© Reuters. File photo: On October 27, 2021, in Cliptown, Soweto, South Africa, boys run past a mural of Senzart911, which depicts children wearing masks during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
SYDNEY/TOKYO (Reuters)-Asian stocks suffered their biggest drop in three months on Friday. Oil prices plummeted after the detection of potentially vaccine-resistant coronavirus variants led investors to flock to bonds, the yen and the U.S. dollar. Risk assets. [MKTS/GLOB]
Little is known about the mutation found in South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong, although scientists say it has an unusual combination of mutations that may be able to evade immune responses or make it more transmissible.
TAKASHI HIROKI, Chief Strategist, Tokyo MONEX
“This variant is a new risk for the market. We don’t know to what extent it can evade the vaccine.”
RAY ATTRIL, Head of Foreign Exchange Strategy, National Bank of Sydney
“People have reacted to the uncertainty about what this means. When this kind of news breaks out, you shoot first and then ask questions.”
MOH SIONG SIM, Currency Analyst, Bank of Singapore
“We still don’t know how contagious this virus is… This is a general uncertainty. The market predicts that if the vaccine is ineffective, there may be another wave of global infections here.
“Hope of reopening may be dashed.”
MARK ARNOLD, CIO, HYPERION Asset Management, Brisbane
“I don’t think there is any going back to the world before COVID. We will only change over time, which will change the way people operate in the economy. This is reality.”
SHINICHIRO KADOTA, Senior Foreign Exchange Strategist, Barclays Bank, Tokyo
“We see that Germany is considering a lockdown, so this new variant and the outbreak of the COVID situation generally poses some risks to market sentiment.
“If the COVID situation worsens, then the U.S. dollar against the yen may fall further, but otherwise the divergence in monetary policy will certainly weigh on the yen in the medium term.”
MARTIN WHETTON, Head of Fixed Income, CBA, Sydney
“Keep an eye on the new COVID-19 variant. We are not virologists, but all of us have seen the impact this has on central bank policy and the expected path of the market.”
JEFFREY HALLEY, Analyst, OANDA, Jakarta
“The UK has suspended flights from South Africa and five other neighboring countries, and we can expect more such flights elsewhere. The complacency that has emerged in the Indian Delta variant is a lesson.
“The bull in Chinese stores that may truly disrupt the global recovery has always been a new COVID-19 strain that has swept the world and caused large-scale social withdrawals. What we currently know is that B.1.1.529 has undergone serious mutations. , But the market is not taking risks.”