|Friday 06th of September 2019
Haven Rout Sends Wall of Money Rushing Into Emerging Markets @markets.
Thursday’s rout in U.S. Treasuries and German bunds coincided with a
rally in high-yielding debt of emerging markets, Anders Faergemann, a
senior portfolio manager at Pinebridge in London, said by phone.
Renewed expectations for progress in the U.S.-China trade talks and a
better-than-expected print on U.S. service-industries growth spurred
bond investors to shift some of their capital to riskier bets. That
contrasts with their rush to safety in August when the average yield
on emerging-market dollar bonds jumped the most in nine months.
The yield on Argentina’s 100-year bond fell for a third day to below
17%, after closing last week at 18.85%
Longer-dated bonds enjoying a resurgence included Nigeria’s 2047 debt,
which shaved off 15 basis points of yield
Angola’s international bond due 2028 shed 13 basis points of yield,
building on a 23 point drop on Wednesday
Ghana’s sinkable securities due 2051 advanced, taking the two-day drop
in yield to 33 basis points
24-JUN-2019 :: Wizard of Oz World.
the Wizard appears in a different form, once as a giant head, a
beautiful fairy, a ball of fire, and as a horrible monster. When at
last he grants an audience to all of them at once, he seems to be a
disembodied voice. Eventually, it is revealed that Oz is actually none
of these things, but rather an ordinary conman from Omaha, Nebraska,
who has been using elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself
seem “great and powerful”.
Biggest Bond Rout in Years @markets
Yields on two-year notes jumped as much as 14 basis points, which
would be the largest full-day increase in a decade, before pulling
back to 11 points. A popular iShares ETF tracking long bonds sank as
much as 2.4%, the biggest intraday rout since the day after the 2016
U.S. presidential election. The sell-off was global, with German
30-year rates briefly turning positive after a month under zero, and
yields in Australia and New Zealand climbing early in Asia on Friday.
Treasury yields hit their highs of the day after growth at U.S.
service businesses beat estimates. A deluge of investment-grade
corporate bonds sold by the likes of Apple Inc. and Walt Disney Co.
flooded the market with supply, which tends to drive up yields. And a
trio of central banks just refrained from sounding dovish, putting
some investors on alert for policy surprises.
The rate on 30-year Treasuries sank to a record low of 1.90% on Aug. 28.
With a rally in Treasuries pushing the average investment-grade bond
yield below 3%, companies are getting in while the getting is good.
U.S. investment-grade sales through Wednesday amounted to $54 billion.
In Europe, BT Group Plc, Continental AG and Snam SpA joined the
barrage of new offering on Thursday, fanning what may be the busiest
week for corporate issuance since March 2018.
While most expect the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve to add
more accommodation this month, investors were disappointed by the
less-than-dovish messages just sent by central banks in Sweden, Canada
and Australia. And resistance is growing among European policy makers
to ECB President Mario Draghi’s bid to reactivate bond purchases.
German 30-year bund yields rose 14 basis points, ending the day at
minus 0.08%. That rout “is a message to the ECB countries who do not
want to do quantitative easing,” said Andrew Brenner, head of
international fixed income at NatAlliance Securities in New York. If
they don’t do QE, “it’s going to get ugly.”
Rates futures traders are pricing in another quarter-point reduction
at that meeting, and a total of about 60 basis points of easing by
24-JUN-2019 :: We are in "nose-bleed" territory. This is "Voodoo Economics"
We are in ‘’nose-bleed’’ territory. This is ‘’Voodoo Economics’’ and
just because we have not reached the point when the curtain was lifted
in the Wizard of Oz and the Wizard revealed to be ‘’an ordinary conman
from Omaha who has been using elaborate magic tricks and props to make
himself seem “great and powerful”’’ should not lull us into a false
sense of security.
The Underground Worlds of Haruki Murakami @NewYorker
He talks about being “surprised and confused” by the overwhelmingly
enthusiastic response to his first attempts at fiction. That confusion
may have fuelled something in him. His narratives are almost always
inquisitive, exploratory. His heroes, hapless or directed, set off on
missions of discovery. Where they end up is sometimes familiar,
sometimes profoundly, fundamentally strange. A subtle stylist and a
self-willed Everyman, Murakami is a master of both suspense and
sociology, his language a deceptively simple screen with a mystery
hidden behind it. In his fiction, he has written about phantom sheep,
about spirits meeting up in a netherworld, about little people who
emerge from a painting, but, beneath the evocative, often dreamlike
imagery, his work is most often a study of missed connections, of both
the comedy and the tragedy triggered by our failures to understand one
The other side is usually a dark place?
