Bull and bear statues at the JSE. Picture: MICHAEL BRATT
Bull and bear statues at the JSE. Picture: MICHAEL BRATT

The JSE looks likely to be collateral damage on Wednesday, as the trade war between the US and China escalates.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 2%, with Naspers’s 31%-owned Tencent falling 1.76% to HK$380.

In Sydney, BHP was down 1.08% to A$33.86 and South32 was down 1.36% to A$3.64.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration said it would place 10% import duties on $200bn worth of Chinese imports in addition to the 25% tariffs it placed on $34bn worth of Chinese imports on Friday.

The rand was relatively steady amidst the global turmoil, trading at R13.40 to the dollar, R15.71 to the pound and R17.76 to the pound at 6.45am.

While flying to the UK, US President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets attacking the EU and Nato.

"The European Union makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe (U.S. has a $151 Billion trade deficit), and then they want us to happily defend them through NATO, and nicely pay for it. Just doesn’t work!"

No JSE-listed companies are diarised to release results on Wednesday, and the only economic data expected is BankservAfrica’s monthly economic transactions index for June.

BankservAfrica said in a media release on Tuesday that its figures showed economic transactions for June continued to slow down, reflecting a significant quarterly decline.

"These are signs that the South African economy is struggling to gain traction," BankservAfrica said.

That chimes with the news of a further decline in the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) business confidence index, released on Tuesday.