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/

LOCKDOWN LEVEL 1 Ver1 [ DAY 2]  

TOTAL DAYS 342 – 7 HOURS 25 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 30 / J & J VACCINE DAY 18      

By the close of trade on Tuesday 02nd March 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar. In local news Jacob Zuma has his Judgement day as the Apex court has set a date for late March to cast verdict on his contempt of court shenanigans.  The prospect of an ANC / DA coalition in the next round of elections have tongues wagging as a first date seems realistic in a political sense.

  • In the US, the Federal Reserve (Fed) Governor, Lael Brainard, stated it has been one year since the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores, a year marked by heartbreak and hardship. We are all looking forward to a brighter time ahead, when vaccinations are widespread, the recovery is broad based and inclusive, and services, schools, sports, and social life are in person. The expected path of the U.S. economy has strengthened with the prospect of widespread vaccinations and additional fiscal stimulus, but risks remain, and we are currently far from our goals.
  • Russian Foreign Minister has released a statement over the current sanctions being imposed, stating that the West must stop playing with fire”.
  • Business activity across China’s service sector rose only modestly in February, with the rate of growth dipping to a ten-month low. The slowdown coincided with a softer increase in total new business, which was partly driven by a fresh decline in new export work. Panel members often mentioned that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and a recent rise in cases globally, had dampened customer demand. At the same time, firms trimmed their staff numbers for the first time in seven months amid a further steep rise in operating costs. Companies expressed robust optimism towards the year ahead.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 7.31%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.25% while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 9.02%.

In early trade on Wednesday, the US dollar is trading marginally lower against the South African rand at R14.9422, while the euro is trading marginally lower at R18.0571.  The British pound has marginally gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.8627.

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

  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer will unveil the latest UK Budget on Wednesday at 12:30 GMT. It will likely include another massive round of spending to safeguard jobs and boost the recovery. Rumors suggest taxes on corporations might be raised as well to repair the hole in public finances, but it’s probably too early for that. As for sterling, with the UK reaping the benefits of early vaccinations, the overall picture seems positive, especially against the growth-starved euro. Balancing the books? It is show time in the UK, where Finance Minister Rishi Sunak is about to reveal the government’s latest fiscal plans.
  • Shop prices fell in February by 2.4%, the lowest deflation rate since May 2020, the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Nielsen shop price index revealed on Wednesday. The drop was driven by non-food prices which fell by 3.9% in February, compared with a decline of 3.6% in January, the fastest rate of decline since May 2020. Food inflation was steady at 0.2% in February. This is the lowest inflation rate for the category since January 2017. “With the third lockdown constricting consumer spending across all income brackets, many retailers have been vigorously discounting products in an attempt to encourage spending.
  • The eurozone consumer price index (CPI) rose less than expected on an annual basis in February.
  • German retail sales tumbled more than expected in January as the COVID-19 lockdown and the withdrawal of a temporary cut in sales tax hit consumer spending in Europe’s largest economy.
  • German unemployment rose in February for the first time since last June, dashing expectations for a fall as lockdown measures to suppress the coronavirus case load held back the economy.

In early trade on Wednesday, the euro has marginally slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.2096, while it has weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8627.

COVID NEWS:

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

Provincial

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

LOCKDOWN ADJUSTED LEVEL 3 Ver2 [ DAY 27]  

Wave 2 NEW VARIANT

TOTAL DAYS 334 – 7 HOURS 44 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 21 / J & J VACCINE DAY 8         

By the close of trading on Tuesday 23rd February 2021, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.

  • In South Africa, the unemployment rate jumped to a record high in the fourth quarter of last year, as the domestic economy was further battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Today the focus shifts to the Budget speech and the troubled waters that Tito Mboweni must navigate.
  • In the US, consumer confidence rose to a three-month high in February, after the US government stepped up its fiscal stimulus payments to families and domestic coronavirus cases fell sharply.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled that the central bank was nowhere close to pulling back on its support for the pandemic-damaged U.S. economy even as he voiced expectations for a return to more normal, improved activity later this year. “The economy is a long way from our employment and inflation goals, and it is likely to take some time for substantial further progress to be achieved,” he said in the text of testimony to be delivered Tuesday to the Senate Banking Committee.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds mostly fell yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond fell to 7.09%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 5.10%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue fell to 8.82%.