Not necessarily. I think it has more to do with curiosity. If there is
a door and you can open it and enter that other place, you do it. It’s
just curiosity. What’s inside? What’s over there? So that’s what I do
every day. When I’m writing a novel, I wake up around four in the
morning and go to my desk and start working. That happens in a
realistic world. I drink real coffee. But, once I start writing, I go
somewhere else. I open the door, enter that place, and see what’s
happening there. I don’t know—or I don’t care—if it’s a realistic
world or an unrealistic one. I go deeper and deeper, as I concentrate
on writing, into a kind of underground. While I’m there, I encounter
strange things. But while I’m seeing them, to my eyes, they look
natural. And if there is a darkness in there, that darkness comes to
me, and maybe it has some message, you know? I’m trying to grasp the
message. So I look around that world and I describe what I see, and
then I come back. Coming back is important. If you cannot come back,
it’s scary. But I’m a professional, so I can come back.
You said once that your life’s dream was to sit at the bottom of a
well. You’ve had a number of characters do exactly that. There’s a
character in “Killing Commendatore”—Menshiki—who does it. Why?
I like wells very much. I like refrigerators. I like elephants. There
are many things that I like. When I write about the things I like, I’m
happy. When I was a kid, there was a well at my house, and I always
looked into that well and my imagination grew. There’s a short story
by Raymond Carver about falling into a dry well. I love that story
On Joy and Sorrow Kahlil Gibran
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes
filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in
the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was
hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it
is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see
that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater thar sorrow," and others say, "Nay,
sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board,
remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver,
needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
The Clarity of Violence On rereading Don DeLillo's White Noise Paris Review
In one of my favorite DeLillo scenes, Jack Gladney, the protagonist of
White Noise, browses his supermarket with an almost religious
reverence: “all the letters and numbers are here, all the colors of
the spectrum, all the voices and sounds, all the code words and
ceremonial phrases … not that we would want to, not that any useful
purpose would be served.” Later, Gladney experiences a moment of
“splendid transcendence,” hearing his sleeping daughter mutter, over
and over, the brand name of an automobile. In the world of DeLillo’s
novels, what lies beneath or beyond, is too terrifying to contemplate,
and so his characters are trapped in a surface world, dense with color
and sound and signifiers that, if unravelled, point to nowhere more
profound than a supermarket aisle, or the make of a car.
Sitting on the floor of my parents’ living room, I came across a
passage in White Noise I remembered vividly. It is the scene near the
end of the novel in which Jack Gladney points a gun at the man who has
been sleeping with his wife and pulls the trigger. Gladney watches as
his victim’s blood flows from his body: “I knew then what red was, saw
it terms on dominant wavelength, luminance, purity.”
Like many of the starkest scenes in DeLillo’s work, it is among the
most beautiful. Gladney is hypnotized by the image of blood squirting
in a “delicate arc” from Willie Mink’s body, by the intensity of
color, the discovery of beauty in another man’s pain. Wanting to
relive the experience, Gladney fires the gun again, overawed by his
own power. As in the supermarket, Gladney is stunned by the sensory
density of his experience. In this moment, his world is entirely
calibrated around violence and the power it gives him, the desire to
repeat a violent act. In my copy of White Noise, I had underlined the
passage, and in the margin, I had written two words: burial /
Hezbollah is preparing to down an Israeli drone in the coming days @ejmalrai
Law & Politics
Hezbollah is preparing to down an Israeli drone in the coming days,
after leaving time for Israeli politicians and media to increase their
criticism and attacks on Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, accused of
undermining Israel’s vital deterrence strategy in force since 1955.
The Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has
decided to make his own contribution to the forthcoming Israeli
elections, expected on September 18, by backing the failure of
Netanyahu’s candidacy. Hezbollah achieved the first part of its
two-part plan by hitting a military vehicle last Sunday on the 3.8 km
road between Yiron and Avivim. The attack caused the destruction of
the Israeli vehicle and inflicted casualties among the five soldiers
inside- notwithstanding the Israeli denial of casualties. The hit was
filmed by Hezbollah’s cameras and shows the firing of two anti-tank
Kornet guided missiles.
