oppn parties Omicron Spooks Stock Markets Worldwide

News Snippets

  • EMI's set to rise after the RBI hikes key policy rate
  • Calcutta HC says that the right to privacy does not end with the death of a person
  • Supreme Court says that a delayed order of preventive detention makes it invalid
  • Shashi Tharoor posts an erronous map of India in his manifesto, rectifies the error after criticism
  • Sonia Gandhi to take a call on who will be Rajasthan chief minister
  • Mallikarujun Kharge to be the new candidate to oppose Shashi Tharoor in the Congress presidential elections
  • RBI says that the September inflation rate may be higher than 7%
  • RBI hikes key rates by 50bps, downwardly revises FY23 growth rate to 7% from 7.2% earlier
  • Stocks recover well on Friday: Sensex gains 1016 points to0 57426 and Nifty 276 points to 17094
  • Mirabai Chanu wins gold easily at the National Games
  • In a first, the Supreme Court recognizes marital rape, although for the limited purpose of allowing married women the right of abortion up to 24 weeks if they conceived as a result of forced sex by their husbands
  • Air India cuts discounts on base fare to students and senior citizens from 50% to 25%
  • Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh are being touted as frontrunners to take on Shashi Tharoor in the elections for the post of Congress president
  • Sonia Gandhi will decide who will be Rajasthan CM if she feels there is a need to change guard after the near-rebellion by MLAs in the state
  • Ashok Gehlot bowed out of the race for being Congress president after meeting Sonia Gandhi
RBI hikes key rates by 50bps, stocks jump and recover 50% of the losses incurred in the last few session
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Omicron Spooks Stock Markets Worldwide

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2021-11-27 15:20:48

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.

The B.1.1.529 Covid variant, now named Omicron and classified as a variant of “concern” by the WHO, spooked the stock markets worldwide on Friday as South Africa reported a ten-fold increase in fresh Covid infections in November. Indices in India fell by nearly 3% as the Sensex crashed 1687 points to close at 57107 and the Nifty by 509 points to finish the day at 17026.

The biggest worry is that Omicron is showing that the variant has a huge number of mutations and clusters of mutations. This spells fresh trouble for a world already grappling with the virus for nearly two years now. Even as all countries, including India, were thinking of easing norms for international travel in the wake of falling fresh Covid cases (India reported below 9000 cases on Friday, the lowest in more than 18 months, the discovery of this new variant has thrown a spanner in the works.

The business community is worried that if restrictive measures like national, or even local, lockdowns are once again enforced, demand for goods and services will fall once again and supply chains, showing signs of returning to normal, would once again be thrown out of gear. It has taken nearly one year for the economy to limp back to normalcy. Any disruption at this stage would be disastrous.

But governments all over the world cannot take risks. India suffered immensely when the second wave struck due to premature celebration for having warded off the Covid threat and a consequent lowering of the guard. This time the country should not be caught napping. We are likely to miss the vaccination target for giving at least the first dose to the eligible adult population. Hence, all Covid protocols must now be followed with strictness.

The Prime Minister has already asked officials to review their decision to ease international travel restrictions. He has also called for a greater number of samples to be sent for genome sequencing. In the last couple of months, testing has come down drastically in India. It needs to be done on earlier levels again. The vaccination drive must also pick up pace and the Har Ghar Dastak (or door-to-door campaign to vaccinate people) drive must also be strengthened. If people are not coming forward to get jabbed, they must be given the jab at their home as vaccination remains the best shield against the virus. Any laxity is going to spell disaster for the Indian economy.