LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 34]  

TOTAL DAYS 403 – 7 HOURS 35 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 90 / J & J VACCINE DAY 78

By the close of trade on Friday, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.  Over the weekend SpaceX and NASA successfully recovered returning astronauts from the ISS circulating the Globe in low space orbit.  SpaceX who had on Friday last week been awarded a USD2.9B contract to land astronauts on the moon were informed the contract was suspended due to challenges.  Blue Horizon funded by Jeff Bezos is a main challenger it appears.

  • In the US, consumer spending rebounded in March amid a surge in income as households received additional COVID-19 pandemic relief money from the government, building a strong foundation for a further acceleration in consumption in the 2Q21.
  • At this years Berkshire annual videoconference held on Saturday, which starred the traditionally far more outspoken Charlie Munger, who first crushed a generation’s monetary dreams saying that today’s Millennials will have “a hell of a time getting rich compared to our generation”, and then infuriated tens of millions of crypto fans and diamond hands (such as Dan Loeb) when he said that “the whole damn development” of crypto currencies “is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization.”
  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Sunday tamped down concerns that President Joe Biden’s plans for infrastructure, jobs and families will cause inflation, saying the spending will be phased in over a decade.
  • In his first 100 days, President Biden focused on the coronavirus pandemic, but over the course of his term, the Biden presidency will be defined by how the United States competes with China. In a few years, China’s economy is expected to surpass the U.S. as the world’s biggest. To determine how the United States will deal with China’s growing influence, Mr. Biden has chosen one of his closest aides as secretary of state. It falls to Antony Blinken to rebuild a depleted and demoralized State Department, repair U.S. alliances and champion what diplomats call “the rules-based international order”  China’s central bank is currently conducting trials for its digital currency, which it hopes to have available for widespread use by the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. But many privacy advocates are alarmed at the amount of data that Chinese authorities will be able to collect through the new digital yuan, and the resulting potential for abuse.
  • The United States on Sunday denied a report by Iran’s state television that the arch-foes had reached a prisoner swap deal in exchange for the release of $7 billion frozen Iranian oil funds under US sanctions in other countries. Iranian state television said on Sunday that Tehran would free four Americans accused of spying in exchange for four Iranians held in the United States and the release of the frozen Iranian funds. The US government denied that an agreement has been reached
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.37%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.69% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.28%.

In early trade on Monday 3rd May 2021, the US dollar is trading marginally higher against the South African rand at R14.5022, while the euro is trading higher at R17.4366.  The British pound has marginally gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.0362.

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

  • Britain’s economy is recovering from the coronavirus recession faster than expected as the vaccine rollout continues, the Bank of England will declare this week. The central bank, led by Governor Andrew Bailey, looks set to raise its growth forecasts for the UK when it publishes its latest monetary policy report on Thursday. In its last update in February the Bank penciled in a 5 per cent rise in output this year following the 9.8 per cent slump in 2020. Unemployment was also slated to rise to 7.8 per cent. But with the outlook improving, this looks too pessimistic.
  • The eurozone economy dipped into a second technical recession after a smaller than expected contraction in 1Q21, but is firmly set for recovery as pandemic curbs are lifted amid accelerating vaccination campaigns.
  • The German economy contracted larger than expected in 1Q21 as a lockdown is in place since November 2020 to contain the coronavirus stifled private consumption in Europe’s largest economy.

In early trade on Monday 3rd May 2021, the euro marginally slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.2126, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.872.