Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

Investors are set to face another volatile second half of the year as international tensions show few signs of abating and could hit emerging markets hard.

The all share recovered 3.85% in the second quarter after falling 6.7% in the first.

But last week the bourse came under pressure again, ending the week 1.66% in the red, the worst weekly showing since mid-March. It is down 5.28% so far in 2018.

The first half of the year is usually a period of low liquidity on the JSE because of the extended holiday period in the northern hemisphere. But it tends to pick up later.

The weaker rand is seem-ingly having little effect on rand hedges, with fears of a global trade war encouraging risk-off trade. The rand is still 7% weaker against the dollar for the year, despite last week’s stronger showing, but a rand hedge such as Naspers is not benefiting, having lost 2.26% so far in 2018.

A renewed bout of higher tariffs slapped on China by US President Donald Trump raised fears of an escalated global trade war, but tensions eased somewhat at the end of last week amid indications that talks between the two nations could be in the offing.

Sentiment remains fragile. Trump’s escalation of the trade war would trigger a "chain reaction of negative events around the world", said deVere analyst Nigel Green.

Apart from 2017’s 17.47% spike, the all share has essentially performed flat for the past three years, firming 17.85% in 2013 and 22.71% in 2012.

Other emerging equity markets have not fared that well, with the Shanghai Composite losing 14.3% since January. It was flat in 2017, but surged 52% in 2014.

Brazil’s Bovespa has been the best performer over the past two years, having risen 26.86% in 2017 and 38.93% in 2016. But that was preceded by six years of flat or negative growth.

mittnerm@businesslive.co.za

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