LOCKDOWN – DAY 1

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

  • South Africa’s producer price index (PPI) came in better-than-expected on an annual basis in February.
  • The greenback lost ground, after the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits shot to an all-time high last week, as businesses shut down and people were laid off due to the coronavirus.
  • President Trump proposed sending Americans $1,000 checks. Such a direct stimulus is also known as ‘helicopter money.’ Not all Republicans were enthusiastic about this idea.
  • In other economic news, US 4Q19 gross domestic product (GDP) rose in line with investor expectations and February goods trade gap narrowed.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds dropped yesterday. The yield on 2021 bond declined to 5.02% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 11.43%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading 0.1% lower against the South African rand at R17.3027, while the euro is trading 0.2% higher at R19.1591.  The British pound has gained 0.5% against the South African rand to trade at R21.2449.

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

  • Following the G20 leader’s conference call on the coronavirus outbreak, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the impact of coronavirus likely to be bigger than the financial crisis. Eurozone finance ministers have been asked to work out within two weeks the technical details of bailout fund credit lines for the euro zone to fight coronavirus.
  • The eurozone’s private loans rose on an annual basis in February.
  • Separately, the European Union leaders failed to agree on the scale of support for their economies battered by the virus, but gave themselves two more weeks to work out details, while the European Central Bank has ditched a cap on how many bonds it can buy from any single eurozone country.
  • The BoE held the bank rate unchanged at 0.1%, as expected, but kept the door open to a further ramp up in asset purchases. The central bank stated that there is little evidence as yet to assess the precise magnitude of the economic shock from COVID-19.
  • Meanwhile, the British government announced that it will pay grants to self-employed people who have lost their livelihoods because of the virus lockdown, further extending an unprecedented package of measures to prevent the economy from collapsing.

In early trade on Friday, the euro has advanced 0.4% against the US dollar to trade at $1.1073, while it has weakened 0.3% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.9018.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS STATS

526,544 confirmed cases

23,951 reported deaths

121,978 recovered*

South Africa

Confirmed  927  [Alarming jump]

Dead  0

Recovered  12

Confirmed Today  0

Died Today  0

 Last updated Mar 27, 2020