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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Friday 16th of October 2020
 







The Way We Live Now
Misc.

There is a luminous and Fairy Tale feel 

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How the 1% Will Survive an Apocalypse @papermagazine H/T @chigrl
Misc.



In a remote pocket of Kansas, a former missile silo has been converted into multi-million dollar luxury bunkers for the wealthy to wait out the apocalypse. Welcome to the survival condo.

It's 8:15 on a sunny Tuesday morning and I'm standing 201 feet below ground. With my phone in hand (and, somehow, with service), I'm on the 15th floor underground of an old missile silo in remote Kansas that's been converted into a luxury bunker. To get there, I flew from New York City to Atlanta, then hopped on a plane to Wichita, where I rented an SUV and drove nearly 200 miles to a secret location near a city called Concordia. With a population of just about 5,000 people, Concordia is your typical small American town, with a Main Street, an old movie theater and, just another 10 miles away, the Survival Condo Complex — a 54,000 square foot structure built inside an Atlas missile silo, a government structure built to withstand a 200 pound-per-square-inch atomic blast that once housed a nuclear warhead and now holds 12 high-end apartments costing upwards of 1.5 million dollars, built for rich people to withstand hurricanes, tornadoes, volcano eruptions, nuclear disasters and the end of the world.

Between the Complex and Concordia are a slew of fast food chains, picturesque farmland and, directly outside the compound, a combination armored fence/steel gate where a security guard named Dave, who's dressed in head-to-toe fatigues and holding a 12-gauge shotgun, asks to see my identification. Laughing (probably at my ID, which was taken, between sobs, after a night of fighting with my then-boyfriend), he questions: "Do you have any firearms? Knives? Weapons of any kind? Is Larry expecting you?"

Larry is Larry Hall, the Denver-based owner of the Survival Condo and a handful of other Atlas missile silos, which he also plans to turn into bunkers, each more extravagant and expensive than the last. And yes, he's expecting me.



After Dave ushers me through the gates, Larry quickly appears from behind two giant steel doors and waves me inside the bunker. When we meet, he shakes my hand and leads me through a garage, past a camo-painted World War II-era Volkswagen, and through another set of steel doors that open to a decontamination chamber, where during a pandemic or a nuclear emergency, all owners would be stripped and given a chemical shower, before being analyzed with a Geiger counter (used to measure levels of radiation) and dressed in a hospital gown. Next to Larry is his associate, Mark Menosky, and the three of us exchange niceties in a hallway that, in one direction, turns into a mini gallery filled with photos taken by the US Army Corps of Engineers of the silo from its inception in 1960 through 1965, when it was decommissioned; in the other, a staircase to the facility's fully equipped shooting range.

We're definitely not in Kansas anymore. We're under it.

Survivalism, whose practitioners are now commonly referred to as "preppers," can be traced back to the 1930s and '40s, when the stock market crash of 1929 and the advent of the atomic bomb led to an overwhelming increase of global anxiety (the word itself was coined in 1976 by author Kurt Saxon). Suddenly, people began building bomb shelters and stockpiling food and guns, preparing for a coming catastrophe, which some members of the movement, often labeled "Doomsday preppers," believe is Armageddon.



Whatever the reason, as the years passed, with each real or perceived crisis — the dawn of the Cold War and Age of Anxiety in the '50s, increased inflation throughout the '60s, the 1973 oil crisis, Y2K — survivalism became simultaneously more popular and more scrutinized, with cults like David Koresh's Branch Davidians, who had been collecting illegal firearms at their compound in Waco, Texas in anticipation of an imminent apocalypse, bringing the movement to the attention of the mainstream, and only furthering criticism of it. But it wasn't always a national punchline. In fact, during the Cold War, our government urged American citizens to get involved and help build fallout shelters for the threat of nuclear war, while kids at school were taught to "duck and cover." Eventually, the apprehension concluded when the Cold War did and what was once seen as necessary became a total extreme. And then 9/11 happened.

Afterwards, Hall, who worked as a military consultant and has degrees in both business and engineering, saw the US government investing in contingency programs for both high-ranking officials and, even more prominently, data, in case of disaster. "I started thinking, 'What do they know that I don't?'" he says. And, "If they're going to all these lengths to protect data, what are they planning for? Why shouldn't I protect people?"

