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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Monday 09th of March 2020
 
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Africa

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Macro Thoughts

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27-JAN-2020 : "But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola"
Africa


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.’’

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There is certainly a Fin de siecle even apocalyptic mood afoot.
Africa


The conundrum for those who wish to bet on the End of the World is
this, however. What would be the point? The World would have ended.

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"The Market Slump Is Just Beginning" - Covid-19 Is Not The Cause, It's The Catalyst
Africa


This is it! The party is over. The world is now facing the gravest
economic and social downturn in Modern Times (18th century).
THE 4,000 POINT FALL IN THE DOW IS THE MERE BEGINNING
 If we take the Dow as one example, it has gone up 40x in the last 40
years. The average annual return has been 11.53% including reinvested
dividends.
This means that an investor in the Dow has doubled his money every 6
years, on average, over a 40 year period! So $25,000 invested in 1980
would be $2 million today.
The coming downturn will not take 40 years. When bubbles burst,
everything unravels very quickly.
It could take say 3-7 years for the Dow to come down 90% or more.
In 1929-32 it took less than 3 years for the Dow to fall 90%.
And the situation today is much more serious when it comes to
overvaluations, debts, deficits etc.
The pandemic is spreading exponentially and it can take 3-4 weeks
before it breaks out from the time you are infected. In that time
every infected person can meet many hundreds of people.
In Italy for example, there were no cases a few days ago and it jumped
to 150 in a couple of days and now 2,500 are reported to have caught
the disease with 80 deaths.
Clearly, central banks will soon accelerate money printing and the
ones that can, like the US, will lower rates. The 1/2% rate cut by the
Fed on Tuesday seems like panic action.
Since the effects in the US of the Coronavirus have so far been minor,
the problems are clearly in the financial system. Lower rates, more
repos, more QE etc. There are clearly major problems in the system.
The rate cut combined with money printing might create quick bounces
in stocks, sucking everyone in. But this time money printing will only
have a very brief effect.
Because any correction up will be short lived and the subsequent big
fall will be devastating. So this is definitely not the time to buy
the dips. For anyone in the stock market, much better to get out on
the bounces.
SELL THE DOW AND BUY GOLD
The Dow/Gold ratio tells the story.
Since 1999, the Dow is down 65% against gold. Almost no stock market
investor is aware of this fact. The Dow is down 30% against gold since
Oct 2018 and has already fallen 15% in 2020.
I expect the ratio to initially each the 1980 level of 1 for 1. What
the levels would be is hard to predict but let’s say Dow 10,000 and
gold $10,000. Eventually I see the ratio falling below 1 to 1/2 or
lower which would be in line with the long term trend line (not
shown).
But even if the ratio fell to 1 only, it would involve stocks losing
94% against gold.
So quite a simple decision. Get out of all stocks as well as other
bubble assets and buy physical gold as the best form of wealth
preservation and insurance against the worst economic downturn in
Modern Times (since the 18th century).

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27-JAN-2020 :: Investors dived into Safe Havens, Next week we could see these moves turn parabolic #nCoV2019
Africa


“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.‟‟

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Saudis Plan Big Oil Output Hike, Beginning All-Out Price War @markets
Africa


Saudi Arabia plans to increase oil output next month, looking to boost
it well above 10 million barrels a day, as the kingdom responds
aggressively to the collapse of its OPEC+ alliance with Russia.
The world’s largest oil exporter started a price war on Saturday by
slashing pricing for its crude for foreign markets by the most in at
least 20 years, offering unprecedented discounts for buyers in Asia,
Europe and the U.S. to entice refiners to purchase Saudi crude at the
expense of other suppliers.
At the same time, Saudi Arabia has privately told some market
participants it could raise production much higher if needed, even
going to a record of 12 million barrels a day, according to people
familiar with the conversations, who asked not to be named to protect
commercial relations.
With demand being ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak, opening the
taps like that would throw oil market into chaos.
In the first instance, Saudi production is likely to rise above 10
million barrels a day in April, from about 9.7 millions a day this
month, according to people familiar with Saudi thinking.
Production limits agreed by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries and its erstwhile partners expire at the end of the month,
opening the way for producers to ramp up output.
“That’s the oil market equivalent of a declaration of war,” said a
commodities hedge fund manager, asking not to be named due to the
sensitivity of the situation.
The Saudi Energy ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The shock-and-awe Saudi strategy could be an attempt to impose maximum
pain in the quickest possible way to Russia and other producers, in an
effort to bring them back to the negotiating table, and then quickly
reverse the production surge and start cutting output if a deal is
achieved.
Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, closed down 9.4% on Friday, its
biggest daily drop since the global financial crisis in 2008, settling
at $45.27 a barrel.
The production increase and deep discounts mark a dramatic escalation
by Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi oil minister, after his
Russian counterpart Alexander Novak rejected an ultimatum on Friday in
Vienna at the OPEC+ meeting to join in a collective production cut.
After the talks collapsed, Novak said countries were free to
pump-at-will from the end of March.
“Saudi Arabia is now really going into a full price war,” said Iman
Nasseri, managing director for the Middle East at oil consultant FGE.
With jet-fuel, gasoline and diesel consumption rapidly falling due to
the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the energy market now
faces a simultaneous supply-and-demand shock.
Last month, Saudi Arabia not only implemented the OPEC+ output cuts,
but “voluntarily” restrained its production even further in an effort
to lift prices.
When the OPEC+ deal expires in three weeks, Riyadh will be able to
pump as much as it wants.
After the failure in Vienna, Riyadh responded within hours by slashing
its so-called official selling prices, offering record discounts for
the crude it sells worldwide.
Aramco tells refiners each month the price at which it will sell its
crude, often adjusting the OSP by a few cents or as much a couple of
dollars.
But in a notice to buyers sent Saturday, Aramco announced it was
slashing most official prices by $6-$8 a barrel across all regions.
The dramatic move will resonate beyond Saudi Arabia. The kingdom’s
pricing decision affects about 14 million barrels a day of oil
exports, as other producers in the Persian Gulf region follow its lead
in setting prices for their own shipments.
In one of the most significant pricing moves, Aramco widened the
discount for its flagship Arab Light crude to refiners in northwest
Europe by a hefty $8 a barrel, offering it at $10.25 a barrel less
than the Brent benchmark.
In contrast, Urals, the Russian flagship crude blend, trades at a
discount of about $2 a barrel less than Brent. Traders said the Saudi
move was a direct attack at the ability of Russian companies to sell
crude in Europe.
“This is going to get nasty,” said Doug King, a hedge fund investor
who co-founded the Merchant Commodity Fund. “OPEC+ is going to pump
more, and the world is facing a demand shock. $30 oil is possible.”
Oil traders are looking to historical charts for an indication of how
low prices could go. One potential target is $27.10 a barrel, reached
in 2016 during the last price war. But some believe the market could
go even lower.
“We’re likely to see the lowest oil prices of the last 20 years in the
next quarter,” said Roger Diwan, an oil analyst at consultant IHS
Markit Ltd. and a veteran OPEC watcher, implying that the price could
fall below $20 a barrel.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell to a low of $9.55 a barrel in
December 1998, during one of the rare price wars that Saudi Arabia has
launched over the last 40 years.

