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Moderna Chief’s Predictions Rattle Asia's Stock Market

Moderna Chief’s Predictions Rattle Asia's Stock Market

Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel predicts that existing vaccines will be far less effective against Omicron than earlier strains of coronavirus and that it will be months before pharmaceutical companies can mass-produce new variant-specific medicines.

On Tuesday, investors in Asia were startled by his predictions, with equities and stock futures falling and crude prices falling.

Following the FT’s story, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell as much as 1.1 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 2.3%. S&P 500 futures have erased early gains, predicting a decline of about 1% in US markets, while the FTSE 100 is expected to fall 1.2 percent at the open in London.

Concerns about the variant pushed traders to seek safety in bonds, lowering the rate on 10-year US Treasuries by 0.05 percentage point, while in commodities markets, Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, reversed course and fell about 2% to $72.04 per barrel.

“With [Bancel] stating the vaccines may not be as effective, that’s created further worry — therefore the outside market moves you’re witnessing right now,” said Mansoor Mohi-uddin, chief economist at the Bank of Singapore.

Source: Financial Times