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

  • US equities plummeted on Thursday as investors grew warier of rising coronavirus case counts and mulled cautious commentary from the Federal Reserve. All three major indexes posted their biggest single-day declines since March 16. A much-feared second wave of COVID-19 infections is becoming likelier in some states as reopening efforts continue. Texas reported its third straight day of record coronavirus hospitalizations, while Florida notched its worst weekly increase in cases. Arizona and California also revealed spikes in new cases. The surging case counts pushed the US total above 2 million.
  • US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Thursday that another economic shutdown would harm the US, even in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
  • In the US, producer price index (PPI) rebounded on a monthly basis in May, amid a surge in the cost of meat, but the underlying trend in producer inflation remained subdued.  The number of people filing for unemployment benefits declined for the week ended 5 June.
  • On the data front, South Africa’s manufacturing production index tumbled on an annual basis in April, intensifying weakness in the sector.
  • Further, mining production plummeted to its worst levels yet in April, as the lockdown weighed on the sector.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.61%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.15% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.14%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading 0.4% higher against the South African rand at R17.2331, while the euro is trading 0.3% higher at R19.4576.  The British pound has gained 0.1% against the South African rand to trade at R21.6518.

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

  • Britain’s housing market remains depressed despite a pick-up in enquiries from people looking to buy, but estate agents are expecting a sharp increase in demand for homes with gardens over the next two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite estate agents being allowed to reopen in England on 13 May following an eight-week shutdown, sales and house prices continued to fall across the UK in May, according to a monthly survey of surveyors and estate agents from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).
  • Seasonally adjusted reading of Italian industrial output slightly improved on a monthly basis in April.
  • Japan’s economy probably hit bottom but the strength of recovery would depend not just on domestic demand but overseas developments, said Finance Minister Taro Aso during his parliamentary address on Friday.

In early trade on Friday, the euro has slipped 0.1% against the US dollar to trade at $1.1290, while it has gained 0.2% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8986.

The snow has fallen across the Cape, winter has come and with the cold, the minister of Police has made public his intention to push for an alcohol ban.  Keep warm this weekend and be safe. Infection rise it at its highest per day!

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