"After that, we who are sill alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds." – Thessalonians 4:17

Around the same time, the government was auctioning off an old missile silo near Concordia, Kansas. Hall, who heard about the auction from his role as a military consultant, bought the structure and began work on what he wanted to turn into an opulent bunker with WiFi, cable, and both lavish and life-saving amenities (including a full-service operating room and modern plumbing), with space for 75 total occupants. This was in 2008. Obama had just been elected, and he started receiving "phone call after phone call" from wealthy right-wing individuals requesting to buy units. By 2012, the Survival Condo Complex was completed, with owners already having purchased 920 square foot half-floor and 1,840 square foot full-floor one- and two-bedroom apartments for 1.5 and 3 million dollars, respectively, including Larry, who currently owns a half-floor unit himself. But above ground, survivalism was still seen as irrational, meant only for "camo-wearing psychos," Larry laments. But that's not his version.



"Our customers are doctors, engineers and international business people," he tells me. "These aren't conspiracy theorists. But bringing up the topic of survival condos is basically like bringing up UFOs: You get people that are open-minded, or you get people who start looking for the tinfoil."

In Larry's mind, this couldn't be more ignorant. "Looking at everything going on in the world right now, honestly, I think it's crazier not to own [a survival condo]," he insists. And he does have a point. Aside from Trump's polarizing presidential campaign and subsequent election, which led to mass social unrest, there's climate change; the alt-right; nuclear tension with North Korea; Russian saber-rattling; mass shootings at churches, mosques and synagogues; cyber warfare and conflict in the South China Sea, not to mention natural disasters like the fires in California in 2018 and hurricanes Harvey and Maria, as well as diseases like Ebola and the recent recurrence of measles.

He adds: "And it's only getting worse."

Back in the bunker, we're standing by a pool — the kind you'd find in a Southern California McMansion, with a waterslide carved out of rocks and an overall manufactured tropical vibe that feels wholly out of place underground. But then again, I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting. Of course, the silo is outfitted with everything you'd imagine for an apocalyptic safe house: three armories filled with weapons, including shotguns, and AR-15 and sniper rifles, ammunition and a crossbow; boxes of canned food and 24/7 security (though Larry refuses to tell me how many guards he employs, or how many are on-site at any given time). Then there's the self-sustaining food system through hydroponics and aquaculture, which uses the excrement of three different types of farmed tilapia as fertilizer to grow fresh plants and vegetables. While not currently functional, the system has just introduced its first fish cycle, and, according to Larry, should be fully operational, with fresh fish and vegetables that would keep the bunker's guests alive and fed indefinitely, within the next eight months.



Then there's a gym that's covered in superhero and sports team decals, a bar and lounge, a movie theater, a dog park / rock climbing wall and a poolside restaurant, which Larry says came as a result of a meeting with all the bunker's female tenants. The condos themselves are all customized with furniture, artwork and additions, like the stone fireplace in one of the units I visited, handpicked by the owners, and there are LED window screens within each apartment that play a livestream of the land above the silo, or your choice of scenery, from a forest to the beach to a real-life recording of Central Park, as requested by one New York client.

"I get so pissed off at the people who think we haven't thought of everything," says Larry, as he flips through the screen options for me in a one-bedroom unit. "We've taken great lengths to make sure people feel like they're in the real world here. And they like it that way."

"If the apocalypse comes, beep me." – Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Another tool Larry's employed to help the owners imitate their lives IRL is rotating chores. Each month, clients work a job like "security, teaching or working at the store," for four hours a day, while kids in kindergarten through sixth grade, and seventh through twelfth, go to school in shifts. According to psychologists he hired when putting together the design, as well as researchers from the Biosphere Project, which observed human life in an artificially created ecological system in the '90s, this practice gets "people familiar with the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the building," Larry explains. "It's also to make them feel constructive and productive, and to give them a common denominator, like an extended family."



Standing in the general store, with its small deli counter and rows and rows (and more rows) of canned food, I can't imagine the ultra-rich serving canned apple slices and Stroganoff noodles in between their shifts running the cash register. When I start mentioning this to Larry, he cuts me off: "These are all self-made millionaires and billionaires," he tells me, "so they're comfortable with hard work. Actually, they want to work. These are people used to having high-pressure jobs, and they don't like to vacation."

