Gas flares at the Soroush oil fields behind an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran. Picture: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi
Gas flares at the Soroush oil fields behind an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran. Picture: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

SA’s main bourse could open mixed on Friday, taking its cue from Asian markets, after oil prices rallied in the wake of a suspected attack on two tanker ships near Iran.

Bouncing off a five-year low, Brent oil was at $61.65 a barrel on Friday morning after Thursday’s attack, which fuelled supply concerns. The higher oil price could boost Sasol on Friday.

Demand for gold, a safe-haven asset, also remained strong amid ongoing concerns about trade negotiations between the US and other major economies, most notably China. Brexit developments in the UK are also adding to risk.

Amid the raft of uncertainties, and domestic protests over a contentious extradition bill, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.5% down on Friday. The Shanghai Composite and Korea’s Kospi were both 0.3% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.4% and Australia’s main benchmark 0.2%.

Chinese internet and gaming giant Tencent was 0.7% lower in Hong Kong, implying a weak opening for major shareholder and Africa’s biggest public company, Naspers.

JSE-listed mining behemoth BHP Group, which has rallied since June 6, was 2% up in Australia.

No major company results or data releases are expected locally on Friday, while China is expected to publish industrial production and retail sales figures. SA markets will be closed on Monday for a public holiday.

The rand was flat on Friday morning at R14.86/$, R18.84/£, and R16.76/€.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za