Black Friday for the wrong reasons
Its Black Friday, but not as we know it. The term Black Friday is supposed to be all to do with shopping, however today the term could well be used to describe the markets. There is very much a ‘risk-off’ feel to the markets this morning with Asian markets sharply lower overnight and USD higher. There are concerns over a new Covid variant found in Southern Africa that is more transmissible and perhaps less controlled by current vaccines. A couple of cases have been already been confirmed in Hong Kong, found in fully vaccinated travellers from South Africa, explaining why the Hang Seng was one of the worst hit indices. Travel stocks and oil prices and lower, as is ZAR which has hit a one year low against USD at 16.32.
The UK has put Southern Africa countries on the travel red list but I guess there is a high chance the variant is here already. Many other countries are confirming they will take strong action in an attempt to prevent the virus spreading. With Europes ongoing infection rate crisis, the last thing anyone needs is a new variant. This has to raise the possibility of further lockdowns although yesterday France said lockdowns were not currently on their agenda despite expectations that this fifth wave will be stronger and last longer than the previous wave. WHO have called a special meeting to discuss the new variant.
Interestingly, EUR is looking resilient, EURUSD trading up to 1.1275 and EURGBP up to 0.8470 (GBPEUR 1.1805). GBPUSD currently 1.3310, it has been as low as 1.3280 in the early hours of this morning. Markets are volatile and likely to be a bit illiquid so sharp moves are certainly possible.
In other news Aussie retail sales were higher than expected overnight, while China have once again said they would take military action if Taiwan made any attempt at independence. The comments come as some US officials met counterparts in Taiwan, against the wishes of China.
That is about all I have for you. The weather isn’t looking too good this weekend, so if you’re stuck indoors perhaps start drawing up a Christmas Plan B just in case we return to the world of restricted movement. Perhaps use Black Friday to buy a couple of new board games. Otherwise its off to Amazon to look at the latest incarnations of the Alexa Echo devices. We don’t need them but they are heavily discounted. I’m looking at the 4th GenEcho dot with premium sound, normally £90 but now £55. Given most of the music I play is through the device, some better sound wouldn’t go amiss. That’s the wifes Christmas present sorted…..
- 10.30 ECBs Panetta speaks
- 23.50 Japan retail trade