LOCKDOWN LEVEL 2 [DAY 1]
TOTAL DAYS 143 – 07 HOURS 38 MINUTES
By the close of trade on Friday, the South African rand had marginally strengthened against the Dollar. On Saturday the much awaited announcement by the president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the Republic would move to Alert level 2. The move comes into affect on Tuesday morning. The National Disaster act was however extended on Saturday to the 15th September 2020.
- While France drew most of the attention in Europe Sunday morning, South Korea triggered anxieties in Asia after reporting a staggering 279 new cases on Sunday, breaking above 200 for the first time in five months, with a set of clusters in the greater Seoul area contributing most of the new cases. Of these new cases, 146 were in Seoul and 107 were linked to Sarang Jeil Church, which is led by Reverend Jun Kwang-Hoon, a controversial pastor and an outspoken government critic. SK Health ministry officials said they would file a complaint against the leader of the church for violating social distancing rules.
- Meanwhile, South Korea and the US said they would delay the start their annual joint military drills until Tuesday after a South Korean officer tested positive. That marked a 2 day delay.
- Chinese state media reported that the number of people in Xinjiang with coronavirus who have recovered far exceeded the number of newly reported cases for the 9th day in a row, a sign that the outbreak in the far-flung region dominated by an oppressed Muslim ethnic group is finally starting to wane. Only 4 new cases were reported across the vast region on Sunday, down from 19 new cases across the entire country on Sat. Worldwide, total cases have passed 21.35 million after another roughly 260,000 cases were added yesterday.
- Japan suffered its biggest economic contraction on record in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic crushed business and consumer spending, keeping policymakers under pressure for bolder action to prevent the recession deepening. While the economy is emerging from the doldrums after lockdowns were lifted in late May, many analysts expect any rebound in July-September growth to be modest as a renewed rise in infections keep consumers’ purse-strings tight. Gross domestic product (GDP) shrank an annualized 27.8% in April-June, government data showed on Monday.
- Just as the U.S. labor market shows signs of recovery, tens of thousands of airline workers are preparing themselves for economic pain from the coronavirus pandemic to come in the months ahead. U.S. airlines have warned more than 75,000 employees that their jobs are at risk on Oct. 1 when the terms expire on a $25 billion federal aid package that protects passenger carrier workers’ paychecks, about a month before Election Day on Nov. 3. Despite the recent job gains in the U.S., the Department of Labor earlier this month said 16.3 million Americans are out of work.
- Officials believe the virus was reintroduced to New Zealand from abroad but haven’t yet determined how. The Auckland outbreak has grown to 49 infections, all thought to be connected, giving health officials hope the virus isn’t spreading beyond the cluster. Prime Minister Ardern had the option of delaying the election for up to about two months. Arden said she had called the leaders of all the political parties represented in the parliament to get their views before making her decision Monday.
- In SA, the yield on benchmark government bonds declined yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond dropped to 7.34%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.42% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.17%.
In early trade on Monday, the US dollar is trading 0.1% lower against the South African rand at R17.3713, while the euro is trading marginally higher at R20.5955. The British pound has marginally gained against the South African rand to trade at R22.7602.
By the close of trade on Friday, the euro advanced against most of the major currencies.
- On the data front, the eurozone’s 2Q20 gross domestic product (GDP) dropped in line with investor expectations on an annual basis.
In early trade on Monday, the euro has advanced 0.1% against the US dollar to trade at $1.1856, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.9049
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