By the close of trade on Thursday, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.

  • A global risk-off mood persists.  If China was hoping to replace the dollar as a term of trade for pricing global commodities like Saudi Arabian oil, or for payment in shipping Brazilian soybeans, then those hopes have been dashed. The dollar is the gold standard. If the euro couldn’t overtake it, the Chinese renminbi (RMB) sure won’t. Add to the fact that many of the core economies are angry with China for a lack of transparency regarding the new SARS coronavirus and it is even less likely that its key trading partners settle trade in the local yuan post-pandemic.
  • South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has announced a slight easing of the nationwide lockdown from the beginning of May.
  • Developing countries need about $1 trillion in debt canceled to free up funds to fight the coronavirus pandemic and avert a massive debt crisis, the United Nations said. Immediate payment waivers coupled with a debt overhaul will help countries stay solvent in the face of as much as $3.4 trillion in obligations due this year and next, according to the UN’s trade and development agency, UNCTAD.
  • In the US, initial jobless claims fell less-than-expected for the week ended 17 April. It took only five weeks for the U.S. economy to wipe out all the job gains it added over the last 11 years. Coronavirus-induced business closures throughout the U.S. have fueled the number of Americans applying for state unemployment benefits. Last week, new jobless claims totaled 4.427 million.  An economy that had been near full employment just two months ago is now in its most dire straits since the Great Depression.
  • The US services PMI fell to a record low in April, while the manufacturing PMI weakened to its lowest level in 11 years, as business activity has slumped due to the lockdowns to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
  • New home sales dropped by the most in over 6.5 years in March and further declines are likely as the novel coronavirus outbreak batters the economy and throws millions of Americans out of work.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds ended mixed yesterday. The yield on 2021 bond declined to 4.17% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 10.85%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading 0.1% lower against the South African rand at R19.0638, while the euro is trading 0.2% lower at R20.5316.   The British pound has declined 0.2% against the South African rand to trade at R23.5448.

By the close of trade on Thursday, the euro declined against most of the major currencies.

  • German consumer confidence index reached a record low in May, given the coronavirus pandemic and amid measures to contain the outbreak.
  • German services and manufacturing PMI suffered a record drop in April.
  • Further, the eurozone business activity index registered its lowest reading since the survey began in mid-1998. Separately, the European Union leaders agreed to build a trillion-euro emergency fund to help recover from the pandemic.

In early trade on Friday, the euro has slipped 0.1% against the US dollar to trade at $1.0769, while it has weakened 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8720.


2,700,742 confirmed cases

190,298 reported deaths

737,562 recovered

South Africa

Confirmed 3,953

Dead 75

Recovered 1,473

Last updated Apr 24, 2020