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

  • In the US, the Federal Reserve is committed to using its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy in this challenging time, thereby promoting its maximum employment and price stability goals. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world. The pace of the recovery in economic activity and employment has moderated in recent months, with weakness concentrated in the sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic. Weaker demand and earlier declines in oil prices have been holding down consumer price inflation.
  • The dollar index stood at 90.679, holding onto a 0.6% gain on Wednesday. Many Asian bourses skidded by more than 1% on Thursday after U.S. stocks suffered their biggest one-day percentage drop in three months on Wednesday. In addition to concerns about corporate earnings and the economic outlook, worries that hedge funds squeezed out of short positions in GameStop Corp and similar companies will take profits on other assets also fueled risk aversion.
  • On the data front, capital goods orders increased for an eighth straight month in December, pointing towards growth in business spending on equipment in the fourth quarter.
  • President Joe Biden launched government-wide actions through an executive order on climate change that will now be coordinated by a new White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy. Climate change is an “existential threat” to the US, Biden said 27 January in a televised address, as he called for a “unified” national and global response. Led by the first-ever National Climate Advisor, Gina McCarthy, who headed the US Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, and Deputy National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, the new office will implement Biden’s domestic climate agenda.
  • China’s overnight money market rate jumped to the highest in 15 months amid continued drainage of liquidity by the PBOC and a warning by a PBOC advisor that asset bubbles have formed in the stock and property markets.  China’s overnight repo spiked even higher, surging to its highest since March 2015, as investor jitters over liquidity mounted due to the central bank’s accelerating withdrawals.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 6.68%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.57%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 8.74%.

In early trade on Thursday, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R15.2929, while the euro is trading lower at R18.4922.   The British pound has marginally declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.9000.

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

  • The headline read “ECB officials said to see markets underestimating rate-cut odds”. This headline coincided with the opening of the US stock market. Stocks already moving lower into the open and continued moving lower after the open. This was a double whammy for the EUR/USD as the ECB comments pushed the Euro lower and the move lower in stocks helped push the US Dollar higher (EUR/USD lower). EUR/USD quickly moved lower on the ECB comments.
  • German consumer morale fell more-than-expected heading into February, on account of extended coronavirus induced lockdown measures.

In early trade on Thursday, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.2096, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8849.


Health Dept states, You’ll need the means to get online, and to prove your identity, to get in line for a Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa””.

If your local public health facility doesn’t have a generator, you could be out of luck!

The department of health held a webinar late into Wednesday night to talk mostly in broad strokes about the state of SA’s vaccine plans.  What is becoming glaringly apparent is that we don’t have a solid game plan!

The healthcare workers who are due to receive top priority, workers vaccinated via their employers, and uninsured people will all have to register via government’s Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) to get an appointment.  The EVDS uses an online “self enrolment” portal. Those who qualify for a shot are sent an SMS with a time and place, and must show a unique code to the vaccinator. They must also show ID at the vaccination site.

There is no mention yet of an alternative way to book a vaccine, for those without internet access or ID documents.

Private providers who handle vaccinations as contractors to the state are due to be paid between R50 and R60 per vaccination, including VAT, said health department advisor Aquina Thulare.