We get straight to the point: If the only reaction of “The Markets”, taken in its broadest sense and as a single entity, to Omicron or whatever Greek letter they decide upon this time is this…
…i.e. to make The United States of America wealthier, then the market has a surprise in store.
I’m not going down the road of World Health Organization conspiracy theorists and the few classically educated neurons I have left in the three decades or so since leaving formal education simply do not care why that body decided to skip over the Greek letter “Xi” and move straight to “Omicron”. Neither do I give a hoot about the dumb fools chugging sixpacks while lecturing me on the sanctity of their precious bodily fluids. The reason the markets have not reacted in the right way is that people, and this time the governments who look after them (or are supposed to) are not going to impose a whole range of restrictions on their own lives just because it’s the “healthy thing to do”.
Don’t get me wrong, it may well be true that adding restrictions to life in order to make it healthier is the right path for where you’re living because in all likelihood, you get to read these words where there’s high technology. You and your family are on more than U$2/day or equivalent, you have savings and a pension scheme, and the worst that happens to you is annoyance that plans for two pleasant weeks on a beach in the sun are now under threat. This post is about real health matters and as we human beings now have experience and roadmaps on Covid-19, we also know that stopping economic activity in the developing world causes severe changes to lifestyles that can quickly lead to life and death choices of the “if I can’t work, my family goes hungry” variety. When faced with those choices, the vast majority of people on this planet will choose the path that’s healthier for them, not just for the United States of America (and all other post-modern industrialized countries) and its safe haven dollar.
I watched the semi-panic on Friday and at least understood the knee-jerk into the USD with my market-watcher’s hat on. Seasoned followers of the market know it’s the first thing we reach for when a system shock arrives, after all. But yesterday Monday and the continued trend, fueled almost entirely by grave WHO warnings and Heads of State making sincere speeches, that didn’t sit right at all. So this morning’s reversal makes a lot more sense, as does the bounce in the price of gold, because the rest of the world isn’t going to stop in the way the WHO demands of us. Sorry folks, the continents of Africa, Asia, South America etc are too busy looking after their health by putting food on the table to go down the road being proscribed by nations that didn’t share their vaccines. Here’s a section from the op-ed intro to The IKN Weekly last Sunday, which wasn’t about Omicron. Instead it explained why Friday’s selling offered a target-rich environment for cheap mining stocks and that’s even more true today, Tuesday morning pre-bell:
We’re not going to get medical on you in this introduction today, so if you have the urge find a debate on the severity of “Omicron” in other places; its potential severity and effects, be they long or short-term are for people who understand these matters (or at least pretend to), they’re not for me. We’re not getting political either, your vote, your party allegiances, your agreements or disagreements with the people placed in political power are your problem, not mine. We’re not even going to broach the subject of personal opinions, as my idea of reasonable caution may be her idea of fear-mongering or even your idea of State-mandated fascism with a three-cornered vice-versa. Take all that somewhere else.
What I know is that the world isn’t going to close down again. With the collective experience of the last 18 months under our belts we understand a lot more about Covid-19, no matter whether new strains show up that can get around the first wave of vaccines. We understand which segments of society are at most mortal risk, which have the least, how people get sick and what to do if it happens. On a macro scale we have preparation and we have clear protocols that reduce the risks of the most vulnerable. For just one example of hundreds, no elderly person showing symptoms is being sent back from a hospital to their care centre and allowed to interact with a few dozen people of their own age any longer, or if they do the person signing the order will be in big trouble.