1. The rand is starting the new week in unfamiliar territory: below R14/$. Last trading at R13.93/$, the currency benefited from speculation that the US Fed may start cutting interest rates this year.
The dollar/rand rate over the past twenty years. Source: StockCharts.com A recovery in the ZAR has mostly been driven by a dovish Fed, stressing the importance of patience & flexibility in monetary policy. Poor performance from China, & the trade war, still pose a significant threat to EM, for now the ZAR is basking in the afterglow of a subdued USD pic.twitter.com/0wNfKcOrUp
— Bianca Botes (@BiancaBotes3) January 7, 2019 2. US and Chinese negotiators have started talks this morning in Beijing, as they seek a deal to end a trade war that has wreaked havoc on global markets. The countries have inflicted import taxes of more than $300bn of each other's goods, and US president Donald Trump is threatening to institute $300bn in additional duties on Chinese imports.
3. The latest IHS Markit Purchasing Manager's Index – which tracks new orders, orders and employment in South African businesses – showed that demand was still weak, but some business reported signs of a turnaround in the economy. The PMI rose from 48.2 in November to 49 in December 2018 – but it remains below the 50 mark, which means conditions are still negative.
4. A number of economic indicators are due to be released this week, that could confirm whether the economy is strengthening. These include: business confidence numbers, new vehicle sales and manufacturing data.
5. The latest poll ahead of this year's general election shows that the ANC could gather 61% of voter support, followed by the DA (14%) and the EFF (9%). Apart from IFP (2%), no other party got more than 1% support, the research company Ipsos found.
The 10 best airlines to travel on, according to travellers Reporting by Tiana Attride
The journey can sometimes be more important than the destination - and few understand this saying better than those who work in the flight industry.
As many articles on mastering the art of air travel as you read, sometimes it boils down to the excellence of the airline itself. According to TripAdvisor reviews, these are the 10 carriers that did air travel best in 2018.
Korean Air has good food, according to users. Known for its colourful turquoise planes, Korean Air flies to around 100 international destinations. Travelers love the great customer service as well as that the airline offers traditional Korean food including bibimbap, according to reviews.
Azul primarily serves domestic flights. Brazilian low-cost carrier Azul primarily serves domestic travelers, flying to about 100 destinations within Brazil. Aside from the lower price of the flight, several reviews say the airline's best features were its efficient check-in and cleanliness.
Qatar Airways travels to every inhabited continent. Based at Hamad International Airport in Qatar, Qatar Airways travels to 145 destinations on every inhabited continent. Many reviews reported that the airline's business class offers the best service in air travel.
Jet2.com has trips within Europe. Jet2.com is a British low-cost carrier that travels to about 60 European destinations. Along with the inexpensive and convenient flights, reviews say that the airline offers plenty of legroom and friendly staff.
Southwest Airlines has only economy seats. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Southwest Airlines is the world's largest low-cost carrier and only offers Economy seating. Travelers love that the airline charges nothing to check a bag, as well as their timely flights and great customer service.
EVA Air featured Hello Kitty. EVA Air flies to destinations throughout the Northern Hemisphere and Australia. A number of reviewers were simply excited to ride in the airline's famous Hello Kitty-themed planes. One mentioned getting an especially good giggle out of the Hello Kitty pillow waiting for them in their seat.
Japan Airlines (JAL) flyers love their food selection. Tokyo-based Japan Airlines serves 60 destinations in Japan and more than 30 international destinations on five continents.
Customers mentioned the food selection was one of their favorite features; apparently, the airline serves excellent dishes, including miso soup, a wide selection on entrées, and an ice cream dessert.
Emirates is known for their customer service and comfortable seats. Krafft Angerer/Stringer/Getty Images The largest airline in the Middle East, Emirates flies internationally to more than 78 countries. Reviews say that the airline's customer service is superb and that the seats provide plenty of room for getting comfortable on long-haul flights.