LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1

TOTAL DAYS 622 – 07 HOURS 35 MINUTES 

Vaccine rollout day 263
New cases  13143
New Deaths  27
Recovery Rate 93,9%
Vaccines Administered 26,639,293

As of 07TH December 2021 the cumulative number of COVID19 cases identified in SA is 3 051 222 with 13 143 new cases reported. Today 27 deaths have been reported bringing the total to 90 002 deaths. The cumulative number of recoveries now stand at 2 864 648 with a recovery rate of 93,9%.  Conventional wisdom so far is that as the pandemic puts pressure on the economy, central banks would keep up the stimulus. The immediate market response in the wake of the omicron variant discovery was to react in accordance with that notion. The flight to safety came in conjunction with a move back towards higher-valuated tech stocks. This suggests that traders expected the easier monetary policy to continue.

By the close of trade on Tuesday 7th December 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

  • In South Africa, gross domestic product (GDP) dampened more than expected in 3Q21, as civil unrest in July 2021 and stricter lockdown restrictions during the pandemic’s third wave eroded the gains made by the country’s economic rebound.
  • The ANC failed to muster the required two-thirds majority as neither the DA nor the EFF supported the amendment. In the end, 204 MPs voted in favour of the bill and 145 against, with no abstentions. A total of 267 votes is required for a two-thirds majority. The National Assembly couldn’t pass the amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation on Tuesday.
  • In the US, trade deficit tightened sharply in October, amid increased exports, thus lifting trade to contribute to domestic economic growth in 3Q21, the first time in more than a year. Labor productivity in the US dropped by the sharpest margin in more than 60 years in 3Q21 and unit labor cost increased more than expected in the third quarter.
  • China Evergrande Group’s shares hit an all-time low on Wednesday after a missed debt payment deadline put the developer at risk of becoming China’s biggest defaulter, although hopes of a managed debt restructuring calmed fears of a messy collapse. So far, any Evergrande fallout has been broadly contained, and with policymakers becoming more vocal and markets more familiar with the issue, consequences of its troubles are less likely to be widely felt, market watchers have said.
  • China’s yuan advanced to the strongest level since May 2018 as the market appetite for emerging-market currencies grew amid easing fears over the new Covid variant. The onshore yuan gained as much as 0.2% to 6.3515 per dollar, breaching a year-to-date high reached in May, while the offshore rate advanced 0.2%. The moves came as the dollar is poised to decline for a second straight week amid bets that the omicron variant won’t stall global recovery. The yuan has gained 2.7% this year, making it the best performer among major currencies.
  • Amazon’s cloud-service network suffered a major outage Tuesday, the company said, disrupting access to many popular sites. The service provides remote computing services to many governments, universities and companies, including The Associated Press. Roughly five hours after numerous companies and other organizations began reporting issues with Amazon Web Services, the company said in a post on the AWS status page that it had “mitigated” the underlying problem responsible for the outage. Shortly thereafter, it reported that “many services have already recovered” but noted that others were still working.
  • An American hedge-fund billionaire has surrendered 180 looted and illegally smuggled antiquities valued at $70m and been handed an unprecedented lifetime ban on acquiring other relics as part of an agreement with the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s largest collectors of ancient art, “displayed a rapacious appetite for plundered artefacts”, the district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr said on Monday. The lifetime ban marks the dramatic culmination of an international investigation that began officially in 2017.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly fell yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.87%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.96%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.45%.

In early trade on Wednesday 8th December 2021, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R15.8386, while the euro is trading higher at R17.8826.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R21.0046.

By the close of trade on the 7th December 2021, the euro declined against most of the major currencies.

  • In Germany, industrial production rebounded more than expected in October, despite supply chain constraints. Economic sentiment weakened in December, as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and continued supply constraints dampened growth prospects of the German economy. Current conditions dropped in December, indicating a drop in expectations for an economic growth and as earning expectations in export and consumer goods industries dropped.
  • In the eurozone, economic sentiment accelerated in December. Eurozone GDP recovered to within 0.5% of its pre-pandemic level in the third quarter, however, economists warned continuing supply pressures and rising COVID-19 infections would have a sharp negative impact on current quarter growth.
  • The Bank of Canada is expected to keep the spotlight on inflation at its policy decision this week, as it nears the start of an aggressive campaign of interest rate hikes. Policy makers led by Governor Tiff Macklem are unlikely to raise their benchmark overnight rate on Wednesday, but the Ottawa-based central bank has already ended a bond-buying stimulus program and hinted at an accelerated time-line for beginning to increase borrowing costs. A strong run of economic data since their last policy decision in October has only cemented views that rate hikes are imminent.

In early trade on Wednesday 8th December 2021, the euro advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.1289, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8546.