LOCKDOWN LEVEL 3  [Adjusted ver. 3] 

TOTAL DAYS 512 – 07 HOURS 25 MINUTES 

Vaccine rollout day 194
New cases 13672
New Deaths 317
Recovery Rate 90.9%

By the close of trade on Thursday 19th August 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.

  • In the US, Initial jobless claims fell to a 17-month low for the week ended 13 August, indicating growth in the job market amid strong hiring and as employers maintain their workers amid labour constraints as vaccinations allow the economy to fully reopen.
  • Philadelphia Fed factory activity slowed in the US for the fourth consecutive month in August after hitting its highest pace in nearly half a century. July Fed Minutes released on Wednesday hit risk appetite despite lack of clear hawkish shift in the tone of wordings. Markets saw renewed selling pressure albeit with more vigor thanks to synergy of selling catalysts – lackluster July US retail sales, growing hawkish bias of the Fed, growing dollar’s appeal as ultimate safe heaven, as well as seasonal weakness. Amid a surge of risk-off, greenback index soared to a 10-month high (93.50 level in DXY). Small-cap and value stocks led declines with Russell 2000 futures falling 1.7%
  • Meanwhile, the US President, Joe Biden indicated that while the economic recovery is far away from complete, he plans to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out is working and delivering real results for American workers.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.34%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.03%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 8.92%.

In early trade on Friday 20th August 2021, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R15.2376, while the euro is trading higher at R17.7948.   The British pound has marginally gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.7526.

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

  • All of New Zealand will remain at alert level 4 until at least Tuesday midnight, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed. Cabinet will meet on Monday to decide on the next move on the country’s alert levels. Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield are now providing an update on the country’s alert level situation. Watch the briefing live here: New Zealand went into lockdown at 11.59pm on Tuesday. Auckland and Coromandel were initially set to be in level 4 for seven days, while the rest of the country was put into level 4 for three days.
  • Australia’s flash PMI over the weekend kicks off a string of data reports from Asia next week, with regional inflation, manufacturing and trade reports lined up. Meanwhile, in July, China’s industrial profits are likely to expand year on year, padded by base effects. Still, overall profit levels may actually dip from the previous month, with the effects of the recent government crackdown on technology, education and real estate sectors spilling over to manufacturing firms.  A lockdown in Australia’s largest city was extended throughout September and tougher measures to curb the coronavirus’s delta variant were imposed Friday, including a curfew and a mask mandate outdoors. New South Wales state, which includes Sydney, reported 642 locally acquired infections in the latest 24-hour period, the fourth consecutive day of tallies exceeding 600. Sydney has been locked down since late June after the more contagious delta variant was detected in a limousine driver who became infected while transporting a U.S. cargo aircrew from Sydney Airport.
  • In the eurozone current account surplus widened in June.
  • Israel has conducted several airstrikes through Lebanon’s airspace on targets in Syria, according to local media in Lebanon. Syrian State Media said that Syrian air defenses have confronted targets in the sky of Damascus, launched from the airspace of the Lebanese capital Beirut.  The Israeli airstrikes on Syria have targeted the northern countryside of Damascus, Mezzeh’s military airport, Homs, and the Qalamoun region. Israeli aircrafts and the missiles launched have been heard across Lebanon.

In early trade on Friday 20th August, the euro has marginally advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.1688, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8562.