These are the mid rates at 6:30 today:

USD = R19.69 AUD = R12.84
GBP = R24.51 DXY = 104.20
EUR = R21.07Brent Crude = $72.89 per barrel

The Rand came close with a fall to R19.84 to the Dollar, less than a chip and a putt away from our record low of R19.86 hit on Tuesday.  Just as it looked like we were taking another step closer to R20.00 we made an about turn with a move to R19.67, gains that we have largely hung onto going into today at R19.69.

Yesterday was a tale of two halves as we first took a direct hit from poor Chinese data (Rand negative) along with a better than expected EU inflation reading (Dollar positive), but as we moved into the afternoon session developments in the US knocked the Dollar Index back allowing us to hit R19.67.   Things were looking tricky for us early on as a drop in China’s manufacturing PMI surprised the market while underlining the fragilities in the world’s second largest economy.  As an emerging market and commodity linked currency the Rand’s fortunes are directly correlated to China’s economic health and we sold off on this news. 

China’s factory activity unexpectedly swung to growth in May from decline, a private sector survey showed on Thursday, driven by improved production and demand, helping struggling firms that have been hit by slumping profits. The Caixin/S&P Global manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 50.9 in May from 49.5 in April, above the 50-point index mark that separates growth from contraction. The reading surpassed expectations of 49.5 in a Reuters poll, a stark contrast to a deeper contraction activity seen in the official PMI released on Wednesday.

Federal Reserve officials are signaling they plan to keep interest rates steady in June while retaining the option to hike further in coming months, steering market expectations ahead of a key employment report. Governor Philip Jefferson, a centrist who’s nominated to be vice chair and who often echoes Chair Jerome Powell’s views, said Wednesday that skipping an increase would give policymakers time to assess data but not preclude future tightening. That view undercuts the importance of the monthly jobs report, due Friday, which has often been viewed by Wall Street as a key data point swaying policy.

A rare European Central Bank warning about the bond market risk of a Bank of Japan policy change comes at a time when Japanese outflows from the region are already at record levels. Investors from the Asian nation offloaded 5.4 trillion yen ($38.7 billion) of European bonds in 2022, the most according to Bloomberg-compiled data going back to 2005. While Japanese funds have been net buyers so far this year, they’ve spent a mere 81 billion yen on purchases — the lowest amount for a first quarter in six years.

About 50 Credit Suisse Group AG bankers are suing Switzerland’s financial regulator for rendering their bond-based bonuses worthless as part of the stricken lender’s state-brokered takeover by UBS Group AG. The staff are suing over the writedown of so-called contingent capital awards based on a risky category of bonds known as Additional Tier-1s, according to a spokesman for the Swiss Federal Administrative Court, who declined to give details on timing of the claims. The employees are split into three groups, the court spokesman said.