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

  • The greenback gained after the US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, announced that the upcoming US budget will include a new middle-class tax cut, strengthening the case for US outperformance under President Donald Trump.
  • The World Health Organization on Wednesday will convene a panel of experts in Geneva, Switzerland, to consider whether a mysterious coronavirus that has killed at least 6 people and sickened hundreds of others in China should be a global health emergency.   The American CDC states that a traveler from China has been diagnosed in Seattle with the Wuhan coronavirus.
  • The outbreak of a new virus in China has sent shivers through world financial markets, with investors drawing comparisons to the 2003 SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in order to assess its potential economic impact.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds ended lower yesterday. The yield on 2021 bond declined to 6.62% while that for the longer-dated 2026 issue fell to 8.13%.

In early trade on Wednesday, the US dollar is trading 0.2% lower against the South African rand at R14.4668, while the euro is trading 0.3% lower at R16.0306.  The British pound has declined 0.3% against the South African rand to trade at R18.8615.

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

  • On the data front, the eurozone and German economic sentiment index surged in January, as fears of trade disputes receded after the US and China agreed on a trade truce.

In early trade on Wednesday, the euro has marginally dropped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1081, while it has gained 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8500.

SAA CRISIS:

SAA has confirmed the following domestic and international flights have been cancelled between the airline’s main hub Oliver Tambo International Airport Johannesburg (JNB) and Cape Town (CPT), as well as between Johannesburg (JNB) and Durban’s King Shaka (DUR) airports.

Mango has confirmed it is re-accommodating affected passengers on certain routes operated by both airlines to minimize disruption.

Domestic operators to contact to make urgent alternative flight arrangements:

  • Mango – 086 100 1234.
  • Airlink Customer Care on 011 451 7300 or the Airlink Agent Helpline on 011 451 7350.
  • British Airways – 011 921 0222
  • Kulula –  086 158 5852