LOCKDOWN DAY – 13
By the close of trade on Tuesday, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar. Emerging-market currencies are presenting the best buying opportunity in more than two decades. The rand in the basket of emerging market currencies is performing the best followed by the Mexican peso and Brazilian real, which happen to be the three hardest-hit major currencies this year.
- The week started with a roar. At the open Tuesday, the S&P 500 was up almost 10% for the week. Investors were positively giddy about three events: 1) the possibility of a peak in infections in the next few weeks, 2) the possibility the number of deaths may not be as great as feared, and 3) the immense stimulus still under discussion in Japan, the European Union, and the United States.
- In the US, the NFIB small business optimism index for March registered its largest monthly decline in the survey’s history.
- Further, US JOLTS job openings fell in February, led by drop in job openings in the real estate and rental and leasing and information industries.
- Consumer borrowing accelerated in February before the coronavirus spread across the country, according to Federal Reserve data released Tuesday.
- The yield on benchmark government bonds ended mixed yesterday. The yield on 2021 bond advanced to 5.03% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 10.95%.
In early trade on Wednesday, the US dollar is trading marginally lower against the South African rand at R18.3123, while the euro is trading 0.3% lower at R19.8997. The British pound has declined 0.1% against the South African rand to trade at R22.5616.
By the close of trade on Tuesday, the euro advanced against most of the major currencies.
- Global ratings agency S&P on Wednesday lowered its outlook on Australia’s coveted ‘AAA’ rating to “negative” from “stable” in anticipation of a “material” weakening in the government’s debt position as it splashes out a large fiscal stimulus package.
- German industry output surprisingly rose on a monthly basis in February.
- Italian retail sales advanced on a monthly basis in February.
In early trade on Wednesday, the euro has slipped 0.2% against the US dollar to trade at $1.0865, while it has weakened 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8822.
- On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government would soon receive a scientific assessment on whether the national lockdown, which ends next week, had worked or the possibility of an extension or variations of an extension to the lockdown would be detailed.
- On Monday, the SA Reserve Bank warned about 370 000 jobs could be lost this year because of the lockdown, and the economy could contract by between 2 and 4%. The central bank also expects around 1 600 businesses to close their doors in the near future.
NOVEL CORONAVIRUS STATS
1,419,105 confirmed cases
81,653 reported deaths
Last updated Apr 8, 2020