Markets tumble as Moderna chief predicts existing Covid vaccines will struggle with Omicron – Live Business

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Hello and welcome to our continued coverage of the global economy, financial markets, euro area and business.
Anxiety over the Omicron variant spills over into financial markets again this morning, after the chief executive of drugmaker Moderna warned that existing Covid-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the variant. Omicron that they were against Delta.

Stéphane Bancel’s comments to the Financial Times hit Asia-Pacific stocks and the price of oil, just a day after markets stabilized after Friday’s drop.

The FT says:

Moderna chief executive predicted that existing vaccines would be much less effective in combating Omicron than earlier strains of Covid-19 and warned it would be months before pharmaceutical companies could make new variant-specific jabs in large scale.
Stéphane Bancel said the high number of Omicron mutations on the spike protein, which the virus uses to infect human cells, and the rapid spread of the variant in South Africa, suggest that the current crop of vaccines may need be changed next year.
“There are no people, I think, where [the effectiveness] is of the same level. . . we’ve had with Delta, ”Bancel told the Financial Times in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
He added, “I think it’s going to be a big drop. I don’t know how much because we have to wait for the data. But all the scientists I spoke to. . . are like ‘this is not going to be good’.
The comments from Moderna’s CEO come as other public health experts and politicians have tried to set a more optimistic tone about the ability of existing vaccines to provide protection against Omicron.

The news hit risk-sensitive currencies, with the dollar australia drop to its lowest level in a year.

Sean Callow
(@seandcallow)

Moderna CEO predicts vaccines will struggle with Omicron: FT (BBG)
… A $ hit new marginal lows since November 2020 #ausbiz pic.twitter.com/g030HtFp77

November 30, 2021

from Japan Nikkei The stock index fell 1.6%, with Bancel’s comments worrying investors.

Gearoid Reidy
(@GearoidReidy)

Japanese stocks reverse earlier gains and end up with the Nikkei down 1.6% after Moderna CEO said in an interview with the FT that there is “no world” in which efficiency of the vaccine is the same with omicron as with delta. pic.twitter.com/eSwRjfrp5y

November 30, 2021

European markets are heading towards a lower open, with the FTSE 100 down around 1%.

IGSquawk
(@IGSquawk)

European opening calls:#FTSE 6987 -1,73%#DAX 14962 -2,09 %#CAC 6610 -2,46 %#AEX 770 -2,15%#MIB 25451 -2,27%#IBEX 8248 -2,45%#OMX 2229 -1.92%#SMI 12074 -1,20 %#STOXX 4010 -2,43%#IGOpeningCall

November 30, 2021

Yesterday, the World Health Organization said Omicron poses a “very high” global risk and is likely to spread internationally.

Overnight, Hong Kong expanded the entry ban for non-residents of several countries. Non-residents of Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia would not be allowed to enter after November 30.

Non-residents who have visited Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Israel and Italy in the past 21 days would not be allowed to enter the city from December 2.

England’s mask mandate returns today, which means people will be required by law to wear face coverings in certain places.

America’s largest central banker, Jerome Powell, will testify before the Senate later today, where he will explain how the Omicron variant poses a downside risk to the US economy and complicates the inflation picture.

Agenda

  • 08:55 GMT: German unemployment report for November
  • 10am GMT: Flash estimate of euro zone inflation in November
  • Noon GMT: Report on India’s Third Quarter GDP
  • 13:30 GMT: Report on Canada’s GDP for the third quarter
  • 3 p.m. GMT: US property price index for September
  • 3 p.m. GMT: US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before Senate Banking Committee



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