LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1

TOTAL DAYS 633 – 07 HOURS 36 MINUTES 

Vaccine rollout day 283
New cases 15 465
New Deaths 3
Recovery Rate 91,0%
Vaccines Administered 27,521,386

As of today the cumulative number of COVID19 cases identified in SA is 3 308 074 with 15 465 new cases reported. Today 3 deaths have been reported bringing the total to 90 348 deaths. The cumulative number of recoveries now stand at 3 010 513 with a recovery rate of 91.0%

By the close of trade on Friday, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

  • In the US, the Federal Reserve (Fed) stated that an interest rate increase will likely be necessary “shortly after” the Fed tapers its bond purchases in March 2022, and the central bank will also begin reducing its bond holdings as soon as the summer to attack “alarmingly high” inflation.
  • U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat who is key to President Joe Biden’s hopes of passing a $1.75 trillion domestic investment bill, said on Sunday he would not support the package. “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation,” Manchin said during an interview with the “Fox News Sunday” program, citing concerns about inflation. “I just can’t. I have tried everything humanly possible.” The comments drew immediate outrage from liberal Democrats and Senator Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist who helped shape the bill and called for a vote to be held on the measure despite Manchin’s opposition.
  • Bond traders suspect the Federal Reserve will quickly discover it’s being too ambitious with its newly hawkish stance. The Federal Open Market Committee just forecast overnight rates jumping from zero currently to 1.60% and 2.10% by year-end 2023 and 2024, respectively. Traders see it differently, with Eurodollar futures contracts pricing in 1.50% short-term rates on both dates. The concern is that the economy won’t be able to handle the loftier rates policy makers have in mind, which limits how far central bankers can raise interest rates and how high Treasury yields can go.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.64%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 5.08%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.28%.

In early trade on Monday 20th December 2021, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R15.9326, while the euro is trading higher at R17.9264.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R21.0736.

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

  • Boris Johnson was dealt another major blow to his leadership on Saturday night as it emerged that the man overseeing Brexit was resigning from the cabinet. With Tory MPs already warning the prime minister that he would have to regain control of the government to survive as leader until the next election, it emerged that Lord Frost is to leave the government after frustrations over Brexit negotiations and broader concerns over the government’s Covid policies and tax increases.
  • In Germany, business climate deteriorated amid persistent supply constraints and COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Moreover, current assessment and business expectations worsened in December. The producer price index (PPI) advanced in November; however, it was lower than market expectations.
  • Leading epidemiologists are urging a rethink of Australia’s current reopening plans as case numbers of the Omicron variant surge. On Sunday leading experts, including John Kaldor, and Greg Dore, epidemiologists at the Kirby Institute, and Professor Sharon Lewin, director of the Doherty Institute, published an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald calling for a return to restrictions “for a few weeks” while the country gets more information on Omicron’s severity and ability to evade vaccines.
  • In the eurozone, the consumer price index (CPI) rose less than expected in November.
  • In the UK, retail sales accelerated faster than expected in November, buoyed by Black Friday discounts, early Christmas shopping and no lockdown restrictions.
  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to continue interest rate cuts that have made the Turkish lira the world’s worst performing currency over the past three months, referring to Islamic proscriptions on usury as a basis for his new policy push.

In early trade on Monday 20th December 2021, the euro advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.1262, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8548.