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Trump response to pandemics was dumb: minimize the problem & # of tests to minimize the headcount & avoid "panic". @Nouriel
Africa


But this way the pandemics spreading faster & more widely leading to a
spike in cases in weeks to come. So Trump's tricks ("I like # low!")
will blow on his face!

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Ozymandias PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
Africa


I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

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A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. - Albert Camus, The Plague
Africa


“In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up
in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved
in pestilences.
A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell
ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that
will pass away.
But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it
is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they
have taken no precautions.”
"For a long while God gazed down on this town wth eyes of compassion;
but He grew weary of waiting, His eternal hope was too long deferred,
& now He has turned His face away from us. & so, God's light
withdrawn, we walk in darkness, in the thick darkness of this plague."
#COVID19

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The Deadliest Virus Ever Known @NewYorker @Gladwell
Africa


The Spanish-flu epidemic of 1918 reached virtually every country,
killing so many people so quickly that some cities were forced to
convert streetcars into hearses.
It is possible to go to almost any cemetery in the world and find a
similar cluster of graves from the fall of 1918. Between September and
November of that year, as the First World War came to an end, an
extraordinarily lethal strain of influenza swept the globe, killing
between twenty million and forty million people.
The Spanish flu, as it came to be known, reached every continent and
virtually every country on the map, going wherever ships sailed or
cars or trucks or trains travelled, killing so many so quickly that
some cities were forced to convert streetcars into hearses, and others
buried their dead in mass graves, because they ran out of coffins.
Of all those millions of graves, though, the seven in Longyearbyen
stand apart. There, less than eight hundred miles from the North Pole,
the ground beneath the lichen is hard-frozen permafrost.
The bodies of the seven miners may well be intact, cryogenically
preserved in the tundra, and, if so, the flu virus they caught on
board the Forsete—the deadliest virus that the world has ever
known—may still be down there with them.
 (He helped determine that Ramses V died of smallpox.) “Say you’re
doing an autopsy”—he gestured to indicate a body spread out on the
desk in front of him—“if it melts, there may be a mucousy, secondary
blood product—some type of liquid exudation.
The liquid seeping out of that material may suddenly, by mistake, be
aerosolized and someone inhales it. You just don’t want to take any
chances.”
There’s a small possibility that what scientists will find is a live
virus—a virus that, once thawed, could be as deadly and infectious as
it was in 1918.
If they don’t, the hope is that they’ll at least be able to recover
the virus’s genetic footprint—what scientists call RNA residue.
Samples of the virus will then be sent to laboratories around the
world.
Its genetic code will be sequenced and compared with every major
sample of the flu virus on file in the world’s virological centers.
This task has a certain urgency. Scientists know that global outbreaks
of deadly influenza go back at least four hundred years, and that
there have been two more since 1918—the Asian flu, of 1957, which
killed seventy thousand Americans, and the Hong Kong flu, which killed
thirty-three thousand during the winter of 1968-69.
The first known case of Spanish flu was reported on March 4, 1918, at
Camp Funston, in Kansas. By April, it had spread to most cities in
America and had reached Europe, following the trail of the hundreds of
thousands of American soldiers who crossed the Atlantic that spring
for the closing offensives of the First World War.
The spring wave was serious but not disastrous, and by midsummer it
had subsided. A month or so later, however, the Spanish flu
resurfaced. It was the same virus in the sense that if you’d got the
flu in the spring you were resistant to it in the fall. But somehow
over the summer it had mutated. Now it was a killer.
The first case of the second wave was recorded on August 22nd, in
Brest—a major port for incoming American troops. Within days, it
appeared simultaneously in Boston and Freetown, Sierra Leone, carried
in the former case by returning American soldiers and in the latter by
H.M.S. Mantua, a British navy ship. The virus crossed Europe in a
matter of weeks. It attacked Spain through Portugal, in the west, and
across the Pyrenees, in the north, lingering long enough to be
dubbed—erroneously, as it turned out—the Spanish flu. Scandinavia was
infected by England; Italy was infected by France; and Sicily was
infected by Italy. Allied soldiers coming to the aid of anti-Bolshevik
forces during the Russian Revolution carried the flu to the White Sea
area of northwestern Russia. European and American ships brought the
flu to Iceland in mid-October, and American ships brought the flu to
New Zealand at around the same time. In India, the virus came by sea
and raced inland along the country’s railroad lines. As many as half
of all those who died in the pandemic died within India’s borders. In
America, an estimated six hundred and seventy-five thousand people
died. In Philadelphia, seventy-six hundred people died within fourteen
days. Putrefying bodies were stacked up three and four deep in the
corridors of the city morgue, creating such a stench that the morgue
was forced to throw open its doors for ventilation. In “America’s
Forgotten Pandemic” (1976), a definitive history of the Spanish flu,
the historian Alfred Crosby offered this description of the flu’s
advance on Alaska:
On or about November 1 the virus reached the finest medium for its
propagation in Nome and vicinity, the city’s Eskimo village. Few
Eskimos escaped infection. In a single eight-day period 162 of them
died. Some Eskimos, hounded by superstitious horror, fled from cabin
to cabin, infecting increasing numbers with disease and panic. The
temperature fell below freezing, and when rescuers broke into cabins
from whose chimney came no sign of smoke, they found many, sometimes
whole families, who had been too sick to renew their fires and who had
frozen to death. When a number of Eskimos were rounded up from their
separate cabins and placed in a single large building so they could be
cared for efficiently, several of them responded to what they
apparently perceived as incarceration in a death house by hanging
themselves.
Nurses would triage incoming flu patients by looking at the color of
their feet. Patients whose feet were black were considered as good as
dead.
 The flu virus, after all, is notoriously unstable. It’s an RNA virus,
as opposed to a DNA virus, and that means that instead of being
composed of double strands of genetic code it has just one strand, and
is much more vulnerable.
The moment someone dies, enzymes are released that begin breaking down
these nucleic acids and the genetic information they carry. A DNA
virus, like herpes or hepatitis, could probably last in a body for a
few days before being totally destroyed.
But an RNA virus, like flu, would last between twelve and twenty-four
hours at the most.
 It had already been hypothesized, for example, that the Spanish flu
originated—at least, in part—with a bird, probably a wild duck.
Waterfowl are what virologists call the “reservoir” for influenza.
They carry most of the known subtypes of influenza—without apparent
ill effect—and excrete them all in their feces, thereby spreading them
through land and water to the rest of the animal kingdom.
A virus infects and takes over a cell by latching onto what is called
a receptor, but—as far as we know—there isn’t a receptor for avian flu
in human beings. So how did the 1918 virus get from ducks to people?
One possibility, according to Taubenberger’s analysis, is through
pigs—one of the genes he studied looks like classic swine flu. This
makes sense, because pigs, uniquely, have both human and avian flu
receptors; they’re the perfect bridge between species.
So perhaps the flu-contaminated duck feces dropped into a barnyard,
whereupon a pig became infected while nosing in the dirt and passed
the virus on to a farmer.
The pig must have already been infected with one flu when it picked up
the other: what it passed on to the farmer was a hybrid.
This is not as far-fetched as it sounds. A flu virus consists of eight
gene segments that are so loosely bundled that they are like pieces of
a jigsaw puzzle thrown together in a bag.
If a pig got infected with avian and human flu simultaneously, the
eight jigsaw pieces from the duck and the eight jigsaw pieces from the
human being would be thrown together, and an entirely new puzzle could
emerge.
Some scientists call this process of two viruses combining “viral
sex,” which is an apt term, because, as in human reproduction,
offspring split the genetic inheritance of mother and father.
According to many influenza experts, this flukish interaction of
separate species is probably how almost all the pandemic strains that
periodically sweep the world first arise.
The Hong Kong flu, for example, consisted of seven genes from an
everyday human virus and one gene from a duck that combined inside a
pig to create a nasty new hybrid. The Asian flu resulted from the same
kind of reassortment.
Whenever a new offspring emerges, virologists say the virus has
“drifted.” At the same time, there is always the possibility that
another avian strain will get mixed up with a human strain inside a
pig and an entirely new family will emerge. If that were to happen,
virologists would say the virus had “shifted.”
 If you got the flu last winter, for example, chances are you came
down with h3n2 A/Wuhan/359/95; that is, a virus with No. 3
hemagglutinin, No. 2 neuraminidase, which was the
three-hundred-and-fifty-ninth sample isolated from the Wuhan area of
China in 1995
Over the past few years, the Centers for Disease Control has funded
ten flu laboratories in China. The number of strains sent to the
C.D.C. from China every year has now reached two hundred, up from
about a dozen several years ago.
“For there to be a pandemic, there has to be a strain to which all or
most of the population has no immunity, and that is capable of
spreading from person to person,” Nancy Arden, a senior epidemiologist
at the C.D.C., told me. “So far, this doesn’t meet the second
criterion.”

