Vaccine rollout day 3           

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

  • US House Secures Enough Votes To Pass Budget Plan, Fast-Tracking Biden’s $1.9Tln Covid Relief Package.  Meanwhile Republicans in the U.S. House have voted to retain Liz Cheney as their No. 3 leader, rebuffing a push by pro-Trump conservatives to oust her. Cheney was one of just 10 House Republicans who voted last month to impeach Trump.
  • Today will see U.S. Treasury Sec Yellen convene a meeting with the heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission to discuss recent volatility in financial markets.
  • St. Louis Fed President, James Bullard stated that the coronavirus pandemic should ease over the first half of the year and give way to “very strong” US economic growth during 2021.
  • Chicago Fed Bank President, Charles Evans forecasted a rapid economic rebound this year, despite stating that monetary policy will need to remain super-easy to boost “too low” inflation.
  • The Dallas Fed President, Robert Kaplan backed more spending across a variety of fronts as the US economy tries to shake off the Covid-19 pandemic effects.
  • On the data front, private payrolls rebounded more-than-expected in January. Non-farm payrolls (NFP) are monthly measurements of how many workers there are in the US, excluding farm workers and a few other job types such as government workers, private households and non-profit employees. The data is collected on a monthly basis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and put into the ‘Employment Situation’ report, which also includes the unemployment rate. The report is released on the first Friday of every month at approximately 8:30am EST – which is 1:30pm GMT.
  • The U.S. economy is showing some scattered signs of picking up from an end-of-year slowdown. New claims filed for unemployment benefits have fallen for two straight weeks, while January payrolls are forecast to rebound from a December swoon in data out on Friday. Managers in charge of buying supplies for U.S. companies reported increased business last month and homebuilders said demand remained robust.
  • The ISM services industry activity climbed to its highest level in nearly two years in January, with growth in new orders and employment accelerating.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 6.63%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.62%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 8.44%.
  • In local news former President Jacob Zuma and his Pal Ace Magashule hogged the headlines as Zuma remained defiant of a ConCourt ruling to appear before the Zondo Commission and Ace Magashule stated we should ignore the Constitution “for now as Zuma has done nothing wrong.”  A showdown at the OK CORAL looms large as Zuma sets the two factions front and square within the ANC ruling party.

In early trade on Thursday, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.9816, while the euro is trading marginally higher at R17.9950.  The British pound has declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.3822.

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

  • Italy’s Matteo Renzi believes the country will be in “very good hands” with Mario Draghi after the former European Central Bank chief accepted a mandate to try to form a new government. Following a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday, Draghi agreed to try to form a national unity government and solve the political impasse that has afflicted Italy for about a month.
  • Business activity across the German service sector contracted for a fourth month in January, as a stricter lockdown hit businesses and put Europe’s largest economy on track for contraction.
  • The eurozone’s economic downturn deepened in January, as renewed restrictions to quell the spread of the coronavirus hit the bloc’s dominant service industry.  After surging this year to the highest since 2018 against the dollar, the euro is losing its luster and strategists are beginning to pull back on their bullish views. The shared currency on Wednesday touched the lowest level in two months on concern the European Union is facing tens of billions of euros of lost economic output because of delays in rolling out vaccines to stem the pandemic.
  • The eurozone consumer price index (CPI) rebounded by much more than expected in January, pushed up by a jump in prices in Germany and the Netherlands.
  • The 26th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) took place via videoconference on Wednesday, 3 February 2021, under the Chairmanship of HRH Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, and Co-Chair HE Alexander Novak, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. The Committee emphasized the ongoing positive contributions of the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) in supporting a rebalancing of the global oil market in line with the historic decisions taken at the 10th (Extraordinary) OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting on 12 April 2020.

In early trade on Thursday, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.2066, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8872.


  • More people are now vaccinated against COVID-19 than have been infected by the virus that has swept the globe over the past year, a milestone on the road to ending the pandemic, based on data reported on Wednesday. Despite the landmark data, it remains unclear how long it will take to vaccinate the world. Many of those vaccinated have received only one of two doses required. A total of 104.9 million vaccine doses have been administered, according to University of Oxford-based Our World in Data here and the latest data on Wednesday from the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.