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In the loop 15 March 2024

In the loop

Shireen Darmalingam

What you should know this morning:

  • The rand is weaker this morning, at R18.77/$, after closing weaker yesterday (R18.76/$*).
  • EM currencies were mixed yesterday; the CLP (+0.5%), THB (+0.3%) and COP (+0.3%) were the biggest gainers; the ZAR (-1.1%), PLN (-0.9%) and RON (-0.7%) were the biggest losers.
  • Asian equity markets the Nikkei, Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite are down.
  • The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has left its one-year medium-term lending facility (MLF) rate unchanged, at 2.5%, as expected.
  • The central bank refrained from injecting net MLF cash for the first time since November 2022.
  • China’s new home prices declined by 0.36% m/m in February, after falling by 0.37% m/m in January.
  • New home prices were down in 59 cities in February, compared to 56 cities in January.
  • Chinese authorities have been increasing support for the housing market.
  • They have called on banks to provide financing for developers and allowing local governments to ease rules for homebuyers.
  • This, however, is yet to revive new-home sales.
  • China’s housing minister commented last week that China still faces a “severe task” to stabilize the housing market.
  • The US Empire manufacturing and University of Michigan sentiment indices, both for March, are due out today. 
  • The Empire manufacturing index is likely to have deteriorated in March to -7.0, from -2.4 in February.
  • The index increased in February and was driven by an improvement in the new orders sub-index.
  • Despite the improvement in the new orders sub-index in February, it remained in contraction in that month.
  • This is likely to keep firms cautious about their production and hiring plans in March.
  • University of Michigan sentiment index is expected to have improved to 77.2 in March, from 76.9 in February.
  • Sentiment was likely driven by current economic conditions.
  • In addition, consumers affiliated with a political party in charge tend to have more positive sentiment and favourable expectations for economic conditions than those supporting a party not in power.
  • The 1 yr inflation expectations are likely to have increased to 3.1% in March, from 3.0% in February.
  • The 5-10 yr inflation expectations are expected to have remained unchanged, at 2.9%, in March.
  • Eskom: Stage 2 loadshedding is currently in place until 4pm, when Stage 3 loadshedding will be implemented. 
  • Brent crude is down this morning, and up by 10.7% year-to-date.
  • The gold price is up this morning, and up by 5.0% year-to-date.
  • Brent crude oil is currently at $85.25/bbl; ($85.42/bbl*).
  • Gold is at $2165/oz ($2160/oz*).
  • SA CDS 221bps*, Brazil 121bps* and Turkey 309bps*.
  • Yields: US 10yr at 4.29%*, German bund at 2.42%* and SA 10-year generic at 11.66%*, SA’s R2030 at 10.27%*.

* Denotes yesterday’s close.

Key events and data:

  • 14h30: US Empire manufacturing (March)
  • 15h15: US industrial production, capacity utilisation, manufacturing production (February)
  • 16h00: US University of Michigan sentiment, 1 yr and 5-10 yr inflation expectations (March)

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