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Added new data point on the exponential italian ICU trend (doubling every 2.6 days) It's one of the most alarming charts I've ever seen because @epsilon3141
Law & Politics


1. Trend has been very stable for weeks even with Italy mitigation measures
2. If it continues health sys. collapses within 2 weeks

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Importantly, I cannot stress this enough: even if I'm wrong - even VERY wrong - it only changes the timeline by days or weeks. This is how exponential growth in an immunologically naive population works. @LizSpecht
Law & Politics


Importantly, I cannot stress this enough: even if I’m wrong – even
VERY wrong – about core assumptions like % of severe cases or current
case #, it only changes the timeline by days or weeks. This is how
exponential growth in an immunologically naïve population works.

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Undeserved panic does no one any good. But neither does ill-informed complacency. People aren't adequately grasping the national and global systemic burden wrought by this swift-moving of a disease @LizSpecht
Law & Politics


Undeserved panic does no one any good. But neither does ill-informed
complacency. It’s wrong to assuage the public by saying “only 2% will
die.” People aren’t adequately grasping the national and global
systemic burden wrought by this swift-moving of a disease

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multiple respected epidemiologists have estimated that 20-70% of world will be infected within the next year. If you use 6-day doubling rate I mentioned above, we land at ~2-6 billion infected by sometime in July of this year. @LizSpecht
Law & Politics


One more thought: you’ve probably seen multiple respected
epidemiologists have estimated that 20-70% of world will be infected
within the next year. If you use 6-day doubling rate I mentioned
above, we land at ~2-6 billion infected by sometime in July of this
year.

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Great figure on countries new emerging #COVID19 epidemics. Is it just me, or does it look like it's speeding up recently... @StandfieldKen for graphic @DrEricDing
Law & Politics


Great figure on countries new emerging #COVID19 epidemics. Is it just
me, or does it look like it’s speeding up recently... and many of
these countries have very limited health infrastructure. They are just
as unprepared as the US. (Special hat tip to @StandfieldKen for
graphic).

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Italy Coronavirus outbreak numbers by date: February 18: 3 cases March 7: 5,883 cases @JamesMelville
Law & Politics


February 18:   3 cases
February 21:  20 cases
February 24: 231 cases
February 27: 655 cases
March 1:   1,694 cases
March 4:  3,089 cases
March 7:   5,883 cases

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An Iranian medic treating a patient infected with coronavirus at a hospital in Tehran on Sunday.Credit... Koosha Mahshid Falahi/Mizan News Agency, via Agence France-Presse- Getty Images
Law & Politics


Nearly three dozen Iranian government officials and members of
parliament are infected and a senior adviser to the supreme leader has
died.
The authorities seem as worried about controlling information as they
are about controlling the virus, according to telephone interviews and
text messages with more than a half dozen Iranian medical workers.
Several said security agents stationed in each hospital had forbidden
staff members from disclosing any information about shortages,
patients or fatalities related to the coronavirus.
A nurse in a northwest Iranian city sent a private message to her
family — later shared with The New York Times — describing a letter
from the security service warning that sharing information about
infected patients constitutes a “threat to national security” and
“public fear mongering.”
Such offenses “will be swiftly dealt with by a disciplinary
committee,” the nurse said the letter had warned.
“We were screaming at the health ministry that we have 594 corona
patients but the ministry was telling us since you don’t have positive
test results we won’t give you equipment you need,” the official, Dr.
Abdulreza Fazel, complained.
“They kept saying, ‘wait, wait, wait,’ and then suddenly they announce
you are an epicenter.”
“We’ve known from day one we are an epicenter,” Mr. Fazel said.
The virus, which first appeared in China in late 2019, has struck Iran
at a moment of particular vulnerability for its leadership.
Iran’s economy has been hobbled by American sanctions. Its security
forces have struggled to repress a wave of public protests.
Its military has reeled from the assassination of a revered Iranian
military commander by an American drone.
Domestic credibility of the authorities may have reached a new low
with the begrudging admission after days of denials that their own air
defenses had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet full of
Iranian passengers.
“They are lurching from crisis to crisis and trying to Band-Aid each
crisis,” said Sanam Vakil, a researcher on Iran at Chatham House, a
London-based research institute. “They underestimated the potential
effect of the coronavirus.”
One Canadian study projected a week ago that the true total of
infections may have been more than 18,000, “and a week ago is eons
when we are talking about an epidemic,” said Isaac Bogoch, a Toronto
doctor who was one of the authors.
“The borders of mismanagement and ignorance are being rapidly redrawn
by the health ministry,” Dr. Omid Rezaie, a prominent oncologist in
Tehran, wrote on Telegram, the social media channel.
“I feel sorry for us because we are sitting in a sinking boat that you
are managing.”
“Based on the numbers, testimonies and proof that we have received,
the number of dead and infected people is far higher than what is
announced,” he complained, calling the official figures “a joke.”
“Our officials are not revealing the whole truth about the situation.”
Reliant on China as its most essential trading partner in the face of
the American sanctions, Iran was slow to restrict travel to and from
the country after the first reports of the breakout in the central
Chinese city of Wuhan in December.
Then Tehran boasted of having sent supplies of domestically produced
hospital masks to China, depleting Iranian supplies as other countries
were quietly stockpiling their own. Now, Dr. Afkhami said, “its
shortage of face masks is self-inflicted.”

