The JSE faces sharply weaker Asian markets on Thursday morning, with US markets having their worst day in three months on Wednesday amid jitters over the economic prospects of the US and a number of disappointing corporate earnings reports.

Results from Boeing and Tesla were underwhelming on Wednesday, analysts said, while the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision also hit sentiment, with the Fed downgrading its economic outlook amid concerns over the pace of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

US Fed chair Jerome Powell’s acknowledgment of a slowdown in the pace of recovery and dependency on the vaccine rollout is not fresh news, but it does provide equity investors with a reality check, pushing out the timing for the recovery, said National Australia Bank analyst Rodrigo Catril in a note.

In morning trade, the Shanghai Composite was down 1.48% and the Hang Seng 1.97%, while Australia’s All Ordinaries Index had fallen 2.12%.

Tencent, of which Naspers is the single-biggest shareholder, was down 1.28%.

Gold was 1.32% lower at $1,837.80/oz and platinum 0.35% down at $1,063.22. Brent crude was 0.11% softer at $55.48 a barrel.

The rand was 0.33% weaker at R15.33/$.

Locally, producer inflation numbers for December are due later and may show a 3% rise from November year on year, due to increased grain and meat prices, economists have said.


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