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Financial markets around the world are waking up to the risks of another coronavirus flare-up.

Asian markets, blighted by rising cases from Japan to India, have underperformed their global peers since the start of March, just when they looked set to benefit from an acceleration in the global recovery. Currencies of nations stung by the virus have been underperforming those where vaccinations are surging ahead. And now the angst is starting to spread, with recovery trades under pressure and U.S. stocks sliding for two successive days.

“Markets that have become too comfortable with the re-opening trade and have loosened social restrictions can be in jeopardy with any Covid spike and variants,” said Paul Sandhu, head of multi-asset quant solutions Asia Pacific at BNP Paribas Asset Management. “Markets with high vaccination rates somewhat circumvent this downside risk.”

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