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

  • On the data front, South Africa’s producer price index (PPI) jumped to a four-month high in July.
  • In the US, the Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, in his virtual Jackson Hole symposium speech, stated the Federal Reserve has a new inflation strategy. Instead of focusing on curbing price pressures, they will now allow inflation and employment to overshoot their targets in order to attain long term price stability. This new approach follows nearly a decade of inflation falling short of their 2% target. Even before COVID-19, the Fed had been thinking about changing its focus. This decision was made after more than a year of analysis and ushers in a new phase for the central bank.
  • On the data front, US annualized gross domestic product (GDP) in 2Q20 dropped, underscoring the devastation to the economy by the coronavirus pandemic. US jobless claims came in just over the 1m mark with continued claims at 14.53m. Both largely in line with expectations
  • The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose for the week ended 21 August, suggesting that the labour market recovery was stalling as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and financial aid from the government dries up.
  • The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) set yuan parity with the US dollar at 6.8903 on Thursday morning in Shanghai, the first time since late January this year that parity has been set stronger than the 6.9000 level.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond advanced to 7.41%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond rose to 4.57% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue dropped to 9.29%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading 0.4% lower against the South African rand at R16.9657, while the euro is trading 0.2% lower at R20.0938.  The British pound has declined 0.1% against the South African rand to trade at R22.5028

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

  • The European Central Bank (ECB) Chief Economist, Philip Lane, stated that the eurozone economy is growing as the ECB projected in June, as localised increases in coronavirus infections were already factored in.
  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold a press conference from 5 p.m. Friday, in what some ruling party lawmakers believe is an attempt to dispel concerns about his health. It is rumored the Japanese PM Abe could use the conference to resign due to his ill health.

In early trade on Friday, the euro had advanced 0.2% against the US dollar to trade at $1.1841, while it has weakened 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8945.

Last weekend of August 2020 have a great day and weekend ahead.