OPEC November oil output rose 220K bpd

Reuters secondary sources survey

  • OPEC had pledged to increase production by 400k bpd
  • Total production was 27.74 mbpd
  • Compliance with cuts up to 120% from 118%
Saudi Arabia and Iraq boosted output in line with the agreement along with Kuwait, the UAE and Algeria.
Output fell in Libya due to pipeline maintenance while it fell in Angola to a record low, perhaps owing to tanker schedules.

What the data is saying: Covid cases in South Africa’s omicron epicenter fell again today

Forget the talking heads, follow the data

South African covid data
Everyone pretends like they’re researching and following the data but when the CEO of Moderna speculates on vaccine ineffectiveness, everyone abandons the data and clings to authority.
Here’s some hard data: Covid cases in Guateng — which is the centre of South Africa’s covid outbreak — fell to 1909 on November 29 from 2308 a day earlier.
Here’s the recent progression:
  • 25 Nov : 1950
  • 26 Nov : 2173
  • 27 Nov : 2629
  • 28 Nov : 2308
  • 29 Nov : 1909
In every other province in the country, the number of new cases are negligible (Western Cape is highest at 119). In terms of positivity, it’s high with 10.7% of people testing positive.
Hospital admissions:
  • 25 Nov : 98
  • 26 Nov : 60
  • 27 Nov : 30
  • 28 Nov : 17
  • 29 Nov : 79

2414 people are currently admitted, 234 are in the ICU and 112 ventilated. The peak was near 20,000 last January. The population of South Africa is 53 million and around 23% are vaccinated.

Draw your own conclusions.

COVID-19 antibody drugs not as effective against omicron variant, preliminary tests show

Regeneron and Lilly antibody drug cocktails reportedly lose effectiveness against the omicron variant

This according to a WSJ report, with Regeneron saying that its COVID-19 antibody drug cocktail was found to lose effectiveness against omicron based on preliminary tests. Adding that perhaps there needs to be a modification if the new strain becomes widespread.
Meanwhile, separate testing of Eli Lilly & Co.’s antibody drug cocktail also revealed that it isn’t as effective against omicron, according to outside scientists. Lilly though is doing their own test on the matter and did not want to speculate on what the results will be.
It is tough to say how much of this can be compared to the efficacy of other drugs or vaccines since antibody therapies may not hold up well against omicron considering that the strain itself has mutations to the spike protein targeted by the antibody drugs above.
As such, it is best to be reminded that we’ll only know for sure in a few weeks’ time the level of threat being offered up by the omicron variant.
The full report above can be found here (may be gated).

Bond bids continue to flow on the session

10-year Treasury yields approaching a key technical crossroads


US 10-year yields are now down over 10 bps on the day to 1.42% and that is bringing things closer to a key technical region around 1.415%.

The November low and the 100-day moving average (purple line) resides at the level so a break below that could see yields tumble further amid the risk-off sentiment in the market.
Risk sentiment isn’t sitting too pretty on the day as the flight to safety continues and bonds are staying more bid in European morning trade. Regional indices are down between 1.5% to 2.0% while S&P 500 futures are also down 1.1% at the moment.
In the bigger picture, it seems like bond sellers are still unable to capitalise on the supposed head-and-shoulders pattern. Talk about the omicron headlines being convenient for bond buyers in defending against that technical challenge.


BREAKING ::Japan confirms first case of omicron variant

Kyodo News reports on the matter

The case above relates to a man in his 30s that have arrived from Namibia.

I mentioned it before, don’t be surprised to see more and more countries report findings of the variant as there has already been a precedent set by delta.

The question now is whether or not omicron has been actively circulating long enough to see a major spike in infections (that is yet undetected maybe).

Omicron virus

What we know

What we know

The Omicron variant has 30 changes to it including a small insertion in the spike protein and three small deletions. Around 50% of these changes are in the receptor binding domain – this is the part of the spike protein use to bind to human ACE-2, which is the enzyme the coronavirus targets to enter cells and infect a person. If there are mutations here this makes the spike protein less recognisable to the antibodies made in response to either a vaccination or natural antibodies.

The bottom line is that the Omicron is different.

It is a worry

The concern is that these changes above mean that the virus transmits more quickly. Early PCR tests showed that 90% of 1,100 new cases reported November 24 in a SA province were caused by the new variant. SA President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the average daily cases rose from 500 case in the previous week to 1,600.

It is also uncertain how bad it is (more…)

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