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In the loop 27 March 2024

In the loop

Shireen Darmalingam

What you should know this morning:

  • The rand is weaker this morning, at R18.99/$, after closing weaker yesterday (R18.97/$*).
  • EM currencies were mixed yesterday; the COP (+1.0%), RUB (+0.5%) and HUF (+0.4%) were the biggest gainers; the PEN (-0.3%), ZAR (-0.3%) and CLP (-0.2%) were the biggest losers.
  • Asian equity markets are mixed this morning; the Nikkei is up, while the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite are down.
  • The US Conference Board consumer confidence index slipped to 104.7 in March, from a downwardly revised 104.8 in February.
  • Consumers are sanguine about their current situations but slightly more pessimistic about the outlook.
  • The current conditions index increased to 151 in March, from 147.6 in February, while the expectations index fell to 73.8 in March, the lowest since October 2022, from 76.3 in February.
  • Elevated prices and high borrowing costs are weighing on consumers’ purchasing power. 
  • Consumers also expressed concern about the US political environment, compared to prior months. 
  • The Eurozone’s consumer and economic confidence indices for March are scheduled for release today.
  • Consumer confidence (initial estimate) for March came in stronger, albeit still negative, at -14.9, from -15.5 in February.
  • The improvement was only slight but still signalled some recovery amongst consumers.
  • Economic confidence, also for March, is likely to have increased to 96.2, from 95.4 in February.
  • Sweden’s Riksbank will meet today and is expected to keep its policy rate on hold, at 4%. 
  • The central bank is expected to opt for a cautious approach due to the risks to inflation.
  • Locally, the SARB will decide on monetary policy today and is largely expected to keep the repo rate unchanged, at 8.25%.
  • The MPC is likely to be quite hawkish at its interest rate meeting today due to the recent upside surprise in headline and core inflation as well as renewed upside risks to food inflation.
  • In addition, persistent concerns about possible currency weakness, should the election outcome steer policy in a generally more populist direction, could play a role.
  • Any changes to the SARB’s GDP and CPI forecasts will be of interest.
  • Eskom: loadshedding has been suspended; Eskom will provide an update on the schedule today. 
  • Brent crude is down this morning, and up by 10.9% year-to-date.
  • The gold price is up this morning, and up by 5.6% year-to-date.
  • Brent crude oil is currently at $85.47/bbl; ($86.25/bbl*).
  • Gold is at $2177/oz ($2176/oz*).
  • SA CDS 255bps*, Brazil 133bps* and Turkey 323bps*.
  • Yields: US 10yr at 4.23%*, German bund at 2.35%* and SA 10-year generic at 11.95%*, SA’s R2030 at 10.54%*.

* Denotes yesterday’s close.

Key events and data:

  • 12h00: Eurozone consumer and economic confidence (March)
  • 13h00: US MBA mortgage applications (22 March)
  • 15h00: SA SARB MPC interest rate decision – no change expected

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