Newsflash: Lockdown, 1/3 done

Newsflash: Lockdown, 1/3 done
market currencies
Source: Bloomberg, *time of writing 07h00, 2020-04-03

6.6 million US workers filed for their first week of unemployment benefits for the week ending 28 March. The previous week’s number was 3.3 million. The worst number previously was 665 000 on March 28 in 2009. These two new numbers imply that the US unemployment rate is now 9.5%, up from 3.5% just a month ago, which was a historic low.

The oil price surged up 22% to close to USD 30/barrel on Thursday when President Trump tweeted about chatting with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia about cutting oil production.

The South African positive virus count is lower than expected at this point; however, Health Minister Mkhize mentioned that this is the “calm before the devastating storm.” “We need to be aware that there may not be any further warnings before the pounding descends…”

The rand descended to R18.62 to the US dollar, caused by both the Moody’s downgrade and a further sell-off of emerging market currencies. The rand is the worst-performing currency against the US dollar this year, depreciating by R4.60 or -24%.

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Greg Flash
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Windall Bekker
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