By the close of trade on Thursday, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar. News of a new stimulus plan in the US, Vaccines being strategically rolled out and South Africa’s president Ramaphosa addressing the nation topped the end of trade on Thursday.

  • Pfizer Inc. expects to ship half of the Covid-19 vaccines it originally planned for this year because of supply-chain problems, but still expects to roll out more than a billion doses in 2021. “Scaling up the raw material supply chain took longer than expected,” a company spokeswoman said. “And it’s important to highlight that the outcome of the clinical trial was somewhat later than the initial projection.” Pfizer and Germany-based partner BioNTech SE had hoped to roll out 100 million vaccines world-wide by the end of this year, a plan that has now been reduced to 50 million.
  • In the US, the number of people filing first-time claims for jobless benefits fell for the week ended 27 November.
  • Last month’s NFP results beat expectations across the board. By then we were already seeing reports of increased COVID-19 cases, and some areas had already announced new lockdown measures. But that didn’t stop employer optimism. On top of that, the prior month was revised higher. October turned out to be quite a positive month for the US labor market. However, during November we had the uncertainty of the election, Covid-19 cases spiking through prior highs, and more lockdowns reimposed even as many authorities had assured that they wouldn’t return.
  • ISM services industry activity fell in November, amid widespread restrictions on businesses to control surging COVID-19 infections, bolstering views that the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession was running out of steam.
  • Separately, a bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed a $908.00bn coronavirus fiscal package, but hopes for a deal were dealt a blow after the US Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, remained in favor of a smaller package near $500.00bn.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.05%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.58%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue climbed to 9.01%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading marginally lower against the South African rand at R15.1622, while the euro is trading lower at R18.4266. The British pound has declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.4031.

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

  • An investigation to find where around £50bn of “missing” banknotes have been “stashed” should be launched, a committee monitoring the effectiveness of public spending has said. The Public Accounts Committee said the Bank of England needs to “get a better handle on the national currency it controls”. It said authorities have been behind the curve in ensuring access to cash for consumers and businesses, and are failing to understand or act on the dangers of hardship if the UK continues moving towards a cashless society.
  • Sterling could be in for a bumpy December as Britain’s informal membership of the European Union expires at the end of the year and the two sides have yet to agree on their future trading relationship, a Reuters poll found. The pound has travelled a rocky road since Britons voted to leave the EU in June 2016, with the currency fluctuating on any Brexit news. Much like a broken record, Brexit trade talks are rumored to be poised for success on the cusp of a deadline, only to face the same old fundamental differences on fishing rights, legal oversight and fair competition that have dogged the European Union and Britain for months. It was no different on Thursday when EU officials said that the remaining differences couldn’t be bridged in “a matter of hours” despite swirling excitement that a decisive breakthrough was imminent.
  • German services PMI fell in November, as a second lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the services sector deeper into recession, bringing overall private sector activity in Europe’s largest economy to a near halt.
  • In contrast, retail sales rallied more than expected in October, mainly thanks to a surge in online shopping as a second wave of COVID-19 infections surfaced.

In early trade on Friday, the euro marginally advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.2166, while it has marginally gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.9032.