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In the loop 18 March 2024

In the loop

Shireen Darmalingam

What you should know this morning:

  • The rand is stronger this morning, at R18.75/$, after closing weaker on Friday (R18.77/$*).
  • EM currencies were mixed on Friday; the HUF (+0.8%), CZK (+0.4%) and COP (+0.3%) were the biggest gainers; the RUB (-1.1%), KRW (-0.9%) and MYR (-0.5%) were the biggest losers.
  • Asian equity markets are mixed this morning, the Nikkei and Shanghai Composite are up, while the Hang Seng is down.
  • Several central banks are due to meet this week.
  • The Fed’s FOMC will meet on 19-20 March and is largely expected to keep the Fed funds rate unchanged. 
  • Investors will keep an eye on Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments after the meeting for clues on the timing of interest rate cuts.
  • The Fed’s updated dot plot will also be available this week.
  • The US NAHB housing market index for March is scheduled for release today; homebuilder sentiment is expected to continue rising in March.
  • Housing starts for February are due on Tuesday and are expected to have increased despite the increase in mortgage rates.
  • Existing homes sales will likely have declined slightly in February.
  • The UK’s BOE is scheduled to meet on Thursday and is expected to hold rates steady. 
  • The UK CPI figures are released a day before the BOE decision; CPI is likely to have moderated in February.
  • The Eurozone’s CPI (final estimate) for February, out today, will provide details around the drivers for the smaller-than-expected decline in February.
  • The German ZEW survey for March, due on Tuesday, is the first of the major surveys to be released in the region for March.
  • The Eurozone and UK composite PMI surveys for March will provide an indication of whether GDP growth gained momentum in Q1:24.
  • The Swiss National Bank policy rate decision is due on Thursday; the benchmark interest rate is likely to remain on hold.
  • The BOJ’s interest rate decision is due tomorrow; the central bank will likely keep interest rates unchanged. 
  • Speculation has however increased that the central bank will end its zero-interest policy soon. 
  • Japan’s CPI for February is due three days after the BOJ’s policy decision; core CPI is likely to have picked up well above the 2% target in February.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia is set to keep its key rate unchanged tomorrow.
  • Central bank decisions from Turkey, Russia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia are due this week.
  • Locally, the February CPI is due out on Wednesday and is expected to come in higher, at 5.5% y/y, from 5.3% y/y in January.
  • Core CPI is also likely to come in higher, at 4.9% y/y February, from 4.6% y/y in January.
  • Retail sales for January are also due out on Wednesday and are expected to have increased by 0.9% y/y, after having increased by 2.7% y/y in January.
  • The BER’s inflation expectations survey for Q1:24 is due out tomorrow.
  • Eskom: Stage 2 loadshedding is currently in place until further notice.
  • Brent crude is up this morning, and up by 11.2% year-to-date.
  • The gold price is down this morning, and up by 4.1% year-to-date.
  • Brent crude oil is currently at $85.63/bbl; ($85.33/bbl*).
  • Gold is at $2146/oz ($2155/oz*).
  • SA CDS 222bps*, Brazil 124bps* and Turkey 315bps*.
  • Yields: US 10yr at 4.30%*, German bund at 2.44%* and SA 10-year generic at 11.75%*, SA’s R2030 at 10.35%*.

* Denotes Friday’s close.

Key events and data:

  • 12h00: Eurozone CPI (February), trade balance (January)
  • 16h00: US NAHB housing market index (March)

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