WHO remarks further on the latest COVID-19 variant from South Africa

Virus
  • Further research needed to better understand Omicron escape potential against vaccine and infection-induced immunity
  • Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic

I reckon the market reaction on Friday already reflected the anxiety and nervousness involving the headline risk. That certainly wasn't helped by countries taking a step back on border controls, not to mention thinner liquidity conditions at the end of last week.

As mentioned earlier, it will take a few weeks for the world to get a sense of how potent the Omicron variant really is.

In the meantime, don't be surprised to find more countries detecting the virus in their backyard but the absence of any major headline news i.e. surge in Omicron variant cases or tighter restrictions imposed would be much welcome for risk assets.