(Bloomberg) -- The foreign-exchange market stabilized after Friday’s volatility amid signs the Omicron coronavirus variant causes only mild symptoms and vaccine reformulations against it can be achieved quickly.
The U.S. dollar rose modestly against the yen, euro and pound in early trading in Sydney. The currency of South Africa, where the variant was identified, rose as much as 0.9% against the greenback. Leveraged accounts bought the Australian dollar against the U.S. currency and yen on risk-positioning and short-covering.
The steady opening comes after investors dumped stocks, commodities and non-haven currencies in the wake of the highly mutated Omicron variant that sparked international travel bans and concern a fragile economic recovery will halt. They also pruned expectations for rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and sent Treasuries soaring.
Since then, traders have had an opportunity to assess Omicron’s impact as scientists and pharmaceutical companies shared more details about the variant.
Symptoms have been mild so far, according to a Covid-19 adviser to South Africa. Moderna Inc. Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said he suspects omicron may elude current vaccines and, if so, a reformulated shot could be available early next year.
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Evidence is growing Omicron has already entered many countries. The 13 cases identified in the Netherlands on Sunday suggest it has a foothold in Europe. It will “inevitably” arrive in the U.S., Anthony Fauci said, and that Americans should get vaccines and boosters as prevention.
On Friday, MSCI Inc.’s benchmark for global stocks tumbled the most in 13 months, oil slid 13%, and 10-year Treasury yield fell the most since the March 2020 rout sparked by the original outbreak.
That selloff saw the CBOE Volatility Index known as the U.S. fear gauge jump the most since January, while emerging-market stocks witnessed the biggest slump since February. A JPMorgan Chase & Co. gauge of global currency volatility increased the most since March 2020.
(Updates with latest market moves)
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