LOCKDOWN DAY 11

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

  • Ratings agency Fitch downgraded the country further into junk territory. It lowered the nation’s long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating to BB from BB+ because the country lacked a clear path towards stabilising its debt position, and maintained its negative outlook as it saw the prospect of further significant upside pressure on government debt and additional downside risks associated with the global shock.
  • In the US, nonfarm payrolls declined more-than-expected in March, its biggest in 11 years, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Unemployment rate rose more than expected in March.
  • The ISM non-manufacturing PMI slowed to a more than 3-1/2-year low in March, with industries reporting a moderation in new orders and decline in employment amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • OPEC and Russia have postponed a meeting planned for Monday until later next week, OPEC sources said on Saturday, as a row intensified between Moscow and Saudi Arabia over who is to blame for plunging oil prices. The meeting’s delay came despite pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, to urgently stabilize global oil markets.   President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would put tariffs on imports of crude oil or take other measures if he has to protect energy workers from the oil price crash.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose on Friday. The yield on 2021 bond advanced to 4.97% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 11.41%.

In early trade on Monday, the US dollar is trading 1.4% higher against the South African rand at R19.3130, while the euro is trading 1.5% higher at R20.8770.  The British pound has gained 1.2% against the South African rand to trade at R23.6316.

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

  • Boris Johnson has been admitted to hospital with coronavirus after suffering persistent symptoms for 10 days, leaving staffers in government scrambling.
  • The eurozone’s retail sales rose higher-than-expected on a monthly basis in February, as shoppers stocked up on food and drink and sharply increased their online spending.
  • On the other hand, services PMI dropped in March, as attempts to contain the coronavirus pandemic pushed governments to shut down vast swathes of their economies.
  • German services PMI also dipped during the same period, indicating the damage done to the job market as businesses close to limit the spread of coronavirus.

In early trade on Monday, the euro advanced 0.1% against the US dollar to trade at $1.0813, while it has gained 0.5% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8838.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS STATS

1,253,269 confirmed cases

68,803 reported deaths

259,692 recovered*

South Africa

Confirmed 1,655

Dead 11

Recovered 95

Confirmed Today 0

Died Today 0