CURRENCY PATROL LOCKDOWN DAY 38 06 HOURS 37 MINUTES
* Last week, S&P Global Ratings lowered the credit rating for South
Africa by one notch to “BB-“, citing significant adverse implications of the
coronavirus pandemic on the country’s already weakened economy.
* US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday (May 3) said “enormous
evidence” showed the new coronavirus originated in a lab in China, further
fueling tensions with Beijing over its handling of the outbreak. Pompeo’s
comments came as Europe and parts of the United States prepared to
cautiously lift virus lockdowns as signs emerge that the deadly pandemic is
ebbing and governments look to restart their battered economies.
* White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday he would
not rule out anything in a new relief bill to ease the “tremendous
hardships” of the coronavirus outbreak, including more money for state and
local governments and small businesses. More than 30 million Americans have
joined the unemployment benefit rolls over the past six weeks and lawmakers
on Capitol Hill are discussing a fourth coronavirus relief bill.
* Even a calamity of disease, death and economic destruction
afflicting the world all at once isn’t enough to suppress the notion in some
quarters that inflation could return with a vengeance. The coronavirus
crisis has killed hundreds of thousands, incapacitated millions and affected
the livelihoods of billions – prompting policy makers to fear a deflation
spiral reminiscent of the Great Depression.
* U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in December, posting the worst
drop in nine years in a sign of slower economic momentum at year-end amid
financial market turmoil and the government shutdown. The value of overall
sales fell 1.2 percent from the prior month after a downwardly revised 0.1
percent increase in November, according to Commerce Department figures
released Thursday after a four-week delay due to the shutdown.
20 days as he celebrated the completion of a fertilizer factory near
Pyongyang, state media said Saturday, ending an absence that had triggered
global rumors that he may be seriously ill.
* In the US, people filings for unemployment benefits came in
higher-than-expected for the week ended 24 April, as the wave of economic
* Personal spending and income fell more than expected in March,
reflecting the growing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
* Further, the Chicago PMI fell to its lowest level since 2009 in
* Manufacturing sector’s contraction accelerated in April, with
activity sinking to an 11-year low, as strict measures to slow the spread of
the novel coronavirus weighed on demand and fractured supply chains.
* Construction spending unexpectedly rose in March.
* The yield on benchmark government bonds fell on Thursday. The yield
on 2021 bond declined to 4.02% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue
fell to 10.26%.
In early trade on Monday, the US dollar is trading 0.4% higher against the
South African rand at R18.8820, while the euro is trading marginally higher
at R20.6650. The British pound has gained 0.1% against the South African
rand to trade at R23.5306.
* On the data front, German retail sales fell less than expected on a
monthly basis in March.
* The eurozone economy contracted by a record low on a quarterly basis
in 1Q20, as the coronavirus pandemic severely impacted business activity in
* Separately, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that it had
kept interest rates unchanged but was ready to increase its coronavirus
stimulus program if needed, as the eurozone faces a deep economic crisis.
In early trade on Wednesday, the euro slipped 0.3% against the US dollar to
trade at $1.0944, while it has marginally gained against the British pound
to trade at GBP0.8782.
NOVEL CORONAVIRUS STATS
247,229 reported deaths