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COVID19 Files - Scientific Investigation On Mysterious Origin Of Coronavirus #COVID19 @GreatGameIndia
Law & Politics


we explore the sources of New Coronavirus from five major areas,
including epidemiological investigation, virus gene comparison,
cross-species infection research, key “intermediate hosts” and the
findings on the Wuhan P4 lab, to provide readers with a deep and
completely scientific perspective.
This fierce epidemic broke into public view for the first time with an
internal circular of the Wuhan Municipal Health and Health Commission
circulating on the Internet.
The circular clearly stated: “Pneumonia patients of unknown cause have
appeared in our South China seafood market.”
On December 31, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health and Health Commission
publicly announced for the first time that some medical institutions
recently discovered that multiple cases of pneumonia admitted there
were related to the South China seafood market.
On January 1, 2020, the South China Seafood Market posted a market
closure announcement, followed by a thorough environmental sanitation
rectification.
Guan Yi, a well-known Hong Kong SARS expert, later criticized that
this measure was equivalent to destroying the “crime scene”.
At this point, the statement that the South China seafood market is
the source of the epidemic became the official conclusion.
The paper, titled “Clinical Features of New Coronavirus Infected
Patients“, was published in The Lancet on January 24.
The first author of the paper was Huang Chao Lin, the deputy director
of Jinyintan Hospital, the first designated hospital for unknown
pneumonia in Wuhan.
The rest of the authors included other clinicians in the hospital and
members of several research institutions.
This paper revealed the following key information:
The first patient had an onset of disease on December 1st, which was
not associated with the seafood market.
The first patient had no epidemic association with subsequent patients.
On December 10th, another 3 cases had occurred, of which 2 were not
related to South China seafood market.
Starting from December 15th, cases with a history of exposure to the
seafood market are concentrated.
The paper counts a total of 41 patients, and 14 cases are not related
to the seafood market, the proportion exceeds 1/3.
No bats are sold in the seafood market and no trace of bats has been found.
Not only that, but another issue of The Lancet on January 29 analyzed
99 confirmed cases at Jinyintan Hospital, 50 of which had no history
of contact with the seafood market.
The New England Journal of Medicine also has a paper showing that: Of
the 425 cases, 45% of those affected before January 1 had no history
of exposure to the seafood market.
The South China Seafood Market was officially identified as the
epidemic source. The first patient had no history of seafood market
contact and the above mentioned 1/3 cases had no seafood market
exposure Historical data.
Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Zheng Li et al., published January 23,
refers to the horseshoe bats found from Yunnan Province containing a
virus whose genome they announced was 96.2% identical to the Wuhan
Coronavirus, thus virus from bats become a popular consensus.
Infectious disease scientist Daniel R. Lucey of the University of
Georgetown in the United States wrote a paper on The Lancet that if
the data in the paper is accurate, the first case should be in
November 2019.
So the first patient has been infected by the virus for a month,
because there is an incubation period after infection and before
symptoms appear.
Lucey pointed out frankly: “China must have realized that this
epidemic did not originate in the South China Seafood Market in
Wuhan.”
One of the co-authors of The Lancet paper and a professor at Beijing’s
Capital Medical University, Cao Bin also responded to Science, an
American science news website:
“It is relatively clear that the (South China) seafood market should
not be the sole source of New Coronavirus. But honestly, we still
don’t know where the virus came from. Now It seems clear that [the]
seafood market is not the only origin of the virus“, he wrote in an
e-mail to Science.
The first expert group of the National Health Commission had arrived
in Wuhan as early as December 31, 2019.
According to an interview with Caixin, mainland Zhongnan Hospital of
Wuhan University, Peng Zhiyong, director of Critical Care Medicine
confirmed that the group of experts to investigate the hospital after
Wuhan Jinyintan developed a set of diagnostic criteria:
have a history of exposure to the South China seafood market; have a
fever Symptoms; whole genome sequencing. All three criteria are
required to confirm the diagnosis.
Why does the expert group require that the “history of seafood market
contact” be included in the diagnosis criteria when it knows that at
least one third of the cases are not related to the seafood market?
People with a little medical knowledge of infectious diseases know
that identifying the true source of infectious diseases is one of the
three keys to preventing and controlling infectious diseases.
Since there is very clear epidemiological evidence and the judgment of
the earliest peer experts who participated in the investigation of the
epidemic, both agree that the South China seafood market is not the
source of the virus, why should the expert group diagnostics criteria
“mandatorily” have a history of seafood market contact?
Virological Evidence: Gene Variation in Wuhan New Coronavirus COVID-19
E Protein
January 10 is an important day. On this day, China officially
disclosed the entire gene sequence of Wuhan Coronavirus to the world.
The world’s top virology experts immediately conducted in-depth
research on this mysterious virus and began to publish their own
research reports on the new crown virus.
After an overall analysis of the Wuhan Coronavirus gene, a team of
Greek experts released a report on January 27, 2020 saying that they
studied and analyzed the genetic relationship of Wuhan virus and found
that “the genes of the new Coronavirus has no close genetic
relationship with other viruses in the sarbecvirus subgenus“, and the
virus has a special intermediate segment that no other Coronavirus
has, and this gene happens to be the key to helping the virus invade
host cells.
These research findings indicate that Wuhan virus is a new type of
Coronavirus and overthrew the author’s original assumption that Wuhan
virus originated from random natural mutations between different
Coronaviruses.
In other words, the author believes that the Wuhan virus did not
evolve naturally.
The findings of Greek experts are not alone. As early as January 7,
academician Zhang Yongzhen of the Chinese Center for Disease Control
and Prevention and the School of Public Health of Fudan University
submitted a joint paper to the journal Nature and published it on
February 3.
The paper clearly proposes that Wuhan virus has the closest kinship
with the Chinese military’s two Zhoushan bat virus samples, CoVZC45
and CoVZXC21.
Among them, the nucleotide sequence identity of Wuhan virus and
CoVZC45 virus was 89.1%, and even showed 100% amino acid similarity in
nsp7 and envelope protein (E protein).
Soon, some experts used the comparison tool BLAST from the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) Biotechnology Information Center (NCBI) to
perform a gene alignment on the genome sequence submitted by the
Chinese Communist Party for the third time on the 12th, confirming
Zhang Yongzhen’s discovery
The Zhoushan virus
A team of experts from China Disease Center, Lu Roujian also published
a paper in The Lancet on January 30, stating that the overall
similarity between New Wuhan Coronavirus and a coronavirus previously
found in Zhoushan bats in Zhejiang, China, is very high – upto 88%.
The coronavirus carried on Zhoushan bats was first discovered by
experts at the Military Medical Research Institute of the Nanjing
Military Region. The institute published a paper in English in 2018,
announcing the discovery of a new coronavirus in Zhoushan bats —
Zhoushan bat SARS Coronavirus.
Sean Lin, PhD in microbiology and former director of the Virology
Laboratory at the former Walter Reed Army Institute in the United
States, believes that it is extremely unusual for the amino acid
sequences of the E proteins of Wuhan virus and Zhoushan virus to be
100% identical.
Because E protein has an indispensable effect on the virus morphology,
assembly, budding, and virus pathogenicity of β-type coronavirus. If
the virus changes the host, many cytokines will change, and the E
protein will necessarily have corresponding changes to adjust the
virus synthesis and pathogenicity.
He further pointed out: The genes of the E protein and the genes of
the S protein are adjacent to each other. In the viral RNA replication
process, these two genes also need to complete the production of
subgenomic RNA (subgenomic RNA) to complete replication, which also
involves similar Intracellular factors and viral RNA polymerase, so
the error rate of gene replication during this process is also
similar.
Therefore, there is no reason that during the natural viral
replication process, the S protein has various mutations, while the E
protein remains completely similar with the entire host transformed.
This is basically impossible to happen naturally.
Ms. Dong Yuhong, PhD in infectious disease from Peking University and
Chief Scientific Officer of Swiss biotechnology company SunRegen
Healthcare AG, pointed out that according to Lu Roujian’s paper
published in The Lancet, several coronaviruses in the Coronaviridae
family and Wuhan virus are the most recent.
