LOCKDOWN DAY 52 07 HOURS 05 MINUTES
By the close of trade on Friday, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.
- In South Africa frustration is building among scientists over the government’s apparent lack of willingness to make key, detailed Covid-19 data accessible ahead of a meeting of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Monday. Fears about a resurgence of coronavirus infections hurt sentiment towards emerging markets. South Africa on Sunday recorded an astonishing 1160 new positive coronavirus cases, the highest spike the country has seen in a single day.
- China’s commerce ministry says it will take “all necessary measures” in response to new U.S. restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei’s ability to use American technology, calling the measures an abuse of state power and a violation of market principles. On Friday there was a startling escalation in the trade and tech war between the US and China, when the Trump administration moved to block global chip supplies to blacklisted telecom equipment company Huawei Technologies, spurring fears of Chinese retaliation and hammering shares of U.S. producers of chipmaking equipment.
- In the US, retail sales registered a second straight month of record declines in April, as the novel coronavirus pandemic kept Americans at home.
- The US industrial production posted its largest monthly drop in April in the 101-year history of the data series. On the contrary, the Michigan consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose in May, following massive stimulus measures undertaken by the government to sustain the economy.
- Reports indicated that the House of Representatives was set to vote on another $3.00tn coronavirus package, to blunt the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said a U.S. economic recovery may stretch deep into next year and a full comeback may depend on a coronavirus vaccine.
- The unemployment could soar above 30% but the U.S. economy will avoid a Depression-like economic plunge, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told “60 Minutes” in an interview aired Sunday.
- The yield on benchmark government bonds fell on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.80%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.98% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.58%.
In early trade on Monday, the US dollar is trading 0.4% lower against the South African rand at R18.5064, while the euro is trading 0.4% lower at R20.0326. At 06:00 SAST, the British pound has declined 0.4% against the South African rand to trade at R22.4072.
By the close of trade on Friday, the euro advanced against most of the major currencies.
- The Bank of England is looking more urgently at options such as negative interest rates and buying riskier assets to prop up the country’s economy as it slides into a deep coronavirus slump, the BoE’s chief economist was quoted as saying.
- The European Union should impose a temporary ban on Chinese takeovers of companies that are currently undervalued or have business problems because of the coronavirus crisis, the leader of the bloc’s largest political alliance said on Sunday.
- German gross domestic product (GDP) further contracted on a quarterly basis in 1Q20, adversely affected by the early stages of nationwide lockdowns implemented in March to curtail the coronavirus pandemic.
- The eurozone economy saw its deepest contraction on record in 1Q20, as a result of lockdowns introduced in March to slow the coronavirus pandemic.
In early trade on Monday, the euro marginally advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.0825, while it has gained 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8940.
Below is a link to a very detailed Covid-19 picture giving stats and graphs.