LOCKDOWN LEVEL 3  [Adjusted ver. 3] 

TOTAL DAYS 491 – 07 HOURS 45 MINUTES 

Vaccine rollout day 175

New cases 7773
New Deaths 270
Recovery Rate 91.2%

By the close of trade on Tuesday 27th July 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.  At the Olympics the Blitzbokke crashed out of a game they should have been well in command of after their opponents the Argentinians received a red card after the 1st minute of play.  In the early hours of Wednesday morning Chad LeClos finished the 200m butterfly final in 4th place.

  • In the US, consumer confidence rose to a 17 month high in July, amid increased spending on household appliances and motor vehicles, despite concerns about rising inflation.  The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® was relatively unchanged in July, following gains in each of the prior five months. The Index now stands at 129.1 (1985=100), up from 128.9 in June. The Present Situation Index based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions rose from 159.6 to 160.3. The Expectations Index based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions was virtually unchanged at 108.4, compared to 108.5 last month.
  • The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas accelerated in May, posting the largest gain since August 2004.
  • The US house price index rose in May, amid surging house price inflation.
  • Durable goods orders increased in June, despite weaker motor vehicle orders, following a semiconductor chip shortage.
  • The highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant highlights the importance of vaccines to both health and economic recovery, with widespread vaccination remaining the most critical component in the fight against the disease. COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be a highly sought-after commodity throughout 2021 and into 2022 and expect that they will play a major role in trade and diplomacy.
  • On Monday, The New York Times quoted nuclear weapons experts from the Federation of American Scientists as saying that China has built a new silo for launching nuclear missiles in the Hami prefecture of Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. China now owns 110 silos, according to the US media. On June 30, the Washington Post published the findings of researchers from US think tank James Martin Centre for Nonproliferation Studies, who identified around 120 new silos near the city of Yumen, Northwest China’s Gansu Province.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.30%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.98%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 8.85%.

In early trade on Wednesday 28th July 2021, the US dollar is trading marginally lower against the South African rand at R14.7864, while the euro is trading marginally higher at R17.4871.  The British pound has marginally gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.5326.

By the close of trade on Tuesday 27th July 2021, the euro advanced against most of the major currencies.

  • The European Central Bank should consider keeping some of the flexibility of its emergency bond-buying program when it transitions to other asset purchases after the Covid crisis, Governing Council member Pablo Hernandez de Cos said. “The main lesson to be drawn” from the program is that the power to skew purchases toward parts of the economy that need it most “has notably increased not only the effectiveness but also the efficiency” of it, the Bank of Spain Governor said Tuesday in a written response to questions.
  • In June, the eurozone M3 money measure increased by €89bn (seasonally adjusted), which is well above the pre-pandemic monthly average, but nothing special since March last year. The main driver continues to be the European Central Bank’s asset purchase programme, as it has been since March 2020. In net terms, governments (indirectly, as the ECB only buys on secondary markets) borrowed €79bn from the Eurosystem in June, leading to the equivalent sum in money creation. Turning to bank lending, net bank lending to eurozone households remains strong.
  • UK epidemiologist, Neil Ferguson stated that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK could be just months away.  In Australia, greater Sydney’s lockdown will be extended until at least the end of August, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed. It comes as the state recorded 177 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, with 46 of those infectious in the community. The lockdown will be in place for another four weeks, ending on August 28.
  • A Roman Catholic cardinal who was once a close ally of Pope Francis has gone on trial in the Vatican, accused of misusing Church money in a ruinous London property venture. Cardinal Angelo Becciu, 73, is the most senior cleric in modern times to face trial for alleged financial crimes. He is charged with spending €350m (£299m; $412m) of church money on a botched deal to buy a property in Chelsea that incurred huge losses. He denies wrongdoing.

In early trade on Wednesday 28th July 2021, the euro has advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.1866, while it has marginally gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8562.