The amino acid sequences of proteins (S, M, N, etc.) cannot reach 100%
complete agreement, such as E protein, with a degree of agreement of
73.2% to 98.6%.
Then, why this E protein maintains so much consistency with the
so-called “ancestral” bat virus in Wuhan virus is worth further
investigation (Lu et al 2020 Lancet).
She said that compared to S, M or N protein, although E protein is the
smallest protein among the main structural proteins of Wuhan virus,
its function cannot be underestimated.
In a nutshell, Wuhan virus and Zhoushan virus showed this perfect
consistency of E protein, which is difficult to explain with “natural
variation”.
During the human replication cycle of Wuhan virus, E protein is
expressed in large quantities in infected human cells.
Most E proteins are located at key sites of human cell transport, such
as the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus, and participate in
the assembly of coronaviruses. And sprouts.
With lack of E protein recombination, virus maturity is reduced or the
ability to reproduce is not strong, indicating the important
interaction between E protein and host cells, especially in the virus
reproduction, maturity.
The importance of transmission ability should also be an important
functional protein that determines the virus’s ability to spread in
human races.
S Protein
On January 21, 2020, a paper published by researchers in the Key
Laboratory of Molecular Virology and Immunity of the Shanghai Pasteur
Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Science China Life
Sciences mentioned an important phenomenon:
The sequence of a key part of the S protein of the virus is highly
homologous to the SARS virus.
What is S protein? It is the “small mushrooms” on the surface of the
virus in the pictures of coronaviruses that are already widely known.
This S protein (also known as spike protein, spinous protein) is the
most important tool for coronaviruses to invade human cells.
Pasteur Institute experts have found that residues 442, 472, 479, 487,
and 491 in the S protein of the SARS virus are located at the
interface of the receptor complex and are considered to be
cross-species and interpersonal transmission vital position.
Surprisingly, there are 442, 472, 479, and 487 residues in the S
protein of Wuhan virus that differ from SARS virus, but this
difference does not affect the structural composition of S protein.
That is to say, the S protein of Wuhan virus still maintains the same
structure as the S protein of SARS virus, and it can still share
almost the same 3-D structure in the RBD domain as SARS, and use it to
communicate with human cells. The ACE2 receptor binds to easily invade
the body.
This is a genetic variation that can be described with precision. It
is like a key with 5 clamping teeth, of which the material of 4 teeth
has changed, but the overall shape of the key is perfectly maintained,
and the key can still open to the human body.
Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, a senior epidemiologist at Harvard University in
the United States, also noticed this anomaly.
He posted on Twitter on January 28, citing the latest findings of
Greek scholars, stating that the virus was not caused by a corona.
The virus was generated by recent random combinations, and some parts
were “incompatible” with all coronaviruses.
The mid-sequence of its genome has never been seen before in
coronaviruses and can “encode” a spike protein (S protein) that
invades host cells.
Kristian Andersen, a molecular biologist at the world-renowned Scripps
Research Institute, also published an article titled “Biology clock
based on 27 genetic analyses and recent common ancestor time.”
Analysis of 27 publicly published complete genes of Wuhan virus in
China, found that the genomes of 24 samples from Wuhan, Thailand,
Shenzhen and other places are very consistent, “showing very limited
genetic variation, showing that all of these virus strains have a
relatively new common ancestor.”
According to the molecular evolution clock, Andersen calculated the
time from when the virus in people first started to spread. The median
was December 2 and the earliest could be October 1.
This was equivalent to the December 1st when the CCP officially
announced the first consultation. Although neither paper speculated on
the origin of the virus, the possibility of multiple animal origins
was apparently ruled out.
Shi Zhengli: Mystery of cross-species Coronavirus infection
A remarkable fact is that the Coronavirus carried by bats cannot
directly infect the human body, let alone a virus that can possess
human-to-human transmission.
But with the opinion that the Wuhan Coronavirus was created in a lab
and growing doubts over the official CCP position, Wuhan Institute of
Virology and well-known virus expert of the institute Zheng Li stepped
into public view.
Special relationship between S protein and ACE2 receptor
After the SARS outbreak in 2003, Shi Zhengli led the team to collect
bat samples across the country for virus detection, and published the
results in the journal Nature in 2013.
In 2017, Shi Zhengli’s team determined that the SARS virus was
recombined from several bat SARS-like coronaviruses and once caused
widespread concern.
Due to his long-term research on bat and SARS virus, Shi Zhengli has
undoubtedly become the authority in the field of Coronavirus research,
and is more focused on the field of Coronavirus infection across
species.
What is intriguing is that Shi Zhengli’s research on the Coronavirus S
protein, the “passport” for infecting humans across species, began as
early as 2010.
Shi Zhengli’s team has conducted a long-term, systematic and in-depth
study of how coronaviruses can spread across species barriers.
In 2010, Shi Zhengli’s team published a paper to examine the
sensitivity of different types of bat ACE2 to human SARS-CoV spike
protein (S protein) using live SARS virus and HIV (AIDS) pseudovirus.
In the experiment, they also changed several key amino acids of bat
ACE2 to test its binding to the S protein and constructed the HIV
pseudovirus HIV / BJ01-S with the SARS virus BJ01-S protein.
This shows that Shi Zhengli’s team has realized the special
relationship between S protein and ACE2 receptor.
On October 30, 2013, Shi Zhengli’s team released a “new breakthrough”
in Coronavirus research. Nature magazine published its paper entitled
“Isolation and characterization of a bat SARS-like Coronavirus that
uses the ACE2 receptor“, from the research team including Ge Xingyi,
Shi Zhengli, Dasak and other experts from Yunnan.
The entire genome sequence of the new coronaviruses RsSHC014 and
Rs3367 isolated from the chrysanthemum bat (horse hoof bat).
Shi Zhengli provided the SHC014 Coronavirus S protein sequence and
plasmid, which is her field of expertise.
In this research, Shi Zhengli’s team also isolated a third type of
live bat Coronavirus — the SARS-like coronavirus WIV1 — from bat stool
samples, which has a sequence homology of 99.9% with Rs3367 virus.
The S protein of the virus can bind to the human receptor ACE2 through
the receptor binding point (RBD), and effectively infect SARS virus
directly to humans without the need for intermediate hosts such as
civet.
This is undoubtedly an important breakthrough. This breakthrough shows
that Shi Zhengli and others have initially mastered the “key” for the
Coronavirus to break through the species barrier and directly infect
the human body.
On November 9, 2015, Shi Zhengli’s team from Wuhan Institute of
Virology published a paper in the British journal Nature Medicine
titled, A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows
potential for human emergence.
The main content is that they successfully produced a self-replicating
chimeric virus, which has the wild mouse SARS Coronavirus of the
aforementioned RsSHC014 coronavirus “S protein” which can bind to
human ACE2, and thus has a strong infectious power across species.
In the experimental results, mice infected with this “synthetic” virus
had severe lesions in their lungs, and there was no cure.
Surprisingly, the successful experiments on mice were just Shi
Zhengli’s “trial”, and they were preparing to conduct further
experiments on primates.
This move is undoubtedly dangerous, because it is very easy to think
of whether Shi Zhengli’s team was mimicking how to use this chimeric
virus to infect the human body.
Academic Controversy
Shi Zhengli’s thesis quickly caused great controversy in the academic
world. Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in
France, expressed this concern deeply, telling Nature: “If the (new)
virus escapes, no one can Predict its path.”
“The only impact of this research is the creation of a new type of
unnatural risk in the laboratory,” said Richard Ebright, a molecular
biologist and biodefense expert at Rutgers University.”
But Shi Zhengli’s pace obviously did not stop. On November 14, 2018,
Shi Zhengli was invited by the School of Life Science and Technology
of Shanghai Jiao Tong University to make a keynote speech titled
“Research on Bat Coronavirus and its inter-species infection.”
In this speech, Shi Zhengli introduced how her team used
“recombination analysis” to discover the latest ancestor of human SARS
virus, which may have been reorganized by three virus strains (WIV1,
Rs4231, and Rs4081) in a bat cave in Yunnan.
It is worth noting that the report has been deleted from the official
website of Shanghai Jiao Tong University for unknown reasons.
New horseshoe bat virus RaTG13
On January 23, 2020, at the time when the new Coronavirus broke out
and Wuhan declared lockdown, the Shi Zhengli team published an article
on bioRxiv preprinted version of the platform titled, “A pneumonia
outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin.”
