Global stock markets and oil prices are in full decline this Friday as investors scrambled to take refuge in safe havens after a new variant of the coronavirus shook market sentiment. The futures of the main European stock exchanges anticipated a debacle with an opening with declines of around 2% that has been growing due to the new variant of COVID-19 detected in South Africa, which, according to the first studies, presents “a constellation very unusual mutations. ”
European shares sold broadly, followed by similar moves in Asian markets. The Ibex fell 3.9% while the European Stoxx 600 fell 3.1% in the early hours of the morning. The French CAC 40 and the German Dax 30 were sinking at similar margins.
So far, cases of this variant, identified as B.1.1.529, have been confirmed in South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong. The United Kingdom has announced that it will ban flights from six African countries, including South Africa, from this Friday, due to the spread of this variant.
Tourism companies are the worst hit in the Spanish stock market. IAG, Iberia’s parent company, fell 12% while Amadeus lost 6.9% in line with the airport company Aena (-6.4%) and the Meliá hotel chain (-5.8%).
The fears that it has aroused and the increase in coronavirus infections around the world has caused significant losses in Asia, where the Nikkei, the main index of the Tokyo stock market, fell 2.53% this Friday. Hong Kong also decreased 2.10%.
Likewise, futures on the main US indices also point to an opening with losses of around 2%, in a day that will be shorter than usual, after Wall Street closed yesterday for the “Action Day thanks”.
The price of a barrel of Brent crude, the benchmark for Europe, fell to $ 77.98, 5.2% below the $ 82.25 at the close of yesterday, while the price of a barrel in West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark for the United States, was cheaper than 6% and was trading at $ 73.36.
This correction in oil prices comes just a few days before the meeting to be held on December 2 by the ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other allied producers led by Russia.
The World Health Organization (WHO) will convene this Friday a meeting of experts to evaluate the new variant of the Covid-19 virus that has been detected in South Africa with the aim of determining whether this variant “should be designated as a variant of interest. or worrying variant “.