LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1

TOTAL DAYS 575 – 07 HOURS 28 MINUTES 

Vaccine rollout day 224
New cases  520
New Deaths 81
Recovery Rate 96,3%
Vaccines Administered 21,011,187

By the close of trade on Thursday 21st October 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.  Wall Street’s top derivatives regulator gave almost $200 million to a whistle-blower in the largest ever award for information that significantly contributed to an already open investigation. The unnamed tipster’s information led the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to find direct evidence of wrongdoing, according to a Thursday statement from the CFTC. The tip also led another U.S. federal regulator and a foreign agency to bring similar allegations. The CFTC issues awards for help in its enforcement actions as well as those brought by other domestic or foreign regulators if certain conditions are met.

  • With the mass rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations and the attendant decline in COVID-related deaths in most advanced economies, and with many economic indices turning positive, it looks like most economies are on the road to recovery although the data paint a confusing picture. For example, in the spring of 2020, wage growth jumped sharply at the same time unemployment was rising. This was in both the US and the UK. Since then, unemployment has been falling while wage growth remains high.
  • In the US, the number of people filing initial jobless claims dropped to a 19-month low for the week ended 15 October, indicating an improvement in the labour market.
  • Business activity dropped more than expected in October in the US, amid material shortages.  The Biden administration announced the Port of Los Angeles will now operate 24/7, adding 60 hours to port operations per week. The administration also said that Walmart, FedEx and UPS are voluntarily moving toward 24/7 operations, while companies like Samsung, Home Depot and Target would ramp up off-peak work hours to alleviate the backlog of freight. Several companies had already been trying to take actions to help alleviate backlogs that have accrued.
  • US, home sales soared to an 8-months high in September, as increasing mortgage rates push buyers to make purchases before a potential hike in the rates following the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) tapering of bonds.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.94%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.39% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.45%.

In early trade on Friday 22nd October 2021, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R14.675, while the euro is trading lower at R17.0466.  The British pound has declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.2182.

By the close of trade on Thursday 21st October 2021, the euro advanced against most of the major currencies.

  • China Evergrande Group wired funds to a trustee account on Thursday for a dollar bond interest payment due Sept. 23, a source told Reuters on Friday, days before a deadline that would have plunged the embattled developer into formal default. The source corroborated a story in the state-backed Securities Times on Friday that the company had remitted US$83.5 million in coupon payments to a trustee account at Citibank on Thursday, allowing it to pay out to all bond holders before the grace period expires on Oct. 23.
  • In the eurozone, consumer confidence deteriorated in October with soaring inflation and a slower pace of economic recovery.
  • The lira may hit the 10-per-dollar level before year’s end after the Turkish central bank shocked the market with a rate cut twice as deep as economists predicted.  The Turkish currency stumbled as much as 2.8% to a record 9.4867 against the greenback on Thursday after the central bank cut its one-week policy rate 200 basis points to 16%.

In early trade on Friday 22nd October 2021, the euro has marginally advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.1636, while it has marginally gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.852.