LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 27]  

TOTAL DAYS 396 – 7 HOURS 45 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 83 / J & J VACCINE DAY 71 [suspended day 13]

 By the close of trade on Friday 23rd April 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

 In the US, manufacturing PMI increased to its highest reading since the series started in May 2007 in April.

 New home sales surged on monthly basis in March.

 Iran’s Military blames Israel for drone attack on an oil tanker ablaze.  The blaze aboard the oil tanker near Syria’s Banias refinery has been extinguished late Sunday following a suspected drone attack which was widely reported as coming “from the direction of Lebanese waters” in the words of Syria’s oil ministry. The Guardian is citing regional sources to say at least three among the crew were killed. While the tanker was first identified as Iranian, Tanker Trackers said in a tweet that “the tanker seen burning today off the coast of Banias is not an Iranian vessel” but Beirut-registered. Iranian state media had also denied that it was Iranian ship.

 The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly rose on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.26%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 4.68%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.17%.

 In early trade on Monday 26th April 2021, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R14.2642, while the euro is trading marginally lower at R17.2733.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R19.8322.

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

 Italy has reached a deal with the European Commission over its Recovery Plan, Prime Minister Mario Draghi told the cabinet late on Saturday, after days of intense talks, paving the way for it to be submitted to Brussels by the end of April. Italy plans to spend more than 220 billion euros ($266 billion) from European Union and national funds to revive its coronavirus-battered economy.  Economy Minister Daniele Franco unveiled the plan’s details to the cabinet late on Saturday, after it was delayed for 12 hours to allow negotiations to proceed with Brussels.

 Britain looks set to see faster economic growth than the United States this year as the country races ahead with its vaccination programme after its slump in 2020, Goldman Sachs said on Sunday. The bank said in a note to clients that it now expects British gross domestic product to grow by a “striking” 7.8% this year, “above our expectations for the U.S.” A Reuters poll of analysts published on April 13 showed an average forecast for growth of 5.0% in the UK, the world’s fifth-biggest economy in 2021. The International Monetary Fund has projected a 5.3% expansion.

 Facing criticism as COVID-19 continues to rise across Japan, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took another hit on Sunday after his Liberal Democratic Party lost the first national elections since he took office. Given his precarious position, Suga is unlikely to call a general election any time soon and is in danger of losing power when his current term ends in September. Tougher restrictions to curb infections took effect in Tokyo and the western prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo on Sunday after the government declared a state of emergency over the pandemic for the third time.

 The eurozone’s recovery from its pandemic-induced economic downturn was much stronger than expected in April, as the service industry adapted to lockdowns and made a surprise return to growth.

 German factories continued to churn out goods at a near-record pace in April, even as activity in the services sector remained sluggish due to coronavirus curbs, giving an upbeat outlook for Europe’s largest economy.

 In early trade on Monday 26th April 2021, the euro has advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.2232, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8766.

CURRENCY PATROL   

LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 21]  

TOTAL DAYS 390 – 7 HOURS 35 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 77 / J & J VACCINE DAY 65 [SUSPENDED DAY 7]

By the close of trade on Monday 19th April 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

  • South Africa recorded large current account and trade surpluses in the last two quarters of FY20 on higher demand for commodities as global trade conditions eased with the falling COVID-19 infections and a subsequent loosening of restrictions on economic activity.
  • The selling pressure on the greenback, evident last week, despite a series of stronger than expected economic reports, carries over into the new week’s activity. The euro punched through the $1.20 cap that had blocked it last week, and the dollar is testing the JPY108 level, which it has not traded below since early March. Most emerging market currencies are also firmer, and the JP Morgan Emerging Market Currency Index is moving higher for its fifth consecutive session after last week’s 1% gain. The US 10-year benchmark yield is a couple basis points lower at 1.55%.
  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said challenging China in the South China Sea will only lead to violence, and that he will only do so if Beijing drills for oil in the disputed waters. “If we go there to assert our jurisdiction, it will be bloody,” Duterte said at a televised briefing late Monday, his first remarks after hundreds of Chinese vessels were spotted at a disputed reef in March. Duterte said it’s not the time to confront China and that he’s “not so much interested” in the marine resources in the disputed sea. “I will give them five Coast Guard ships, and they can chase it.  They can play with each other, and see who’s faster,” Duterte said. The Philippine leader however said he will send Navy ships in the contested waters if China begins to drill for oil. “If they get the oil, that would be time that we should act on it,” he said.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping called for greater global economic integration and warned against a new “Cold War” and ideological confrontation in “whatever forms” at the opening ceremony of the 2021 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) on Tuesday.
  • A new understanding is emerging at talks aimed at salvaging Iran’s nuclear deal with global powers, Tehran’s chief negotiator said on Saturday according to Iranian state media, as China’s delegate also reported progress. Abbas Araqchi said after a meeting of remaining parties to the 2015 deal that the Iranian delegation had submitted proposed texts on nuclear issues and the lifting of sanctions, and that work on a common text, “at least in areas where there are common views”, could begin.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.18%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.91% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.06%.

