These are the mid rates at 6:20 today:

USD = R18.04  AUD = R12.11
GBP = R22.44  DXY = 101.80
EUR = R19.78Brent Crude = $81.17 per barrel

No such fireworks for the Rand although we did enjoy a relatively good day in the office yesterday.  The Rand opened at R18.19 to the Dollar, bounced around this level for a while and then went on a run to R18.00 later in the day.  Could we be headed below the R18.00 barrier today? 

Once again it was a combination of local and international factors driving price action yesterday and we can only hope for more of the same today as the Rand tries to claw its way into the R17.90’s.  There wasn’t anything new on the local front which let Wednesday’s shock CPI report retain some traction in the financial sector, and with CPI having moved higher to 7.1% there was continued chatter about the SARB’s next move which in all probability is delivering yet another interest rate hike.  Bad for indebted consumers but good for the Rand.   

Fortunately our local strength was then accompanied by US market data which dented the Dollar and let us have a look at R18.00.  In a situation where bad news is good news for the Rand the FED has been trying to inflict pain on the US labour market to cool demand, and yesterday saw further evidence of the FED achieving their goal. 

The median price of all types of previously owned homes houses, condo, co-ops whose sales closed in March, fell year-over-year by 0.9% to $375,700, according to the National Association of Realtors. This was the second year-over-year decline in a row since February 2012, when the market emerged from Housing Bust 1 (historic data via YCharts): For single-family houses, the median price fell 1.4% year-over-year, the second year-over-year decline in a row. But for condos, the median price still increased 2.1% year-over-year.

After two days of indecision, equities made a more meaningful move lower yesterday. The S&P 500 fell 0.6%, while the NASDAQ fell 0.8%. Equity futures are looking slightly more positive though, so the drop may halt today. Chinese stocks were mixed, with the Hang Seng index up slightly on the day but the CSI 300 moving slightly lower. US Treasury yields reversed some of their recent increases. The yield on the 2Y note fell 10.1bp, while that on the 10Y bond fell 5.9bp to 3.532%. European 10Y Government bond yields were also about 7bp lower. 

The majority of the Governing Council remains preoccupied with upside inflation risks, and is set to push the ECB to continue hiking rates. The size of the May hike will largely be determined by the data released just ahead of the meeting. The monetary policy account of the ECB March meeting confirmed that had it not been for the March banking sector worries, the central bank would have been more determined in signalling more tightening ahead.

Space X confirmed Thursday afternoon it triggered Starship’s flight termination system after the boosters failed to separate. Starship was veering off its planned trajectory, the company said. SpaceX and FAA have procedures in place to keep a rocket from injuring people or damaging property. “Starship gave us quite a show during today’s first flight test of a fully integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket from Starbase in Texas,” SpaceX said in statement.