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A new Covid-19 variant South African scientists warn and Stocks, Cryptocurrency and Oil Prices Sink

New Coronavirus Variant : Stocks, Cryptocurrency and Oil Prices sink

Stocks drop, bonds jump on fears over virus strain: Global markets wrap

The dollar was at a 16-month high, while South Africa’s rand weakened and commodity currencies retreated.

Stocks, Treasury yields and oil sank Friday while the yen jumped as a new Covid-19 strain discovered in southern Africa sent a wave of caution across global markets.

An Asia-Pacific equity gauge was set for the worst slide since March, with Japan and Hong Kong underperforming and travel shares among the biggest decliners. US and European futures fell and the 10-year Treasury yield dropped to 1.56%.

The World Health Organization and scientists in South Africa are studying the recently identified variant described as very different to previous versions and of serious concern. The UK and Israel banned flights from South Africa and some neighboring countries. Hong Kong confirmed two cases of the strain.

The dollar was at a 16-month high, while South Africa’s rand weakened and commodity currencies retreated. Crude shed 3% and gold rose. US markets, closed Thursday for Thanksgiving, will have a shortened Black Friday session.

 

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A new Covid-19 variant could show immune evasion and enhanced transmissibility, South African scientists warn

South Africa’s health minister announced Thursday the discovery of a new coronavirus variant that appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country.

“Initially it looked like some cluster outbreaks, but from yesterday, the indication came from our scientists from the Network of Genomic Surveillance that they were observing a new variant,” Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said, stressing that it is currently unclear where the variant — currently dubbed B.1.1.529 — first emerged.

It has so far been detected in South Africa, Botswana and in a traveler to Hong Kong from South Africa, Phaahla added.

During a news briefing, genomic scientists said the variant has an unusually high number of mutations, with more than 30 in the key spike protein — the structure the virus uses to get into the cells they attack.

 

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New COVID variant discovered in South Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to convene an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the potentially rapidly spreading coronavirus strain found in South Africa and Botswana that might make vaccines less effective and scuttle efforts to fight the pandemic. It goes by the scientific label B11 529.

What We Know About the New Covid Variant ?

The identification in South Africa of a new coronavirus variant, which has now been discovered in two travelers to Hong Kong, is roiling investor sentiment. Bloomberg Intelligence’s Sam Fazeli discusses what he knows so far about the new strain. He speaks on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Europe.”

Stocks and oil prices sink as new coronavirus variant spooks markets

Equities tumble as investors fear potential impact of B.1.1.529 strain on economy

Global stocks and oil prices tumbled on Friday as investors dashed for shelter in safe haven assets after a new coronavirus variant shook market sentiment.

A broad sell-off in European shares followed similar moves in Asian markets. Europe’s Stoxx 600 fell 3.1 per cent in early trade, with France’s CAC 40 index and Germany’s Dax 30 down by similar margins.

London’s FTSE 100 index dropped 3.2 per cent. In a sign of the market anxiety, shares in British Airways parent IAG dropped around 16 per cent in London, with jet engine maker Rolls-Royce off 12 per cent and oil major BP down 6 per cent.

“Things have escalated on the Covid front quite rapidly over the last 12 hours,” said Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank. Yesterday, the new variant “was slowly starting to gather increasing attention but overnight it has begun to dominate markets,” he said.

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Crypto Market Down $200B as Wall Street Futures Tumble on Renewed COVID-19 Concerns

Bitcoin saw a six-week low beneath $55,000, most altcoins plummeted even more, and Wall Street futures contracts are down as well on new COVID-19 fears.

The new COVID-19 variant coming from South Africa has brought more pain to all financial markets.

As the futures contracts of the world’s most prominent stock indexes have slumped, the cryptocurrency space experienced a massive correction. Bitcoin dumped to a six-week low, while some altcoins saw double-digit price drops.


Bitcoin and Global Markets Tumble

The primary cryptocurrency was on its way towards $60,000 yesterday after recovering from the previous drop below $56,000. It came roughly $500 away from challenging that coveted level, but it failed, and the landscape changed vigorously hours later.

Bitcoin dumped by $5,000 in a few hours to an intraday low of $54,300, which became the lowest price point since October 13th. As reported earlier, this enhanced volatility caused mass pain for leveraged traders as the liquidations skyrocketed to over $700 million on a daily scale.

Bitcoin Slips to $55k as Renewed Covid Concerns Jolt Traditional Markets

The cryptocurrency appeared set for a breakout above $60,000 after Thursday’s rise, but covid fears played spoilsport.

The financial markets are a sea of red on Friday as worries over a new coronavirus variant appear to have zapped risk appetite.

While bitcoin is trading 6.7% lower on the day near $55,000, the S&P 500 futures are nursing a 2.3% loss. The MSCI Asia-Pacific index has slipped 1.8%, and the commodities complex is bleeding, with oil down over 2% on both sides of the Atlantic. Meanwhile, anti-risk assets like the Japanese yen and U.S. Treasuries are gaining ground.

The classic risk-off action comes in the wake of reports of a new coronavirus variant detected in Botswana, South Africa, and Hong Kong, which may be vaccine-resistant. If these fears come true, many nations may have to reintroduce the economically painful lockdown restrictions.

“There’s a lot we don’t understand about this variant,” Richard Lessells, an infectious disease physician at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, told multidisciplinary science journal Nature. “The mutation profile gives us concern, but now we need to do the work to understand the significance of this variant and what it means for the response to the pandemic.”

Bitcoin’s decline amid risk aversion in traditional markets suggests the cryptocurrency is yet to find acceptance as a safe haven.

Coronavirus variant fear sparks Africa travel curbs

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said from 12:00 GMT on Friday six countries would be added to the red list, with flights being temporarily banned.

One expert described the variant, known as B.1.1.529, as “the worst one we’ve seen so far”, and there is concern it has the potential to evade immunity.

No cases have been confirmed in the UK.

Only 59 confirmed cases have been identified in South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana so far.

 

WHO to assess new highly mutated Covid-19 variant as countries ramp up health checks

Meeting will determine if B.1.1.529 variant warrants a designation as one of ‘interest’ or of ‘concern’
Some world leaders have hastily responded by issuing new precautions and travel restrictions, while markets around the world saw falls sparked by the uncertainty.

Indian health officials on Friday put states on alert, asking them to carry out “rigorous screening and testing” of travellers who had arrived from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, and to trace and test their contacts.

Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan urged all states to ensure that samples from Covid-positive travellers were swiftly sent to genome sequencing labs for testing.

Singapore, a major transit hub, said on Friday it would restrict arrivals from South Africa and countries nearby. All non-Singaporean or non-permanent residents with recent travel history to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe will be denied entry or transit through Singapore, its health ministry said.