The foreign-exchange market managed to stabilize after the volatility on Friday. It resulted from signs that the new Omicron variant causes only mild symptoms and the need for vaccine reformulations.
In early trading in Sydney, the U.S. dollar climbed moderately against the euro, yen, and pound. The South African Rand (where the new variant was first detected) increased as much as 0.8% against the greenback. Leveraged accounts purchased the Australian dollar against the yen and the U.S. currency on short-covering and risk-positioning.
The constant opening comes after investors dropped non-haven currencies, commodities, and stocks after the highly mutated new Omicron variant appeared. This new variant caused international travel bans and concern that a fragile economic recovery would stop for a while. They also sent Treasuries soaring while cutting expectations for rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.
Since then, traders received an opportunity to evaluate the actual impact of Omicron as pharmaceutical companies and scientists shared more details about the new variant.
So far, according to a Covid adviser to South Africa, symptoms are mild. Paul Burton, Moderna Inc. Chief Medical Officer, said he doubts that the new variant Omicron might evade current vaccines. He added that if it happens, a necessary reformulated shot would become available at the beginning of next year.
Latest information on the virus
Omicron cases remain mild so far. Evidence is growing that the new Omicron variant has already been recorded in numerous countries. On Sunday, the 13 cases identified in the Netherlands suggest it appeared in Europe. Anthony Fauci said that this variant would unavoidably arrive in the U.S as well. He added that more Americans should get vaccines, and already vaccinated people should get their boosters as prevention.
Many countries started to apply new restrictions on travel. They closed borders travelers from countries such as South Africa and its neighboring countries.
Covid vaccine makers Pfizer, Moderna, BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca announced that they have already started investigating and examining the new omicron variant.
Last week, MSCI Inc.’s benchmark for global stocks and the 10-year Treasury yield fell the most in a year, while oil slipped 14%.
The selloff witnessed the CBOE Volatility Index drop the most since the beginning of this year, while emerging-market stocks also saw the biggest fall since the beginning of 2021. A JPMorgan Chase & Co. volatility rose the most since the beginning of 2020.