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

  • U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the phase-one trade deal signed between the two countries last month. In a phone call a Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Donald Trump that China has full confidence and capability to overcome the coronavirus.
  • The new coronavirus outbreak will be worse for the global economy than the 2003 SARS epidemic was. While both outbreaks originated in China, nearly two decades separate the SARS outbreak from the new coronavirus outbreak. In that time, China has grown from the world’s sixth-largest economy to the second biggest today behind the U.S.
  • Another 41 People On Cruise Liner Off Japan Test Positive For Coronavirus.
  • The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry business confidence index unexpectedly dropped in January, due to persistently weak demand dynamics, increased fiscal slippage and lingering policy uncertainty.
  • In the US, the number of people filing for unemployment benefits dropped to a nine-month low for the week ended 31 January, suggesting that a tightening labour market would continue to support the economy this year.
  • Nonfarm productivity rebounded in 4Q19, indicating that the economy will probably remain on a moderate growth path.
  • The Dallas Federal Reserve (Fed) Bank President, Robert Kaplan, stated that he expects solid economic growth this year, as easing trade tensions have lessened downward pressure on global growth, manufacturing and business investment.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds ended mixed yesterday. The yield on 2021 bond advanced to 6.49% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 8.81%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading flat against the South African rand at R14.9146, while the euro is trading marginally lower at R16.3791. The British pound has gained 0.1% against the South African rand to trade at R19.2980.

By the close of trade on Thursday, the euro advanced against most of the major currencies.

  • The European Central Bank (ECB) President, Christine Lagarde, stated that a decade of crisis fighting has left policy makers with few options for more monetary stimulus, just as new concerns such as the coronavirus outbreak arise.
  • On the data front, seasonally adjusted German factory orders unexpectedly dropped at its fastest pace in more than a decade in December.

In early trade on Friday, the euro has marginally slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.0982, while it has weakened 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8488.