The JSE starts the new week by facing mixed Asian markets, with the rand on the back foot amid funding problems at SAA.

SAA is posing a challenge to the Treasury ahead of this week’s 50th annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, and the budget in February, Bianca Botes, corporate treasury manager at Peregrine Treasury Solutions, said in a note.

Reports at the weekend have suggested the Treasury has yet to come up with the R2bn required to keep aircraft in the air, and the government has undertaken to return to SAA’s business practitioners in the next days with a way forward for the airline.

Asian markets were mixed on Monday morning, and trading may be subdued as US markets are closed in observation of the Martin Luther King Jr holiday.

At 6.20am Shanghai’s composite was up 0.43% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng had fallen 0.39%. Tencent, which influences the JSE via Naspers, was down 0.15%.

The rand was 0.18% firmer at R14.4453 a dollar.

Gold was up 0.14% to $1,559.38 an ounce while platinum was flat at $1,025.44 an ounce. Brent crude was up 0.69% at $65.56 a barrel.

Libya’s biggest oilfield began to halt production this week after armed forces shut down a pipeline, pointing to possibly more turmoil in the country, AxiTrader chief Asia markets strategist Stephen Innes said in a note. Adding to the problems, security guards forced a stoppage at a facility in Iraq.

Local focus this week will be on inflation data for December on Wednesday, with expectation that inflation accelerated slightly in that month from November.

A number of SA retailers, including Massmart and Shoprite, are expected to release trading updates this week.

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