LOCKDOWN LEVEL 2 [DAY 28]
TOTAL DAYS 172 – 07 HOURS 25 MINUTES
By the close of trade on Friday, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.
- South Africa’s Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, stated that economy will likely contract this year by more than the 7.0% previously forecast by the Treasury.
- In the US, consumer prices rose more-than-expected on a monthly basis in August, with the cost of used cars and trucks accelerating by the most in more than 51 years, as people shunned public transportation because of fears of contracting COVID-19. Further, the US Treasury Department stated that the federal budget deficit officially surpassed $3.00tn in August and is on pace to hit $3.30tn when the fiscal year ends this month.
- Historic wildfires are burning millions of acres and destroying homes in California, Oregon and Washington state, as officials brace for more fatalities and evacuations. The fires have killed at least 33 people across the states and dozens more are missing. More than 1 million acres of land in Oregon have been burned and at least 10% of the state’s population is in evacuation zones. The state has dealt with the worst destruction as blazes have already decimated two towns. In Oregon, more than 40,000 people have fled their homes and many are still missing, according to Gov. Kate Brown.
- For millions of Americans this week, a temporary $300 bump in their unemployment checks will be their last. Funding for President Donald Trump’s $300 unemployment benefits is starting to run out, leaving nearly 30 million people on unemployment benefits with only a fraction of their past wages. In a statement to Business Insider, the Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed on Thursday that states setting up their Lost Wages Assistance programs will get six weeks of funding dating back to August 1. That puts the end of the federal initiative at September 5, the final benefit week.
- Energy producers and communities along the U.S. Gulf Coast organized evacuations of residents and offshore workers on Sunday as they prepared for the second hurricane strike in less than a month. Royal Dutch Shell Plc began shutting some of its offshore drilling operations on Sunday in preparation for Tropical Storm Sally, forecast to become a hurricane before making landfall on Tuesday, the company said.
- The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly rose on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.23%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.44%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.32%.
In early trade on Monday morning, the US dollar is trading 0.1% lower against the South African rand at R16.7054, while the euro is trading 0.1% lower at R19.7908. The British pound has marginally gained against the South African rand to trade at R21.4098.
By the close of trade on Friday, the euro advanced against most of the major currencies.
- The European Union has made it clear there is no guarantee it will add Britain to its list of approved third countries for food imports, London’s top Brexit negotiator David Frost said on Sunday. Earlier, Frost’s EU counterpart Michel Barnier said the bloc had not refused to add the UK to its list. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said any refusal would amount to a “blockade” of food trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.
- The ECB board member, Isabel Schnabel stated that the bank will eventually tighten its ultra-loose monetary policy but only when the current economic crisis is over. The ECB Chief Economist, Philip Lane stated that there was no room for complacency as inflation will be persistently low in the coming years.
- On data front, German consumer price index (CPI) fell on a monthly basis in August.
- In the UK, data showed that the economy continued to recover in July but remains below pre-pandemic levels.
- Japan’s likely next prime minister is a huge fan of Shinzo Abe. That doesn’t mean Yoshihide Suga is a carbon copy. Indeed, the shades of difference between the two men on some key issues are important, particularly when the economy in question is the world’s third-largest, a critical part of global manufacturing and trade, and a pioneer of ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing. The first issue to consider is Japan’s consumption tax. Increases have been blamed for past recessions and top ministers have tiptoed around the topic.
- Germany’s Christian Democrats were set for an election win in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Sunday, an exit poll showed, but their share of the vote shrank, denting state premier Armin Laschet’s ambitions to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In early trade on Monday, the euro has advanced 0% against the US dollar to trade at $1.1849, while it has weakened 0.2% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.9241.