LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 [Curfew Removed]

TOTAL DAYS 641 – 07 HOURS 30 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 284
New cases 12 979
New Deaths 126
Recovery Rate 91,7%
Vaccines Administered 27,955,112

As of today the cumulative number of COVID19 cases identified in SA is 3 446 532 with 12 979 new cases reported. Today 126 deaths have been reported bringing the total to 91 061 deaths. The cumulative number of recoveries now stand at 3 159 143 with a recovery rate of 91,7%.  The Government on New Years Eve has removed the curfew.

By the close of trade on Thursday 30th December 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

  • In South Africa, the government made changes to the Alert Level 1 regulations approved by the Cabinet after meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the country’s President’s Co-ordinating Council.
  • In the US, new claims for unemployment benefits fell in the week ended 24 December, indicating towards no impact of the Omicron variant of coronavirus on domestic employment. The Chicago Fed purchasing managers index (PMI) rose more than market expectations in December.
  • The global share of US-dollar-denominated exchange reserves declined to 59.15% in the third quarter, from 59.23% in the second quarter, hobbling along a 26-year low for the past four quarters, according to the IMF’s COFER data released today. Dollar-denominated foreign exchange reserves are Treasury securities, US corporate bonds, US mortgage-backed securities, and other USD-denominated assets that are held by foreign central banks.
  • China’s December factory activity unexpectedly accelerated despite disruptions from COVID outbreaks and as the economy loses momentum in the fourth quarter, according to an official survey released on Friday. The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) rose to 50.3 in December from 50.1 in November, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.
  • Markets have been dead quiet during the holiday period but the upcoming week is guaranteed to bring increased volatility. The nonfarm payrolls report along with the FOMC minutes and a host of other US data are bound to wake markets up, while employment and inflation numbers out of Canada and the Eurozone, respectively, should also liven things a little. Although several major pairs have been rebounding against the US dollar and Wall Street has been notching up one record high after another, the incremental moves have been modest. That could all change in the next few days.
  • America’s latest report on unemployment benefits is proof that the US jobs recovery is still in full-swing. The average number of weekly jobless benefits claims over the past four weeks fell to 199,250. That’s the lowest four-week moving average since October 1969, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Last week alone, claims stood at 198,000, adjusted for seasonal swings. That was slightly less than economists had predicted but above the pandemic-era low. The number of continued claims, counting workers who have applied for benefits for at least two consecutive weeks, stood at 1.7 million in the week.
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co., UBS Group AG and other global banks are subject to U.S. jurisdiction for allegedly manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, the federal appeals court in New York ruled. A three-judge panel ruled Thursday that U.S. courts can exercise “conspiracy jurisdiction” over the banks if other members of the conspiracy took steps to advance the scheme from within the U.S. The appeals court reversed a 2016 ruling by U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, who dismissed claims on the ground that her court lacked jurisdiction over the bank defendants.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.87%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.16%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.40%.

In early trade on 31st December 2021, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R15.9566, while the euro is trading marginally higher at R18.0542. The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R21.5376.

By the close of trade on Thursday 30th December 2021, the euro declined against most of the major currencies.

  • Germany will on 4 January drop its demand for traveler’s from the UK to quarantine and provide a negative COVID-19 test, requirements that were imposed earlier in December during a surge of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
  • Santander accidentally paid out $175 million to thousands of accounts on Christmas Day in a massive blunder. Approximately 75,000 Brits or their companies received a second wage or supplier payment from Santander account holders on December 25. The blunder meant some big corporations paid wages twice, The Times reports. The money was sent to Brits with Barclays, HSBC, NatWest, Co-operative Bank and Virgin Money accounts. Santander must now launch cross-company talks to get the funds back – as bosses fear the money has already been spent by some account holders.
  • South Korea’s central bank governor on Friday (Dec 31) said policy interest rates will need to be adjusted as an economic recovery takes shape in 2022, suggesting further tightening is in the pipeline as price pressures build. “The degree of monetary policy easing will be adjusted appropriately in line with the improvement of economic conditions,” Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol said in a speech ahead of the New Year.

In early trade on Friday 31st December 2021, the euro slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1326, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8396.

From the Forex Team at Stewards, we wish you all the best for 2022