LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 13]  

TOTAL DAYS 382 – 7 HOURS 35 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 70 / J & J VACCINE DAY 58

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

  • Locally there are just days of reckoning for Zuma and Judge Hlophe. Will the ConCourt and JSC imprison and push to impeach respectively?
  • Hideki Matsuyama’s historic win at Augusta National is going to make him very rich. The 29-year-old became the first Japanese man to win a golf major by finished 10-under to win the Masters by one shot from American debutant Will Zalatoris. Masters win ‘worth a billion dollars’ Matsuyama’s victory will see him rival Naomi Osaka as the most famous athlete in Japan and could make him a billionaire, according to two-time US Open winner Andy North.
  • In the US, producer price index (PPI) increased more than expected in March, resulting in the largest annual gain in 9-1/2 years and likely marking the start of higher inflation as the economy reopens amid an improved public health environment and massive government aid. The U.S. economy is at an “inflection point” with expectations that growth and hiring will pick up speed in the months ahead, but some risks remain, particularly any resurgence in the coronavirus pandemic, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said.
  • Wholesale inventories increased slightly more than initially estimated in February amid a decline in sales.
  • The European Union’s top diplomat said on Sunday Russia and China were hampering a united international response to Myanmar’s military coup and that the EU could offer more economic incentives if democracy returns to the country. “It comes as no surprise that Russia and China are blocking the attempts of the U.N. Security Council, for example to impose an arms embargo,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a blog post.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.42%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.15% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.28%.

In early trade on Monday 12th April 2021, the US dollar is trading  higher against the South African rand at R14.6266, while the euro is trading higher at R17.3935.  The British pound has marginally declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.0172.

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

  • German trade surplus narrowed in February, as exports to the UK and other EU states fell.
  • In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country’s top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost. Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu. Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses abroad while trying to promote doubt about the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine made using the previously experimental messenger RNA, or mRNA, process.
  • The Federal Government has abandoned its target of offering every eligible Australian their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by October 31. In a Sunday night statement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “it is not possible” to provide new timelines given “uncertainties” in the rollout. The confirmation comes days after Australian health authorities recommended those under 50 receive alternatives to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was a cornerstone of the nation’s rollout scheme.
  • Japanese wholesale prices marked their first annual increase in more than a year in March, data showed on Monday, a sign that rising commodities costs are pinching corporate margins, adding inflationary pressure to the world’s third-largest economy.  Japanese bank lending rose 6.3% in March from a year earlier, data showed on Monday, as restaurants and hotels sought more loans to weather the hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Deposits held by banks were also up 9.9% in March as households continued to save rather than spend on uncertainty over the pandemic’s fallout, the Bank of Japan data showed. Outstanding loans held by the country’s four main categories of banks, including “shinkin” or credit unions, hit a fresh record at 579.995 trillion yen ($5.29 trillion), according to the data. In February, total loans increased 6.2%.

In early trade on Monday, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1927, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8572.