These are the mid rates at 6:20 today:

USD = R18.17 AUD = R12.24
GBP = R22.57 DXY = 101.77
EUR = R19.94Brent Crude = $84.83 per barrel

After a difficult start to the week thanks to robust US market data yesterday it was the turn of strong Chinese data to help the Rand.  We opened at R18.31 to the Dollar and quickly strengthened to R18.14.

Emerging market and commodity linked currencies cheered when Chinese officials announced the sudden, and at the time unexpected removal of most COVID restrictions in December, this as various degrees of lockdowns had severely impacted on activity in the world’s second largest economy for years.  But these celebrations were short lived when it became apparent that you can’t just flick a button on an economy that big and expect it to be business as usual.  Market data out of China has been patchy since, and any expected tailwind for the Rand non-existent. 

December was only a few months ago so in the grand scheme of things the wait hasn’t been too long but yesterday we got the clearest indication yet that the giant is waking up.  Annualised GDP for Q1 2023 was forecast to come in at 4.0% and so the actual reading of 4.5%, for an economy of their size, was a big beat to the upside and drove a wave of risk-on appetite when is came to resource prices and commodity linked currencies.  The Rand strengthened while the JSE was driven higher by a surge of over 4% in the resources sector. 

The dollar steadied on Wednesday after it seesawed with bond market volatility as investors scrutinised U.S. economic indicators, Federal Reserve commentary and corporate earnings for clues about the path for interest rates. The dollar index – which gauges the greenback against six major peers – ticked up 0.11 per cent to 101.83 in Asian trading, following a 0.36 per cent slide on Tuesday that reversed the 0.54 per cent rally of the session before.

The Group of Seven rich nations have agreed to call for reducing gas consumption and increasing electricity from renewable sources while phasing out fossil-fuels faster and building no new coal-fired plants, France’s energy transition minister said on Saturday. G7 environment and energy ministers, however, could not agree on a specific date to exit coal power, France’s Agnes Pannier-Runacher told reporters on the first of two days of climate and energy talks in Sapporo in northern Japan.

If you’ve noticed in past years that there seemed to be less Australian wine in your local shop and on restaurant lists than you had seen previously, you were definitely on to something. As American taste declined for the jammy fruit bomb style of wine that Australia, and especially Barossa Valley, had become known for, a thirst for wine heated up in China, and the Australian wine industry shifted its efforts. About 95 percent of the wine from Australia sold in China was red, and in the last 10 years the country has increased its vineyard acreage and output of Merlot, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Transferring its priority to China meant pulling product away from other markets, and when it came to wine, Australia had truly put all its eggs into the proverbial basket.