LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 29]  

TOTAL DAYS 370 – 7 HOURS 40 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 58 / J & J VACCINE DAY 46

By the close of trade on Tuesday 30th March 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.  Here in SA President Ramaphosa addressed the nation and in essence tweaked the level 1 restrictions by closing Off Consumption [Bottle stores] between 5pm on Thursday and 09h00 on Tuesday. Restrictions in numbers gathering have been relaxed but to no more than 250 people indoor and 500 people outdoor.

  • Portugal has sent troops to Northern Mozambique to combat the Al Shabab fighters.
  • In the US, consumer confidence raced in March to its highest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, thus supporting views that domestic economic growth will accelerate in the coming months, driven by more fiscal stimulus and an improving public health situation.
  • Less equity turmoil than feared: The contagion from block trades linked to Archegos Capital Management stock exposure was likely more contained than feared, leaving the broad equity segment capable of holding on to recent gains yesterday and during the Asian session today. This is set to remain a key thread under investors’ watch today as the data calendar in major economies looks rather dull. In the US, two Federal Reserve speakers (John Williams and Randal Quarles) should not attract much interest. The key event of the week is set to be the unveiling by President Biden of his infrastructure plan
  • Efforts to sketch out initial U.S. and Iranian steps to resume compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal have stalled and Western officials believe Iran may now wish to discuss a wider road map to revive the pact, something Washington is willing to do. U.S. President Joe Biden’s aides initially believed Iran, with which they have not had direct discussions, wanted to talk about first steps toward a revival of the agreement that Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, abandoned in 2018.
  • Marine traffic resumed in Suez Canal reducing uncertainty in the markets, with the USD firming its position while long-dated Treasuries sell-off gained momentum ahead of Biden’s presentation of infrastructure spending plan. Oil clang to recent gains ahead of the OPEC meeting. On Thursday, OPEC will decide whether to extend current output cuts after May 1. At the last meeting, OPEC took it by surprise leaving productions cuts unchanged, which, however, played a cruel joke: the market regarded this as a signal of concern about demand outlook. Prices jumped up, but unwound gains quickly.  In SA we have been warned of a record price fuel jump at the pumps following the Easter weekend.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.52%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.37%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.52%.

In early trade on Wednesday, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.9422 while the euro is trading higher at R17.4766.  The British pound has marginally gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.4996.

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

  • German consumer price index (CPI) accelerated in March to surpass the European Central Bank’s target of close to but below 2.0%.
  • Meanwhile, in the eurozone, economic confidence jumped to a one-year high in March, with industrial firms, services companies and consumers all reporting more optimism about the future.
  • Japan’s industrial output fell in February due to declines in the production of cars and electrical machinery, in a worrying sign for an economy struggling to recover from the deep impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The world’s third-largest economy is expected to contract in the current quarter due to a second coronavirus-related state of emergency that was imposed from early January for Tokyo and some neighboring prefectures. Official data released on Wednesday showed factory output shrank 2.1% from the previous month in February, dragged down by falls in production of cars, electrical machinery.   International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva said Tuesday that Japan’s economic recovery will not be derailed by staging the Tokyo Olympics without overseas spectators, while hailing the country’s “strong response” to mitigate the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic through timely stimulus packages. “In terms of economic impact (from the absence of overseas fans), it would be very minor. We’ve done some calculations and we concluded that it is not going to harm the Japanese recovery,” the IMF managing director said in an online interview with Kyodo News.
  • Sydney home prices surged 3.6 per cent in March, the fastest monthly rise in 33 years, as buyers raced to take advantage of low interest rates and government incentives. The last time Sydney hit more than 3 per cent monthly growth was in August 1988 when it surged 3.8 per cent, according to CoreLogic. The CoreLogic March Index set to be released on Thursday is also likely to show Melbourne dwelling prices jumping 2.2 per cent, Brisbane 2.4 per cent, Adelaide 1.4 per cent and Perth 1.7 per cent. The five capital city aggregate is likely to rise 2.8 per cent or an annualised growth of 33 per cent.

In early trade on Wednesday, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1766, while it has marginally gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8542.

LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver1 [ DAY 24]  

TOTAL DAYS 365 – 7 HOURS 32 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 53 / J & J VACCINE DAY 41 

By the close of trading on Thursday 25th March 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.

