By the close of business on Monday 4th January 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.

  • Wall Street’s main indexes fell nearly 2% on the first trading day of the year on Monday as nerves over the outcome of runoff elections in Georgia this week countered optimism over a vaccine-driven recovery in the global economy. The Dow was also dragged down by a near 4.3% fall in Boeing Co’s shares after Bernstein cut its rating to “underperform”, saying issues with MAX 787 could significantly hurt the U.S. plane maker’s free cash flow.
  • In the US, Cleveland Fed President, Loretta Mester stated that US economic growth could surge later this year if most people are vaccinated against the coronavirus, but the gains would unlikely be enough for the Federal Reserve (Fed) to withdraw its support.
  • Atlanta Fed President, Raphael Bostic stated that the Fed could begin to trim its monthly asset purchases this year if distribution of coronavirus vaccines boosts the economy as expected.
  • The Chicago Fed President, Charles Evans stated that the US central bank’s current policy stance is “well-positioned” and that by springtime it would become clearer if or how the Fed needs to adjust its asset purchase program.
  • On the data front, US manufacturing activity picked up at its briskest pace in more than six years in December, extending a recovery in the factory sector that has spurred the strongest pricing environment for goods producers since 2011 as the coronavirus pandemic upends supply chain networks.
  • Pretoria born Elon Musk’s current net worth is $155.6 billion and he is now the 2nd richest person in the world at fifty years old according to Forbes. Musk’s net worth has grown by over $132.2 billion over the past year due to the Tesla stock price. He is one of the greatest technology entrepreneurs of all time based on equity returns and his personal net worth ranking.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 6.56%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.41% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 8.64%.

In early trade on Tuesday, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R14.6222, while the euro is trading lower at R17.9765.  The British pound has declined  against the South African rand to trade at R19.9266.

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

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson orders national lockdown for England, starting at midnight.  Boris Johnson imposed a third coronavirus lockdown across England, shutting schools and ordering the public to stay at home, amid dire warnings that the National Health Service is at risk of being overwhelmed.
  • The emergency measures will start immediately and last until at least Feb. 15, potentially devastating retail and hospitality businesses and threatening to push the economy into a double-dip recession, as medics try to get a grip on the pandemic.
  • Eurozone manufacturing activity increased at its fastest pace since mid-2018, suggesting the bloc’s economy was less hard hit by the pandemic than earlier in the year.
  • German factories churned out more goods in December despite a stricter lockdown to head off a spike in coronavirus deaths in Europe’s largest economy.

In early trade on Tuesday, the euro has advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.2362, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.9066.