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

  • The South Africa Reserve Bank purchased R10.20bn in government bonds in May, as part of its effort to ease liquidity pressures in the local financial system.
  • China’s trade surplus surged to a record in May as exports fell less than expected, helped by an increase in medical-related sales, and imports slumped along with commodity prices. Exports decreased 3.3 per cent in dollar terms from a year earlier, beating economists’ estimates, while imports plunged 16.7 per cent. That resulted in a trade surplus of US$62.93 billion.
  • The Federal Reserve will stand up to applaud the surprisingly encouraging May jobs report but won’t make any other move to alter its “low-for-longer”interest-rate policy.
  • Nonfarm payrolls unexpectedly rose in May, signalling that the downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic was probably over, though the road to recovery could be long. Unemployment rate fell during the same period.  On the flipside, average hourly wages declined in May.
  • Meanwhile, the US President, Donald Trump, stated that the US has already produced 2 million coronavirus vaccine doses that are ready to go once scientists figure out whether it is safe and effective.
  • OPEC and allied nations agreed Saturday to extend a production cut of nearly 10 million barrels of oil a day through the end of July, hoping to encourage stability in energy markets hard hit by the coronavirus-induced global economic crisis. Ministers of the cartel and outside nations led by Russia met via video conference to adopt the measure, aimed at cutting the excess production depressing prices as global aviation remains largely grounded due to the pandemic.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.48%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.10% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 8.92%.

In early trade on Monday, the US dollar is trading 0.4% lower against the South African rand at R16.8046, while the euro is trading 0.4% lower at R18.9738. At 06:00 SAST, the British pound has declined 0.1% against the South African rand to trade at R21.3469.

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

  • German factory orders fell to its lowest level since records began in 1991, on a monthly basis in April.
  • The Chinafication of Hong Kong has global CEOs and investors eyeing alternative financial capitals in Asia. Not surprisingly, the smart money is on Singapore or Taiwan. What is startling, though, is how little attention – if any – relocation teams are paying to East Asia’s bigger economic powers: Japan and South Korea.

In early trade on Monday, the euro has marginally slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1291, while it has weakened 0.3% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8889

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