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Omikron and Fed: Equity markets under pressure


Investors around the world have shown their uncertainty on the stock exchanges: first via pessimistic statements by the Moderna boss about the new Covid variant, then via the US Federal Reserve.

Enlarge image

Worry virus: newspaper headline about Omikron at a gas station in Pretoria

Photo: Denis Farrell / dpa

The fear of the new Corona variant Omikron is depressing the mood on the stock exchanges.

The German share index (Dax) closed on Tuesday evening 1.18 percent in the red.

The statements by Moderna boss Stéphane Bancel that the current vaccines may be less effective against Omikron caused particular concern.

After the first omicron shock on Friday, prices had initially recovered slightly on Monday.

In the US, Wall Street closed 0.68 percent on Monday evening.

On early Tuesday, the Tokyo stock exchange opened up 1.5 percent - then the Financial Times published the interview with Moderna boss Bancel.

In Tokyo, the mood turned, the Japanese leading index Nikkei closed 1.63 percent in the red at 27,821.76 points, the lowest value since the beginning of October.

Moderna boss Bancel told the newspaper that because of the many mutations in the Omicron variant, scientists assumed a "considerable decrease" in the protective effect.

His company has already started work on a revised vaccine, but it will take a few months.

So far, virologists and vaccine manufacturers have been confident that the existing vaccines will also work well against the new variant.

But now Bancel said: "All the scientists I have spoken to say: 'That will not be good'."

Fed worries the stock markets

In the last hour of trading, statements by Fed chief Jerome Powell also weighed on the stock markets.

The US Federal Reserve could therefore steer towards a faster repayment of its immense securities purchases.

Powell also suggested that high inflation in the US may not be a passing phenomenon after all.

In China, the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong fell 1.6 percent, while the prices in Shanghai and Shenzhen remained largely unchanged.

The markets "don't like uncertainty," said Aurel BGC analyst Tangi Le Liboux in Paris.

Should Omikron lead to more and more countries closing their borders again, "then the supply chain problems worldwide could get bigger again".

The oil price was also sensitive to the developments: The price of the WTI (West Texas Intermediate) variety lost 5.1 percent and fell to $ 66.38 per barrel.

A barrel of North Sea Brent cost $ 70.65, a drop of 3.8 percent.

One barrel of oil is equivalent to 159 liters.

Omicron forecasts

Analyst Jochen Stanzl from CMC Markets tried to calm down: The statements made by the Moderna boss are “to be regarded as provisional at the present time, like all other statements about Omikron. And so it will probably continue for the next few days. ”Later that day, Biontech founder Uğur Şahin expressed himself in a much more optimistic tone:“ We think it is likely that those who have been vaccinated have clear protection against serious illnesses caused by Omikron he told Reuters news agency.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been warning for months that the coronavirus and its variants could overturn all economic forecasts.

Gregory Daco of Oxford Economics estimates that Omikron "as a mild variant" could mean a minus of 0.25 points for global growth.

As a dangerous virus variant that would result in lockdowns worldwide, Omikron could also cause a sharp decline from 4.5 percent to 2.3 percent growth, according to Daco.

mamk / AFP / dpa

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-11-30

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