In early trade on Tuesday, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R14.2130, while the euro is trading higher at R17.1322. The British pound has marginally gained against the South African rand to trade at R19.9012.

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

  • The German Bundesbank monthly report showed that economic output decreased in 1Q21, as stricter and longer-lasting restrictions increased the losses in many service sectors.
  • When asked where UK unemployment will be at the end of this year, most economists would, probably say ‘higher than it is now’. But predicting how high remains a tricky question to answer and highlights how several aspects of the crisis in the jobs market differ from previous recessions. Let’s start with the noticeable difference – the furlough scheme. The extension of wage support through the winter lockdown and now until the end of September has helped the jobs market turn a tentative corner over recent months. While payroll-based employment is still down some 2.4% on pre-pandemic levels,  there has been a gradual recovery outside of the consumer services arena no doubt as firms have become more adept at operating through lockdowns. The admin/support sector, for instance, has now all-but-erased the 6.3% fall in employment seen amid the pandemic.
  • Russian jets have struck a terrorist training camp northeast of Palmyra, destroying 24 vehicles and half a ton of explosive materials while killing up to 200 militants, the Russian military has announced. After confirming intelligence about a camouflaged terrorist camp in the Syrian desert, the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out the airstrike, and destroyed two terrorist structures, “up to 200 militants, 24 pickups with heavy machine guns, as well as about 500 kg of ammunition and components for creating improvised explosive devices were destroyed according to Rear Admiral Aleksandr Karpov.

In early trade on Tuesday, the euro has advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.2066, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8632.

CURRENCY PATROL   

LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 15]  

TOTAL DAYS 385 – 7 HOURS 35 MINUTES 

Vaccine rollout day 71 / J & J VACCINE DAY 59 [SUSPENDED DAY 1]

By the close of trade on Wednesday 14th April 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.  Worrying news as the Zuma saga escalates.  In his latest snub Zuma has defied a ruling by the Chief Justice to submit papers before the Apex court.  In another major development the President announced a shuffle of the Defense force heads as the “Old Guard” was removed and new names mentioned to head up the Army, Airforce, Joint Chiefs and Intelligence.

  • Retail sales in South Africa unexpectedly rose on an annual basis in February, as decrease in the second wave of Covid-19 infections and the end of alcohol bans might have seen more consumers going out to spend.
  • In the US, Fed’s beige book showed that economic activity between late February and early April. The U.S. economic recovery accelerated to a moderate pace from late February to early April as consumers, buoyed by increased COVID-19 vaccinations and strong fiscal support, opened their wallets to spend more on travel and other items, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday. The labor market, which was decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, also improved as more people returned to work, with the pace of hiring picking up the most in the manufacturing, construction, and leisure and hospitality sectors. “Reports on tourism were more upbeat, bolstered by a pickup in demand for leisure activities and travel
  • The Arab coalition destroyed three explosive-laden drones launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, Al-Ekhbariya reported. The drones targeting Jazan is the latest in a long line of attacks against the Kingdom by the Iran-back Houthi militia. The coalition said the attack is a continuation of the Houthi’s systematic and intentional hostile attempts to target civilians. The Houthis, who took over the capital of Yemen, Sanaa, in 2014, have been condemned for their actions against the Kingdom.
  • India reported more than 200,000 new infections on Thursday — its highest one-day surge since the pandemic broke out — as a deadlier new wave grips the world’s second worst-hit country. With 200,739 new cases, the outbreak in the South Asian nation has gone past 14 million. Casualties rose to 173,123 while more than 114 million vaccine doses have been administered, according to latest data from India’s health ministry. After seeing new infections ebb at the beginning of this year, Covid cases began spiking up since March.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.35%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.02% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.21%.

