Markets Hit By Moderna Vaccine Warning Over Omicron
Muhammad Irfan Published November 30, 2021 | 02:13 PM
Equities and oil sank again Tuesday after the head of Moderna warned current coronavirus vaccines might be less effective at fending off the Omicron variant, fuelling fears that countries could be forced back into economically painful lockdowns
Hong Kong, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 30th Nov, 2021 ) :Equities and oil sank again Tuesday after the head of Moderna warned current coronavirus vaccines might be less effective at fending off the Omicron variant, fuelling fears that countries could be forced back into economically painful lockdowns.
But Stephane Bancel's comments in an interview with the Financial Times sent shivers through markets again, as he said the high amount of mutations on Omicron and its swift spread in South Africa indicated the present jabs would need to be tweaked.
The selling also spread to oil markets where both main contracts plunged more than three percent, after slowly recovering from Friday's collapse of more than 10 percent as demand fears came flooding back.
Tourism-linked firms were among the worst hit with Cathay Pacific losing more than four percent in Hong Kong -- having already been impacted by new restrictions on travel to the city -- and Singapore Airlines off more than one percent.
"Information on the Omicron variant is sketchy, how drastic its symptoms will be and how easily it can spread is also unknown, as is the effectiveness of current vaccines," said Kelvin Wong at CMC Markets.
"I expect more downside risk for the next couple of weeks unless there's more clarity on the Omicron strain." - Uncertainty - Bancel's remarks came after major firms said they were already working on a jab specific to the new strain.
Pfizer chief Albert Bourla said testing could show existing shots "protect less", which would mean "that we need to create a new vaccine" but added that he did not think the "result will be the vaccines don't protect".
There remains a lot of uncertainty among traders, and experts said it would take weeks before the full effects of the variant are known. The World Health Organization warned it poses a "very high" risk globally.
Investors have suffered a tough few months as they navigate the impact of surging inflation and the prospect of central banks withdrawing the ultra-loose monetary policies put in place at the start of the pandemic.
In prepared comments ahead of an appearance in front of the Senate Banking Committee later Tuesday, he also said the virus could "intensify supply-chain disruptions" that have been a major cause of the inflation spike this year.
Oil traders kept tabs on OPEC and other key producers, who are due to decide on whether to press on with their plan to lift output each month in light of the new travel restrictions and the threat of Omicron.
Howie Lee of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp said if OPEC+ "do pause, it will provide another reason for oil to find a firmer footing".
- Key figures around 0820 GMT - Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.6 percent at 27,821.76 (close) Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.6 percent at 23,475.26 (close) Shanghai - Composite: FLAT at 3,563.89 (close) London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.9 percent at 7,044.18 West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 2.5 percent at $68.19 per barrel Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 2.8 percent at $71.41 per barrel Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.15 Yen from 113.58 yen at 2040 GMT Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3335 from $1.3310 Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1339 from $1.1291 Euro/pound: UP at 85.02 pence from 84.80 pence New York - Dow: UP 0.7 percent at 35,135.94 (close) dan/qan PFIZER Singapore Airlines COMMERZBANK OCBC - OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORPORATION CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS