LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 27]  

TOTAL DAYS 396 – 7 HOURS 45 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 83 / J & J VACCINE DAY 71 [suspended day 13]

 By the close of trade on Friday 23rd April 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

 In the US, manufacturing PMI increased to its highest reading since the series started in May 2007 in April.

 New home sales surged on monthly basis in March.

 Iran’s Military blames Israel for drone attack on an oil tanker ablaze.  The blaze aboard the oil tanker near Syria’s Banias refinery has been extinguished late Sunday following a suspected drone attack which was widely reported as coming “from the direction of Lebanese waters” in the words of Syria’s oil ministry. The Guardian is citing regional sources to say at least three among the crew were killed. While the tanker was first identified as Iranian, Tanker Trackers said in a tweet that “the tanker seen burning today off the coast of Banias is not an Iranian vessel” but Beirut-registered. Iranian state media had also denied that it was Iranian ship.

 The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly rose on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.26%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.68%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.17%.

 In early trade on Monday 26th April 2021, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R14.2642, while the euro is trading marginally lower at R17.2733.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R19.8322.

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

 Italy has reached a deal with the European Commission over its Recovery Plan, Prime Minister Mario Draghi told the cabinet late on Saturday, after days of intense talks, paving the way for it to be submitted to Brussels by the end of April. Italy plans to spend more than 220 billion euros ($266 billion) from European Union and national funds to revive its coronavirus-battered economy.  Economy Minister Daniele Franco unveiled the plan’s details to the cabinet late on Saturday, after it was delayed for 12 hours to allow negotiations to proceed with Brussels.

 Britain looks set to see faster economic growth than the United States this year as the country races ahead with its vaccination programme after its slump in 2020, Goldman Sachs said on Sunday. The bank said in a note to clients that it now expects British gross domestic product to grow by a “striking” 7.8% this year, “above our expectations for the U.S.” A Reuters poll of analysts published on April 13 showed an average forecast for growth of 5.0% in the UK, the world’s fifth-biggest economy in 2021. The International Monetary Fund has projected a 5.3% expansion.

 Facing criticism as COVID-19 continues to rise across Japan, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took another hit on Sunday after his Liberal Democratic Party lost the first national elections since he took office. Given his precarious position, Suga is unlikely to call a general election any time soon and is in danger of losing power when his current term ends in September. Tougher restrictions to curb infections took effect in Tokyo and the western prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo on Sunday after the government declared a state of emergency over the pandemic for the third time.

 The eurozone’s recovery from its pandemic-induced economic downturn was much stronger than expected in April, as the service industry adapted to lockdowns and made a surprise return to growth.

 German factories continued to churn out goods at a near-record pace in April, even as activity in the services sector remained sluggish due to coronavirus curbs, giving an upbeat outlook for Europe’s largest economy.

 In early trade on Monday 26th April 2021, the euro has advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.2232, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8766.