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

  • The greenback lost ground, after the Federal Reserve projected that the US economy would shrink 6.5% in 2020 and forecasted a 9.3% unemployment rate for this year end. Further, the central bank decided to keep benchmark interest rates near zero through 2022, while keeping up at least its current pace of bond buying to support credit markets through the pandemic. The Federal Open Market Committee is all but certain to keep its benchmark overnight rate in a target range of zero to 0.25 per cent when it wraps up its two-day meeting on Wednesday.
  • On the data front, US consumer price index (CPI) fell for a third straight month in May and underlying inflation remained weak, as demand was subdued due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • China’s new yuan-denominated loans continued to rise in May amid the country’s enhanced support for channeling funds to the real economy, official data showed Wednesday. New yuan loans hit 1.48 trillion yuan (about 209 billion U.S. dollars) in May, a year-on-year increase of 298.4 billion yuan.
  • China has been accused by Brussels of running disinformation campaigns inside the European Union, as the bloc set out a plan to tackle a “huge wave” of false facts about the coronavirus pandemic. The European commission said Russia and China were running “targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns in the EU, its neighborhood, and globally”. While the charge against Russia has been levelled on many occasions, this is the first time the EU executive has publicly named China as a source of disinformation.
  • Meanwhile, business confidence for 2Q20 in South Africa plummeted to its lowest level since the survey began in 1975, as the nation’s already-weak economy grappled with the unprecedented shock of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.59%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.13% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.11%.

In early trade on Thursday, the US dollar is trading marginally higher against the South African rand at R16.5310, while the euro is trading 0.2% higher at R18.8277.  The British pound has declined 0.1% against the South African rand to trade at R21.0468.

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

  • The OECD stated that the pandemic has caused the deepest global recession in a century, with the UK set to feel the biggest impact among developed nations.

In early trade on Thursday, the euro has advanced 0.1% against the US dollar to trade at $1.1389, while it has gained 0.3% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8945.

Keep warm as a cold front moves across the country.

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