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Los Angeles County & New York have detected their first cases of the Omicron COVID strain, which has resulted in measured risk-off trade during Asia-Pac dealing. We also highlight that Hawaii has confirmed the detection of its first case of the variant, pointing to community spread, as the person had no history of travel (note the individual had previously contracted COVID and is not vaccinated). E-minis sit ~0.5% lower on the day, while Tsys have richened by 1.5-2.5bp across the curve. Commodity-linked FX can be found at the bottom of the G10 FX table, while the JPY sits at the top of that particular leader board. A reminder that the ultimate mortality threat posed by the Omicron variant will not be known for a few weeks, while the transmissibility of the strain appears to be relatively high. Markets aren’t waiting for confirmation of the threat to life posed by the strain. More broadly, Fed rhetoric continues to be relatively hawkish despite the discovery of the new variant, with several regional Presidents/Governors falling in line behind Fed Chair Powell’s hat tip to a faster tapering process.