Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE opened higher on Wednesday, tracking Asian markets, amid improving appetite for risk. This followed US President Donald Trump's reassurance that the US and China woudl soon strike a trade deal. 

The tariff war between the two superpowers has escalated after the Trump administration imposed more tariffs on Chinese imports worth $200bn to 25%, with China retaliating on Monday by raising tariffs on $60bn worth of US imports. 

On Tuesday, Trump said the two countries would reach a deal sooner than expected

“When the time is right we will make a deal with China. My respect and friendship with President Xi is unlimited but, as I have told him many times before, this must be a great deal for the US or it just doesn’t make any sense,” he tweeted. 

The tit-for-tat between US and China has taken a toll on Asian markets which have since shown slight improvement as hopes for a deal increase. 

At 10am, the Shanghai Composite had risen 1.91%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng was up 0.68% and Japanese Nikkei 225 had fallen 0.59%. 

“Despite the advance, volumes have remained light suggesting that the bounce lacks conviction, which is hardly surprising given that Trump is preparing to slap tariffs on a further $300bn of Chinese imports,” said London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler.

“A move that will not only hit the Chinese economy hard but also the US economy.” 

The all share was up 0.12% at 10am to 56,300.9 points with industrials leading gains by 0.46%. The top 40 rose 0.15%. Banks were down 0.36%, financials 0.18% and resources 0.22%. 

Naspers gained 1.79% to R3,410 as its Hong Kong-subsidiary, Tencent, was up about 1.3% earlier on Wednesday. 

Balwin Properties climbed 6.9% to R3.10 after it reported revenue growth of 6% for its results for the year ended February. 

Spar was down 2.24% to R193.35, after the retailer reported earlier that after tax profit for the six months ended in March fell 2.7% to R1bn. 

On Wednesday afternoon, Statistics SA is expected to release retail sales for March. Analysts, however, expect the US-China trade war to hog the spotlight.

mjoo@businesslive.co.za