These are the mid rates at 6:30 today:

USD = R18.16 AUD = R12.13
GBP = R22.68 DXY = 101.28
EUR = R20.09Brent Crude = $82.90 per barrel

The Rand’s day was extremely boring by comparison as we opened at R18.12 to the Dollar, touched R18.19 and R18.08 as our worst and best levels respectively before closing at R18.14.  

Our inactivity yesterday was actually a little disappointing as the Dollar Index took a backwards step by falling from 101.82 to 101.20, a move that would typically see the Rand post gains against the greenback.  But with seven power units tripping, and sending SA back to Stage 6 load shedding, I suppose that isn’t the best environment for the Rand to post gains.  Headlines keep swirling about how Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa plans to reduce load shedding by September, and eliminate it by December, but as long as we keep lurching along at elevated levels the Rand will struggle to recover. 

Calls to move away from relying on the U.S. dollar for trade are growing. More and more countries from Brazil to Southeast Asian nations are calling for trade to be carried out in other currencies besides the U.S.dollar. The U.S. dollar has been king in global trade for decades. The dollar fell to a more than one-week low against major currencies on Monday in generally thin trading, as investors continued to price in interest rate cuts this year by the Federal Reserve after a widely expected rate increase at next week’s policy meeting. The Japanese currency, on the other hand, also struggled.

On Monday, April 24, the Census Bureau issued annual revisions to the retail sales data. The revisions stretch back through 2010 but with negligible differences over most of that time. They are, however, more noticeable starting in 2021. Broadly, the dollar value of retail and food services sales was lower than previously reported. This will mean some downward revisions in the pace of personal consumption expenditures in the GDP numbers. It should not mean significantly slower overall GDP growth for past quarters but it could lower some forecasts for the advance estimate of first quarter GDP for 2023.

Can you picture what $31.4 trillion looks like? Theenormity of U.S. government debt is hard for theaverage person to wrap their head around. For instance, compared to the median U.S. mortgage, the current level of federal debt is 230 million times larger. The House of Representatives and the White House appear to be locking horns over the Federal budget and on raising the debt limit that could potentially delay coupon and principal payments on U.S. Treasury issued Bills, Notes and Bonds. The Congressional Budget Office suggested in mid-February that the government could run out of cash between July and September. The amount of tax revenues received in April could bring the date forward or push it back within the three-month range.

World military spending reached an all-time high of $2.24 trillion in 2022, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fuelled a sharp jump in military spending across Europe, according to a leading defence think tank. Global spending rose for the eighth consecutive year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday in its annual report on global military expenditure. There was a 13 percent rise in Europe, the steepest in at least 30 years. SIPRI said most of that was linked to Russia and Ukraine, but other countries also stepped up military spending in response to perceived Russian threats.

Beijing has returned fire after Australia unveiled plans to overhaul its armed forces, accusing its southern neighbour of hyping up a “China threat” as an excuse to expand its military. In its first response after the federal government released a declassified version of a once in a generation review of the Australian Defence Force, Beijing said its own military build-up had been purely “defensive in nature”. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said the Asian superpower was committed to peace and stability in both the Asia-Pacific and “the wider world”.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson and CNN host Don Lemon both abruptly exited their cable outlets on Monday following a series of controversies, marking a seismic shift in the media landscape. Just hours before Fox News announced Carlson’s departure in a statement, the network was still promoting his primetime show, indicating just how sudden the separation was. “FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” Fox News said in a statement. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.” Carlson’s last program was Friday.