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WHO names new variant of coronavirus ‘of concern’, naming it Omicron

Shares fell and oil prices plunged more than 10% on Friday as the emergence of a new variant of Covid-19 rocked global markets.

American markets, which were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving, were slammed during the shortened Friday trading session. The Dow Jones lost more than 1,000 points or 2.8%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lost almost 2%.

Asian markets led the way, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index down 2.7%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 2.5%. European markets also sold off strongly, with the main indices, including the FTSE100, the French CAC40 and the German DAX being between 3% and 4%.

US oil futures fell more than 11% to trade below $ 70 a barrel. Brent crude, the world’s benchmark for oil, suffered a similar drop to around $ 73.

The new variant has been detected in South Africa, Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel, prompting some countries to implement flight bans.

Although “high frequency market volatility is the norm these days,” CNN international trade correspondent Richard Quest said, the markets will likely be affected for a longer period of time.

“Longer term, yes, I would also expect markets to be volatile and nervous… because markets don’t like uncertainty,” he said.

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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.