European stocks are seen opening sharply lower on Friday amid worries that new variants of the coronavirus could derail the growth rebound seen in Europe.
European countries expanded booster vaccinations and tightened curbs overnight after scientists in South Africa said they had detected a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant with more than 30 mutation spreads.
Slovakia went into a two-week lockdown and authorities in the Czech Republic have declared a 30-day of emergency as Germany crossed the threshold of 100,000 Covid-19-related deaths.
The United Kingdom has temporarily suspended flights from six countries hours after the World Health Organization gave a briefing on the new variant.
The organization has called for a special meeting today to discuss what the new variant may mean for vaccines and treatments.
Asian markets slumped, with benchmark indexes in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and India falling around 2 percent.
The dollar edged lower against the yen while a risk-off sentiment in asset markets drove investors to gold.
Oil prices fell more than 2 percent on fears of weaker demand and amid concerns that a global supply surplus could swell in the first quarter.
In economic releases, German import price figures for October and French consumer sentiment survey results are due later in the session.
U.S. markets were closed overnight for Thanksgiving. European markets closed higher on Thursday as strong U.S. data helped offset concerns over a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Europe and policy tightening in the U.S.
Minutes of the Fed’s last meeting revealed a hawkish tilt on the board while those from the ECB’s Oct 28 meeting showed an upgrade to the inflation views.
The pan European Stoxx 600 rose 0.4 percent. The German DAX and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 both gained around 0.3 percent, while France’s CAC 40 index added half a percent.
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