The main market tendency today is that the US dollar is rising against its major peers and riskier assets such as stocks and oil are plummeting.
South Africa got ‘junk’ status from Moody’s
What’s going on?
Moody’s downgraded the country to ‘junk’ status on Friday. It sent the country’s CDS up 31 basis points to 439 on Monday, data from IHS Markit showed. The country was stripped of its last remaining investment grade rating. In fact, South Africa’s economy collapsed before the coronavirus outbreak.
South Africa’s 5-year credit default swaps - used by investors to insure against a government debt default - jumped to their highest level since 2009. As a result, it will fall out of the FTSE World Government Bond Index after April, which could prompt significant capital outflows. Moreover, it will also surge borrowing costs, and that will make it even more difficult for the government to close the budget gap.
What does it mean?
Let’s look at the chart below that represents USD/ZAR exchange rate monthly. The rand fell to a record low of 17.9630. The direction of USD/ZAR is skewed to the upside. It may reach 18.0000 mark and break above previous 2016 high of 17.7840. On the downside, USD/ZAR remains supported above 15.3750, which marks the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement.
The European Central Bank will publish the monetary policy statement with the interest rate decision on January 21, at 14:45 MT time.
Joe Biden is going to unveil a Covid-19 relief package of about $2 trillion. After this announcement, the 10-year Treasury yield rose, adding support for the USD.
The US dollar’s weakness offered a boost to emerging-market currencies and oil.