LOCKDOWN LEVEL 3  [Adjusted ver. 3] 

TOTAL DAYS 493 – 07 HOURS 45 MINUTES 

Vaccine rollout day 177

New cases 17351
New Deaths 520
Recovery Rate 90.8%

Tatjana Schoenmaker claimed South Africa’s first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo as she won the women’s 200m breaststroke final on Friday, setting a new world record in the process. Swimming in lane 4, Schoenmaker timed her race to perfection, sitting behind American Lilly King for the first 100m before making her move over the last 100m.

It was a flawless display from the 24-year-old, who touched the wall in a time of 2:18.95.The Philippines clinched its first ever gold medal in Tokyo this week, making Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz the country’s first Olympic gold medalist. As a reward for her historic achievement, Diaz will reportedly receive at least 33 million Philippine pesos (around $600,000) from the Philippine Sports Commission as well as the country’s top businessmen. She has also been offered two homes and free flights for life, according to reports.

By the close of trade on Thursday 29th July 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

  • In SA, loans and advances dropped more than expected in June, as corporates try to reduce their debts, and as uncertainty over economic prospects weigh on corporate activity.
  • The start of the week saw a wall of worry build as earnings, the Fed’s meeting, concern over highly leveraged markets, and China regulatory worries all hurt risk sentiment. The expectations of a deeper correction in stocks are still hanging heavy over market participants and the Fed’s meeting midweek was always likely to be the crossroads decision for the week. In the end, stocks were supported as Jerome Powell kept a dovish stance and this lifted risk sentiment. This also allowed gold to break higher as expected. The producer price index (PPI) rose on a monthly basis in June.  Gross domestic product (GDP) increased less than expected in 2Q. Meanwhile, economic growth accelerated in 2Q21, with government aid and vaccination drives fuelling spending on travel services.  Initial jobless claims data recorded a decline for the week ended 24 July, with job openings at record high. Further, US pending homes sales declined in June, following a rise in home prices.
  • China’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization said there’s scope for Beijing to work with the U.S., the European Union and other Western nations on an agreement aimed at curbing the practices at the heart of the still-simmering U.S.-China trade conflict.“China will keep an open mind to that,” Li Chenggang said in an interview in Geneva on Wednesday, his first known talk with a Western media outlet since being appointed in February.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.34%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.94%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 8.86%.

In early trade on Friday 30th July 2021, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.5726, while the euro is trading higher at R17.3172.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.3426.

By the close of trade on Thursday 29th July 2021, the euro declined against most of the major currencies.

  • In the eurozone, economic sentiment rose in July, however, optimism among consumers declined. Further, eurozone business climate advanced in July.
  • In Germany, unemployment declined in July, as hiring increased, amid hopes of an economic recovery. The German consumer price index (CPI) increased more than expected in July.
  • Japan is set to decide later Friday on expanding its COVID-19 state of emergency to Osaka and three prefectures near Tokyo as a recent surge in coronavirus cases has raised fears of straining the country’s medical system amid the Tokyo Olympics. Facing pressure to take stronger anti-virus measures, the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to add Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Osaka prefectures to areas under the emergency, which already covers Tokyo and Okinawa, from next Monday through Aug. 31. The COVID-19 emergency initially declared for Tokyo and Okinawa through Aug. 22 will also be extended
  • On Tuesday on the Australian Stock Exchange, large iron ore miners drove prices to record highs. This feat came about because of two factors. Iron ore is trading just off record highs and the Australian dollar is much lower than it ever has been during such previous booms. This has led to record fat margins for miners. But, even as this trade hits new highs, there are clear signs that good times are on notice. Indeed, China is determined to crush iron ore prices in both the short-term and the long, and there are good reasons to conclude that it will succeed sooner rather than later.

In early trade on Friday 30th July 2021, the euro slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1896, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8546.

  • US President Joe Biden on Thursday told states and towns that they could offer residents $100 (roughly €84) to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as rates slowed down across the country. Although the decision does not rest with the White House, the US Treasury Department made it clear that local authorities could use federal COVID relief funds to offer the incentives, essentially meaning it would not cost them anything.