In early trade on Wednesday, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.5672, while the euro is trading higher at R17.6722.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.6326.

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

  • In the eurozone, the consumer price index (CPI) remained steady on an annual basis in January.
  • Europe’s top banks must justify why they should not have to shift clearing of euro-denominated derivatives worth billions of euros from London to the European Union after Brexit.   Clearers in Britain have EU permission to continue clearing for EU customers until mid-2022 to give banks time to shift their euro positions to the continent, but switching has been slow. The banks are being asked to set out detailed views on shifting euro derivatives positions from London on Friday in the first meeting of a new European Commission working group on moving euro clearing.
  • Godwin Emefiele has reiterated the position of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that cryptocurrency currently has no place in Nigeria’s monetary system. The apex bank earlier in February directed Deposit Money Banks and other financial institutions to close accounts of people using their systems for cryptocurrency trading. Nigerian senators a week later invited the Emefiele to explain the reasons for the ban and Nigeria’s future plan for virtual assets.

In early trade on Wednesday, the euro has marginally advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.2166, while it has weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8622.

COVID NEWS:

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

Provincial

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

LOCKDOWN ADJUSTED LEVEL 3 Ver2 [ DAY 20]  

Wave 2 NEW VARIANT

TOTAL DAYS 328 – 07 HOURS 48 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 17 / j&j DAY 1          

By the close of trade on Monday 16th February 2021, the South African rand weakened against the US dollar.  In local news Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has asked the Constitutional Court to pass verdict on an AWOL Zuma.  Ace Magashule is set to appear before the Bloemfontein High Court this Friday, as the ANC goes in to a tail spin over party first country second policies, and the Ramaphosa vs Zuma factions scrum down.  The Republic await!

  • President Biden has stated “before I took office, I set a big goal of administering 100 million shots in the first 100 days. With the progress we’re making I believe we’ll not only reach that, we’ll break it’ stated Biden.
  • In the US, the New York Fed’s Empire State business conditions index rose to its highest level since July in February.  U.S. traders came back from their long weekend on Tuesday ready for a busy trading week. They drove stocks to fresh record highs which should have coincided with a weaker U.S. dollar. However stronger than expected manufacturing activity in the New York region boosted risk appetite. Looking ahead sustainability of the dollar and equity market rally hinges on a retail recovery. The end of 2020 was particularly tough for retailers as consumer spending dropped three months in a row.
  • Weakness in both the dollar and euro is posing a dilemma for investors about which is the best source of funding for emerging-market carry trades. On balance, the U.S. currency is still the crowd favorite. The dollar has been sliding since the second quarter of 2020 as the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to a record low and spiraling coronavirus infections pummeled the U.S. economy. The euro has begun a swoon of its own in recent weeks, briefly dropping below the key $1.20 level, as delays in coronavirus vaccinations sets back expectations for a European economic recovery.
  • Elon Musk’s reign as the world’s richest person was brief. Tesla Inc. shares slid 2.4% on Tuesday, erasing $4.6 billion from its chief executive officer’s fortune and knocking him from the top spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking. Jeff Bezos, who’d held the title for more than three years until last month, reclaimed his No. 1 position with a net worth of $191.2 billion, or $955 million more than Musk. Musk’s drop ends for now an almost six-week stint as world’s richest person that saw him front and center in some of the biggest market events so far this year.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose yesterday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 6.89%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.75%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 8.63%.

In early trade on Wednesday, the US dollar is trading higher against the South African rand at R14.6910, while the euro is trading higher at R17.7679.  The British pound has gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.4044.

