The JSE was sharply lower on Wednesday morning, tracking weaker global markets, following the US announcement of a new round of tariffs against China.
The White House said it would assess 10% tariffs on a further $200bn in Chinese goods, deepening the dispute with Beijing, and sending a message to other trading partners that the US will not back away from trade fights, reported Dow Jones Newswires.
The rand weakened about 0.5% to R13.40 to the dollar, something seen as a current resistance level by some traders.
The JSE registered broad-based losses as a result.
At 9.30am the all share had lost 1.48% to 57,168.5 points, while the top 40 gave up 1.58%. Industrials gave up 1.52%, resources 1.82% and banks 1.4%.
Miners were also lower, tracking a softer price for most commodities.
Local news was downbeat, with unions at Eskom rejecting the utility’s latest wage offer.
Some support, however, came from an economic outlook for SA from ratings agency Fitch.
Fitch said on Tuesday that it believed the land expropriation threat to South African agriculture was overblown, and despite low growth and high levels of inequality, “SA is well balanced by a favourable government debt structure, deep local capital markets, strong institutions, and a healthy banking sector”.
Diversified miner Glencore was 3.38% lower at R56.28, while Anglo American fell 3.16% to R295.62.
Rand hedge Richemont lost 1.68% to R112.78, while Anheuser-Busch InBev edged 0.48% higher to R1,392.50.
Nedbank lost 1.84% to R259.79.
Naspers slipped 2.15% to R3,421.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 had fallen 1.14%, the DAX 30 was off 1.09% and the CAC 40 was down 0.85%.
Platinum had lost 0.38% to $840.22 an ounce and gold 0.26% to $1,252.24. Brent crude had fallen 1.32% to $77.87.