By the close of trading on Thursday, the South African rand had strengthened against the US dollar.

  • Mining production in South Africa unexpectedly rose on an annual basis in September, driven by iron ore production.
  • In the US, number of people filing for unemployment benefits rose to a five-month high for the week ended 8 November.
  • Producer price index (PPI) increased by the most in six months in October, boosted by gains in costs of goods and services.
  • The Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell, reiterated his stance that the current economic expansion is on a sustainable footing, with few indications of an imminent downturn despite risks from the long-running US-China trade war, a slowdown in business investment and weakness abroad.
  • Dallas Fed Bank President, Robert Kaplan, stated that he does not expect the US economy to enter a recession next year, and is optimistic that strong consumer spending can help the economy overcome potential headwinds.
  • On the contrary, St Louis Fed president, James Bullard, stated that the key risk facing the US economy is a sharper-than-expected slowdown, despite the Fed’s recent interest rate cuts.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on 2020 bond declined to 6.88% while that for the longer-dated 2026 issue fell to 8.41%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading 0.3% lower against the South African rand at R14.7833, while the euro is trading 0.3% lower at R16.2970.  The British pound has declined 0.3% against the South African rand to trade at R19.0444.

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

  • In the eurozone, seasonally adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) rose in 3Q19 as Germany narrowly escaped a technical recession during the same period.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President, Luis De Guindos, stated that Europe’s growth remained below potential and that the central bank needs to pay close attention to the situation.

In early trade on Friday, the euro has marginally advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.1025, while it has gained 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8561.

Tomorrow the MSC Orchestra calls in to Durban at 06h00.   As this is her first time at Durban she will be met at the port entrance by two or three tugs who will “spray” her down with their water cannons.  This is always a spectacular sight.  The ships entrance also coincides with the opening of the Promenade extension so there will be loads of elevated space to see the MSC Orchestra enter the harbor.  I believe the weather is also favorable.