Covid returns to bring a storm on the markets. The Tokyo Stock Exchange slips below 3%, hitting a month’s lows, on fears related to the discovery of the new coronavirus variant, announced by the South African health authorities as particularly contagious and capable of dozens of mutations. The Nikkei 225 index fell 3.02% to 28,607.98 points, while the Topix dropped 2.41% to 1,976.92 points. Warning signs are also coming from the futures on the New York market, falling by one point on all the main indices.
The reaction of the Tokyo stock exchange is mainly linked to the fact that the country considered itself safe due to the vaccinations carried out and the contagion situation: the number of new cases of Covid-19 in Japan has significantly decreased since September and yesterday there were only 163 cases on the entire national territory, against the peak of over 25 thousand recorded in August. The prospect of falling back into the nightmare is therefore first felt by investors.
After the afternoon break, the Nikkei recorded a decrease of 2.72%, leaving more than 800 points on the ground. The yen also reverses its course, appreciating against the dollar at 114.70. But fears extend to other Asian markets: in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index drops 2.1% to 24,213.55, Shanghai 0.5% to 3,566.18.