In early morning trade on Thursday, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.4122, while the euro is trading higher at R17.2572.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R19.8562.

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

  • The European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President Luis de Guindos stated that ECB will act on any detrimental rise in borrowing costs and considers removing stimulus too early a bigger risk than acting too late. One year into the pandemic, Europe finds itself at another turning point. New waves of infection are hitting the continent, requiring new lockdowns. But, unlike last year, safe and effective vaccines are now available. While the pace of vaccination is still slow, an end to the pandemic is in sight. Reflecting the periodic infection waves and the pace of vaccinations, the economic recovery in Europe is still halting and uneven. While industrial production has returned to pre-pandemic levels, the service sector is still contracting. While the pace of vaccination is still slow, an end to the pandemic is in sight.
  • Britain has agreed with the European Union that it will respond to the bloc’s legal action over how it has introduced new trading rules for Northern Ireland by mid-May, a spokeswoman for the government said on Wednesday. The EU launched legal action against Britain in March for unilaterally changing trading arrangements for Northern Ireland that Brussels says are in breach of the Brexit divorce deal agreed with London last year.
  • Australia will likely find Covid-19 has a lingering effect on the economy and the sheer scale of stimulus means it will probably be a couple of years before it’s clear how much has changed, former Reserve Bank board member Heather Ridout said. “People are operating differently, companies are having to operate differently and it’s going to take a long time before supply chains get back to what they were before,” Ridout said in an interview with Bloomberg News Wednesday. “There will be a new normal and I think worrying about pandemics and all of this will become part of the new normal.”
  • Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Thursday stuck to the view that the country’s economy is on a recovering trend despite the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking during a videoconference with the central bank’s branch managers, Kuroda also pointed to difficulties companies face raising funds even under the BOJ’s accommodative monetary policy, saying the bank will not hesitate to take additional easing steps if needed.

In early trade on Thursday, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1992, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8722.

LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 13]  

TOTAL DAYS 382 – 7 HOURS 35 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 70 / J & J VACCINE DAY 58

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

  • Locally there are just days of reckoning for Zuma and Judge Hlophe. Will the ConCourt and JSC imprison and push to impeach respectively?
  • Hideki Matsuyama’s historic win at Augusta National is going to make him very rich. The 29-year-old became the first Japanese man to win a golf major by finished 10-under to win the Masters by one shot from American debutant Will Zalatoris. Masters win ‘worth a billion dollars’ Matsuyama’s victory will see him rival Naomi Osaka as the most famous athlete in Japan and could make him a billionaire, according to two-time US Open winner Andy North.
  • In the US, producer price index (PPI) increased more than expected in March, resulting in the largest annual gain in 9-1/2 years and likely marking the start of higher inflation as the economy reopens amid an improved public health environment and massive government aid. The U.S. economy is at an “inflection point” with expectations that growth and hiring will pick up speed in the months ahead, but some risks remain, particularly any resurgence in the coronavirus pandemic, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said.
  • Wholesale inventories increased slightly more than initially estimated in February amid a decline in sales.
  • The European Union’s top diplomat said on Sunday Russia and China were hampering a united international response to Myanmar’s military coup and that the EU could offer more economic incentives if democracy returns to the country. “It comes as no surprise that Russia and China are blocking the attempts of the U.N. Security Council, for example to impose an arms embargo,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a blog post.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.42%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.15% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.28%.

In early trade on Monday 12th April 2021, the US dollar is trading  higher against the South African rand at R14.6266, while the euro is trading higher at R17.3935.  The British pound has marginally declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.0172.

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

  • German trade surplus narrowed in February, as exports to the UK and other EU states fell.
  • In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country’s top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost. Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu. Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses abroad while trying to promote doubt about the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine made using the previously experimental messenger RNA, or mRNA, process.
  • The Federal Government has abandoned its target of offering every eligible Australian their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by October 31. In a Sunday night statement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “it is not possible” to provide new timelines given “uncertainties” in the rollout. The confirmation comes days after Australian health authorities recommended those under 50 receive alternatives to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was a cornerstone of the nation’s rollout scheme.
  • Japanese wholesale prices marked their first annual increase in more than a year in March, data showed on Monday, a sign that rising commodities costs are pinching corporate margins, adding inflationary pressure to the world’s third-largest economy.  Japanese bank lending rose 6.3% in March from a year earlier, data showed on Monday, as restaurants and hotels sought more loans to weather the hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Deposits held by banks were also up 9.9% in March as households continued to save rather than spend on uncertainty over the pandemic’s fallout, the Bank of Japan data showed. Outstanding loans held by the country’s four main categories of banks, including “shinkin” or credit unions, hit a fresh record at 579.995 trillion yen ($5.29 trillion), according to the data. In February, total loans increased 6.2%.

