First Two Omicron Cases Detected in Nepal, Is this Variant Really As Deadly? What Does This Mean for Nepal's Capital Market?

Mon, Dec 6, 2021 3:00 PM on Stock Market, Latest,

The first two cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in Nepal. The virus was detected in a Nepali national and a foreigner during testing in the National Public Health Laboratory in Teku.

The Nepali national that has been detected with the variant is a 71-year-old while the foreigner is 66. The latter had entered Nepal via air, from Tribhuvan International Airport. Meanwhile, the Nepali national had come into contact with the visitor.

World health experts are still searching for the origins of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. But in Botswana, where the variant was first reported, officials say what matters is that it was discovered, not where it came from.

Nonetheless, the new strain has led to panic in the stock markets of the world, and indices have seen a noticeable decline. However, initial data from a major hospital complex in South Africa’s omicron epicenter show that while Covid-19 case numbers have surged, patients need less medical intervention. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has said that there is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants. However, JPMorgan Chase & Co. says the recent market turmoil caused by the emergence of the omicron virus strain may offer investors a chance to position for a trend reversal in reopening and commodity trades (referring to the US market).

The stock market in Nepal saw a massive decline during the start of the first wave. However, this was quickly followed by a strong upwards surge, as a result of the shutdown. The index went on to create an all-time high. Looking at the index movement of the last 3 months, it is apparent that the index has gone into an intermediate-term correction. While writing this, the NEPSE index is trading more than 20% lower from its most recent peak created around 3 months ago.