The JSE is set to contend with mixed Asian markets on Thursday morning, with local focus squarely on the Reserve Bank interest rate decision later.

Tension between the US and China is rising after the White House ordered the closure of Beijing’s consulate in Houston, while markets have been boosted this week by positive news of a potential Covid-19 vaccine, as well as progress in EU stimulus talks.

US-China tensions had put US equity markets under pressure on Wednesday, though the mood improved after Tesla released upbeat results, said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley in a note.

Asian data earlier on Wednesday was a mixed bag, with South Korean second-quarter GDP data disappointing, while a gauge of Australian manufacturing activity showed continued improvement in July.

In morning trade, the Shanghai Composite was down 1.19%, while the Hang Seng was up 0.37%. Tencent, which influences the JSE via Naspers, was up 2%.

Gold was flat at $1,870.28/oz, while platinum was 1.72% weaker at $913.96. Brent crude had risen 0.27% to $44.20 a barrel.

The rand was little changed at R16.45/$.

The Reserve Bank is due to announce its interest rate decision at about 3pm, amid hopes of further cuts to support SA’s recessionary economy. The median expectation in a survey of 16 economists is for a 25-basis-point cut, Bloomberg reported.

International focus is on US employment numbers later.


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