JSE. Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
JSE. Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE was led higher by Naspers and platinum miners on Wednesday afternoon, although all eyes were on US Federal Reserve monetary policy announcement later.

The Fed is not expected to change interest rates during its last announcement for 2019, although its outlook for the US economy will be closely watched.

Markets were also in wait-and-see mode as investors looked for US-China trade war developments, said FXTM senior research analyst Lukman Otunuga.

At 11.56am the all share was up 0.25% to 55,556.6 points, while the top 40 had risen 0.29%. Industrials were up 0.47% and platinum miners 1.5%.

Gold had risen 0.18% to $1,466.97/oz while platinum had added 0.26% to $919.81. Brent crude was flat at $64.12 a barrel.

The rand was little changed at R14.7824/$.

Market heavyweight Naspers was up 1.5% to R2,065.

Local focus remains on load shedding, although there was some economic activity to give the market direction.

Earlier, Statistics SA said consumer inflation slowed to 3.6% in November, hitting its lowest level since December 2010. This was in line with expectations.

Inflation remains well below the midpoint of the Reserve Bank's target range of 3%-6%, although analysts have warned that risks to the rand persist, including the threat of further credit-ratings downgrades by global ratings agencies.

This could prompt a sell-off of local bonds by institutional investors, which would weaken the rand.

There is a window of opportunity for local interest to be cut at January's meeting, but the Bank may hesitate to do so given the risks posed by the budget announcement in February, Nedbank Group Economic Unit analysts said in a note.

“We believe the monetary policy committee will leave interest rates unchanged for an extended period, but that there is a chance of some easing early in the new year,” the analysts said.

Retail sales numbers for November are due at 1pm, while focus remains on load-shedding.

TsoboL@businesslive.co.za