Vaccine rollout day 19 / j & j DAY 3

 By the close of trade on Thursday 18th February 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

  • The US Dollar weakened amid concerns about future inflation and signs of weakness in the US labour market.
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that US$1.9 trillion in pandemic-relief spending is still needed, despite recent strength in retail sales and record levels in U.S. stocks. “It’s very important to have a big package that addresses the pain this has caused,” Yellen said on CNBC Thursday. “The price of doing too little is much larger than the price of doing something big.
  • White House COVD Advisor Andy Slavitt just said the Johnson and Johnson vaccine might not end up being a one dose vaccine. The company is testing, right now, the effectiveness with a booster.
  • The post retail sales rally in the U.S. dollar did not last as the greenback resumed its slide against all major currencies on Thursday. This decline was somewhat surprising given the sell-off in U.S. stocks and rise in 10 year Treasury yields which typically coincides with a stronger dollar. However, the pullback was supported by economic data. While the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index beat expectations, activity slowed from the previous month. Jobless claims also jumped from 793K to 861K last week. Building permits rose 10% but this improvement was offset by a drop in housing starts..
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 6.99%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.81%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 8.75%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.6422, while the euro is trading higher at R17.6812.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.4166.

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

  • Japan’s 10-year government bond yield rises to 0.1%, highest since November 2018.
  • The US is realising that it is impossible to change China through full-frontal antagonism. Instead, the relationship between the world’s leading economic powers must be based on a combination of co-operation and confrontation on key issues. In an OMFIF panel on 10 February, US experts agreed that the administration of President Joe Biden must first identify policies that can work and then intensify efforts, including by interacting with foreign allies, to achieve success.
  • The eurozone consumer confidence picked up more-than-expected in February, despite continued economic lockdowns to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A 250-billion-rupee ($3.5 billion) fund set up by India’s government to complete stalled housing projects is set to deliver its first finished apartments in 2021, offering a template for a problem that has washed out savings of thousands of home buyers and bankrupted developers. The fund will hand over some 16 projects or more than 4,000 homes in the financial year starting April 1, said Irfan A. Kazi, chief investment officer at SBICAP Ventures Ltd., the government-appointed manager of the alternative investment fund.

In early trade on Friday, the euro slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.2066, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8726.