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

  • As cases of the new coronavirus surge outside of China, world health officials said Monday that other countries should start preparing for epidemic outbreaks of COVID-19 to cross their borders. “It is time to do everything you would do in preparing for a pandemic,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, told reporters at a news briefing at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva.  Fears have been growing around cases outside of mainland China.
  • China’s southern economic powerhouse of Guangdong lowered its public health emergency response to the Covid-19 epidemic on Monday, offering relief to some businesses. A Grade I alert – the highest level – had been in force for a month and the decision to lower it to a Grade II was matched by five other provinces and came amid a government push to get the country’s economy moving again.
  • At the start of this year, things seemed to be looking up for the global economy. True, growth had slowed a bit in 2019: from 2.9% to 2.3% in the United States, and from 3.6% to 2.9% globally. Still, there had been no recession, and as recently as January, the International Monetary Fund projected a global growth rebound in 2020.
  • In SA, Investors remain anxious ahead of the country’s budget tomorrow. Fears that taxation will be substantially increased abound.
  • In the US, the Chicago fed national activity registered an improved reading in January.
  • The Dallas Fed manufacturing index rebounded in February.
  • The World Health Organization stated that the coronavirus that broke out in Wuhan, China, late last year is not a pandemic, instead they saw it as epidemics in different parts of the world.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds ended mixed yesterday. The yield on 2021 bond declined to 6.28% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 8.83%.

In early trade on Tuesday, the US dollar is trading 0.2% lower against the South African rand at R15.1128, while the euro is trading 0.2% lower at R16.4153.  The British pound has declined 0.2% against the South African rand to trade at R19.5514.

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

  • The spread of the coronavirus drove investors into safe-haven assets. The franc, traditionally sought in times of uncertainty, rose to its highest level since July 2015 and a stronger value than it reached after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. In contrast Swiss shares tumbled, with the Swiss Market Index trading 3.4% lower, its biggest day loss since August 2016, as investors took fright at the virus’ spread in neighboring Italy
  • German business morale unexpectedly rose in February, easing recession fears in the eurozone’s largest economy and reflecting a slight improvement in its manufacturing sector.
  • Meanwhile, the current assessment index fell less-than-expected in February.

In early trade on Tuesday, the euro has advanced 0.1% against the US dollar to trade at $1.0862, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8395.