Vaccine rollout day 101 / J & J VACCINE DAY 94 [Phase 1]

By the close of trade on Thursday 13th May 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar. This has been a rollercoaster week with the Rand breaking through the important 14 mark but the visit was short lived.

  • Palestinian militants fired more rockets into Israel’s commercial heartland on Thursday as Israel kept up a punishing bombing campaign in Gaza and massed tanks and troops on the enclave’s border. The four days of cross-border fighting showed no sign of abating and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the campaign “will take more time”. Violence has also spread to mixed communities of Jews and Arabs in Israel, a new front in the long conflict. Synagogues were attacked and fighting broke out on the streets of some towns, prompting Israel’s president to warn of civil war.
  • Surprise inflation increase in the US, with investors thus seeing smaller chances of higher lending rates by the US Federal Reserve. Stocks rebounded sharply on Friday but the muted price action in currencies suggest that FX traders are not convinced the selling is over. The U.S. dollar gave back a small portion of yesterday’s gains against the Japanese Yen, Swiss Franc and New Zealand dollar, but was virtually unchanged versus euro and Aussie. Sterling was the only currency to extend its losses versus the greenback on profit taking after the pair hit 2 month highs on Monday. It was a rollercoaster ride in the financial markets this week and volatility is not expected to subside tomorrow with the April U.S. retail sales report scheduled for release.
  • On the data front, in the US, the number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a 14-month low for the week ended 7 May, as companies held onto their workers amid a growing labor shortage that helped to curb employment growth in April.
  • Producer price index (PPI) increased more than expected in April, leading to the biggest annual gain since 2010.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.45%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.73%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.16%.

In early trade on Friday 14th May 2021, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.1362, while the euro is trading higher at R17.0722.  The British pound has declined against the South African rand to trade at R19.8466.

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

  • Reports indicated that the European Commission believes that a quick rebound of the eurozone economy will be driven by investment, private consumption, and a rising demand of EU exports.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that the United States would not leave Australia alone in the face of economic coercion from China, and that such behavior toward U.S. allies would hamper improvement in U.S.-Sino relations. Washington has repeatedly criticized what it says are Beijing’s attempts to bully neighbors with competing interests, and U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to bolster ties with allies in the Indo-Pacific to counter China’s growing power.

In early trade on Friday 14th May 2021, the euro has marginally slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.2082, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8622.