New spanner in the works:
On Friday 26th of November as the first news of the Omicron strain emerged, US markets had their worst day in a year. Furthermore, oil plunged 16% in only a few days, after several countries announced travel bans for South Africa where the strain was first detected, and fears of future lockdowns increased. Needless to say, this latest strain has gripped investors with panic and fear.
So far, we know very little about the virus. The WHO has said it is a matter of concern while reports from the ground in South Africa seem to indicate the symptoms are mild. On the vaccine protection front there have been mixed messages both from doctors and manufacturers. It is clear that we need more information and that precaution even if extreme seems to be the preferred course for authorities at the moment.
We will soon know whether the latest market movements have been exaggerated or warranted and if it plays out like other strains before them then this selloff will not last very long. Hopefully the news is positive, and a sense of calmness can return. We can then go back to worrying about inflation and higher interest rates which are likely to take center stage again in 2022.