That word — vacation — strikes me, and it's not because the pool is underground, so it's incredibly humid, or because the mural next to the slide, showing palm trees around a sign that reads "Lost In Paradise," feels even more ironic because of where we are. It's because Larry keeps stressing it.

"It's the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine." – Michael Stipe

Throughout our tour, he tells me about one of his owners, "a woman and her two kids," who, when she first arrived, "got tears in her eyes." "She said, 'Oh, please don't take this the wrong way, but I didn't think it was going to be this nice. I wasn't going to come unless there was a disaster, but now I just want to hang out here.'" And she does, he says, for "two to four weeks out of the year."



It was January 2017 when Larry started getting an influx of calls from Democrats and younger Silicon Valley-types — people he describes as being "on the other side of the political spectrum" from his earlier clients and, it's clear — if not explicit — during the course of our conversation, from him. Regardless, political differences don't stop him from accepting new clients. In fact, he "wishes the world could get along the way his owners who disagree politically do." The only people who can't buy units within his structures are those with convictions for violent crimes ("White-collar and DUIs are okay," he says) and crimes against children. He also frowns on people who flip houses.

But back to 2017. Trump had just been sworn into office, leading to a surge of Americans who said they were moving to Canada and applying for foreign passports. Some of the ones who stayed, however, started looking into luxury bunkers. "It's not becoming a trend, it already is one," Larry asserts, as he lists the current projects he's working or plans to work on.

Aside from the Survival Condo outside Concordia, there's a second, more high-end structure filled only with penthouse units, being built inside another missile silo elsewhere in Kansas. He's also been hired to construct multi-million dollar private bunkers for wealthy clients.

"Drop this doomsday attitude and get on with the show." – Dolly Parton

Despite the perception that rich people are all of a sudden looking for apocalypse-surviving pied-à-terres thanks to recent political developments, if you ask Larry, he believes it's always been the case — people have just been afraid to talk about it publicly. To that, he tells me a story of an "A-list Hollywood actor" who called him to talk about buying a bunker. "This A-lister said that it would be an easier decision to come out as LGBT than to say you were a prepper or that you were interested in survival," he remembers. But also that "having money means having influence."

"A lot of our owners are connected to politicians, and high-level officials, and top dogs in Silicon Valley," he says. "Based on the information they're getting, they're realizing it would be prudent to own one of these things." Furthermore, he says "global economic collapse is probably the biggest reason people come to us. It's not just nuclear war and zombies." He continues, "I'm not saying it's 100% sure something bad is going to happen, but when you consider all of the what-ifs, it really isn't that extreme."



That's why all of his owners had escape plans, or G.O.O.D. (Get Out of Dodge) kits, as they're commonly referred to within the movement, before he even met them. Originally, the Survival Complex had access to two Hummers that, during any disaster ("from normal mode to lockdown mode," Larry says; normal mode is anything from an average day to a tornado or a hurricane; lockdown ensues when "there is a physical threat that encompasses the facility"), would pick up any of its owners within 200 miles. Unfortunately, those vehicles belonged to an owner who has since passed away, and as of now, each client is responsible for getting to the facility on their own. When Larry called a meeting to suggest different escape routes, he was glad — but not surprised — they already had B.O.V.s (another survivalist term that stands for "Bug-Out Vehicles," a form of transportation in case shit hits the fan, or SHTF in survivalist shorthand) with plans to travel by air, or in a bulletproof car with an extended range tank that could take them "from Miami to Kansas without ever having to stop for gas," he says.

But owning a bunker, and having an escape plan, isn't just a lifestyle for the rich and the paranoid. "This is like a living science project," he explains, comparing a bunker to having "life insurance versus life assurance.

"This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper." – T.S. Eliot

"People need to think of it not as, 'I'm buying a bunker I'm never going to use,'" he says, "but like, 'I just bought a science-fair second home that happens to be nuclear hardened.'"

As we get towards the end of the tour, I ask Larry more about his plans for the future. All of a sudden, we're stopped in front of a stainless steel room that's completely empty, save for a toilet and sink. "It's a jail cell," Larry clarifies, and when I ask whether it's for intruders or clients he responds, "Owners. If one of them drinks too much, or has a bad day..."

