By the close of trade on Friday, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

  • The market responded positively following news that China and the US had a agreed to move forward on the trade deal struck towards the close of 2019.
  • The two largest economies in the world agreed to strengthen macroeconomic and public-health co-operation.  Phase 2 clinical trials of a Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s covid-19 vaccine verified its safety, providing a sound foundation for expanded trials and emergency use. Trial production is expected in July, with production workshops now in construction.
  • The US Dollar lost ground, after non-farm payrolls plummeted in April, registering its steepest plunge since the Great Depression. However, it came in slightly better than expected.
  • Unemployment rate rocketed to 14.7%, underscoring the depth of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s economy.
  • The White House has begun informal talks with Republicans and Democrats in Congress about next steps on coronavirus relief legislation.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell on Friday. The yield on 2021 bond declined to 3.82% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.30%.

In early trade on Monday, the US dollar is trading 0.5% lower against the South African rand at R18.2598, while the euro is trading 0.4% lower at R19.8088.    The British pound has declined 0.3% against the South African rand to trade at R22.6941.

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

  • German trade surplus narrowed in March, as exports declined to its lowest level since 1990, as the coronavirus crisis reduced demand for goods from the eurozone’s biggest economy.
  • The European Commission could open a legal case against Germany over a ruling by the country’s constitutional court that the European Central Bank had overstepped its mandate with bond purchases, the EU executive arm said on Sunday
  • Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) President, Christine Lagarde, stated that the eurozone governments might need to borrow an additional EUR1.50tn this year to keep their economies afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on people across the UK on Sunday to return to work if they cannot do so from home, as the Prime Minister laid out his vision for gradually restarting the economy. The government’s previous stance was that people should only go to work “if they must,” Johnson said. “We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.” Also from Wednesday, people in the UK will be able to sunbathe in their local parks, exercise as much as they want and drive to other destinations”, the Prime Minister said..

In early trade on Monday, the euro has advanced 0.1% against the US dollar to trade at $1.0848, while it has weakened 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8729.

Below is a link to a very detailed Covid-19 picture giving stats and graphs.  Well worth a look.  I will add this to my daily report.

Have a great week everyone, hopefully President Ramaphosa will address the Nation this week.