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JOHANNESBURG - THE JSE shed more than 3 percent in early trade, weighed down by the intensifying trade war between the US and China.

The all-share index was down 1657 points, or 3.02 percent by 11am, while the bluechip top 40 index shed 1610 or 3.34 percent.

Losses were broad based with financials down 3.13 percent, resources bled 2.01 percent and industrials were down 3.09 percent.

The embattled Steinhoff lost 8.96 percent in early trade, while the bourse’s heavyweight Naspers bled 6.14 percent.

Other major losers were FirstRand, Nedbank, Old Mutual, Sanlam, Barclays Africa, Shoprite, Sappi which all lost over 3 percent in early trade.

Oliver Jones, a markets economist at Capital Economics, said renewed concerns about protectionism appear to have taken a toll, after China announced retaliatory duties against a range of US products.

“The shares of Chinese firms have come under the most pressure recently, as the focus of Trump’s ire has shifted from Mexico to China,” Jones said.

“The equities of firms in Korea, Taiwan and South Africa, all of which are key to the supply chains of China’s exports to the US, were also among the worst-affected.”