Vaccine rollout day 09           

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

  • In the US, trade deficit widened to its highest level in 12 years in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the flow of goods and services.
  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday that American workers who earn $60,000 per year should receive stimulus checks as part of the White House’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. “The exact details of how it should be targeted are to be determined, but struggling middle class families need help,” Yellen said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The White House has said it is open to negotiation on who should be eligible to receive the proposed $1,400 checks, and has declined to specify where it thinks the income cutoff should be.
  • Friday’s US labour market update disappointed with details in the report painting an even grimmer picture. President Biden noted the report highlighted the risk of doing “too little”, reaffirming his commitment to get a big stimulus done with or without Republican support. US equities closed modestly higher, encouraged by the idea of more fiscal spending. The UST curve steepened a little bit more with an uptick on inflation expectations driving the move up in longer dated yields.
  • Nonfarm payrolls increased less-than-expected in January, strengthening the case for a sizable relief package from the US government in order to aid the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that Tehran’s “final and irreversible” decision was to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal only if Washington lifts sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Iranian state TV reported. The deal between Iran and six major powers limited Iran’s uranium enrichment activity to make it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear arms – an ambition Iran has long denied having – in return for the easing of U.S. and other sanctions.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly rose on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 6.63%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.63%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 8.45%.

In early trade on Monday 8th February 2021, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.8922, while the euro is trading higher at R17.9266.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.6636.

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

  • Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Monday morning trade, as investors monitored shares of China’s tech giants following the release of new anti-monopoly guidelines over the weekend. Chinese tech shares rose higher despite concerns that Beijing was tightening restrictions on the country’s tech giants. Hong Kong listed shares of Chinese tech giants Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com rose in Monday morning trade. Tencent advanced 2.11%, Alibaba edged 0.7% higher while JD.com jumped 1.62%. China’s State Administration for Market Regulation released a new set of rules that will likely put pressure on leading internet platforms.
  • German factory orders fell more-than-expected in the month of December, as the impact of coronavirus restrictions dragged down demand from other eurozone countries.

In early trade on Monday, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.2066, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8826.


The health department has temporarily slammed the brakes on the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after a new study showed it was not effective against the dominant 501Y.V2 variant.  The 2nd curve ball is that the vaccine has an expiry date of April 2021.