Vaccine rollout day 280
New cases  23 884
New Deaths  24
Recovery Rate 91,8%
Vaccines Administered 27,304,475

As of today the cumulative number of COVID19 cases identified in SA is 3 204 642 with 23 884 new cases reported. Today 24 deaths have been reported bringing the total to 90 172 deaths. The cumulative number of recoveries now stand at 2 943 670 with a recovery rate of 91,8%.  Outrage is building among SA’s world-class scientists over the apparent impromptu arrival of a delegation of Russian scientists in the country on Monday with some privately voicing fears that they are here on a mission to undertake a brazen “data grab” to bolster efforts to secure regulatory approval for the Russian-made Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine.

New data from South Africa and Europe hint that Omicron cases are poised to explode in the U.S., where the vast majority of the population isn’t well protected against infection.  A new analysis by South Africa’s largest private insurer Discovery Health paints a picture of Omicron’s clinical risk. Two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine appear to be significantly less effective against severe disease with Omicron than previous variants, but the variant is less likely to lead to hospitalization in adults than the original version. Everything points to a large wave. Buckle up USA!

By the close of trade on Tuesday 14th December 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.

  • In the US, producer price index (PPI) surged more than expected in November, strengthening views that the inflation will remain high for a longer time. The small business owners’ sentiment boosted slightly in November, however firms continued to grow doubtful on future economic conditions.
  • US Senate votes to raise Debt Limit by $2.5Tln, now goes to the House.
  • The Federal Reserve is expected to announce a dramatic policy shift Wednesday that will clear the way for a first interest rate hike next year. Markets are anticipating the Fed will speed up the wind-down of its bond buying program, changing the end date to March from June. That would free the central bank to start raising interest rates from zero, and Fed officials are expected to release a new forecast showing two to three interest rate hikes in 2022 and another three to four in 2023. Previously, there had been no consensus for a rate hike in 2022, though half of the Fed officials expected at least one. There is a pretty strong consensus forming that the Fed is going to increase the pace of the taper at their next meeting. But they haven’t so much agreed on how much that increase will be. That allows for some wiggle-room in market forecasts. So, we could have a larger market reaction to the data, and this could be more pronounced in light of the circumstances. Last Friday, the market had a modestly positive reaction to record CPI data.
  • After a bruising couple of strong yuan months, that saw some efforts at devaluation in early December, expectations are for China’s avalanche of macro data to continue to show the Chinese economy sliding.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly fell yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.77%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.13% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.39%.

In early trade on Wednesday 15th December 2021, the US dollar is trading marginally higher against the South African rand at R16.0896, while the euro is trading marginally higher at R18.1187.  The British pound has marginally gained against the South African rand to trade at R21.2886.

By the close of trade on Tuesday 14th December 2021, the euro declined against most of the major currencies.

  • In the eurozone, industrial production advanced in October, but supply chain constraints continue to pressure.

In early trade on Wednesday 15th December 2021, the euro marginally advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.136, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.862.

Tomorrow is day of Reconciliation.  May I take this opportunity on behalf of Stewards Financial Custodians to wish you, your families and friends a safe and festive season.  May the 2022 deliver on all our hopes and aspirations.