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

  • The SA The High Court judgment that declared levels 3 and 4 of the lockdown unconstitutional and invalid has been described by some experts as flawed, with one saying if it goes on appeal, it will most likely be overturned. This comes as the government on Thursday indicated it intends to appeal the court’s ruling.
  • The greenback lost ground, after data showed that the US trade deficit widened in April, as the COVID-19 pandemic upended the global flow of goods and services, pushing exports to a 10-year low.   President Trump is set for another address on China today.
  • Meanwhile, the number of people filing for first time unemployment claims rose more-than-expected in the week ended 30 May. Millions more Americans lost their jobs in May, on top of the 20.5 million in April, and economists believe the unemployment rate rose to near 20%, the likely peak in the Covid-19 recession. Economists are forecasting about 8.3 million jobs were lost, and that the unemployment rate rose to 19.5%, according to Dow Jones.
  • Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is aiming to produce 2 billion doses of a coronavirus vaccine, including 400 million for the U.S. and U.K. and 1 billion for those in low- and middle-income countries. It plans to start distributing the vaccine to the U.S. and U.K. in September or October, with the balance of deliveries likely to be made by early 2021
  • Canada’s labor market is expected to show a third steep decline in May as most health-related shutdowns were extended, with a slower pace of job losses not enough to prevent unemployment from reaching a record 15%.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.35%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.09% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 8.72%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading 0.1% lower against the South African rand at R16.8997, while the euro is trading 0.1% lower at R19.1532.  The British pound has declined 0.1% against the South African rand to trade at R21.2801.

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

  • Euro rallied higher against the US dollar for the eighth consecutive trading day, marking the longest stretch of gains for the currency pair since April 2011. The European Central Bank was widely expected to boost its bond buying program and today, they delivered. However instead of adding 500 billion euros to their Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program, they increased PEPP by EU600 billion and extended the duration of their purchases to at least June 2021. Further, the ECB kept the key interest rates unchanged at its latest monetary policy meeting.
  • On the data front, the eurozone retail sales further dropped in April, as shopping declined for nearly all items, including food and drink, during a full month of coronavirus lockdowns across the bloc.
  • British consumer confidence in late May fell to its lowest level since the global financial crisis over a decade ago as people worried about a rise in unemployment and falling house prices caused by the coronavirus crisis, a survey showed on Friday.

In early trade on Friday, the euro has marginally slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1333, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.9000.

Below is a link to a very detailed Covid-19 picture giving stats and graphs.