Picture: 123RF/KASTO
Picture: 123RF/KASTO

The JSE may take its lead from weaker Asian markets on Thursday morning amid news that China has restricted travel in a city of 11-million people due to concern over a coronavirus outbreak.

China has shut down public transport in the city of Wuhan, the centre of a coronavirus outbreak that has hit investor sentiment this week.

The containment effort has raised further hopes that the virus will be contained, said Kathy Lien, MD for foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, in a note.

The outbreak, however, comes as millions of Chinese travel due to the Lunar New Year holiday.

Asian markets were sharply lower on Thursday, also under pressure after data indicated that Japanese exports fell more than expected in December.

In morning trade Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 1.67% and the Shanghai Composite 1.46%. Japan’s Nikkei had fallen 0.85%.

Tencent, which influences the JSE via Naspers, its largest shareholder, was down 1.76%.

Gold  and platinum were flat at $1,558.89/oz and $1,013.16 respectively. Brent crude was 0.37% lower at $62.42 a barrel.

The rand was little changed at R14.332/$.

There are no scheduled local economic data releases, while international focus will be on the European Central Bank policy announcement later, though no change to interest rates is expected.

In corporate news, Anglo American Platinum and Kumba Iron Ore are expected to release production and sales updates later.