By the close of trade on Wednesday, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

  • It’s abundantly clear that U.S. lawmakers aren’t going to agree on the amount of aid to send to state and local governments. President Donald Trump has made such support into something of an “us versus them” issue ahead of Election Day, claiming House Speaker “Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19,” in a tweet on Tuesday that called off fiscal stimulus negotiations.
  • Data showed a slight recovery in South Africa’s business confidence index for September.
  • In the US, minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s September monetary policy meeting showed that senior central bank officials thought the US economy was recovering faster than expected, but many had anticipated another stimulus package before the end of this year.
  • On the data front, US consumer borrowing surprisingly declined in August, as credit-card balances dropped for a sixth consecutive month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.25%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.56%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.55%.

In early trade on Thursday, the US dollar is trading 0.1% higher against the South African rand at R16.6463, while the euro is trading 0.1% higher at R19.5862.  The British pound has gained 0.2% against the South African rand to trade at R21.5252.

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

  • European Council President Charles Michel has said it is “time for the UK to put its cards on the table” over a post-Brexit trade deal. He tweeted the comment after a call with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier on Wednesday. Formal talks between the two sides ended last week, but officials are still trying to come to an agreement. No 10 said, during the call, the PM had “reiterated that any deal must reflect what the British people voted for”. Mr. Johnson also said that “businesses and citizens needed certainty very soon on the terms of our future relationship”.  The pound slid on Wednesday, after a report that the UK government could pull out of Brexit talks as soon as next week if not enough progress has been made towards a deal.
  • German industrial output unexpectedly dropped on a monthly basis in August, following three months of relatively strong increases, suggesting that the recovery in Europe’s largest economy from the coronavirus shock is starting to lose steam.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) President, Christine Lagarde, pledged not to remove monetary support until the coronavirus crisis is over, reinforcing her message that central banks and fiscal authorities must work together.

In early trade on Thursday, the euro has advanced 0.1% against the US dollar to trade at $1.1771, while it has weakened 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.9102.