The report proposed that the new Wuhan Coronavirus was derived from
bats. The paper was subsequently published in the journal Nature on
February 3.
The article mentions that new Wuhan Coronavirus uses the same cells to
enter the receptor (ACE2) as SARS Coronavirus, that is, the new Wuhan
Coronavirus uses the same “key” as SARS to open the door to the human
body.
The article also stated that they found that the sequence of the novel
Coronavirus was 96.2% identical to that of the Coronavirus numbered
RaTG13 derived from Yunnan horseshoe bats.
As everyone knows, the entire genome sequence of Wuhan virus uploaded
by China’s National Center for Disease Control and Prevention was on
January 11.
So the Shi Zhengli team was able to compare Wuhan Virus and lock the
virus with the highest similarity from many coronaviruses in the virus
bank in just 12 days, and also isolated, uploaded the gene bank, and
even wrote a paper.
Compared with the last 10 years of finding the natural source of the
SARS virus , Shi Zhengli’s team is surprisingly quick and efficient
this time.
An unnoticeable detail is that Shi Zhengli submitted the registration
information of RaTG13 bat virus on January 27th, showing that the
virus was isolated from the feces of Yunnan horseshoe bats
(chrysanthemum bat) as early as July 24, 2013.
It was collected three months before Shi Zhengli published the paper
in October 2013, but Shi Zhengli’s paper did not mention this
particular virus.
In other words, the extremely important “new horseshoe bat virus
RaTG13” , which is likely to be the culprit causing the plague, was
frozen in the Wuhan P4 laboratory for seven years.
Why was the “new horseshoe bat virus” frozen for seven years? No one
knows the reason for this, but Shi Zhengli now reports that she
“discovered” the link between the virus and Wuhan virus; no doubt
trying to prove that this virus is the natural source of Wuhan virus.
However, an unexplainable phenomenon is that the comparison of the
viral gene sequence shows that the envelope protein (E protein) and
membrane protein (M protein) gene fragments ORF6 of the new horseshoe
bat virus (RaTG13) and Wuhan virus have reached the amino acid
sequence of 100% identical, S protein is 97.7% similar to Wuhan virus.
Virology expert Sean Lin, former director of the Virology Laboratory
at the Walter Reed Army Research Institute, pointed out that this is
another Coronavirus that is 100% similar to Wuhan virus after Zhoushan
virus unusual phenomenon.
He believes that the current research results have also found that the
gene sequence of E protein can have a high elastic space.
In other words, many positions of this E protein can have genetic
changes, but it will not affect it to assist the virus to complete the
assembly process.
In other words, there is no strong selection pressure to force E
protein to maintain the high fidelity of the entire protein gene
sequence.
Virus expert Ms. Dong Yuhong questioned this: If these pangolins
considered to be “intermediate hosts” did not come from Guangdong,
how did they enter the Bat Cave in Yunnan, infected with three virus
strains, and then how the virus traveled back Guangdong, finally
crossed the mountains and waters and returned to Wuhan, Hubei to
trigger the epidemic?
Wuhan Institute of Virology: the epicenter of Coronavirus outbreak
Questioning the research results of Shi Zhengli’s team led the outside
world’s attention to the source of the virus to the Wuhan Institute of
Virology.
After all, here is the highest level P4 (bio-safety level 4)
laboratory in China’s virus research area.
Since the beginning of the entire outbreak in Wuhan, the Wuhan
Institute of Virology has maintained an abnormal silence.
This virus research institute has experienced a series of ups and
downs since its inception, and it seems to indicate that this research
institute is doomed to be extraordinary.
The Sino-French Collaboration
On January 23, Wuhan just announced the closure of the city, and the
French “Challenge Network” published an article revealing many
disturbing details of Sino-French cooperation in setting up a P4
laboratory in Wuhan.
With the support of then Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, China
and France signed an agreement in 2004 to cooperate in the
construction of a P4 virus center amidst widespread concern.
The article states that, as France is a leading country in the field
of global virus research, as early as 2003, the Chinese Academy of
Sciences had asked the French government to assist China in opening a
highest-level virus research center.
The Chinese request has caused divisions between the French government
and virus experts, because although the Wuhan Institute of Virology
can fight outbreaks of infectious diseases, some French experts are
worried that the CCP will use French technology to develop biological
weapons. Indeed a serious warning!
China’s Secret Biological Weapons Program
On January 24, the Washington Times published a reporter Bill Gertz’s
interview with Dany Shoham, a former Israeli military intelligence
officer. Shoham made it clear in the interview that Wuhan Institute of
Virology is related to Beijing’s secret biological weapons program.
Shoham has a doctorate in medical microbiology. From 1970 to 1991, he
was a senior analyst in the Israeli military intelligence service,
leading the rank of lieutenant colonel, responsible for biological and
chemical warfare issues in the Middle East and the world.
As an expert on biological warfare, Shoham has pointed out that the
deadly infectious disease of Wuhan Coronavirus may spread worldwide,
and its source is the Wuhan Laboratory related to the CCP ’s secret
biological weapons program.
He said that the CCP has consistently denied possession of any
offensive biological weapons, but the US State Department stated in a
report last year that it suspected that the CCP government was engaged
in a secret biological warfare research and development program.
Shoham further pointed out that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is
affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, but some laboratories
in the Institute are related to the Chinese Army or the Chinese
Communist Party’s biological weapons program.
And the Institute is not the only one. The CCP has three other
institutes engaged in the development of biological weapons.
The Chinese Communist Party has been developing biological weapons
long ago. In 1993, the Communist Party of China announced Wuhan’s
second biological institution, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.
This is one of the eight biological warfare research institutions
covered by the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which the CCP
joined in 1985.
Shoham also made it clear that the SARS virus has been included in the
CCP ’s biological weapons program as a whole, and the P4 laboratory in
Wuhan also stores many deadly viruses, including Ebola, Nipah, and
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus.
Although the Chinese Communist Party implemented a comprehensive
blockade of reporting about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, domestic
voices of suspicion continue to circulate.
On February 5, the US House of Representatives held its first hearing
on related issues. Several lawmakers questioned the Beijing
authorities’ concealment of the epidemic in China and said that the
role of the World Health Organization (WHO) is losing credibility.
As a direct impact of GreatGameIndia investigation on Coronavirus
which found deadly viruses smuggled by Chinese Biowarfare agents from
a Canadian lab to Wuhan, where it is believed Coronavirus was
weaponized, the White House has opened an investigation to determine
if these findings are true and whether Coronavirus is indeed
bio-engineered in a lab.
The director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology
Policy (OSTP), in a letter to the National Academies of Sciences,
Engineering, and Medicine, requested that scientific experts “rapidly”
look into the origins of the virus in order to address both the
current spread and “to inform future outbreak preparation and better
understand animal/human and environmental transmission aspects of
coronaviruses.”
The director of the OSTP, Kelvin Droegemeier, wrote in the letter to
the president of the National Academy of Sciences, Marcia McNutt, that
a widely disputed paper on the origins — subsequently withdrawn — had
shown the urgency for accurate information about the genesis of the
outbreak.
Further to our investigation, recently in a very strage turn of
events, renowned Canadian scientist Frank Plummer who received the
Saudi SARS Coronavirus sample and was working on Coronavirus (HIV)
vaccine in the Winnipeg based Canadian lab from where the virus was
smuggled by Chinese Biowarfare agents and weaponized, has died in
mysterious conditions. Frank Plummer was the key to the Chinese
Biological Espionage case at Winnipeg’s National Microbiology
Laboratory.
For the White House Coronavirus Task Force along with the Indian
authorities probing the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a good place to
launch the investigation would be Nairobi, Kenya, where Frank Plummer
died.
The intervention of the international community is releasing a
positive signal. Perhaps the mystery of the origin of the new
coronavirus (COVID-19) will be revealed in the near future, allowing
people to have more confidence to face this disaster.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1400
Dollar Index 95.325
Japan Yen 102.60
Swiss Franc 0.9261
Pound 1.3053
Aussie 0.6546
India Rupee 73.9975
South Korea Won 1203.54
Brazil Real 4.6270
Egypt Pound 15.50
South Africa Rand 16.28

