LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 17]  

TOTAL DAYS 386 – 7 HOURS 35 MINUTES 

Vaccine rollout day 73 / J & J VACCINE DAY 61 [SUSPENDED DAY 3]

By the close of trade on Thursday 15th April 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar. In South Africa the Health Minister launched the Electronic Vaccination Programme which can be found at https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/

  • The U.S. dollar struggled to rally on Thursday despite very strong U.S. economic reports. According to the latest releases, the U.S. economy roared back to life in March and early April. Retail sales, the most anticipated piece of U.S. data this week blew expectations as stimulus checks and vaccinations fueled robust demand. Consumer spending jumped 9.8 percent in the month of March, easily outpacing the market’s 5.9 percent forecast. This was the strongest increase since May of last year. Gas and auto sales contributed to the rise but spending ex autos still rose 8.4 percent.
  • Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased to the lowest level since mid-March 2020 for the week ended 10 April.
  • In response to the rocket fired from Gaza at Israel earlier tonight, IDF fighter jets and attack helicopters just struck a Hamas weapons manufacturing site, a weapon smuggling tunnel and a military post.
  • China’s economy grew at a record pace in the first quarter, official data showed on Friday, expanding 18.3% from a year earlier as the recovery from the coronavirus slump accelerated. The growth in gross domestic product (GDP) was slower than the 19% forecast by economists in a Reuters poll, and followed 6.5% growth in the fourth quarter last year. It was the strongest growth since at least 1992 when official quarterly records started. China’s economy has largely recovered from last year’s COVID-19 induced paralysis, fuelled by global vaccination progress, resilient exports and government stimulus.
  • Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took sweeping action against 16 entities and 16 individuals who attempted to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the direction of the leadership of the Russian Government. This announcement follows the Intelligence Community’s (IC) “Assessment of Foreign Threats to the 2020 U.S. Federal Elections.” The IC assessment addresses the intentions and efforts of key foreign actors, including Russia, to influence or interfere with the U.S. elections and undermine public confidence in the election process.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.25%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.97% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.09%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.2072, while the euro is trading higher at R16.9866.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R19.5572.

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

  • German consumer price index (CPI) rose in line with market expectations on a monthly basis in March.
  • This week, the ECB published an overview of the consultation responses it received on its digital euro survey. The results show a variety of demands a digital euro would need to fulfil, including privacy, security, low costs and ease of use

In early trade on Friday 16th April 2021, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1957, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8722.