Staring at that bleak homemade cell, I quickly remembered exactly where I was, 200 feet below ground. Perhaps noticing my discomfort, Larry starts to pat me on the back. "Is it extreme to be able to be prepared for anything?" he asks. "No. It's necessary."


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Chinese President Xi Jinping tells his troops to prepare for War. @CNN
Law & Politics



Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on troops to "put all (their) minds and energy on preparing for war" in a visit to a military base in the southern province of Guangdong on Tuesday, according to state news agency Xinhua.

During an inspection of the People's Liberation Army Marine Corps in Chaozhou City, Xinhua said Xi told the soldiers to "maintain a state of high alert" and called on them to be "absolutely loyal, absolutely pure, and absolutely reliable."


In a speech to the RAND Corporation on September 16, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said China "cannot match the United States" in terms of naval power and labeled Beijing a "malign influence."

"(China and Russia) are using predatory economics, political subversion, and military force in an attempt to shift the balance of power in their favor, and often at the expense of others," he told the audience.


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European countries with largest avg daily #COVID19 increase experiencing out of control exponential growth. @jmlukens
Misc.


Country: Cases/Day Increase

#Poland: 2.84x

#Latvia: 2.30x

#Czechia: 2.25x

#Slovakia: 2.16x

#Slovenia: 2.12x

#Netherlands: 1.89x

#Georgia: 1.50x

#Andorra: 1.44x

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Europe and Africa #COVID19 daily deaths accelerated past two weeks while rest of world decreased. @jmlukens
Misc.



Region: Deaths/Day Increase

#Europe: 1.24x

#Africa: 1.09x

#MiddleEast: 0.99x

#NorthAmerica: 0.78x

#Asia: 0.61x

#SouthAmerica: 0.54x

#Oceania: 0.45x

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Prof ANGUS DALGLEISH asks... How IS this petulant, shockingly ignorant minister @MattHancock still in a job? @MailOnline
Law & Politics

 



Health Secretary Matt Hancock has had nine long months to educate himself out of his ignorance of the scientific implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But this week he was still responding to reasoned argument with petulant contempt.


My political contacts suggest that Mr Hancock, who presided over the care home Covid crisis, a shortage of protective equipment and the lamentable NHS test and trace programme, survives only because Downing Street needs a scapegoat for the inevitable review of its handling of the crisis.

Indeed, I cannot think of a figure less intellectually or temperamentally suited to the role of running our vast, lumbering NHS in a time of crisis.


Like so many politicians, particularly on the Tory benches, Mr Hancock studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford. 

Perhaps conscious of his lack of a scientific background, his reaction to being challenged by a group of world-leading experts via the publication of the GBD last week was to scowl and dissemble.

In a very pointed riposte to his dismissal of their argument, they said: ‘It is shocking that the Health Secretary does not have a basic understanding of infectious disease epidemiology.’


Shocking indeed. But then there is less rigorous logic in a Matt Hancock speech than in an episode of that venerable BBC show, Hancock’s Half Hour.

What if, as I fear, there will never be a vaccine. I was involved in the early stages of identifying the HIV virus as the cause of Aids. I remember drugs companies back then saying there would be a vaccine within around 18 months. Some 37 years on, we are still waiting.

 

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‘’Zoonotic’’ origin was one that was accelerated in the Laboratory.
Misc.


There is also a non negligible possibility that #COVID19 was deliberately released

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.170505

Dollar Index 93.780

Japan Yen 105.2600

Swiss Franc 0.915080

Pound 1.288955

Aussie 0.707555

India Rupee 73.3602

South Korea Won 1146.00

Brazil Real 5.6125000

Egypt Pound 15.700800

South Africa Rand 16.657220

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27 NOV 17 :: Bitcoin "Wow! What a Ride!" [Redux?]
Misc.


Let me leave you with Hunter S. Thompson, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”



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Africa at 'pivotal moment' as virus cases rise: @WHO @France24_en
Africa


Africa faces "a pivotal moment" in its fight against the coronavirus as cases and deaths rise after eased lockdowns and travel curbs, the regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Thursday.

Over the past month, there has been a seven percent average increase in weekly Covid-19 cases across the continent and an eight percent average increase in weekly deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

"Indeed, we are at a pivotal moment in the pandemic in Africa. While the continent has experienced a downward trend in its epidemic curve during the past three months, this decline has plateaued," Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's Africa director, told a press conference.

