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Omicron covid variant impact, oil prices, dollar moves


SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets traded combined Thursday as traders assessed dangers surrounding the omicron Covid variant.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 0.15% whereas the Topix index fell 0.29%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 declined 0.09% because the power and supplies subindexes have been down 0.52% and 0.27%. Shares of main miners Rio Tinto and BHP fell 0.61% and 0.96%.

South Korean shares superior, with the benchmark Kospi up 0.53% and the Kosdaq larger by 1.11%.

Chinese language mainland shares additionally traded larger after market open. The Shanghai composite rose 0.19% and the Shenzhen component added 0.13%.

Hong Kong shares additionally superior as the primary Hang Seng index added 0.94% whereas the tech-focused Cling Seng Tech index rose 1.55%.

Buying and selling in shares of Macao’s Suncity Group and its unit Summit Ascent Holdings have been suspended. The Hong Kong inventory change didn’t give additional particulars on the suspension. That comes days after Suncity’s chief government was arrested over alleged hyperlinks to cross-border playing, Reuters reported.

Stateside, the major averages posted a third consecutive day of gains whereas European shares closed lower.

“After a strong run within the earlier two days, equities are taking a breather with European shares closing decrease amid considerations over the necessity for a brand new spherical of covid restrictions,” Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign-exchange strategist on the Nationwide Australia Financial institution, mentioned in an early morning observe.

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Traders are maintaining a tally of the omicron Covid variant, which has rattled markets in latest weeks.

The World Well being Group on Wednesday mentioned the variant could change the course of the pandemic. Scientists worldwide are scrambling to find out simply how contagious and deadly omicron is and the way efficient would current vaccines be in opposition to the virus.

Whereas preliminary proof from South Africa, the place the variant was first recognized, might counsel that omicron is milder than the delta pressure, WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19 says it’s “too early to conclude” that.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. greenback recovered barely in opposition to a basket of its friends — the dollar index rose 0.12% to 96.013 from its earlier shut at 95.984.

The Japanese yen was comparatively flat, altering palms at 113.73 per greenback whereas the Australian dollar traded decrease 0.14% to $0.7161.

Oil prices advanced overnight as the worldwide benchmark Brent settled above $75 a barrel.

Throughout Asian buying and selling hours on Thursday, costs additionally climbed. U.S. crude traded 0.43% larger at $72.67 whereas Brent rose 0.29% to $76.04.

“Crude oil prolonged latest beneficial properties as inventories fell and considerations ease in regards to the affect of Omicron on consumption,” ANZ Analysis analysts mentioned in a morning observe.

Pfizer and BioNTech said initial lab studies present a 3rd dose of their vaccines restores safety in opposition to the brand new variant. This has seen Brent crude rally greater than 9% over the previous two days because the market reassesses the doubtless affect on demand,” the analysts mentioned. Nonetheless, dangers to demand haven’t completely diminished, they added.