LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 23]
TOTAL DAYS 392 – 7 HOURS 35 MINUTES
Vaccine rollout day 79 / J & J VACCINE DAY 67 [SUSPENDED DAY 9]
By the close of trade on Wednesday, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar. In SA Zuma’s legal woes ramped up a notch as his legal team informed the Kwa Zulu Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg that they were no longer defending him. Zuma’s trial date is set to commence in just under a month.
- President Cyril Ramaphosa set a date for Local government Elections for the 27 October 2021. Now the Minister of COGTA Minister must Proclaim the date. Should be a formality but one never knows.
- Global economic growth depends on advanced economies recovering, but isolationism will likely be a theme in the years ahead The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently released its World Economic Outlook report. It has revised higher the gross domestic product (GDP) of America and other advanced economies. A quick look at low-income economies doesn’t reveal similar upgrades, but the news is still good because low-income economies have a hard time growing without growth in advanced economies. A faster and stronger recovery in the developed world is good for the global economy.
- A missile launched from Syria struck Israel’s Negev desert region early Thursday, setting off air raid sirens near the country’s top-secret nuclear reactor, the Israeli military said. In response, it said it struck the missile launcher and other targets in neighboring Syria. The incident, marking the most serious violence between Israel and Syria in years, pointed to likely Iranian involvement. Iran, which maintains troops and proxies in Syria, has accused Israel of a series of attacks on its nuclear facilities, including a recent fire at its Natanz nuclear facility, and vowed revenge.
- China has slammed Australia’s “provocative” decision to tear up Victoria’s Belt and Road Initiative agreement with Beijing, warning the move will further damage bilateral relations. Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced on Wednesday night that the infrastructure deal had been cancelled under new foreign veto powers. China’s embassy in Australia responded swiftly, expressing “strong displeasure and resolute opposition” to Senator Payne’s announcement. “This is another unreasonable and provocative move taken by the Australian side against China,” a Chinese embassy spokesperson said in a statement.
- South African inflation accelerated in March on an annual basis but stayed well below the midpoint of the Reserve Bank’s 3%-6% target band, leaving more scope for policymakers to keep rates lower for longer to shore up SA’s pandemic-hit economy.
- The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.20%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.80% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.08%.
In early trade on Thursday 22 April 2021, the US dollar is trading marginally higher against the South African rand at R14.2622, while the euro is trading higher at R17.1786. The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R19.8766.
By the close of trade on Wednesday, the euro declined against most of the major currencies.
- Asian stock markets are mostly higher in cautious trading on Thursday, recouping some of the losses of the previous two sessions, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street. The markets are also benefiting from some bargain hunting after two successive days of losses. However, markets in the region continue to be tense and cautious amid the continuing surge in coronavirus cases in the region and possibility of coronavirus-related lockdowns in some markets, which is casting doubts about an early economic rebound from the pandemic. Asian markets closed sharply lower on Wednesday.
- In the UK, consumer price index (CPI) picked up in March as global oil prices rose and retailers scaled back their COVID-driven discounts, and it is expected to keep climbing as the economy reopens from lockdown.
- The Canadian dollar surged by the most since June 2020 against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday and the Toronto stock market rebounded as investors welcomed a move by the Bank of Canada to dial back emergency support for the economy. The loonie strengthened 0.9% to 1.2495 per U.S. dollar, or 80.03 U.S. cents. Canada’s main stock index ended 0.5% higher at 19,143.25, clawing back some of its decline over the previous two days. The Bank of Canada has left the policy rate unchanged at 0.25%, but has reduced its weekly asset purchases to C$3bn per week from $4bn to reflect “the progress made in the economic recovery”. This is the second taper, having already cut weekly purchases from the initial C$5bn per week back in October. 2022 rate hike firmly on the table The Bank has also brought forward its forward guidance for when we could see the first interest rate rise. Previously, it suggested we would likely have to wait until 2023, but it’s now signalling the second half of 2022.
In early trade on Thursday, the euro advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.2055 while it has weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8766.