Australian, NZ Dollars Fall As Omicron Concerns Renew After Moderna CEO's Comments
The Australian and NZ dollars weakened against their major
counterparts in the Asian session on Tuesday, as risk sentiment
dampened following comments from Moderna Chief Executive Officer
Stephane Bancel that existing vaccines would be much less effective
to combat the omicron coronavirus strain.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Bancel said that the
high number of mutations on the spike protein and the rapid spread
of the variant in South Africa indicated that the current vaccines
may need to be modified next year.
The pharmaceutical companies could take months to develop and
distribute vaccines in large numbers to resist the new strain.
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that the Omicron variant
is a cause for concern, but not a cause for panic and urged people
to get fully vaccinated.
Biden dismissed concerns over economic lockdowns to curb the
In prepared testimony before the Senate Banking Committee,
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that the new strain
clouded the economic outlook and price pressures could last longer
than earlier estimate.
The variant poses downside risks to employment and economic
activity and increased uncertainty for inflation, he added.
The aussie dropped to more than a 1-year low of 0.7093 against
the greenback, near 2-month lows of 80.18 against the yen and
1.5949 against the euro, off its early highs of 0.7155, 81.39 and
1.5788, respectively. The aussie is poised to find support around
0.68 against the greenback, 78.00 against the yen and 1.62 against
The aussie retreated from an early high of 1.0484 against the
kiwi, with the pair trading at 1.0455. The aussie is seen finding
support around the 1.03 level.
The aussie declined to 0.9078 against the loonie after the news,
but it has since rebounded to 0.9112. At yesterday's close, the
pair was worth 0.9096.
The kiwi weakened to more than a 1-year low of 0.6781 against
the greenback, near 2-month low of 76.66 against the yen and a
1-1/2-month low of 1.6683 against the euro, following its prior
highs of 0.6835, 77.78 and 1.6522, respectively. On the downside,
0.66, 74.00 and 1.69 are possibly seen as the next support levels
for the kiwi against the greenback, the yen and the euro,
Looking ahead, Swiss KOF leading index, German jobless rate and
Eurozone flash inflation for November are scheduled for release in
the European session.
Canada GDP data for the third quarter, U.S. FHFA's house price
index and S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for September and
consumer confidence index for November will be featured in the New
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will testify on the CARES
Act, along with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen before the Senate
Banking Committee in Washington DC at 10:00 am ET.
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