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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday authorized a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) Inc for people with compromised immune systems.
A few other countries, such as Israel and Germany, plan to or have already administered the third shot to avoid another crisis due to the contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Scientists are still divided over the broad use of COVID-19 vaccine boosters among those without underlying problems as benefits of the boosters remain undetermined.
Pfizer has said the efficacy of the vaccine it developed with BioNTech drops over time, citing a study that showed 84% effectiveness from a peak of 96% four months after a second dose.
Moderna has also said it sees the eventual need for booster doses, especially since the Delta variant has caused “breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated people.
Gold was up on Friday morning in Asia, but was set for a second consecutive weekly decline. Investors now await the U.S. Federal Reserve’s next monetary policy move.
Gold futures were up 0.25% to $1,756.72 by 12:50 AM ET (4:50 AM GMT), and the yellow metal is down 0.5% so far for the week. The dollar, which normally moves inversely to gold, inched down on Friday but remained close to a four-month high hit earlier in the week.
The latest U.S. economic data, released on Thursday, said the producer price index grew 1% month-on-month in July, the largest annual increase in more than a decade.
However, the consumer price index released the day before suggested that inflationary pressures are peaking, rising a lower-than-expected 0.3% month-on-month in July. This boosted hopes that the Fed would not begin asset tapering or hike interest rates earlier than expected.
Oil prices fell for a second day on Friday after the International Energy Agency warned that demand growth for crude and its products had slowed sharply as surging COVID-19 cases worldwide forced governments to revive movement restrictions.
Brent crude was down 58 cents, or 0.8%, at $70.73 a barrel by 0630 GMT, after dropping 13 cents in the previous session.
U.S. crude was off by 65 cents, or 0.9%, at $68.44 a barrel, having fallen 0.2% on Thursday. The benchmarks are little changed this week.
“The sudden about-face by the IEA has shaken nerves and capped the oil rally, bringing home the reality of the impact of the Delta variant,” said Jeffrey Halley, OANDA’s senior market analyst for Asia Pacific.
Rising demand for crude ground to a halt in July and is set to rise at a slower pace over the rest of 2021 because of the surge in infections from the coronavirus Delta variant, the IEA said on Thursday.
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