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The JSE appears set to open to mixed and subdued Asian markets on Wednesday morning, with all eyes on the US Federal Reserve policy announcement later.

It has been a turbulent year for riskier assets so far, with the Fed already signalling it will accelerate monetary policy tightening as supply-chain disruptions and high energy and food costs fuel inflation.

Though monetary policy is widely expected to remain unchanged, the Fed meeting could provide some key insight into how aggressive it intends to be this year, FXTM senior research analyst Lukman Otunuga said in a note on Tuesday.

Markets expect the central bank to signal on Wednesday that it plans to hike interest rates in March, with a total of four 25-basis-point interest rates increases expected by the end of 2022.

“While the Fed may stick to the script, any hesitancy on future rate increases or a more dovish tone could breathe life back into riskier assets,” Otunuga said. Alternatively, a hawkish Fed may deal another blow to stock markets.

There is also a great deal of focus on corporate earnings this week, with Apple, the world’s most valuable listed company, set to report on Thursday.

In morning trade on Wednesday the Shanghai Composite was up 0.16% and the Hang Seng 0.14%, while Japan’s Nikkei gave back 0.12%.

Tencent, of which the Naspers stable is the single-biggest shareholder, gained 0.69%.

Gold was flat at $1,847.48/oz while platinum was little changed at $1,026. Brent crude was 0.15% weaker at $87.93 a barrel.

The rand firmed 0.13% to R15.22/$, and has strengthened 4.4% against the US currency so far in 2022.

The local corporate and economic calendar is bare on Wednesday, with local focus on the Reserve Bank policy announcement on Thursday.



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