Vaccine rollout day 29 / J & J VACCINE DAY 16      

By the close of trade on Monday1st March 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

  • South Africa’s seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) expanded at a faster pace in February, supported by an increase in new sales and business activity.
  • In the US, ISM Manufacturing PMI increased to a three-year high in February, amid a surge in new orders, but factories continued to face higher costs for raw materials and other inputs amid labour shortages as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
  • Federal Reserve Board Governor, Lael Brainard stated that the coronavirus pandemic laid bare a number of weaknesses in the financial system that should be addressed with new rules to prepare for the next shock.
  • The Biden administration is preparing to impose sanctions against Russia over the poisoning and jailing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny, according to three congressional aides briefed on the plans. The sanctions will be unveiled as early as Tuesday, the aides said, offering no specifics and describing the moves on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement. The measures will involve the State, Treasury and Commerce Departments, according to one aide.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.24%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 5.20%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 8.96%.

In early trade on Tuesday, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R15.0527, while the euro is trading marginally higher at R18.1022.  The British pound has marginally declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.8936.

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

  • The Chinese embassy in Britain on Monday expressed grave concern over and strong opposition to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s wrong remarks about Hong Kong. “The UK side’s remarks confuse right and wrong, and interfere in China’s internal affairs and judicial sovereignty. The Chinese side expresses its grave concern and strong opposition,” said a spokesperson for the embassy in a statement. Over a recent decision to charge 47 people, the statement said the handling of this case by the Hong Kong judicial authorities is in line with the law and brooks no distortion or discredit.
  • Australia has been riding the recent commodities boom. And if a super cycle does develop, it could be in for some substantial growth. But, there is a particular challenge that they have to overcome in the short term, which might put it behind other countries during the recovery. Australia was one of the slowest countries in the developed world to begin their COVID-19 vaccination program. In fact, the first jabs only started on Feb 22. Australia has secured orders for more than enough vaccines for their population. However, their schedule is more extensive than other nations.
  • Central banks need to be prepared to act on inflation moving in either direction, according to former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King, who warned against excessive confidence that price growth will remain low. The recent rise in bond yields indicates that markets are aware of the risks, King said in a Bloomberg Television interview Monday.
  • The eurozone factory activity increased in February, on account of soaring demand, although the burst of business led to a shortage of raw materials and a spike in input costs.
  • German manufacturing PMI rose to its highest level in more than three years in February, brightening the outlook for Europe’s largest economy.
  • Crude oil futures rallied in the Asian session before paring gains as the European session progressed as traders look ahead to the OPEC+ meeting this week. OPEC and allies meet on March 4th with market participants looking at a likely lower of output constraints.

In early trade on Tuesday, the euro slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.2066, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8692.