LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver1 [ DAY 28]  

TOTAL DAYS 369 – 7 HOURS 30 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 57 / J & J VACCINE DAY 45

By the close of trade on Monday 29th March 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.  In South Africa we woke to the news that top ANC Official Ace Magashule [ANC Secretary General] has been given 30 days to vacate his office or face suspension.

  • The Federal Reserve is not keeping monetary policy easy so the government can continue running up debts and deficits, Fed Governor Christopher Waller said Monday. Defending the Fed’s independence from the fiscal authorities in Congress, Waller rejected notions that the central bank is holding borrowing costs low to help service the debt, nor is it conducting asset purchases to finance the debt-laden federal government.
  • Swiss bank Credit Suisse said Monday it may have suffered a “highly significant” loss from a default by a U.S.-based hedge fund on margin calls that it and other banks made last week, while Japan’s Nomura said it could face a loss of $2 billion due to an event with a U.S. client. Credit Suisse didn’t identify the “significant” hedge fund or the other banks affected, or give other details of what happened. News reports identified the hedge fund as New York-based Archegos Capital Management.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.42%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 5.33%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.44%.

In early trade on Tuesday, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R14.8966, while the euro is trading lower at R17.5257.  The British pound has declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.5122.

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

  • In the UK, outdoor sport facilities, including tennis courts and golf courses, have reopened, and organised outdoor sports are resuming, as the country’s stay-at-home COVID-19 restrictions gradually come to an end. However, UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has urged caution, stating that cases are up in Europe and variants threaten the vaccine rollout.
  • The top decision making body of the Chinese parliament unanimously approved a plan on Tuesday to reform Hong Kong’s electoral system, the South China Morning Post reported citing the city’s sole representative to the body. The National People’s Congress Standing Committee approved the plan by a vote of 167-0, the paper said, citing comments from Tam Yiu-chung, who represents Hong Kong on the committee.
  • In South Africa a review before Parliament on the state and readiness of the South African Defense force and SA Borders were in a shambles.  New fences installed on the border with Zimbabwe and Mozambique around a year ago had been torn down.  With the growing Al Shabab insurgency going on in the far North of Mozambique is of major concern.

In early trade on Tuesday, the euro has marginally advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.1772, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8566.