These are the mid rates at 6:25 today:

USD = R19.06 AUD = R12.70
GBP = R23.81 DXY = 102.60
EUR = R20.73Brent Crude = $75.15 per barrel

After last week’s wild swings this week has been rather boring for the Rand which is a pity as a gradual recovery after giving up so much ground would have been welcomed.  We opened yesterday at R19.04 to the Dollar and didn’t really move from this level save for brief spikes to R19.15 and R19.05 respectively.  We open at R19.06 this morning.  

Headlines around SA having supposedly supplied arms to Russia continue to swirl but mostly they are just based on people’s opinions with no new facts coming to light, although hearing that we have sent a senior delegation of army officials to Russia for “combat readiness” talks is not a great look at such a sensitive time even if the trip was planned long ago.  The most colourful headline however comes from our Defence Minister, Thandi Modise, who when questioned about the Lady R said: “We did not send f*kol to Russia, not even a piece of Chappies.”  Diplomatic dialogue at its best…   U.S. Defense Sec. Austin: Will soon provide “significant” additional security assistance to Taiwan through presidential drawdown authority.

The Rand is probably trying to strengthen given our oversold position but any recovery was held in check yesterday thanks to a stronger Dollar, this as risk-off sentiment supported the greenback as well as another round of strong US market data.  On the fear side of things the US continues to stumble along in their debt ceiling negotiations while the market keeps getting reminded of an “economic catastrophe” should their ability to borrow get capped as soon 1 June.  Talks between Joe Biden and senior Republicans yesterday appear to have made progress, and Biden has even cut short his trip to Asia ostensibly to be back in the US by Sunday to finalise a deal, but until we get the good news the Dollar will find support as a safe haven asset. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday delivered her most dire warning yet about the debt ceiling, urging Congress to raise it immediately so the government avoids running out of cash by early June. “A default would crack open the foundations upon which our financial system is built,” Yellen warned in prepared remarks. “It is very conceivable that we’d see a number of financial markets break – with worldwide panic triggering margin calls, runs and fire sales.” Yellen, speaking at the Independent Community Bankers of America Capital Summit

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin said he was still looking to be convinced that inflation has been defeated and he was willing to raise interest rates further if needed.  China’s new home prices rose for the fourth straight month in April but at a slower pace, official data showed on Wednesday, as government efforts to stabilise the sector lifted sentiment after the country’s abrupt exit from COVID curbs late last year. New home prices in April edged up 0.4 per cent month-on-month from a 0.5 per cent gain in March, according to Reuters calculations based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data. Prices fell 0.2 per cent year-on-year, the 12th month of decline in annual terms. Prices were down 0.8 per cent year-on-year in March.