European Equities Slump on Renewed Omicron Fears, Risk Assets Shunned
- The number of Omicron cases in the US doubled between Friday and Saturday last week.
- Risk assets across the board continue to fall.
The number of confirmed Omicron cases is doubling every 1.5 to 3 days, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) with the covid-19 variant now identified in 89 countries. And according to NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US is likely to see record case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths from Omicron. The latest surge in transmissions is likely to see more countries re-impose lockdown measures following in the footsteps of the Netherlands who announced a nationwide lockdown over the weekend. France and Austria have announced a range of travel restrictions, Denmark has closed theatres and concert venues, while Ireland has announced that bars and pubs must close by 8pm.
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Global equity markets have opened the week deep in the red, extending recent losses. In the UK, airlines and hospitability stocks are under heavy pressure, while oil stocks turn sharply lower on the weaker oil price. The FTSE 350 travel and leisure index is down close to 3%, while the FTSE 350 Oil and Gas Producers index is 3.2% lower in early turnover.
Risk assets across the board also fell early Monday with both Brent and US oil down around 4.0%, while cryptocurrencies continue to push lower with Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $46.5k and Ether (ETH) just over $3,800. In contrast, the VIX fear index is quoted 10% higher at a new two-week high.
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