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The JSE looks set to start to higher, albeit mostly subdued, Asian markets on Friday morning, with all eyes on US nonfarm payrolls later.  

Economists expect the US to have added 250,000 jobs in July, keeping unemployment steady at 3.6%, but any significant deviation may spark volatility.

This gauge of the health of the labour market in the world’s largest economy will be even more closely watched than usual, given the US Federal Reserve has made clear its future interest rate moves will be data dependent.

“A weak US non-farm payrolls [later on Thursday] will give ammunition to the riders of the apocalypse if labour market weakness is finally seeping through in tier-1 data,” said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley in a note. The release is due 2.30pm SA time.

In morning trade the Shanghai Composite was up 0.28% and Japan’s Nikkei 0.82%, while the Hang Seng was flat.

Tencent, influential to the JSE due to Naspers, had fallen 1.47%.

Gold was flat at $1,791.50/oz while platinum had firmed 1.31% to $937.50. Brent crude had risen 0.95% to $94.45 a barrel, slipping 3.55% on Thursday, with analyst citing a deteriorating demand picture.

The rand was unchanged at R16.60/$.

AngloGold Ashanti is due to release its half-year results to end-June later, though the precious metals group has not released a recent trading update.



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