LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 20]  

TOTAL DAYS 389 – 7 HOURS 35 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 76 / J & J VACCINE DAY 64 [SUSPENDED DAY 6]

By the close of trade on Friday 16th April 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.

  • Just as some patients recovering from Covid-19 suffer long-lasting symptoms, it’s becoming clear that the same will be true for the global economy once this year’s V-shaped rebound fades. While $26 trillion worth of crisis support and the arrival of vaccines have fueled a faster recovery than many anticipated, the legacies of stunted education, the destruction of jobs, war-era levels of debt and widening inequalities between races, genders, generations and geographies will leave lasting scars, most of them in the poorest nations.
  • In the US, house building surged to nearly a 15-year high on monthly basis in March.
  • Michigan consumer sentiment index rose less than expected in April.
  • At least five rockets hit the Iraqi military airbase at Balad north of Baghdad, wounding two Iraqi soldiers, the Iraqi military said in a statement. Security officials had said earlier that the Katyusha rockets had fallen on the area of the base that houses US contractors, and that no casualties had been reported. No group immediately claimed the attack on Sunday, but armed groups that some Iraqi officials say are backed by Iran have claimed similar incidents in the past. US officials have blamed Iranian-backed militias for regular rocket attacks aimed at US facilities in Iraq, including the US Embassy in Baghdad.
  • A new understanding is emerging at talks aimed at salvaging Iran’s nuclear deal with global powers, Tehran’s chief negotiator said on Saturday according to Iranian state media, as China’s delegate also reported progress. Abbas Araqchi said after a meeting of remaining parties to the 2015 deal that the Iranian delegation had submitted proposed texts on nuclear issues and the lifting of sanctions, and that work on a common text, “at least in areas where there are common views”, could begin. Iran has breached many of the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear activities in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the deal under the Trump administration.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.16%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.88% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.04%.

In early trade on Monday 19th April 2021, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R14.2836, while the euro is trading lower at R17.0826.  The British pound has declined against the South African rand to trade at R19.7677.

By the close of trade on Friday 16th April 2021, the euro advanced against most of the major currencies.

  • In the Eurozone, consumer price index (CPI) rose in line with expectations on monthly basis in March.
  • The U.K. economy is building momentum, with real-time indicators suggesting consumers have started to splurge some of the cash they’ve saved now that the government has loosened lockdown rules. Restaurant bookings and job postings surged to the highest since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, while road traffic and the number of people traveling to workplaces grew in recent weeks, data from Bloomberg Economics and government statistics show. Shops and bars were allowed to reopen on April 12, and most restrictions are set to lapse by June 21. With more almost two thirds of adults in the U.K. immunized against the Covid-19 virus.  Over 400 financial firms in Britain have shifted activities, staff and a combined trillion pounds ($1.4 trillion) in assets to hubs in the European Union due to Brexit, with more pain to come, a study from New Financial think tank said on Friday.
  • Asking prices for homes up for sale across Britain have reached the highest level on record in the past month, fresh figures from Rightmove suggest. The average asking price jumped over £6,700 to a new ‘all-time high’ of £327,797 in a single month, with buyers flocking to snap up homes with ample outdoor space and options for home working. On a monthly basis, average asking prices climbed over 2 per cent amid ‘frenzied’ buyer activity, and on an annual basis asking prices have risen by 5.1 per cent.
  • Quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand has restarted, reconnecting families, businesses, and tourists more than a year after COVID-19 restrictions created an invisible barrier across the Tasman. From today, travelers from Australia will be permitted to enter New Zealand without spending two weeks in mandatory isolation upon arrival. The system is conditional on the number of cases in each jurisdiction. However, it is poised to rejoin families after an extended period apart, and slowly mend the $2.7 billion hole left in New Zealand’s economy when Australian tourists were first barred from
  • Osaka set to ask gov’t to reimpose COVID-19 emergency according to news from the Governor.  Japanese exports posted a double-digit increase for the first time in more than three years in March as the recovery picked up in key markets abroad. The value of overseas shipments gained 16.1% from a year ago, led by exports of cars, plastics and non-ferrous metals, the finance ministry reported Monday. Economists had forecast an 11.4% increase. The figures were boosted by comparison with data from 2020 when the coronavirus was slamming global trade.
  • Having rebounded from its worst month since 2019, China’s yuan is facing a new wave of selling pressure as hundreds of companies prepare to exchange the currency to pay dividends. Chinese firms listed in Hong Kong are expected to pay nearly $68 billion in dividends this year, which would be nearly 17% higher than 2020’s amount. That means they’ll step up swapping the yuan for the city’s dollars in coming months. This comes after the yuan rebounded about 0.5% from March’s 1.3% drop, when risk assets were sold off due to a spike in Treasury yields.  Deutsche Bank AG is replacing its global pricing engine for emerging-market currencies in London with one in Singapore, drawn by surging trading in Asia and the increasing importance of the Chinese yuan. Locating new and more powerful computer hardware in the city-state will help the bank shave vital fractions of seconds from the time it takes to execute orders in the region.

In early trade on Monday 19th April 2021, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1962, while it has weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8672.