MISE & Agrave; DAY
From stocks to oil, global markets plunged on Friday, maddened by the discovery of a new variant of COVID-19 in South Africa.
In Europe , Paris fell 3.79% around 8.50 GMT, London gave up 3.32% and Frankfurt 3.61%, the values of the airline sector suffering particularly.
The Asian markets first felt the shock: Tokyo closed down 2.53%, after dropping more than 3% by midday.
Oil prices, depending on expectations of economic activity, lost their side around 5%. And bitcoin, also seen as a risky asset by investors, slumped 7.22% to $ 54,610.
“A single theme leads the markets today”, the new variant detected in South Africa, summarizes Jeffrey Halley, analyst at the brokerage firm Oanda.
Called for the moment B.1.1.529, it has a potential for very rapid spread, according to scientists, who do not know at this stage whether the vaccines currently available are effective against it.
Several European countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy or the Germany have already taken measures, banning the arrival of travelers from southern Africa.
“The only thing that can really derail the global recovery has always been a new variant of COVID-19 sweeping the world and leading to the reimposition of massive health restrictions,” Mr. Halley recalls.
Les Price movements can also be amplified by limited activity in the markets: after the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, Wall Street will only be open for half a day on Friday.
Investors preferred to take refuge in the bond market, traditionally used as a safe haven in uncertain times, causing yields to drop sharply. The 10-year American sovereign loan fell to 1.52%, against 1.64% at the close the day before, the French one for the same maturity to 0.06% against 0.12%.
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Safe-haven currencies, such as the Japanese yen, were also sought after by investors anxious to take a minimum of risks.
The securities of companies in the aviation sector, already badly hit by the pandemic, were drinking the cup because of the new variant.
In Japan, the company ANA Holdings fell by 4.5% and its competitor Japan Airlines by 6.48%.
In Europe, the aircraft manufacturer Airbus collapsed by 11%, IAG, parent company of British Airways, by 10.5% and Roll-Royces, which manufactures aircraft engines, by more than 12%.
The French giant of analysis laboratories Eurofins Scientific took off more by 6.5%.
Tech companies were also resisting the general trend: in France Dassault Systèmes lost 0.49% while in London, Avast fell only 0.10%.
On the oil market, a US barrel of WTI for January delivery dropped 5.78% to 73.84 dollars in New York, shortly before 08:50 GMT.
In London, the A barrel of North Sea Brent for the same month fell 4.66% to $ 78.39.
In the foreign exchange market, currencies used as a safe haven by investors were in demand, in especially the Japanese yen: one dollar was trading at 114.18 yen, against 115.36 yen Thursday.
The euro for its part appreciated by 0.43% against the greenback at 1.1257 dollars.