The JSE looks set to open to Asian market pressure on Tuesday morning, with investors considering increased geopolitical risk stemming from rising tension between the US and China.
A potential visit by US House speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan has drawn threats of economic and military retaliation from Beijing, while markets are watching for a move by the White House to lift some tariffs on China.
Washington has made clear it is looking to remove some of the Trump-era tariffs on China to take a bite out of inflation. Analysts said that while risks of an escalation due to the high-profile visit by Pelosi may be low, any military drills by China in sensitive areas posed a threat of an incident occurring.
Sentiment at the start of the week has been dented by economic data, including a surprise decline in China’s factory activity in July, while German retail sales fell by the most on record in June.
In morning trade the Hang Seng was down 2.7%, the Shanghai Composite 2.84% and the Hang Seng 1.57%.
Tencent, influential to the JSE due to the Naspers stable, had fallen 3.2%.
Gold was up 0.14% to $1,773.80/oz, while platinum was up 0.35% to $909.80. Brent crude was down 0.65% to $99.25 a barrel.
The rand was 0.6% weaker at R16.40/$.
Precious metals group Royal Bafokeng Platinum is due to release its results for its half year to end-June later, with headline earnings per share set to more than halve, amid lower commodity prices and higher operating costs.
The JSE, the operating company for Africa’s largest stock exchange, is also due to report that headline earnings per share rose as much as 32% in its six months to end-June, saying in a recent trading update this was in part due to the supportive effect higher interest rates have had on finance income.