PANDEMIC DECLARED!

In a televised address on Wednesday, he said all travel from Europe would be suspended for the next 30 days. But he said the “strong but necessary” restrictions would not apply to the UK, where 460 cases of the virus have now been confirmed. There are 1,135 confirmed cases of the virus across the US, with 38 deaths. “To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” President Trump announced.

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

  • More cases of coronavirus were confirmed in South Africa [13 cases] and as energy utility company, Eskom intensified load-shedding to stage 4.
  • In the US, consumer price index (CPI) unexpectedly rose on a monthly basis in February, as rising food and accommodation costs offset cheaper gasoline.
  • The US government recorded less than expected budget deficit in February. On the global front, the WHO declared a global pandemic as the coronavirus rapidly spreads across the world. In the US the NBA To Suspend Season Following Tonight’s Games.
  • Secretary Mnuchin says Trump is focused on a broad strategy for stimulus package to assist in the fight against COVID-19
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2021 bond advanced to 6.09% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.26%.

In early trade on Thursday morning, the US dollar is trading 1.4% higher against the South African rand at R16.4272, while the euro is trading 1.8% higher at R18.5789.  The British pound has gained 1.4% against the South African rand to trade at R21.0659.

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

  • The BoE slashed its key interest rates by half a percentage point in an emergency move to combat the impact of coronavirus outbreak. The central bank has also announced a new term-funding scheme to support small and medium-sized companies in which it announced that it would allow banks to release a special store of capital, known as the counter-cyclical capital buffer, so they can continue lending to households and businesses during the coronavirus epidemic. The BoE Governor, Mark Carney, stated that the economic impact from coronavirus could be large and sharp and economic activity will likely weaken materially in the coming months.
  • As part of a global effort to find a vaccine for the Covid-19 coronavirus, pharmaceutical companies are offering thousands of dollars to people willing to voluntarily get infected with a form of the virus and spend two weeks in isolation. Being the first to come up with an effective vaccine for Covid-19 would undoubtedly prove very profitable for any pharmaceutical company, and many are spending big money to increase their chances of success.
  • A measure of British house prices rose at the fastest pace in nearly four years in February as the residential property market picked up for a third month in a row, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said on Thursday.

In early trade on Thursday, the euro has advanced 0.4% against the US dollar to trade at $1.1310, while it has gained 0.3% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8820.