Picture: BLOOMBERG/AKIO KON
Picture: BLOOMBERG/AKIO KON

The JSE faces mixed Asian markets on Wednesday morning, with sentiment still finding support from the prospect of increased fiscal spending in the US as the new administration of president-elect Joe Biden takes over.

In her confirmation hearings for the position of treasury secretary, Janet Yellen on Tuesday called for the US government to “act big” on a Covid-19 economic relief package, which helped lift US markets.

Investors also got a first taste of the new administration’s likely attitude towards China, where Yellen said that it was necessary to stand up to China’s “abusive and unfair trade practices”, specifically citing industrial subsidies, National Australia Bank analyst Ray Attrill said in a note.

Asian equity markets seemed to have taken the China position rather more seriously, said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley in a note.

Some of Yellen's testimony had already been known before the hearing, as prepared remarks had been given to some members of the media.

The prospect of US stimulus has bolstered the rand, which broke through the R15/$ mark on Tuesday, and extended gains slightly on Wednesday morning, rising 0.21% to R14.95/$.

In morning trade the Shanghai composite was flat, the Hang Seng added 0.26% and Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.49%.

Tencent, which gives direction to the JSE via Naspers, rose 2.6%.

Gold was 0.54% higher at $1,849.67/oz while platinum was up 1.31% to $1,097.68. Brent crude firmed 0.54% to $56.24 a barrel.

There is little on the local corporate calendar on Wednesday, while inflation numbers for December are due later, and could show a deceleration from November’s 3.3% year-on-year rise, amid lower fuel prices.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za

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