The JSE faces another day of pressure on Thursday, with most Asian exchanges lower after US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said the US economy faced unprecedented risks.

Powell also pushed against the prospects of interest rates in the US going negative, saying instead that additional government stimulus is needed.

Locally, President Cyril Ramaphosa said lockdown regulations could be eased by the end of May, though not in the hardest-hit areas, which are also likely to be SA’s most densely populated — and economically important — cities.

Asian bourses were lower on Thursday, though Tencent, which influences the JSE via Naspers, had added 1.6% and could once again lift the all share.

Tencent has been boosted by its stake in online games, whose popularity has risen as people are forced to stay at home.

The Hang Seng was down 1.11% and the Shanghai Composite 0.47%.

Gold was flat at $1,711.93/oz, while platinum had risen 1.53% to $766.57. Brent crude was down 0.51% to $29.36 a barrel.

The rand was 0.2% firmer at R18.48/$.

US jobs numbers will be watched on Thursday, while SA’s mining and manufacturing data for February are due, though they are of diminished interest given that activity virtually ceased from the end of March.


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