Silver Eases From 3-Week High
Silver eased from Monday’s three-week high to trade at $27.8 an ounce, as investors await Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony on the Semiannual Monetary Report to Congress starting later today. At the same time, President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion US COVID-19 package is expected to be approved in the coming days; while inflationary pressure concerns continued amid strong economic activity, further fiscal stimulus and the vaccination program rolling out.
Bitcoin Extends Losses on Cautious over Crypto Rally
Bitcoin fell more than 10% to $48,000 on Tuesday, having been down as much as 17% on Monday before paring some losses to end the day 5% lower, amid concerns about the cryptocurrency’s latest rally. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Bitcoin is an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions and warned about its use in illicit activity; and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates talked about a bitcoin driven by “mania”. Bitcoin rose to above $58,000 for the first time on Sunday, driven by Tesla, BNY Mellon and Mastercard’s announcements of greater acceptance of cryptocurrencies. The digital currency is still up 60% so far this year, buoyed by institutional buying and its appeal as a hedge against potential inflation resulting from the massive central bank and government stimulus measures.
South African Rand Retreats
The South African rand reversed course to trade slightly lower at 14.7 against the greenback on Tuesday, after latest data showed South Africa’s unemployment rate climbed to a new record high of 32.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020. Also, South Africa’s central bank composite business cycle indicator rose in December, but the least in seven months. At the same time, investors remain cautious ahead of the all-important budget speech on Wednesday, in which Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will provide clarity on the government’s fiscal consolidation path.