LOCKDOWN LEVEL 3  [Adjusted ver. 3] 

TOTAL DAYS 496 – 07 HOURS 45 MINUTES 

Vaccine rollout day 180

New cases 12528
New Deaths 334
Recovery Rate 90.8%

By the close of trade on Friday 29th July, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.  Back at home the country was basking in a Gold medal performance by Tatjana Schoenmaker, a silver for ex Durban kid Rory Sabbattini who shot an Olympic record of -10 for his last round. To cap this off the Springboks out muscled their Lions opponents in the last 40 minutes to rack up 21 unanswered points.  The series stand on a knife edge 1 apiece with the series decided this coming Saturday.  Big news is Duane Vermeulen is back striding around the training pitch.

  • In South Africa, trade surplus widened in June, due to an increase in exports.
  • After much delay, senators unveiled a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package Sunday night, wrapping up days of painstaking work on the inches-thick bill and launching what is certain to be a lengthy debate over President Joe Biden’s big priority. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act clocked in at some 2,700 pages, and senators could begin amending it soon. Despite the hurry-up-and-wait during a rare weekend session, the final product was not intended to stray from the broad outline senators had negotiated for weeks with the White House.
  • The U.S. debt ceiling officially became operative again on Sunday after a two-year suspension, with lawmakers in Washington yet to outline how they’ll avoid a potential default later this year. The debt limit the total amount that the federal government is authorized to borrow was set at $22 trillion in 2019. It will adjust to the current level of debt which had risen to $28.5 trillion as of the end of June when the suspension ends, putting pressure on Congress to find a solution that will allow the government to keep borrowing.
  • Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard staked out some different ground from Chair Jerome Powell as the policy makers await a presidential decision on who should lead the central bank in the coming four years. Brainard, considered a leading candidate to take over as Fed chief in February if Powell doesn’t get a second term, said she’s much more inclined to use regulatory tools to head off financial excesses like asset bubbles than the Powell-led central bank has been.
  • Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19 could keep some Americans from looking for work, potentially harming the U.S. recovery. “I was very optimistic the fall would be a strong labor market with many of those Americans coming back to work. That’s still my base case scenario,” he said Sunday during an interview.
  • In the US, consumer spending increased in June, supported by vaccination drives giving a boost to travel services.
  • Personal income rose in June, with a decline in government transfers.
  • Chicago PMI rose in July, amid stronger demand despite supply chain bottlenecks.
  • The Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index declined to its lowest level since February in July, amid concerns over inflation.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly fell on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.32%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.95%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 8.82%.

In early trade on Monday 01st August 2021, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.6172, while the euro is trading higher at R17.3536.  The British pound has marginally declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.3135.

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

  • Economic growth in the eurozone accelerated at a faster pace in 2Q21, stepping back from a pandemic induced recession and as easing in the lockdown restrictions helped inflation on an annual basis in July to accelerate to its highest since October 2018. Unemployment in the eurozone fell in June.
  • In Germany, the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2Q21 rose less than expected, amid supply constraints impacting the service industry.
  • The U.S. joins the U.K. and Israel in blaming Iran for a fatal drone strike on an Israeli-linked tanker.
  • Japan’s factory output growth picked up in July due to a stronger expansion of output and new orders, as manufacturers benefited from a continuing recovery of the coronavirus pandemic-hit global economy. The final Jibun Bank Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in July rose to 53.0 on a seasonally adjusted basis from 52.4 in the previous month. That compared with a 52.2 flash reading released last month. “The Japanese manufacturing sector continued to see an improvement in operating conditions at the start of the third quarter,” said Usamah Bhatti, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
  • Australian home values have risen 1.6 per cent over the past month, but growth is slowing as housing becomes less affordable. CoreLogic data shows the value of homes across the country rose 1.6 per cent in July. Over the past year, the national home value index has increased 16.1 per cent, representing the fastest annual growth since February 2004. While the market may be strong, CoreLogic’s research director Tim Lawless say it is also losing steam.

In early trade on Monday 1st August 2021, the euro has marginally slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1875, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8562.