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Morning briefing The first confirmed case of Omicron in the US… New York stock markets plunge

New York Stock Exchange, which was rebounding, fell all at once on news of Omicron’s confirmed case

The New York stock market turned downward on the news that the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) Omicron mutation has also landed in the United States. On the 1st (local time), the Dow Jones Industrial Average of the New York Stock Exchange fell 461.68 points, or 1.34%, to close at 34,022.04. The S&P 500 index fell 53.96 points, or 1.18%, to 4,513.04, and the tech-focused Nasdaq Index fell 283.64 points, or 1.83%, to close at 15,254.05, respectively.

The three major indices were showing strong rebounds in the early to mid 1% range until the morning. Then, in the afternoon, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the first confirmed case of Omicron was found in California. Shares of major airlines all plunged more than 7%, and large tech stocks also fell. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s warning of inflation risks daily also fueled the stock market’s decline.

◆ The first case of Omicron confirmed in the United States… South African traveler who has been vaccinated

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that the first case of Omicron has been identified in the state of California. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said at a briefing at the White House on the same day that the first confirmed case was a person who had traveled to South Africa, where Omicron was first reported. “It’s only a matter of time before we see Omicron infections in the United States,” Fauci warned.

This patient returned to San Francisco from South Africa on the 22nd of last month, and was confirmed with Corona 19 on the 29th of last month. The infected person is currently self-isolating. This confirmed person was a person who had been vaccinated against COVID-19, but was infected with the Omicron mutation and showed mild symptoms, but is recovering. However, the booster shot (additional inoculation) was not yet suitable. Gene sequencing (sequencing analysis) to identify types of mutations was performed by the University of California, San Francisco.

◆ Powell Previews Tapering Acceleration… “A wide range of inflation across the U.S. economy.”

The Federal Reserve (Fed), the central bank of the United States, announced in its ‘Beige Book’ report on economic trends released on the 1st (local time) that prices are rising in all directions due to supply chain disruptions and labor shortages. “Inflation has risen from moderate to strong,” the Beige Book said.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hinted at a Senate hearing the day before that he could advance the end of the tapering end, which is scheduled for mid-year, due to inflation concerns. This could further increase the scale of the planned asset purchase cutback to $15 billion per month.

◆Seo Hoon-Yang Jietsu, held a meeting in China today… Declare the end of the war, etc.

Director of the National Security Office Suh Hoon will visit Tianjin, China on the 2nd to meet with Yang Jiechi, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China. The two met in about a year and three months after Yang Politburo Yang visited Busan in August of last year to meet with the chief of staff. This visit to China is interpreted as an under-the-hood work to close the end-of-war declaration issue, which the Blue House and the government have put a lot of effort into. It is expected to explain the progress made between the ROK and the United States to the Chinese side of the end-of-war declaration, and ask for cooperation to lead North Korea to the dialogue table.

◆ ROK-U.S. Defense, Today’s Security Council

Defense Minister Seo Wook and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a Security Council Meeting (SCM) on the 2nd to discuss major security issues, such as responding to the North Korean nuclear issue and transferring wartime operational control. At the 53rd SCM held at the Ministry of National Defense (MND) building, we plan to exchange opinions on cooperation with North Korea policies for complete denuclearization and establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, and promotion of wartime operational control (OPC) transition. In relation to North Korea’s nuclear and missile response, there are speculations that an agreement is being made on the Strategic Planning Guidelines (SPG) to supplement the North Korean operational plan. The two ministers will hold a joint press conference to announce the results of the meeting. This meeting will be the first since the inauguration of the Biden administration and the last SCM of the Moon Jae-in administration.

◆In the morning as low as minus 10 degrees ‘drop’… Rain and snow all over the country

Thursday morning of the 2nd. The winter will be very cold, with the temperature dropping to minus 10 degrees Celsius. The morning temperature will drop by 2-5 degrees from the previous day, and the wind will blow strongly, making the perceived temperature lower. The lowest temperature in the morning is expected to be -10 to 3 degrees, and the highest temperature during the day is expected to be 5 to 11 degrees.

In the afternoon, it will rain or snow in the northern part of Gyeonggi-do, northern Yeongseo of Gangwon-do, and Jeju-do. From night, snow is expected to fall in the central and southern parts of Yeongseo, Gangwon, and rain is expected in Chungnam and Jeonbuk, respectively. The west coast of Chungnam, the west coast of Jeolla, and the west coast of the metropolitan area were forecasted in the morning, and occasional rain or snow was forecast from the afternoon in the south of Seoul and Gyeonggi and Jeollanam-do. The fine dust concentration is expected to be ‘good’ to ‘normal’ in all areas.

Until now, I was reporter Kim Hana of Hankyung.com.

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