Indeed, Israel sent two suicide drones last month to blow-up a
Hezbollah military asset in a suburb of Beirut, after killing two
Hezbollah members in a direct targeted killing in Syria. That
triggered an overt threat by Sayyed Nasrallah to hit back, which gave
Israel ample time to take counter-measures. Israel deserted its
military positions all along more than 100 kilometers of the UN
blue-line separating Lebanon and Israel, to the extent of 4 to 5
kilometers and more. This was interpreted as an admission of cowardice
by the Israeli Army, shaking its reputation as the “eighth strongest
army in the world.” This hide and seek followed a televised threat by
a “non-state actor”. Hezbollah doesn’t have tanks or jets in Lebanon
but its guerrilla skills gained through decades of experience, in
particular in the Syrian war, have transformed it into a an organised,
strong, “non-regular” army.
Well-informed sources indicate that “Israel deserted their military
barracks and all positions along the Lebanese borders for fear of
being bombed by Hezbollah’s rockets, notably the Burkan (Volcano) that
can carry over 1000 kg of explosive and cause a large number of
US President Donald Trump can do little now to save his close friend
and advisor the Israeli Prime Minister. The US can’t fight Netanyahu’s
war of election for him.
17-JUN-2019 :: So lets start with the enigmatic and mercurial Fugitive and Bitcoin evangelist John McAfee, who always seems to pop up in my Feed like an acid Trip whenever Bitcoin is doing its Parabola imitation
So lets start with the enigmatic and mercurial Fugitive and Bitcoin
evangelist John McAfee, who always seems to pop up in my Feed like an
acid Trip whenever Bitcoin is doing its Parabola imitation.
''But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the
parabola. They must have guessed, once or twice -guessed and refused
to believe -that everything, always, collectively, had been moving
toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no
surprise, no second chance, no return.’’
Lebanese dollar bonds, the worst performers across emerging markets this year after crisis-hit Argentina and Zambia, rallied this week @Business...
Lebanese dollar bonds, the worst performers across emerging markets
this year after crisis-hit Argentina and Zambia, rallied this week,
fueled by a renewed government commitment to urgently repair public
finances and an addition of $1.4 billion to central bank reserves.
After originally giving Lebanon up to a year to stabilize its
finances, S&P said that a continued decline in bank deposits -- a key
source of the government’s funding -- could trigger a downgrade to the
CCC category already during the next six months.
“While Lebanon’s FX reserves remain sufficient for immediate financing
obligations, they may not be adequate to cover significant outflows of
nonresident and resident deposits,” S&P analysts led by Zahabia Gupta
said in a report.
Burundi on Edge of Violence Ahead of 2020 Elections, @UN Warns @bpolitics
Burundi could plunge into violence with less than a year to go before
elections, as arrests, intimidation and disappearances of opposition
members continue, according to a United Nations report.
Youth aligned to the ruling party known as Imbonerakure are the main
perpetrators and operate with the consent of security and
administration officials, according to the report released Wednesday.
The investigators were neither allowed into the country, nor given any
cooperation by authorities, it said.
“Imbonerakure often act alone, sometimes in the presence of police,
National Intelligence Service or local government officials,” the UN
said. “They enjoy great freedom conferred by the Burundian
authorities, who have the means to control them, and operate with
almost total impunity.”
The report is politically motivated and should be disregarded, the
president’s communications adviser, Willy Nyamitwe, said on Twitter.
“We are no longer interested in responding to the lies and fake news
by some Westerners, who obviously seek the destabilization of
Burundi,” he said.
The ruling CNDDFDD party’s spokeswoman, Nancy-Ninette Mutoni, said on
Twitter that the report is biased and full of Western imperialist
propaganda against Burundi.
Burundi expects to hold elections in 2020, five years after the start
of political turmoil that some human rights groups say left more than
1,200 people dead. UN agencies estimate another 390,000 fled to
Burundi says the crisis is over and has arranged with neighboring
Tanzania to repatriate citizens sheltering there, a move criticized by
the UN’s refugee agency.
4 MAY 15 :: :Eyes on Burundi::Spill-over Risks
President Pierre Nkurunziza, a pentecostal former aerobics instructor
and rebel leader with his own presidential soccer team,
“There is an internationalisation of African youth who are dreaming
and thinking in the same way,” said Barro to Reuters, wearing his
trademark scarf and woolly hat, back in Senegal after spending three
days in detention in Kinshasa.
Barro: “But they cannot imprison hope. They will fail. Youth will
continue to mobilise.
Ailing President Leaves Gabon Wondering Who's Running the Show @bpolitics
President Ali Bongo’s health problems have many Gabonese wondering who
is in charge of the central African nation, a former prime minister
“Gabon is in troubled waters,” Raymond Ndong Sima, who served as prime
minister from 2012 to 2014, said by phone.
