The JSE suffered a new blow on Thursday morning, after the arrest of Huawei’s CFO in Canada threw a spanner in the works of the current trade truce between the US and China.
The executive of the Chinese tech giant is reportedly facing US extradition for allegedly violating Iran sanctions.
Geo-politics drained appetite for risk assets, leaving the all share index down 2.05% to 50,648.90 points, its lowest level in a about a week.
“Risk sentiment continues to melt in Asia, which is having a far-reaching effect across global equities and currency markets,” said Stephen Innes, analyst at Oanda.
The US and China have been at each other’s throats over tariffs for the better part of 2018, contributing to a big drop in global equity markets as investors weighed their effect on the global economy.
The all share is well into correction territory, down more than 10% from its peak. The Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng are deep into bear-market territory. A bear market reflects a drop of 20% or more from a share”s peak.
US equity markets, which have been one of the bright spots in 2018, have also come unstuck lately. But at the weekend, the two largest economies struck a truce, giving each other a 90-day window period in an effort to to find a resolution.
But the arrest of the Huawei executive put a damper on the speedy resolution of the trade dispute.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 1.91% on the day, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng losing 2.54%.
On the JSE, mining stocks were under heavy selling pressure, as were banks and insurance stocks, retailers and other big industrial stocks, including Bidvest and Bid Corporation.
Media and internet group Naspers, which makes up nearly a fifth of the all share, was down 3.57% to R2,769.95.
BHP slipped 2.14% to R270.56 and Anglo American 1.98% to R281.39.
FirstRand was off 1.89% to R66, Standard Bank 2.63% to R173.98 and Absa Group 3.41% to R154.06.
MTN Group slipped 2.39% to R83.30 and Telkom R2.56% to R58.70.
Shoprite fell 3.08% to R189, Pick n Pay 2.89% to R72.25 and Pepkor 3.33% to R20.30.
Bid Corporation was down 2.02% to R253.29, Tiger Brands 2.83% to R264.55 and Bidvest 3.22% to R203.20.