2019's ugly start for markets looks to be taking a breather on Friday after Asian stocks responded positively to a stimulus package announced by Beijing, and news that renewed trade talks between China and the US are set to take place from Monday.
Despite a litany of concerns, ranging from Apple's profit warning and weak manufacturing data out of China, Chinese markets bounced Friday reflecting an optimism for trade talks with the US on January 7 and 8.
Chinese banks will benefit from a cut in reserve requirement ratios (RRR), as well as lower fees and taxes as China looks to boost its cooling economy. Beijing slashed RRR four times in 2018 in an attempt to free up money for additional lending with more cuts possible in the coming year.
It's yet another sign that US-China trade war tensions have impacted the global economy after agricultural giant Cargill reported worse than expected results out of China Thursday and Apple's shock slowdown forecast sent markets tumbling.
The JSE's all share index was up 0.6% by Friday mid-morning, while the rand jumped 1.3% to reach R14.13 - after trading at R14.70 scarcely 24 hours ago.
Markets will have their eyes on Eurozone and UK PMIs due later today as well as non-farm payroll figures out of the US which are expected to be up. Estimates suggest an increase to approximately 178,000 in December up from 155,000 in November with wages also higher reducing concerns about weak ISM manufacturing data from Thursday.
"This will be good news for otherwise depressed sentiment in the financial markets," said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at SS Economics. "There is growing concern that the economy will slowdown significantly 2019."
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