By the close of trade on Friday, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar as the coronavirus death toll accelerated worldwide and in South Africa.

  • As the number of coronavirus cases increases in the U.S., President Donald Trump Sunday night ordered National Guard troops in three states to operate under a status that allows them to be managed by state governors, but be paid by the federal government. New York, California, and Washington were placed on lockdown.
  • US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that the Federal Reserve will play a key role in lending funds to businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. Mnuchin stated the  Federal Reserve will have up to $4 trillion of liquidity that we can use to support the economy.
  • In the US, existing home sales surged to a 13-year high on a monthly basis in February, but the housing market recovery is likely to be derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The US President, Donald Trump announced that the interest on student loans would be waived temporarily.
  • In SA President Ramaphosa delayed his Sunday address to the Nation as this Command Council ran deep into the night.  By early morning news stations began reporting of the SANDF being activated and that all leave / planned leave was being terminated / recalled.  It will not be long before SA follows suit and deploys boots on the ground.   This has already taken place in New Zealand the United States and other first world countries.  Time is now of the essence.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell on Friday. The yield on 2021 bond declined to 5.36% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 11.67%.

In early trade on Monday, the US dollar is trading 0.6% higher against the South African rand at R17.7104, while the euro is trading 1.0% higher at R18.9891.  The British pound has gained 0.8% against the South African rand to trade at R20.6500.

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

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in quarantine after a doctor who gave her a vaccine tested positive for coronavirus. Chancellor Merkel was informed about the doctor’s test shortly after holding a news briefing about new measures to curb the spread of the virus.
  • German producer price index (PPI) fell more than expected on a monthly basis in February.
  • Meanwhile, the European Central Bank earlier announced the launch of an emergency EUR750bn package to ease the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The central bank will buy government and company debt across the eurozone, including that of troubled Greece and Italy.

In early trade on Monday, the euro has advanced 0.3% against the US dollar to trade at $1.0724, while it has weakened 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.9195.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS STATS

326,860 confirmed cases   [82,103 new since Friday]

14,515 reported deaths  [ 4,495 since Friday]

66,907 recovered*   [97 since Friday]

SA 241   [ 271 as at Sunday night]

Last updated Mar 23, 2020