Vaccine rollout day 106 / J & J VACCINE DAY 99 [Phase 2]

By the close of trade on Tuesday the Rand had firmed against the dollar.  In SA the vaccine rollout can only just remain in first gear as frustrations mount.  The ANC is wrangling on many fronts as the ACE and Zuma show continue to hold the top headlines.  Hello darkness my old friend made a comeback as the ESKOM grid takes an early hammering heading into winter.

  • Weaker U.S. data is finally catching up to the dollar. The greenback traded lower against all of the major currencies on Tuesday following softer housing data. Building permits grew 0.3% in the month of April, down from 1.7% in March while housing starts dropped -9.5%. While housing demand is still very strong, the cost of raw materials like lumber have skyrocketed in recent months – in the 12 months to April, lumber prices rose more than 89%. Between weak job growth, the decline in spending, slowdown in manufacturing activity in the NY region and now housing, it was only a matter of time before the dollar sold off across the board as these reports reinforce the Federal Reserve’s reluctance to respond to rising price pressures.
  • British Chancellor Rishi Sunak expressed in an exclusive interview last week that post-Brexit Britain can look forward to a flourishing future as hopes and opportunities are rising again after a harsh start to the year. Following a robust employment report, April’s CPI inflation figures on Wednesday (06:00 GMT) and retail sales and flash Markit/CIPS PMI figures for the same month on Friday (06:00 GMT) could add further credence to the bullish economic picture. With the Bank of England (BoE) having gently taken its foot off the accelerator, another encouraging data set could only build confidence in the pound, though some caution is still warranted as the pandemic rages on.
  • U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday urged her Mexican and Canadian counterparts to work together to “implement, enforce and fulfill the terms” of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to maintain political support for the new trade deal. Tai, in remarks delivered to the first minister-level meeting to review the USMCA’s implementation, said the three countries must take action to make it succeed. “For this agreement to be durable, it must serve the needs of everyday people – not just in the United States, but in Mexico and Canada as well. That will only happen if we deliver on our promises,” Tai … (full story)
  • The UK PM Boris Johnson is willing to offer Australia tariff-free access to British food markets despite warnings that it could hit the country’s agriculture, The Times reported on Wednesday. However, George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, and Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, have privately expressed reservations about the deal. This comes after the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) assembled agricultural leaders from all four devolved nations on Tuesday to voice their concerns amid reports of a split in the cabinet over whether to approve a wide-ranging free trade deal with Australia.
  • Investors are estimated to have lost $930 million on their short positions in meme stocks GameStop and AMC Entertainment over the last five trading days, data from financial analytics firm Ortex showed on Tuesday. Shares in GameStop, which was at the heart of the so-called “stonks” retail trading mania earlier this year, have risen by a third in the last one week, while shares in cinema operator AMC are up 39 percent. Ortex said short interest in AMC is currently estimated to be 18.3 percent of freefloat and in GME it is estimated at 21.8 percent of freefloat. On Monday alone, short-sellers lost over $200 million

Mid Rates as at 07h20

USDZAR = R14.02

GBPZAR = R19.91

EURZAR = R17.16

AUDZAR = R10.92