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

  • South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa extended the country’s level 3 lockdown restrictions to 15 February, with 20 land borders closed and the ban on alcohol sales remaining in place. Curfew remains in place 21h00 – 05h00.
  • On the data front, the manufacturing production index fell on an annual basis in November.
  • In a letter to Speaker Pelosi, Vice President Mike Pence says he will not invoke the 25th Amendment. There will be no removal of Trump ahead of the inauguration scheduled for 20th January 2021.  “I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution.  The House on Tuesday passed legislation [U.S. House votes 223-205] calling on Vice President Pence to tap his constitutional authority to remove President Trump from office in response to the president’s role in the deadly mob attack on the Capitol last week. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) led the resolution, which calls on Pence, joined by other members of the Cabinet, to oust Trump by activating the 25th Amendment, which allows for the president’s removal if he’s deemed “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
  • President Trump has declared a state of Emergency in Washington DC.
  • Meanwhile, in the US, Boston Federal Reserve (Fed) Bank President, Eric Rosengren stated that the US economy could see a strong rebound in 2H21, on account of widely available vaccinations. However, he stated that the virus is still driving the economy and monetary policy will remain accommodative.
  • With the sharp move higher in interest rates, markets have been on the lookout for inflation creeping up. So Wednesday’s December CPI will be important even if it still shows a muted rise in the consumer price index. According to Dow Jones, economists expect an increase of 0.4% month over month, and 1.3% year- over- year. Core CPI, less food and energy, is expected to be up 0.1% or 1.6% year-over-year, versus 0.2% and 1.6% in November. The rapid move higher in bond yields since the start of the year has been accompanied by rising inflation expectations.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 6.68%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.49% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 8.78%.

In early trade on Wednesday, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R15.1922, while the euro is trading lower at R18.5666.  The British pound has declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.7827.

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

  • The new coronavirus variant found in the UK has already been detected in Germany, France, Spain, Ireland and Denmark, with some countries requiring negative COVID tests from inbound travelers.
  • The resilience of euro is remarkable. The single currency ended the day higher against the US dollar and Japanese Yen despite German Chancellor Merkel’s warning that the lockdown may last for 8 to 10 weeks if the numbers don’t improve. She reportedly told her conservative party counterparts that “If we don’t manage to hold off this British virus, we will have a 10-fold incidence by Easter.” The government also warned that there could be no travel until late May.
  • On January 7, 2021, the Japanese government announced a state of emergency for the prefectures of Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa that will run from January 8 to February 7. Due to the high risk of COVID-19 infection, bars and restaurants have been asked to shorten operating hours, while residents have been requested to work from home where possible and refrain from going outside unnecessarily after 8:00 pm. As of January 13, reports indicate that seven other prefectures, including Osaka and Aichi, are set to join the state of emergency. This is the second time the government has announced a state of emergency

In early trade on Wednesday, the euro has advanced 0.1% against the US dollar to trade at $1.2214, while it has weakened 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8924.