By the close of trade on Friday, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.  Onn Monday morning the news of Super Spreader events such as Matric Rage were contributing to the sudden surge in new infection numbers.

  • In the US, data showed that the country added the fewest workers in six months in November, as rising coronavirus cases coincided with a considerable slowdown in hiring.
  • Meanwhile, unemployment rate dipped in November. Further, trade deficit widened less-than-expected in October, suggesting trade could contribute to economic growth in 4Q20.
  • China’s export machine cranked up another gear in November, as shipments surged at the fastest pace in almost three years, data released by the country’s customs agency on Monday showed. Exports grew by 21.1 per cent last month from a year earlier, from 11.4 per cent in October and well above the consensus result of a survey of analysts, conducted by Bloomberg, which predicted 12 per cent growth. This was the highest growth rate since February 2018, when exports grew by 44.5 per cent. This was the sixth consecutive month of export growth, with China’s factories continuing to capitalise on coronavirus lockdowns.
  • The United States is preparing to impose sanctions on at least a dozen Chinese officials over their alleged role in Beijing’s disqualification of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong, according to three sources, including a U.S. official familiar with the matter. The move, which could come as soon as Monday, will target officials from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as President Donald Trump’s administration keeps up pressure on Beijing in his final weeks in office. President-elect Joe Biden takes over on January 20, 2021.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond dipped to 6.98%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.57%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue dropped to 8.94%.

In early trade on Monday, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R15.2322, while the euro is trading higher at R18.4822.  The British pound has marginally gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.4466.

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

  • UK Families built up £100billion of ‘excess savings’ in lockdown and are already spending it, a senior Bank of England official has claimed. A nationwide spending spree could help the economy to recover more quickly than forecasters have predicted.  There is huge ‘pent-up demand’ following the Covid lockdowns.  When restaurants, pubs and non-essential shops were closed, many people spent more on other things instead. ‘People have shown their willingness to [be flexible] where they spend and how they spend.
  • German seasonally adjusted industrial orders rose more-than-expected on a monthly basis in October, raising hopes that the manufacturing sector in Europe’s biggest economy started the fourth quarter on a solid footing during a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On the Brexit front, the UK and the European Union have resumed talks on post-Brexit trade. Early on Monday, Boris Johnson told the EU that Britain must have “freedom” to make its own rules last night as cabinet ministers said he should pursue a no-deal Brexit unless Brussels backs down. The prime minister and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, last night agreed to a “final throw of the dice” this week to salvage a deal. But a senior No 10 figure warned the chances of getting an agreement were now “no better than 50-50” after more than four years and five months of talks.
  • EU foreign ministers will evaluate grounds for sanctions against Turkey over a Mediterranean gas dispute on Monday before the bloc’s leaders decide whether to make good on their threat to impose punitive measures. Ministers will not take decisions at their meeting on Monday, leaving that to Thursday’s summit of EU leaders, who in October told Turkey to stop exploring in disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean or face consequences. Turkey’s move in late November to return a seismic exploration vessel to port has calmed tensions.

In early trade on Monday, the euro advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.2134, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.9038.