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In the loop 20 March 2024

In the loop

Shireen Darmalingam

What you should know this morning:

  • The rand is weaker this morning, at R18.92/$, after closing stronger yesterday (R18.91/$*).
  • EM currencies were mixed yesterday; the COP (+0.4%), ZAR (+0.3%) and PLN (+0.2%) were the biggest gainers; the CLP (-1.8%), RUB (-0.8%) and PHP (-0.7%) were the biggest losers.
  • Asian equity markets the Nikkei, Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite are up.
  • The Fed’s FOMC interest rate announcement is scheduled for later today; the central bank 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, together with updated macroeconomic forecasts.
  • The Summary of Economic Projections is likely to show several FOMC policymakers upwardly revising their neutral rate estimate.
  • The UK CPI figures for February are on the cards today, a day before the BOE interest rate decision; CPI is likely to have moderated in February.
  • CPI is likely to come in at 3.5% y/y in February, from 4.0% y/y in January.
  • On a m/m basis, however, CPI is likely to have increased by 0.7% in February, after having declined by 0.6% in January.
  • Food, core goods and services are likely to be the main driver of CPI in February.
  • Core CPI is also likely to have moderated in February, to 4.6% y/y, from 5.1% y/y in January.
  • The BOE will meet on Thursday and is expected to hold its benchmark interest rate steady, at 5.25%.
  • The first interest cut is expected at the June monetary policy meeting.
  • The Eurozone consumer confidence for March is likely to have improved to -15.0, from -15.5 in February.
  • Locally, the February CPI is due out today 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, due today, are expected to have increased by 0.9% y/y, after having increased by 2.7% y/y in January.
  • Eskom: Stage 2 loadshedding is currently in place until further notice.
  • Brent crude is down this morning, and up by 13.2% year-to-date.
  • The gold price is up this morning, and up by 4.6% year-to-date.
  • Brent crude oil is currently at $87.22/bbl; ($87.38/bbl*).
  • Gold is at $2157/oz ($2156/oz*).
  • SA CDS 233bps*, Brazil 125bps* and Turkey 322bps*.
  • Yields: US 10yr at 4.29%*, German bund at 2.45%* and SA 10-year generic at 11.83%*, SA’s R2030 at 10.46%*.

* Denotes yesterday’s close.

Key events and data:

  • 09h00: UK CPI, PPI, RPI (February)
  • 10h00: SA CPI (February)
  • 11h30: UK house price index (January)
  • 13h00: SA retail sales (January)
  • 13h00: US MBA mortgage applications (15 March)
  • 17h00: Eurozone consumer confidence index (March)
  • 20h00: US FOMC interest rate decisions – no change expected

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