Despite early worries that the pandemic would devastate the region, the African Union's 55 member states have so far recorded around 1.6 million cases, representing just 4.2 percent of the global total, according to the Africa CDC.

Its roughly 39,000 deaths represent 3.6 percent of the global total.

Many countries imposed punishing lockdowns and restricted travel for extended periods, measures they would be hard-pressed to reinstate in response to a resurgence, said John Nkengasong, the Africa CDC's director.

"We are seeing what is going on in Europe as they ease their lockdown, how the numbers of new cases have increased and several countries are considering a second lockdown. We cannot afford that," Nkengasong said.

"We cannot allow this virus to erode the gains we have made over the last couple of months since the beginning of the pandemic."

South Africa accounts for nearly half the continent's cases.

North African countries Morocco, Tunisia and Libya have also reported sizeable increases in recent weeks.

Compared to the beginning of the pandemic, African countries "are now in a much better position to tackle the new challenges Covid-19 is throwing our way," Moeti said, citing sharp increases in testing facilities and ventilators.

But she expressed concern about how rising cases in Europe could affect the continent.

"We know the very close connection between Africa and Europe and we also do know that the importation in virtually all the African countries did happen from Europe," she said.

"So we are concerned about this uptick in Europe at the same time as we are opening up for business travellers, for tourists coming to Africa."

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@JBKB2 Stock Market Capitalisation (September 2020) Source: @African_Markets @JSE_Group
Africa


Kenya   $19.8b

Uganda $5.1b

Tanzania $6.5b

Rwanda $3.6b

Morocco $55.96b

Nigeria $36.8b

Botswana $33.64b

Egypt $39.23b

South Africa $866.1b

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Zambia Moves Closer to Default as It Skips Interest Payment @markets
Africa






Zambia skipped an interest payment on its debt, moving closer to becoming the first African nation to default on dollar bonds since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Holders of Zambia’s $3 billion of Eurobonds will vote next week on the country’s request for a six-month interest-payment holiday. 

A core croup of creditors have already rejected the proposal, prompting Zambia to say it won’t be able to service its commercial debts including the bonds unless it gets the relief.

The government failed to make a $42.5 million interest payment yesterday, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. 

It has a 30-day grace period before it becomes a default event allowing bondholders to demand immediate repayment of the principal.

At the center of Zambia’s case is how commercial investors are treated in a planned debt restructuring. 

The showdown with creditors makes it a test case for nations worldwide battling to meet obligations to a range of lenders, from bondholders to Chinese state banks. 

It also highlights the role of private creditors in the global drive to assist poorer, highly indebted nations.

The Group of 20 agreed Wednesday to renew a debt-relief initiative for the poorest countries through the first half of 2021. 

The group said in a statement it was “disappointed by the absence of progress of private creditors’ participation” in its Debt Service Suspension Initiative. It’s working on a framework that could serve as a blueprint for government debt restructuring.

Eurobond holders want Zambia to sign up for an economic program with the International Monetary Fund before tackling its commercial debt. 

But the country’s debt levels are significantly above the Washington-based lender’s thresholds, and a general election in 10 months makes deep spending cuts less likely. 

There are also questions about transparency around borrowing from China, which accounts for as much as a third of the nation’s $12 billion of external debt.

Zambia already gained some relief from the Paris Club, and said it wants all commercial and bilateral creditors, including bondholders, to commit to similar measures.

“Zambia is between a rock and a hard place with the IMF demanding transparency on Chinese loans and the political economy going into the elections,” said Ron Raychaudhuri, an emerging-market fund manager at APG Asset Management in Amsterdam. 

“Some Chinese lenders also seem to be reluctant to allow a moratorium until arrears are dealt with.”

Zambia’s Eurobonds slumped for a third day on Thursday, and are trading at less than half their face value. Notes due 2024 fell 5.5% to 41.7 cents on the dollar by 2:08 p.m. in London, the lowest on a closing basis since May. 


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The deserts and drylands of West Africa appear treeless, but researchers have found more than 1.8 billion individual trees and shrubs there @axios
Africa


The deserts and drylands of West Africa appear treeless, but researchers have found more than 1.8 billion individual trees and shrubs there, according to a new paper.

