on Thursday. The US Dollar Index, which measures the greenback versus a basket of major currencies trades +0.07% at the time of writing at 91.22 as it continues to recover from a 7 week low hit earlier in the week.

Last week’s improvement in the US labour market continued. Data revealed that 547,000 Americans made initial claims. This was down from 586,000 recorded last week and defied a rise to 617,000 that analysts had penciled in.

Jobless claims are at the lowest level since the pandemic started and show that the recovery in the labour market remains on track. With the vaccine drive in the US well under way, the economy is reopening which is helping the US labouor market recover.

This has been the most important macro data release for the US Dollar this week, a week which has been dominated by US earnings season. Earnings have broadly been upbeat supporting the narrative of an improving economic picture.

Looking ahead tomorrow sees the release of the closely watch PMI data which will offer further clues over the health of the economy.