  • Locally, the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) kept the repo rate steady, in a unanimous decision. The Bank’s quarterly projection model forecasts a 25 basis point (bps) rise in 2Q21, with another expected in 4Q21.
  • Angry Zuma launches extraordinary attack on courts, warns democracy could be reduced ‘to ashes’ after the Constitutional court reserves judgement in his contempt of court case.  In Zuma’s closing paragraph he states “Unfortunately, when people rise up against this judicial corruption, our young democracy will unravel and many democratic gains will be lost in the ashes that will be left of what used to be our democratic state. Many who profess to be acting in the interests of democracy will leave for their wealth destinations abroad as many of them hold dual citizenship. The stooges of these so-called defenders of democracy, will be left with us battling to re-build our country again”. [this is a developing story].
  • In the US, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a one-year low last week, providing a powerful boost to an economy on the verge of stronger growth as the public health situation improves and temperatures rise. But the labor market is not out of the woods yet, with the weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department on Thursday showing a staggering 18.953 million people were still receiving unemployment checks in early March. It will likely take years for a full recovery from the pandemic’s scarring.
  • The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced that the temporary and additional restrictions on bank holding company dividends and share repurchases currently in place will end for most firms after June 30, after completion of the current round of stress tests. Firms with capital levels above those required by the stress test will no longer be subject to the additional restrictions as of that date. Firms with capital levels below those required by the stress test will remain subject to the restrictions.
  • The next major initiative for President Joe Biden’s administration will be an infrastructure package to rebuild both physical and technological infrastructure across the US, with Biden set to announce details of the plan at an event in Pittsburgh next week, Biden said during his first press conference with media at the White House March 25. “If you think about it, it’s the place where we will be able to significantly increase American productivity while at the same time providing really good jobs for people,” Biden said.
  • Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy on Thursday condemned an attack on a vital oil installation in Jazan, which resulted in a fire in one of the tanks. The ministry said “these acts of sabotage target the security of energy supplies.” The Arab coalition and Saudi air defenses intercepted and destroyed several explosive-laden drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward the Kingdom earlier on Thursday, state TV reported.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.54%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.38% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.52%.

In early trade on Friday, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R14.9766, while the euro is trading lower at R17.6382.  The British pound has declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.6026.

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

  • Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has reported that Germany is in a third wave of Covid-19 infections in which the pandemic is dominated by new variants. Meanwhile, German consumer confidence improved in April.
  • The Japanese government will not resume a subsidy program for promoting domestic tourism until June at the earliest due to concerns over a resurgence of the new coronavirus, even as a state of emergency was lifted for the last remaining area earlier this week, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday. The government will earmark 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) as reserves to support municipalities’ own travel promotion initiatives until the “Go To Travel” campaign restarts.
  • Nike and H&M are among major clothing retailers facing a backlash in China after expressing concern about allegations that Uighurs are being used as forced labour in the production of cotton. The retailers, who made the statements last year, have seen their products burned in China by some pro-government campaigners. There’s a growing row over the issue after sanctions were imposed on Chinese officials by the UK and other western countries this week.
  • The Federal Government has pledged a further $135 million in support to Australia’s live performance sector, which remains suppressed due to COVID-19 restrictions and border closures. The funding top-up will support jobs for “everybody across the sector,” Arts Minister Paul Fletcher told “Sunrise” on Thursday.

In early trade on Friday, the euro advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.1788, while it has weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8622.

LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver1 [ DAY 24]  

TOTAL DAYS 363 – 7 HOURS 32 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 51 / J & J VACCINE DAY 39 

By the close of trade on Tuesday 13rd March 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.