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China most important trading partner of Germany for fourth straight year - @XHNews
World Currencies


Goods worth 205.7 billion euros (232.1 billion U.S. dollars) were
traded between China and Germany, according to provisional results by
Destatis.
China was followed as Germany's most important trading partner by the
Netherlands as a major supplier of oil, gas and other mineral oil
products with a trade turnover of 190.4 billion euros.
The United States ranked the third with 190.1 billion euros, according
to Destatis.
Germany mainly exported machinery, car and car parts as well as
chemical products to China.
On the other hand, China exported mainly electronic goods such as
smartphones, network equipment and textiles to Germany, according to
IW.
"Both countries have benefited from each other, as the economic
development of recent years has shown," Rusche added.
According to Destatis, goods worth 109.7 billion euros were imported
from China in 2019, an increase of 3.4 percent compared to the
previous year.

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2-SEP-2019 :: the China EM Frontier Feedback Loop Phenomenon. #COVID19
World Currencies


This Phenomenon was positive for the last two decades but has now
undergone a Trend reversal.
The Fall-out is being experienced as far away as Germany Inc.

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Mideast Stocks Plunge as Producers Head Toward Oil-Price War @markets
Emerging Markets


Kuwait led the sell-off, suspending trading of the biggest and most
liquid shares after its index tumbled 10%, while every gauge in the
region retreated.
Oil giant Saudi Aramco fell below its IPO price for the first time.
Dubai’s DFM General Index and Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index
clocked up the sharpest drop for a session since the 2008 financial
crisis.
Oil prices plunged the most since 2008 on Friday on signs of a
breakdown in the global OPEC+ alliance that helped underpin crude’s
recovery since 2014.
The failure of the Vienna talks added to increasing investor
nervousness over the coronavirus epidemic and the efficacy of official
response measures such as last week’s emergency Federal Reserve rate
cut.
Mideast markets “are finding it difficult to cope with all these
variables that have been happening over the past 10 days,” said
Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief strategy officer at Al Dhabi Capital Ltd. in
Abu Dhabi.
“That’s why we see this panic-selling across the board taking certain
markets to lows not seen even during the financial crisis.”
Banking shares were the biggest drag on the benchmark indexes. In
Riyadh, Al Rajhi Bank finished 7% lower. Emirates NBD PJSC, Dubai’s
biggest lender, fell 9.6%, while First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC and
National Bank of Kuwait SAKP ended 6.7% and 9.3% lower, respectively.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul index was back to the level of November 2017,
before its inclusion in the emerging-market gauges compiled by MSCI
Inc. and FTSE Russell.
Dubai’s DFM General Index finished 7.9% lower, with real estate
bellwether Emaar Properties down 9.7% to the lowest since 2012.
Kuwait’s main index extended losses this year to 18%, compared with a
32% gain in 2019 that was the best performance in the region.
Indexes in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar,
Egypt and Israel all traded below a technical threshold that indicated
they were oversold.

