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

  • In the US, President Donald Trump announced that he would leave the Oval Office if the Electoral College elects former Vice President, Joe Biden, as is expected on 14 December 2020.
  • The Trump administration is poised to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC and national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, according to a document and sources, curbing their access to U.S. investors and escalating tensions with Beijing weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.  The Department of Defense was planning to designate four more Chinese companies as owned or controlled by the Chinese military, bringing the number of Chinese companies affected to 35.
  • President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Janet Yellen to head the Treasury Department offers the clearest look yet at how his administration aims to drive an economic recovery. The former Federal Reserve chair is set to enter the Cabinet as the first woman to run the department and become the first person to lead the Treasury, Fed, and White House Council of Economic Advisers.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.05%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.35%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue climbed to 8.95%.

In early trade on Monday, the US dollar is trading marginally higher against the South African rand at R15.2436, while the euro is trading lower at R18.2475.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.3322.

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

  • In the eurozone, economic sentiment fell for the first time in seven months in November, as a second COVID-19 wave struck the continent, particularly affecting the services and retail industry.
  • Separately, the Bank of England (BoE) Chief Economist, Andy Haldane, stated that inflation could rise by more-than-expected, as progress on COVID-19 vaccines and huge amounts of stimulus raised the chances of a swift economic bounce-back.
  • The UK is in the “last leg of negotiations” with the EU over a post-Brexit trade deal, the foreign secretary has said. Dominic Raab during an interview stated it was likely the talks were entering the “last real major week”, and an agreement remained possible if the EU showed “pragmatism”. He added that the talks now depended on resolving a “fairly narrow” set of issues, including fishing rights. Negotiators are racing to reach a deal, with a looming deadline in four weeks.
  • Oil-producing group OPEC, and its allies, will likely delay an output hike at its meeting this week as it weighs positive vaccine news against new coronavirus lockdowns and resurgent shale drilling in the U.S. The coalition known as OPEC+, which comprises some of the world’s largest crude producers, will begin a two-day meeting Monday to discuss the next phase of its production policy. It agreed to the largest single output cut in history back in April, but that reduction of 9.7 million barrels per day was subsequently scaled back to 7.7 million in August.
  • Japan’s industrial production maintained its pace in October even amid a resurgence of the coronavirus at home and abroad. Factory output gained 3.8% from September, when it advanced 3.9%, the economy ministry reported Monday. Analysts had forecast a 2.4% gain. Production has risen for five straight months, the longest streak since 2016, amid rebounds from a collapse in May during a nationwide state of emergency. A separate report showed retail sales rose 0.4% in October from the previous month, compared with a 0.5% gain forecast by economists.

In early trade on Monday, the euro marginally advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.1988, while it has weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8964.