  • In the US, the Atlanta Federal Reserve (Fed) President, Raphael Bostic stated that the fiscal and monetary stimulus flowing through the US economy now may lead to an increase in prices and make inflation hard to gauge in coming months. Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan said on Tuesday that he is among the policymakers expecting the central bank could start raising rates as soon as next year. As more people are vaccinated against the coronavirus and the economy continues to improve with the help of generous fiscal stimulus, including a $1.9 trillion aid package signed into law this month, Kaplan said he would be an early advocate for scaling back monetary support.
  • On Tuesday, the Suez Canal, one of the biggest waterways on the planet, had traffic clog up because a massive container ship (the Ever Given) got stuck. The 193-kilometre-long man-made passage connects the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Trade goes both ways, but the waterway is commonly used by companies looking to take oil from the Middle East to North America/Europe. As of Tuesday afternoon (local time) tug boats were trying to clear the vessel so that the pileup of ships that have collected on both sides as a result can be on their way.
  • A U.S. official confirmed to ABC News Tuesday that North Korea fired two short-range missiles sometime Saturday and Sunday. The firing of the two missiles had been previously unreported. Senior Biden administration officials downplayed the launches as “normal activity” that was on the low end of the spectrum of provocations from North Korea.  Curiously, neither North Korea nor South Korea had acknowledged the firing of the two missiles as is routinely done by both countries.
  • Yesterday’s existing home sales and today’s new home sales data for February both showed substantial declines as the harsh mid-month winter storm and generally cold conditions across the country dampened buyer appetite. New home sales took the bigger hit, falling 18.2% month-on-month. New home sales are recorded at the point the purchase contract is signed so will have been directly affected by fewer buyers venturing out into the cold. The 6.6% decline in existing home sales, which are recorded as transactions when contracts are closed, would have been impacted by disruption to working practices.
  • In their testimony before the Congress, Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen stated that they expect a strong economic rebound this year following the vaccine rollout. However, they emphasized that the US recovery is far from complete. Powell also stated that he doesn’t expect the $1.90tn stimulus package to lead to an unwelcome increase in inflation.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.44%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.44%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.36%.

In early trade on Wednesday, the US dollar is trading marginally lower against the South African rand at R14.8946, while the euro is trading lower at R17.6527  The British pound has declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.4566.

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

  • On the global front, the UK, the European Union (EU), the US and Canada all imposed sanctions on senior Chinese officials involved in the mass internment of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province. China swiftly retaliated against the EU, announcing its own blacklist of 10 individuals, including European lawmakers and four entities.
  • The boss of Treasury expects up to 150,000 Australians could lose work when JobKeeper ends on Sunday. New figures from the Australian Tax Office show there were more than one million employees still relying on the wage subsidy at the end of January. But Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy insists it is an appropriate time to end the program, telling a Senate Estimates hearing JobKeeper has “done its job” of propping up the economy during COVID-19 restrictions and assisting in the recovery.
  • As overall financial market conditions continue to improve in Canada, use of the Bank of Canada’s programs that were introduced in 2020 in response to the shock from COVID-19 to support the functioning of key Canadian financial markets, has declined significantly. Reflecting the continued improvement in the general functioning of Canadian financial markets, the Bank is announcing the discontinuation of the Commercial Paper Purchase Program (CPPP), the Provincial Bond Purchase Program (PBPP), and the Corporate Bond Purchase Program (CBPP) on their originally announced end date.

In early trade on Wednesday, the euro has marginally slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1866, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8622.

COVID-19

LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver1 [ DAY 23]  

TOTAL DAYS 362 – 7 HOURS 38 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 50 / J & J VACCINE DAY 38  

 By the close of trade on Friday 19th March 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.  It has been 1 year since President Ramaphosa announced to South Africa that we would enter a period of unprecedented lock down to combat the virus.

  • In the US, the Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman, Jerome Powell stated that the US economy has improved, crediting the Congress and the central bank for providing “unprecedented” support. However, he warned that the recovery is still far from complete. The Federal Reserve reported Monday that it earned $88.6 billion in 2020 and paid back to the federal government $86.9 billion, the largest Fed payment to the government in four years. The Fed said that its earnings were up $33.1 billion last year, a gain that reflected falling interest rates which meant the central bank paid commercial banks less in interest payments on bank reserves that the Fed requires them to keep. The $86.9 billion in payments to the U.S. Treasury was a 58.3% increase from the Fed’s payment of $54.9 billion in 2019.
  • The White House will consider splitting an estimated $3 trillion economic recovery proposal into two bills, The New York Times reported Monday. President Joe Biden aims to inject more money into the economy after this month’s passage of his top priority, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. His administration and congressional Democrats hope to revamp the country’s infrastructure, combat climate change and jolt an improving U.S. economy. The president’s advisors will bring him a plan as soon as this week that would divide the recovery proposal into two planks, the Times reported.
  • On the data front, existing home sales fell more than expected in February, as cold weather blanketed many parts of the country, and a rebound could be muted by rising mortgage rates as well as higher house prices amid tight supply.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly fell on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.34%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.38%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.31%.