In early trade on Monday, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1927, while it has gained against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8572.

LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver3 [ DAY 8]  

TOTAL DAYS 377 – 7 HOURS 25 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 65 / J & J VACCINE DAY 53

 By the close of trade on 6th March 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

  • Following four years of a decidedly protectionist agenda, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is here to tell you that things are about to change in a major way. The Cabinet official most in charge of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda set forth a bold set of principles Monday that differ from the previous administration’s priorities by about as much as one could imagine. Gone is former President Donald Trump’s saber-rattling against China. In its place is a policy that “will be competitive where it should be, collaborative where it can be” but only “adversarial where it must be.”
  • The International Monetary Fund raised its outlook for global economic growth again on Tuesday, forecasting worldwide output would rise 6% this year, a rate not seen since the 1970s, thanks largely to the unprecedented policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the United States.
  • In the US, job openings rose to a two-year high in February while hiring picked up as strengthening domestic demand amid increased COVID-19 vaccinations and additional pandemic aid from the government boost companies’ needs for more workers.
  • U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he has not spoken to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, noting the central bank is an independent agency. “I think the Federal Reserve is an independent operation and starting off my presidency I want to be real clear that I’m not going to do the kinds of things that have been done in the last administration,” Biden told reporters. Biden still has significant room to make his mark on the Fed. Powell’s term is up next February, when Biden can choose to extend his appointment, and there is an empty seat on the Fed’s Board of Governors.
  • GameStop sparked a frenzy on Reddit that lit up TikTok. The dizzying rally for the game retailer’s stock that followed helped establish social media as one of the most popular sources for financial information, tips and advice, particularly among Gen Z, according to a new CreditCards.com report second only to friends and family for the 18-to-24 cohort. In fact, Gen Zer’s are nearly five times as likely to say they get financial advice including stock tips from social media as adults in their 40s or older, the report found.et this delivered to your inbox, and more info about our products and services.
  • Russia announced the start of mass military drills, ratcheting up tensions with neighboring Ukraine amid Western concerns about the risk of renewed fighting. More than 4,000 training exercises will be held in military districts across Russia in April, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday, in comments posted on the ministry’s website.  President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on NATO on Tuesday to lay out a path for Ukraine to join the Western military alliance, after days in which Russia has massed troops near the conflict-hit Donbass region.
  • Iran and major powers will continue to discuss ways to revive the 2015 nuclear deal that former U.S. president Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator told state television on Tuesday. “The talks in Vienna were constructive … our next meeting will be on Friday,” Abbas Araqchi said. He also added that Tehran would not suspend its enrichment of uranium to 20% fissile purity in return for the release of $1 billion of its funds blocked in other countries because of U.S. sanctions reimposed on Iran since 2018.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.45%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond declined to 5.18% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 9.44%.

In early morning trade on Wednesday 7th April 2021, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R14.5172, while the euro is trading lower at R17.2366.  The British pound has declined against the South African rand to trade at R20.0688.

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

  • The eurozone Sentix morale rose in April to the highest level since August 2018, driven by an improved view of the current situation.
  • The total number of billionaires exploded over the course of the coronavirus pandemic — and they individually became extraordinarily wealthier during the last 12 months. That’s according to a new report from Forbes, which does one of the most complete analyses each spring about the state of the billionaire class across the globe. Tracking the net worths of the wealthy is painstaking work that requires sifting through arcane filings — and the end results are not perfect — but the estimates offered by Forbes represent one of the best stabs at covering the scale of income inequality in the world.
  • Russian inflation jumped to the highest level in more than four years in March, adding pressure on the central bank to keep raising interest rates. Annual inflation accelerated to 5.8% in March, the Federal Statistics Service reported Tuesday, in line with forecasts but well above the central bank’s 4% target.
  • RB of India Governor Das: MPC voted to keep repo rate unchanged at 4%, maintaining an accommodative stance for as long as needed.

In early trade on Wednesday, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.1872, while it has weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8622.