“It’s not only bad internally -- even externally the health of the
president is a cause of concern because investors are afraid to
invest. Honestly, no one knows who is really running the country.”
Bongo suffered a stroke almost a year ago while attending a conference
in Saudi Arabia and spent months abroad to recover before returning to
the capital, Libreville, in March.
The presidency initially maintained he was absent from the country
because he was severely fatigued.
His few public appearances since then have fueled widespread
speculation that the stroke inflicted lasting damage and that people
in his entourage have seized control.
Opposition activists want a court to help determine whether he’s fit
to rule, but hearings have been delayed.
Bongo’s office said this week that he’s fine and in the process of
regaining his “full physical capabilities.”
The 60-year-old leader used a cane to attend independence day
celebrations last week, walking slowly and with apparent difficulty.
“Our president is required to be strong physically and mentally, but
what we saw during the national day plunged the country into greater
uncertainties,” Sima said.
Bongo has since traveled to London, where he’s been hospitalized, two
people familiar with the matter said Sept. 2.
The people asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized
to speak publicly about the matter.
Gabon’s presidency has dismissed the report as “fake news” in a
statement posted on Twitter, saying Bongo is in London on a private
visit and has undergone routine medical checks.
Ali Bongo assumed power in 2009 after disputed elections that were
held months after his father, Omar Bongo, died in office.
Omar Bongo was Africa’s longest-serving head of state at the time of
his death from cancer in a hospital in Barcelona. Gabon’s government
had initially said he’d flown to Spain to rest.
Ali Bongo “brought in a different spirit than that of his father but
unfortunately his health seems to have halted that trajectory,” Sima
“We want the president to get well fast and come back to the country.
No right-thinking Gabonese was happy at seeing the state the president
is currently in.”
@SafaricomPLC Demands Kenyan Rivals Pay Debt Before Merger
Kenya’s biggest mobile operator asked the regulator to compel its
rivals to pay debt it’s owed before approving their proposed merger.
Safaricom Plc demanded that Telkom Kenya Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd.’s
domestic unit pay a total of 1.3 billion shillings ($12.5 million) for
services it provided including interconnection, co-location and fiber,
Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said in an emailed statement.
Safaricom, which controls more than half of Kenya’s mobile market,
also asked the regulator to review spectrum allocations and ensure
that the provisions are fair, he said. Safaricom’s opposition is the
latest obstacle to Telkom and Airtel’s plan to combine some of their
operations into a rival entity that would effectively create a duopoly
in the East African nation’s telecommunications sector. Last month,
the Communications Authority suspended the deal pending investigations
by the nation’s anti-graft agency into a 2012 decision to convert
government loans to Telkom into equity. The intended transaction will
not affect the repayment of debt, Telkom said in an emailed statement
in response to Safaricom’s demands.
“In fact, it will enhance Telkom’s ability to pay,” the company said.
“As is usual in transactions such as this, many other vendors and
suppliers have already signed the requisite documents to legally
transfer their debt to the combined entity.”
After the proposed merger, Airtel and Telkom will hold more spectrum
than Safaricom, yet the latter’s customer base is almost double that
of its rivals, according to Joseph. Safaricom, partly owned by
Johannesburg-based Vodacom Group Ltd. “wants equal treatment of
operators” specifically “in relation to licensing and operations,”
Telkom is 60% owned by Helios Investment Partners LLP and 40% by the
Choppies Supermarket - which has its roots in Botswana - has revealed plans to exit the Kenyan market four years after acquiring Ukwala stores for Sh1 billion.
The retailer has been struggling to grow market share in an
increasingly competitive retail market characterised by the merger of
some of its rivals like Quick Mart and Tumaini and the declining
fortunes of erstwhile big players like Uchumi and Nakumatt.
The retailer held an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) with its
shareholders on Wednesday, during which it announced that it had
listed its Kenyan assets for sale. It had also classified its 12
stores as distressed.
Competition in Kenya’s retail sector is heating up with multinational
supermarket chains like Carrefour, Shoprite and Game Stores opening
outlets in recent years in an attempt to cut the dominance of Tuskys
and Naivas, both of which are indigenously owned.
“Zambia has a steady performance in a volatile economy, Kenya’s
distressed business has been identified for disposal. Tanzania and
Mozambique are distressed while Namibia is performing as expected,”
Wilfred Mpai, Choppies director told shareholders during a