In early trade on Tuesday 23rd March 2021, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.7767, while the euro is trading higher at R17.6266.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.4582.

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

  • Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel has stated that Germany is in serious trouble.  Covid-19 numbers are rising with the British variant predominant.  Germany will implement emergency measures to halt the easing of coronavirus restrictions and extend the current lockdown through to April 18, officials announced on Tuesday. Talks between leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states and Chancellor Angela Merkel lasted until the early hours of the morning following a lengthy interruption. Health officials have warned a “third wave” of infections has exceeded the level at which authorities say intensive care units will be overburdened.
  • The German Bundesbank stated that the German economy is likely to shrink sharply this quarter, as pandemic-fighting curbs hit the services sector and even the booming construction industry slows.
  • The United States on Monday joined the European Union and other countries in imposing sanctions over Beijing’s human rights abuses against the Muslim Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region, a move likely to further strain U.S.-China relations. Two Chinese government officials, including Chen Mingguo, vice chairman of the Xinjiang autonomous region, have been sanctioned as the United States is “committed to using the full breadth of its financial powers to promote accountability for the serious human rights abuses occurring in Xinjiang,” the Treasury Department said.

In early trade on Tuesday 23rd March 2021, the euro has marginally slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1927, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8622.

LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver1 [ DAY 8]  

TOTAL DAYS 348 – 7 HOURS 40 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 36 / J & J VACCINE DAY 24      

By the close of trade on Friday 5th march 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.

  • In the US, the economy created more jobs than expected in February as falling new COVID-19 infections and additional pandemic relief money from the government boosted hiring at restaurants and other services businesses.
  • The White House on Sunday urged computer network operators to take further steps to gauge whether their systems were targeted amid a hack of Microsoft Corp’s Outlook email program, saying a recent software patch still left serious vulnerabilities. “This is an active threat still developing and we urge network operators to take it very seriously,” a White House official said, adding that top U.S. security officials were working to decide what next steps to take following the breach.
  • Friday’s US market was the proverbial game of two halves, 10-year US Treasury yields making a new year-to-date high immediately following the stronger than expected 379k jump in US non-farm payrolls, and this is turn hurting equities at the open and supporting the USD. Yet equities stages an impressive afternoon come-back, in conjunction with Treasury yield falling back to end the day little changed, the S&P 500 up 3% from intra-day low to high to finish +2.0% and the NASDAQ and even more impressive 4% intra-day swing to end +1.6%. The BBDXY USD index gained 0.35% Friday to be up just under 1% on the week
  • Unemployment rate fell in February.  The trade deficit widened in January as goods imports jumped to a record high amid a sharp rebound in consumer spending.
  • Senate Democrats passed their version of the near-$1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act Saturday afternoon, but not before making some major changes from the version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives last week. Some of the most notable changes between the two relief bills include dropping a provision to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour and reducing the number of people who will qualify for a $1,400 stimulus payment.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for a 90-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan and a new United Nations-led peace effort as he warned the United States could withdraw all forces after May 1, according to a letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reported by several news outlets Sunday.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.57%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.37% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.29%.

In early trade on Monday, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R15.3822, while the euro is trading marginally lower at R18.3233.  The British pound has declined against the South African rand to trade at R21.2472.

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

  • A busy week ahead for European economics with the ECB press conference and rate statement. Are changes to economic policy coming to halt steepening yields? In the US, CPI data is released, gauging the effects of inflation. The Bank of Canada will also be making its overnight rate statement, and a strong economic outlook for Canada could mean a change in bond-buying policy.
  • The United Kingdom lost market share in the United States, Germany and China during the COVID-19 pandemic due to global trade chaos, Brexit and poor productivity, according to new research published on Monday. The United Kingdom performed particularly badly due to a long-term stagnation in productivity growth, according to the report by Aston University’s Lloyd’s Banking Group Centre for Business Prosperity. While all countries grappled with the tumult of COVID-19, the United Kingdom lost market share in its biggest export markets – the United States and Germany, the research showed.
  • German factory orders rose more than expected in January as robust foreign demand more than offset domestic weakness in Europe’s largest economy.

In early trade on Monday, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1926, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8626.

 COVID NEWS:

https://mediahack.co.za/datastories/coronavirus/dashboard/

Provincial

https://mediahack.co.za/datastories/coronavirus/provinces/