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

  • In South Africa, manufacturing production index recorded its third consecutive decline in August, on account of weak consumer demand and uncertain export growth as a result of the Sino-US trade dispute.
  • Mining production contracted during the same period, pulled down by platinum group metals production.
  • In the US, consumer price index (CPI) remained steady on an annual basis in September, bolstering expectations of further interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve (Fed). The number of people filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell for the week ended 4 October, suggesting that the labour market remained on a solid footing even as hiring slowed.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on 2020 bond declined to 6.87% while that for the longer-dated 2026 issue fell to 8.21%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading 0.1% lower against the South African rand at R15.0287, while the euro is trading marginally lower at R16.5542.  The British pound has declined 0.2% against the South African rand to trade at R18.6932.

On Thursday in late trade, the euro had declined against most of the major currencies.

  • The European Central Bank’s (ECB) latest monetary policy meeting minutes showed that policymakers were deeply divided over reviving bond purchases and raised concerns about the two-tier deposit rate.
  • In Germany, seasonally adjusted trade surplus narrowed in August.
  • In the UK, the Bank of England (BoE) Governor, Mark Carney, stated that the economic underlying growth was a bit weaker than the central bank had expected and the bank will do whatever is required to support growth.

In early trade on Friday, the euro has advanced 0.1% against the US dollar to trade at $1.1015, while it has gained 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8856.

RWC

Three teams – Japan, Scotland and Ireland – are battling for two quarter-final places from Pool A.   If Ireland fail to beat Samoa on Saturday, Japan would be through regardless of their result against Scotland.  However, if Japan lose to Scotland, they could repeat the heartbreak of 2015 when they were knocked out despite recording three wins.

The major unknown is Typhoon Hagibis, which has already forced the cancellation of two Rugby World Cup matches – England vs France and New Zealand vs Italy, both scheduled on Saturday.  Hagibis which is due to smash into Tokyo, will in all likelihood move off into the ocean before the scheduled kick off.  Organisers will need to assess potential damage to the facilities and any transport disruption before deciding whether the game can take place. This could happen as late as six hours before kick-off.