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

  • India is poised to clear some new investment proposals from China in the coming weeks as frosty relations between the two neighboring countries thawed amid an easing in border tensions, said three government officials with knowledge of the matter. Last week, India and China began disengagement from the Pangong Tso area, in the Ladakh region of the western Himalayas, following a nearly nine-month-long standoff after the worst clash between the neighboring countries since 1962. At the height of the tensions, India framed various policies targeting China, including blocking the nation from participating in government tenders, compelling any Chinese company investing in India to seek approvals and banning dozens of Chinese apps.
  • Meanwhile, investor morale in Germany rose significantly in February, on expectations that consumption will take off in the coming months, thus buoying the outlook for Europe’s largest economy.
  • Meanwhile, eurozone’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell less-than-initially estimated in 4Q20 and employment edged higher against the previous three months, despite COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

In early trade on Wednesday, the euro has slipped against the US dollar to trade at $1.2092, while it has marginally weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8722.

COVID NEWS:

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

Provincial

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

LOCKDOWN ADJUSTED LEVEL 3 Ver2 [ DAY 18]  

Wave 2 NEW VARIANT

TOTAL DAYS 326 – 07 HOURS 30 MINUTES

Vaccine rollout day 16

By the close of trade on Friday, the South African rand strengthened against the US dollar.  In SA all eyes are on the ZUMA show / don’t show at the Zondo commission.  In the US it is a bank holiday [Presidents Day].

In the US, the Michigan consumer sentiment index unexpectedly fell in early February, amid growing pessimism about the country’s economic recovery, even as the US government is poised to deliver another round of COVID-19 relief money.

  • The US House committee approved half of the US President, Joe Biden’s relief plan, thus advancing $1,400.00 payments to millions of people alongside other measures opposed by Republican lawmakers.
  • The yield on benchmark government bonds rose on Friday. The yield on 2026 bond rose to 6.69%. Further, the yield on 2023 bond advanced to 4.67%, while that for the longer-dated 2030 issue rose to 8.50%.

In early trade on Monday, the US dollar is trading lower against the South African rand at R14.5122, while the euro is trading lower at R17.6066.  The British pound has marginally gained against the South African rand to trade at R20.1726.

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

  • Super’ Mario Draghi sworn in as Italy’s new PM can he save its economy like he saved the euro?  Mario Draghi’s life and career may have prepared him for becoming prime minister but he’ll have to navigate treacherous waters.   In 2012, the Eurozone was facing an existential crisis, with the future of the euro itself in doubt. Investors were seeking an ever-greater premium to lend to countries like Spain and Italy and there was real concern in European capitals that at least one country might have to be ejected from the single currency zone. Greece, in particular, was thought likely to default on its debts. It is no exaggeration to say that one man, more than any other, prevented that from happening. He telegraphed his intentions with a single phrase, uttered at a global investment conference at Lancaster House in London on 26 July, 2012 “Within our mandate, the European Central Bank is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro, and believe me, it will be enough.” stated Draghi.
  • In the UK, gross domestic product (GDP) rose on a quarterly basis in 4Q20. However, the BoE forecasted that the economy would shrink by 4.0% in 1Q21, on account of new COVID-19 lockdowns and Brexit disruption.
  • Central banks are accelerating their work on digital currencies and investors are taking note. Earlier this year, the Bank of International Settlements published its latest survey showing that 86% of the 65 central banks it spoke to are doing some form of work on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), be it research, proofs of concept or pilot development. Almost 15% are moving toward actual research for pilots
  • Europe’s financial capital is feeling the cold of Brexit but UK officials insist London is suffering a temporary blip and is well-positioned to profit from new trading horizons. For the first time last month, as Britain’s withdrawal from the EU took full effect, London’s financial district lost its European share trading crown to Amsterdam. London “continues to go from strength to strength” in emerging financial technology (fintech) and tech investment, as well as green finance.
  • Japan’s recovery held up last quarter, with the economy again growing by double-digits, as exports continued to roar back, businesses started to invest again and government stimulus fueled consumer spending despite a winter surge of the coronavirus. Gross domestic product grew an annualized 12.7% from the prior quarter in the three months through December, the Cabinet Office reported Monday. Economists had forecast a 10.1% expansion.

In early trade on Monday, the euro advanced against the US dollar to trade at $1.2236, while it has weakened against the British pound to trade at GBP0.8766.

 COVID NEWS:

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

Provincial

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