Tuesday, November 30

Sharp stock market crash in Asia after uncertainty about new coronavirus variant

The uncertainty surrounding a new South African coronavirus variant is helping to send the Asian stock markets down at dawn.


The Asian stock markets fall broadly a few hours into the trading day. The indices in Tokyo and Hong Kong in particular are falling sharply.

This is the situation on the Asian stock exchanges at half past six:

  • The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo falls 2.78 percent
  • Hang Seng in Hong Kong is down 2.37 percent
  • Kospi in Seoul falls 1.62 percent
  • The Shanghai Composite is down 0.70 percent
  • The FTSE Straits Times in Singapore is down 1.46 percent
  • The ASX 200 in Sydney is down 1.73 percent

New variant detected

The stock market turmoil comes after South African doctors and researchers announced on Thursday night that they have detected a new variant of the coronavirus. This has been blamed for increasing the spread of infection in the country, writes NTB.

“We have unfortunately discovered a new variant that gives cause for concern in South Africa,” virologist Tulio de Oliveira stated during a hastily convened press conference on Thursday, according to the news agency.

The variant, which goes by the name B. 1.1.529, has a very high number of mutations. “Unfortunately, this leads to an outbreak of infection,” he said.

Analysts are clear that it is the new virus variant that is to blame for the stock market turmoil in Asia.

– It would have been a quiet day today if it had not been for the news of the new variant, says chief strategist Masahiro Ichikawa in Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management to Bloomberg.

He points out that infection rates have increased in Europe and the US even before the news, and that investors are now on guard against a new variant spreading.

Oil prices are falling

It is not just the stock markets that are affected by the turmoil in the morning. It is also turbulent in the oil and foreign exchange market.

A barrel of North Sea oil (burnt spot) now costs 80.26 dollars, a decrease of 2.40 percent from midnight. The US light oil (WTI) also falls around 2.4 percent to 76.08 dollars a barrel.

The development in the foreign exchange market is the same at half past six:

  • The krone depreciated by 0.9 per cent against the euro, which now costs NOK 10.13
  • The dollar has become 0.7 percent more expensive and is traded for NOK 9.03
  • The krone also weakened against the pound, by 0.6 per cent at a rate of 12.02

Going against falls on Wall Street

It seems that the American stock exchanges also do not appreciate the news about the new virus variant. More than nine hours before the US stock exchanges open for half a day, there is a significant effect on the so-called futures trading.

Both S&P 500 and Dow Jones futures fell more than one percent as futures closed at 6 p.m.

The US stock exchanges were closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday, and will only be open for half-day trading on Friday.


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