The Nikkei Index edged higher in volatile trading on Wednesday with geopolitical concerns still weighing on risk-appetite, while investors were also cautious on the back of economic news that showed that Japan's economy suffered its biggest contraction in three years.
The Hang Seng Index slipped lower on Wednesday and reversed earlier gains after the central bank released data showing Chinese banks lent far less money than expected in July, while money supply growth eased.
According to Reuters, European markets are expected to open mixed on Wednesday on the back of weak economic figures out of Asia this morning, while the continuing crisis in Ukraine could spoil Europe's shaky economic recovery.
Reuters reports that U.S. markets slipped into the red but on low trading volumes on Tuesday, reversing two-days of gains as energy shares such as Southwestern Energy and Consol Energy lost 2.8% and 2.4%, respectively on falling oil prices.
Business Day reports that the JSE All Share Index closed lower on Tuesday, with local mining shares the biggest losers on the day, while the local bourse also reacted negatively to the European Economic Research or ZEW indicator which showed that growth expectations for Germany, Europe’s largest economy, worsened for the eighth straight month in August.
The Rand was last trading at R10.6341 against the US Dollar, with the Euro also quoted firmer at R14,2100 and the British Pound at R17.8413.
The gold price traded above the $1,300 an ounce level in Singapore on Wednesday on the back of fears over the economic impact on Europe due to the crisis in Ukraine. Gold was last trading at $1,309.85, with the platinum price quoted at $1,462.85, while the palladium price has jumped to the $873.58 level.
Brent was last trading lower at $102.58 a barrel.