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Debt, virus and locusts create a perfect storm for Africa @TheAfricaReport
Africa


The year began with promise for sub-Saharan Africa.
All the major institutions tracking African growth said so:
The African Development Bank pronounced in its Economic Outlook that
Africa’s economic outlook continues to brighten. Its real GDP growth,
estimated at 3.4% for 2019, is projected to accelerate to 3.9% in 2020
and to 4.1% in 2021.
The IMF said in its World Economic Outlook sub-Saharan Africa growth
is expected to strengthen to 3.5% in 2020–21 (from 3.3% in 2019).
The World Bank predicted ”Regional growth is expected to pick up to
2.9% in 2020”
Interestingly the World Bank added a caveat which was prescient:
A sharper-than-expected deceleration in major trading partners such as
China, the Euro Area, or the United States, would substantially lower
export revenues and investment.
A faster-than-expected slowdown in China would cause a sharp fall in
commodity prices and, given Sub-Saharan Africa’s heavy reliance on
extractive sectors for export and fiscal revenues, weigh heavily on
regional activity.
Those forecasts are now defunct and it’s only March.
The Coronavirus has to date barely made landfall on the African
continent with only 5 countries reporting infections but a Virus is in
its essence non-linear, exponential and multiplicative and it would be
a Shakespeare-level moment of hubris if policy makers were to pat
themselves on the back.
Diagnostic kits were only recently availed and if South Korea had
tested the same number of People as the entire African Continent, they
too would be reporting single digit cases.
We all know now ”what exponential disease propagation looks like in
the real world. Real world exponential growth looks like nothing,
nothing, nothing … then cluster, cluster, cluster … then BOOM!” and
therefore we will know soon whether we really have dodged the
#Coronavirus Infection Bullet.
The issue at hand now is around the violence of the blowback from the
China #Coronavirus feedback loop phenomenon.
The virus is not correlated to endogenous market dynamics but is an an
exogenous uncertainty that remains unresolved and therefore, it is a
”Black Swan”.
Fantasy predictions of a V shaped recovery in China have been dashed.
In fact China cannot just crank up the ‘Factory’ because that will
risk a second round effect of infections.
Therefore, I expect negative GDP Growth through H1 2020 in China as my
base case.
Standard Bank’s Chief Economist has calculated that a one percentage
point decrease in China’s domestic investment growth is associated
with an average 0.6 percentage point decrease in Africa’s exports.
Those countries heavily dependent on China being the main taker of
their commodities are at the bleeding edge of this now negative
feedback loop phenomenon. Commodity prices [Crude Oil, Copper, Coal]
have crashed more than 20% since the start of the year.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or an Economist to calculate
which countries in are directly in the line of fire. Angola, Congo
Brazzavile, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Zambia, Nigeria and South Africa
spring immediately to mind.
Notwithstanding comments by the always upbeat and bright-eyed
President Adesina of the African Development Bank that Africa is not
facing a debt crisis.
He told Bloomberg, “Debt is not a problem, it’s very bad debt that’s a
problem,”.
The point is this.
SSA Countries with no exception that I can think off have gorged on
borrowing and balance sheets are maxed out.
Africa’s sovereign issuance in the Eurobond markets totaled $53bn in
2018 and 2019 and total outstanding debt topped $100bn last year.
Debt burdens have increased and affordability has weakened across most
of Sub-Saharan Africa, while a shift in debt structures has left some
countries more exposed to a financial shock, said Moodys in November
last year.
Very few of the investments made are within spitting distance of
providing an ROI [Return on Investment].
Rising debt service ratios are best exemplified by Nigeria where the
Government is spending more than half of its revenue servicing its
debt.
More than 50% of SSA GDP is produced by South Africa, Nigeria and Angola.
South Africa reported that GDP in Q4 2019 shrank by a massive 1.4%.
Annual growth at 0.2% is the lowest yearly growth since 2009 and the
tape is back at GFC times.
The rand which has been in free fall has a lot further to fall in 2020.
And this is before the viral infection.
Nigeria’s oil revenue is cratering and there is $16bn of ”hot money”
parked in short term certificates which is all headed for the Exit as
we speak. A Currency Devaluation is now predicted and predictable.
South Africa, Nigeria and Angola are poised to dive into deep recession.
East Africa which was a bright spot is facing down a locust invasion
which according to the FAO could turn 500x by June.
It is practically biblical.
“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the
locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;”
– 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
This is a perfect storm. Buckle up, and let’s stop popping the Quaaludes.

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Doctor Leads Coronavirus Fight From Isolation in Nigeria @business
Africa


The epidemiologist leading the fight against the spread of the deadly
coronavirus in Africa’s most-populous nation is doing so from the most
unlikely of places: his home.
Since returning from a mission to China last week to learn about the
new virus, the head of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, Doctor
Chikwe Ihekweazu, has been working in self-isolation.
He’s following his center’s own advice: Nigerians who’ve recently
traveled to countries hit by the virus should stay home for 14 days,
even if they don’t have any symptoms.
Revered for his success in preventing the spread in Nigeria of an
Ebola epidemic that killed thousands of people in other West African
countries in 2014, Ihekweazu is participating in meetings using a
video-conferencing app, taking calls and texting colleagues.
“He is full at work even in isolation,” said Oreoluwa Finnih, the
special health assistant to the governor of Lagos, where the first
confirmed case of coronavirus in Sub-Saharan Africa was reported last
week. “He is leading by example.”
A 44-year-old Italian man identified last week as the first confirmed
case of coronavirus in Nigeria has been placed in isolation at a
hospital in Lagos, a sprawling metropolis of 20 million people and the
economic engine of the West African country.
The case has put Nigerians on alert, with thousands flocking to
pharmacies that have tripled their prices for face masks and hand
sanitizers. Other measures being introduced include the Catholic
Church banning handshakes at Masses in Lagos.

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The oil price collapse might end up being worse than the #coronavirus for youthful countries like #Nigeria, #Angola and #Gabon and #RepCon @RencapMan
Africa


Nigeria can gradually depreciate its currency, as a safety valve to
limit the hit to govt revenues/spending, #Angola already did last year

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Kenya Shilling depreciated by 1.6% against the US Dollar to Kshs 102.6 Purchase of US Dollars by The Central Bank of Kenya
Africa


On a YTD basis, the shilling has depreciated by 1.2% against the
dollar, in comparison to the 0.5% appreciation in 2019

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@StanbicKE February PMI declined to 49.0
Africa


Kenyan new orders fall for first time in over two years
Key findings
Weak money supply curtails demand
Output falls for second month in a row
Cost inflationary pressures reach six-month high

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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March 2020
 
 
 
 
 
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