The JSE could follow softer Asian markets on Wednesday morning, with disappointment regarding the US-China trade war again dominating market sentiment.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened higher tariffs against China should a deal not be reached.

Optimism that the parties were closing in on a partial trade deal has seemingly peaked, and investors were responding by defensively getting out of risk assets, said AxiTrader senior market analyst Stephen Innes in a note.

“Trust remains a considerable problem, and there is still little clarity on how that trust gap might be bridged, especially given China has made it abundantly clear that removing existing additional tariffs is a precondition for reaching a deal,” said Innes.

At 6.20am the Shanghai Composite was down 0.38%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng had slipped 0.63%.

Gold was up 0.13% to $1,474.30/oz, while platinum lost 0.21% to $908.39. Brent crude was 0.1% higher at $60.78 a barrel.

The rand was little changed at R14.778/$.

Local focus is on inflation data of October, due at 10am. Inflation, as measured by the annual change in the consumer price index, is expected to remain unchanged at 4% in October month on month.

Despite inflation being well below the midpoint of the Reserve Bank’s target range of 3%-6%, the Bank is expected to keep rates unchanged on Thursday.

Retailer Lewis is expected to report its results for the six months to end-September later, though it has not issued a trading statement, implying that headline earnings have not deviated more than 20% from the prior comparative period.

Short-term insurer Indequity is expected to report later that headline earnings per share rose by as much as a third in its year to end-September, with the company reporting an improvement in investment and premium income.


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