These are the mid rates at 6:20 today:

USD = R17.83 AUD = R12.11
GBP = R22.15 DXY = 102.21
EUR = R19.44Brent Crude = $85.18 per barrel

The Rand managed to hold it together in what looked like a tricky start to the week yesterday.  We opened at R17.88 to the Dollar and quickly fell to the day’s worst level of R17.95, but the afternoon session saw a decent recovery as we made it down to R17.77. before closing at R17.80.

US ‘hard’ macro data has continued to surprise to the upside in the last month (despite ‘soft’ regional Fed survey data fading), and consensus expected both ISM and PMI Manufacturing surveys for March to show another month of contraction. S&P Global US Manufacturing PMI Final March 49.2, down from flash print at 49.3, but up from the 47.3 in Feb that is the 5th straight month of contraction (sub-50). ISM Manufacturing March dropped to 46.3, from 47.7, and below 47.5 expectations.

A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever. Australia’s central bank takes center stage on Tuesday with its latest interest rate decision, and beyond that, if the second trading day of the quarter is as eventful as the first, then investors’ plates will be extra full. Oil prices posted the biggest rise in a year on Monday following a surprise output cut from OPEC+ over the weekend, a slump in U.S. bond yields in the wake of recession-level manufacturing sector data and a steep slide in Tesla shares after sluggish sales growth figures. 

News of OPEC+ unexpected output cuts saw May WTI gap sharply higher and helped lift bond yields. May WTI settled near three-week highs before the weekend near $75.65 and opened today near $80. It reached almost $81.70 before stabilizing and is straddling the $80 area before the North American session. The high for the year was set in the second half of January around $83. Benchmark 10-year yields are up 2-5 bp points. The 10-year US Treasury yield is near 3.52%, which is near the middle of the pre-weekend range. Equity markets are higher. 

The UK manufacturing sector fell back into contraction territory in March, as output declined following a slight increase in February. Market conditions remained subdued overall, as new export business decreased and overall new order books posted only fractional growth. There was positive news on the price and supply fronts, however, as cost inflation eased and average supplier lead times improved to the greatest extent in survey history. 

China’s yuan has replaced the US dollar as the most traded currency in Russia, a year after the invasion of Ukraine led to a slew of Western sanctions against Moscow. The yuan surpassed the dollar in monthly trading volume in February for the first time, and the difference became more pronounced in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on daily transaction reports from the Moscow Exchange. Before the invasion, the yuan’s trading volume on the Russian market was negligible.

The alleged Chinese spy balloon that crossed the US in late January and February managed to gather intelligence from military sites, but the US was able to limit what it collected, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman. The military knew that the balloon could be maneuvered to “hover” over sensitive sights and took actions that ensured China gained little “additive value” from it, Sabrina Singh said Monday.