macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 18 Mar

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica

Global Markets

  • Global stocks drop as investors shun risk on coronavirus fears
  • US stock futures down 3% in Asia after NY bounce
  • Stimulus hopes outweighed by concerns about epidemic
  • US yield curve steepens on $1 trln stimulus talk
  • Dollar in demand due to liquidity fears

Oil Markets

  • Oil steadies after testing new low as coronavirus chaos intensifies
  • Brent up 1.2% at $29.07 a barrel (0238GMT)
  • WTI up 0.5% at $27.08

Precious metals

  • Gold inches up as US stimulus to combat virus stems rush for cash
  • Spot gold up 0.1% at $1,529.69/oz. (0305GMT)
  • US gold futures up 0.3% at $1,530.80/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans jump 1% but virus fears cap gains
  • Soybeans up 1% at $8.33 a bushel (0121GMT)
  • Corn unchanged at $3.44 a bushel
  • Wheat little changed at $4.99-1/2 a bushel

Key African events or data releases today
[Posts & comments at my Twitter handles @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica]

  • South Africa COVID-19 travel ban kicks off; 35 ports of entry closed
  • South Africa inflation Feb-20 [fcst. 3.9% yy, prev. 4.5%]
  • South Africa retail sales Jan-20 [fcst. 1.4% yy, prev. -0.4%]
  • South Africa central bank MPC meeting; 17-19 Mar [fcst. 6.0%, prev. 6.25%]
  • Ghana central bank MPC meeting; 18-20 & 23 Mar [fcst. 15.0%, prev. 16.0%]

Key African events or data releases yesterday & early a.m today

  • Tunisia imposes curfew to counter coronavirus outbreak – President
  • Morocco to use military field hospitals to help fight coronavirus
  • Algeria bans street marches due to virus; some protesters unswayed
  • Armed with lessons from ebola, Africa braces for coronavirus crisis
  • South Africa quarantines cruise liner over suspected coronavirus case
  • Sudan orders arrest of former foreign minister over 1989 coup
  • Egypt cuts dividend tax and energy prices to soften coronavirus impact
  • Egypt reports two coronavirus deaths, total cases reach 196 – health ministry
  • Tunisia police break up ram fight that broke coronavirus crowd rules
  • Africa Oil – Angola exports to rise in May
  • World ‘woefully’ underestimating FGM, study finds
  • Morocco’s central bank cuts benchmark interest rate to 2%
  • Morocco sentences activist for criticising judge
  • Egypt central bank emergency rate cut adds pressure to outflows
  • South Africa’s rand, stocks claw back some lost ground
  • Tunisia cuts benchmark rate by 100 bps to 6.75% – source
  • “Preparing for war”: Africans scramble for groceries
  • Libya truce would aid war on coronavirus, say western, Arab nations
  • South Africa’s Sun International closes casinos and hotels in Latin America over COVID-19
  • Lesotho leader’s wife’s murder trial postponed to April 14
  • Egypt to keep airspace open to allow tourist departures
  • South Africa’s Sibanye to provide processing facility to Amplats during force majeure
  • Oman Air suspending flights to Egypt, Bahrain
  • Uganda central bank sells dollars after shilling weakens
  • Egypt suspends trading in 40 shares after they fall more than 5%
  • Nigeria annual inflation edges up to 12.2% in February
  • Kenya shilling edges down against the dollar

N.B. Full stories of above headlines are available on Reuters

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