All eyes are on the US-China trade war on Thursday, with the JSE likely to be subdued amid reports that a deal between the two countries is unlikely.

Chinese media reported on Thursday that no progress had been made during mid-level talks, as markets anxiously await high-level talks that are scheduled for Thursday.

“So instead of debating how encompassing the deal might be, investors are now back to plucking petals from a flower guessing if there will be a deal at all,” said AxiTrader senior market analyst Stephen Innes in a note.

Asian markets were subdued on Thursday, though the Shanghai composite had added 0.2% as of 6.15am SA time.

Diversified miner BHP was down 0.4% on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Gold was up 0.23% to $1,508.90/oz, while platinum had slipped 0.21% to $890.94. Brent crude was down 0.17% to $58.20 a barrel.

The rand was 0.2% firmer at R15.1436/$.

Local focus on Thursday is on mining and manufacturing data for August. Mining is expected to have registered year-on-year growth, while the manufacturing sector is expected to be subdued.

Fund manager Vunani is expected to report later that headline earnings per share fell by between 21.2% and 41.2%, amid disruptions at its commodities trading business.