Asia Stock Markets Dip on Virus Spike; Gold Steady

05/01/2021 The JSE and the rand kicked off the new year on the front foot. The rand strengthened against the dollar along with most emerging-market currencies, while the JSE climbed to close 1.80% above the 60,000 mark – at 60, 479. Top-40 gained 1.95%, with gold miners leading the charge – Gold Fields + 8.96%, AngloGold +7.53%. On Tuesday Morning, Asian markets slipped amid concerns of the escalating pandemic. Shanghai above the waterline. Wall Street sank as traders also braced for key U.S. runoff elections in Georgia. The elections are set to determine whether Democrats take effective control of Congress.

Oil prices slip before OPEC+ resumes meeting on Feb output levels. Brent crude futures 0.35% to $50.93 a barrel this morning.OPEC+ will resume the talks later on Tuesday.

South Africa’s government is under mounting pressure over its Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan, with unions and medical groups among those to have expressed concern about the sluggishness of the state’s response amid a resurgence in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
• (PFE): Pfizer Has Offered South Africa Discounted Covid-19 Vaccines
• Eskom Unprepared as Generator Leak Accelerates Nuclear Shutdown
• South African Covid Strain Raises Growing Alarm in the U.K.
• (SPG SJ): Super Group Raised to Buy at Investec; PT 29 rand

European markets finished the first session of the year higher, driven by the Brexit trade agreement. The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended the day 0.67%, while the UK’s FTSE100 rose 1.72% in the first trading day of Britain’s existence outside the European Union since 1973. BHP Group, Rio Tinto, Glencore and Anglo America were some of the biggest risers on the FTSE100. The Dow closed down 1.25%, while the S&P 500 was 1.48% weaker and the Nasdaq saw out the session 1.47%. Futures flat as investors await results from the Georgia Senate runoff elections and eyeing worsening COVID-19 trends in the U.S. and abroad.
What to watch this week:
• On Tuesday, the state of Georgia holds a run-off election for two U.S. Senate seats that will decide control of the chamber.
• U.S. Congress meets to count electoral votes and declare the winner of the 2020 Presidential election Wednesday.
• FOMC minutes out Wednesday.
• U.S. unemployment report for December is due Friday.
Asian shares edged lower on Tuesday amid uncertainty about Senate runoffs in Georgia, which could have a big impact on incoming U.S. President Joe Biden’s ability to pursue his preferred economic policies. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.07%. Australian stocks flat 0.04%.
Chinese shares erased early losses and rose 1.25%, alongside shares in Hong Kong 0.21% firmer.