The rand fell to its lowest level in more than a year on Thursday (25 November) following the recently discovered B.1.1529 variant and a new UK travel ban for southern Africa.

The local unit lost an additional 2.15% against the dollar on Friday morning as Asian markets reacted to the news.

While researchers have not yet determined whether the B.1.1529 variant, found in southern African countries is more transmissible or fatal than previous variants, authorities around the world have reacted quickly, Bloomberg reported. The UK and Israel have temporarily banned flights from South Africa and five neighboring countries as a precaution.

British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Thursday that from noon Friday (12:00 p.m., 26 November) flights to and from South Africa and countries including Botswana will be temporarily banned. All British nationals arriving from the specified countries will need to be quarantined, he said.

“There is some risk of happening from Japan to Africa due to concerns over the discovery of a new variant of the virus in South Africa, but the good thing is that countries like the UK are acting quickly. to limit its spread, ”said Justin Tang, head of Asian research. at United First Partners.

“Since the world has been through this with Delta before, there is already a manual for such situations – even if the new variant goes beyond the validity period.”

Airlines and other travel stocks across Asia were among the biggest declines as traders reacted to the prospect of further flight restrictions. Oil receded as new tension raised concerns about the outlook for energy demand before the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies meet next week on its production policy.

The nerves of global investors were already on edge this week amid concerns over the withdrawal of Federal Reserve stimulus and the seemingly relentless rise in inflation.

On Friday November 26 at 7:26 a.m., the rand was trading again at the following levels of major currencies:

  • Dollar / Rand: R16.19 (2.14%)
  • Pound / Rand: R21.54 (+ 1.94%)
  • Euro / Rand: R18.17 (+ 2.32%)

With other reports from Bloomberg.

Read: UK bans travel to South Africa over new variant of Covid

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