Do Not Read This: Diego Cagahastian from Opinyon
Do Not Read This

South Africa variant, damay tayo

Nov 26, 2021, 6:23 AM
Diego S. Cagahastian

Diego S. Cagahastian

Columnist

THE COVID-19 coronavirus has an uncanny way of impoverishing people, especially those who wanted to earn a little in the stock market.

During the whole trading hours on Friday, Nov. 26, I kept wondering why the PSE index has been in the red, at a time when Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez had just assured Japanese investors that our numbers are positive, and that the country will benefit much from the coming opening up and recovery of the market.

The Agence France-Presse has reported that a new COVID variant, known as B.1.1.529 is blamed for a surge in fresh cases in South Africa and has lately reached Hong Kong.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will hold a meeting later today to rule on whether this variant should be designated as a variant of "interest" or of "concern."

Meanwhile, our very own Department of Health said it is awaiting word from the WHO on the new variant's classification, even as the news media have been swamped with information that this South African variant is more infectious than the Delta variant, and also very resistant to existing vaccines.

The WHO said that "early analysis shows that this variant has a large number of mutations that require and will undergo further study."

Almost immediately, the reaction of Asian markets to this story ranged from the cautious to the disastrous.

The contagion of falling knives, all colored red, has hit bourses in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore and Wellington.

AFP said: "Sydney-list Qantas lost more than 5 percent and Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific shed more than 2 percent.Macau casino operators were also hammered in Hong Kong."

Foreign travel and tourism will be hit hard again.Already, the United Kingdom and Israel have banned all travel from South Africa and five other southern African countries.

Locally, there was a shower of sad-face emojis as the PSEI opened at 7,346.07 and closed at 7,278.44, after shedding -90.83 or -1.23 percent.

Expected to be hit in the coming days are airline stocks like Cebu Pacific ($:CEB) which opened and closed at 48.40 and Philippine Airlines ($:PAL) along with MacroAsia ($:MAC) which was on its way to recovery when it opened at 6.30 but had to shed several centavos to close at 6.04.

Oh, how we wish that this COVID would go away.


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