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Potential vaccine approach drives shares, crude higher

Potential vaccine approach drives shares, crude higher

Very early and tentative signs of an effective vaccine against the Covid-19 virus saw risk appetites leap in overnight trading. European and US indices lifted by between 2% and 6%, crude oil jumped more than 10% and bonds and gold fell. The synchronised moves across markets suggest the rising infection and fatality rates are no longer a central focus.

US drug maker Moderna reported no toxicity and promising auto-immune responses in 8 people undertaking a trial. China’s President Xi alos announced support for a World Health Organisation inquiry into the pandemic, and that China will distribute any effective vaccine globally. The potential for a co-ordinated and effective world-wide campaign to eradicate the virus drove markets, despite warnings from medical research experts that there are still many hurdles to leap.

Currency markets danced to the same tune. Traders shunned the US dollar, Japanese yen and Swiss franc and enthusiastically supported commodity exposed currencies like the Canadian and Australian dollars. Crypto markets are uncharacteristically calm.

Asia Pacific overnight futures trading suggests a more cautious response in trading today. Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Japan are looking at opening gains of between 1.5% and 2%. Singapore GDP data may be released as early as today, with expectations of a contraction in the first quarter of 7.7%. Japanese industrial data and Reserve Bank of Australia board minutes are due late morning, although the hope driving markets could mean they have less influence.

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