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

  • In the US, number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits slightly fell during the week ended 11 April. The Federal Reserve on Thursday announced that its Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility is fully operational and available to provide liquidity to eligible financial institutions, which will help support small businesses. The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, guarantees loans extended by qualified lenders to small businesses so that those businesses can keep workers employed.
  • U.S. stock futures surged on Thursday night after a report said a Gilead Sciences drug was showing effectiveness in treating the coronavirus. The move pointed to a jump for the stock market on Friday. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 700 points, or about 3%. S&P 500 futures gained 2.8% while Nasdaq 100 futures were up by 1.8%. Gilead shares jumped by 14% in after-hours trading after news reported that a Chicago hospital treating coronavirus patients with Remdesivir in a trial were recovering rapidly from severe symptoms.
  • Meanwhile, housing starts tumbled in March, reporting its worst monthly decline since 1984.
  • The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index dropped to its lowest levels since July 1980.
  • China reported that its first quarter GDP contracted by 6.8% in 2020 from a year ago as the world’s second largest economy took a huge hit from the coronavirus outbreak, data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China showed. The contraction in the first quarter would also be the first decline since at least 1992, when official quarterly GDP records started.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on 2021 bond declined to 4.36% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 10.44%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading 0.9% lower against the South African rand at R18.7047, while the euro is trading 0.6% lower at R20.3427.  The British pound has declined 0.5% against the South African rand to trade at R23.4000.

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

  • The eurozone’s industrial production declined on a monthly basis in February.
  • In Germany, consumer price index (CPI) came in line with investor expectations on an annual basis in March.
  • In the UK, Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab, announced that the country will extend its lockdown for at least three more weeks, as a relaxation of the measures would damage both public health and the economy.

In early trade on Friday, the euro has advanced 0.3% against the US dollar to trade at $1.0874, while it has weakened 0.1% against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8693.


2,142,179 confirmed cases

144,420 reported deaths

541,424 recovered

South Africa




Last updated Apr 17, 2020