LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 24]  

TOTAL DAYS 393 – 7 HOURS 38 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 80 / J & J VACCINE DAY 68 [SUSPENDED DAY 10]

By the close of trade on Thursday 22nd April 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.  Tokyo Sexwale held a rather explosive news conference that has the Nation gasping at the allegations that were being levelled.  Scam or No scam we need to know the truth.

  • Russia announced on Thursday it was ordering troops back to base from the area near the border with Ukraine, apparently calling an end to a buildup of tens of thousands of soldiers that had alarmed the West. The currencies of both Russia and Ukraine rose sharply after the announcement, signalling relief among investors just hours after Russia also ended war games in Crimea, the peninsula it occupied and annexed from Ukraine in 2014.  A confirmed pullout of the troops brought in on top of the permanent contingent will likely be welcomed by Western countries.
  • In the US, the number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 13-month low for the week ended 16 April, suggesting layoffs were subsiding and thus strengthening expectations for another month of blockbuster job growth in April as a re-opening US economy unleashes pent-up demand.  President Biden has tweeted that a capital gains tax of 43.4% is on the cards for the wealthy,  For New Yorkers, the combined state and federal capital gains rate could be as high as 52.22%. For Californians, it could be 56.7%.
  • President Joe Biden’s likely proposal to nearly double the tax on capital gains lopped a quick 30 points of the S&P 500. Wall Street traders, predictably focused on the policy’s implications for investing, said it was too soon to panic, but that prospects of a higher levy on stock profits could foment near-term selling as investors look to skirt a higher rate. The benchmark index for U.S. equities slid from about 4,180 to 4,150 in the minutes after Bloomberg reported Biden will propose almost doubling the capital gains tax rate to 39.6% for those earning $1 million or more, an increase from the current base rate.
  • Existing home sales fell to a seven-month low in March, pulled down by an acute shortage of properties, which is boosting prices and making owning a house more expensive for some first-time buyers.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.25%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.71%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.12%.

In early trade on Friday 23rd April 2021, the US dollar is trading marginally lower against the South African rand at R14.3122, while the euro is trading marginally higher at R17.2012.   The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R19.8266.

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

  • The Australian federal government on Wednesday used a new anti-China law to tear up agreements signed between the state of Victoria and China on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), in an unreasonable and deliberate provocation against China. Not surprisingly, the move has drawn the ire of officials in Beijing. On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged Australia to immediately reverse its wrong decision and stop irresponsible words and deeds regarding the China-Australia relationship, or China will definitely respond “firmly and forcefully.”
  • China is taking small steps to undermine the global role of the dollar. The goal is to replace the dollar with Chinese technology solutions to match China’s increasing financial clout. Recently there have been major developments. The first is using the renmimbi central bank digital currency for cross-border payments with a number of central banks. The second is creating an attractive alternative to the International Monetary Fund’s lending facilities in Asia. And the third is the partnership between the People’s Bank of China and SWIFT to operate financial messaging.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) decided to keep its policy unchanged, while market players look for clues on when the central bank’s massive monetary stimulus might start to be wound down.
  • Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set Friday to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and the western Japan prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo in an effort to curb a surge in COVID-19 during the upcoming Golden Week holidays. Tougher restrictions such as having establishments that serve alcohol temporarily close and shutting down major commercial facilities will be in place from Sunday through May 11. The emergency declaration, covering roughly a quarter of Japan’s population of 126 million and about a third of its economy, comes with just three months to go until the Tokyo Olympics begins.
  • Asian shares rose on Friday after the European Central Bank left policy unchanged, extending a rebound following a sharp selloff earlier in the week, but gains were capped as investors considered the impact of a possible U.S. capital gains tax hike. The ECB’s decision to keep copious stimulus flowing came despite its prediction of a strong rebound in the euro zone economy from mid-year as COVID-19 infections are brought under control.

In early trade on Friday, the euro has advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.2036, while it has weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8722.