Picture: 123RF/POP NUKOONRAT
Picture: 123RF/POP NUKOONRAT

The JSE is on track for its worst weekly loss since May on Friday, as investors digest news out of Asia regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has opted not to declare the outbreak as an international emergency, but risk assets have been hit this week amid fears of a more severe crisis and resulting economic damage.

Even if the virus did not spread, the effect on China could be large, with about 26-million people in cities or near urban areas either on lockdown, or subject to limited travel, said National Australia Bank analyst Tapas Strickland in a note.

Shanghai’s Composite was closed on Friday ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, having slumped 2.75% on Thursday.

In morning trade on Friday Asian markets were little changed.

Gold was flat at $1,561.53/oz while platinum had fallen 0.12% to $1,002.58. Brent crude was up 0.16% at $62.20 a barrel.

The JSE has fallen 3.57% so far in the week, with platinum miners having fallen 10.63%.

The rand was unchanged at R14.37/$, but has firmed 0.65% so far in the week, and is on track to snap a three-week losing streak.

There is little on the local corporate or economic calendar, with focus instead on news out of Asia.

Correction: 24 January 2020
An earlier version of this article incorrectly state the rand was trading at R13.74/$.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za