Why it matters: Non-forest trees support flora and fauna, provide sources of food and shelter for animals and people, and help moderate climate change by absorbing carbon.

But their exact role in the planet's cycling of carbon, water and other nutrients isn't well-understood, in part because their numbers are unknown. 

Satellite images typically used to measure and monitor forests haven't been high enough resolution to pick up isolated trees.

Methods in the new study could also be used to manage tree planting efforts, like the Great Green Wall of Africa, an attempt to fight desertification that is behind schedule, in part because of challenges in monitoring the project, per The Guardian.

How they did it: Martin Brandt, of the University of Copenhagen, and his colleagues analyzed 11,128 satellite images with a 0.5 meter resolution using deep learning algorithms to map single trees in a roughly 500,000-square-mile area spanning the West African Sahara desert, the semi-arid Sahel region and a sub-humid area to the south.

They report finding more than 1.8 billion individual trees with a median crown size of 12 square meters.

The finding "challenges prevailing narratives about dryland desertification, and even the desert shows a surprisingly high tree density," researchers write in the journal Nature this week.

"We provide here the technique and evidence that it is possible to map and measure each single tree," says Brandt.

What's next: The next step is to analyze larger areas with an aim of creating a global database of all non-forest trees, ultimately including those in other ecosystems, says Brandt.

Yes, but: Training the deep learning algorithm required manually labeling 90,000 tree canopies on sample images.

"This approach becomes untenable for work on a global scale, and more-automated (unsupervised) methods for extracting information from satellite imagery would be necessary," Niall Hanan and Julius Anchang of New Mexico State University wrote in an accompanying article.

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#Kenya economy contracts 9.1% quarter-over-quarter in seasonally-adjusted terms (-5.7% year-over-year) in 2Q as Covid pandemic hits service sector. @Markbohlund
Kenyan Economy


Accommodation & Food sector down 83% YOY. Monthly data for July and August look good. Question is if recovery can be maintained.

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Kenya Economy Shrinks for 1st Time in 17 Years Due to Virus @economics @herbling
Kenyan Economy


Kenya’s economy contracted for the first time in almost two decades in the second quarter as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic battered key sectors.

Gross domestic product fell 5.7%, compared with growth of 4.9% in the three months through March and expansion of 5.3% in the same period a year earlier, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday on its website. 

The median of six economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey was for a contraction of 2.3%.

Kenya confirmed its first Covid-19 inflection in mid-March and later imposed a partial shutdown. 

Key foreign-income earners including tourism and exports, such as tea, flowers, fruits and vegetables bore the brunt of these measures due to lockdowns in key markets and global travel restrictions.

“The poor performance in the quarter was characterized by substantial contractions in accommodation and food services, education, taxes on products, and transportation and storage, which consequently occasioned the significant downturn,” the KNBS said.

The second quarter may have been the low point for the Kenyan economy. 

Leading indicators for the three months through September point to a strong recovery in activity and the central bank sees GDP growth of 3.1% for the year, according to Governor Patrick Njoroge. 

The International Monetary Fund revised its GDP forecast this month to growth of 1% from an earlier projection of a 0.3% contraction for the year.

While the economy appeared to be on a recovery path, it is unlikely it will register positive growth this year, according to Mark Bohlund, a senior credit research analyst at REDD Intelligence.


“We deem it likely that the Kenyan economy will contract in 2020 for the first time since 1993,” he said in emailed comments.

Growth by agriculture, forestry and fisheries, which make up nearly a third of the economy, outpaced expansion a year earlier at 6.4% in the second quarter. 

That was helped by tea production, which increased 35% compared with a year earlier, thanks to favorable weather. Kenya is the world’s biggest exporter of the black variety.

Cut-flower and vegetable exports fell 35% from a year earlier, hurt by lock-down measures in key markets, such as the European Union and U.K.

The accommodation and food services sector contracted for the second consecutive quarter, shrinking 83%, compared with a contraction of 9.3% in the three months through March, due to virus containment measures that included banning of flights and closing of recreational facilities. 

International visitor arrivals through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport fell 99.5%.

Education contracted 56% in the quarter and taxes on products fell 14%. Health services, on the other hand, expanded by 10%.

Consumption of light diesel, a key input in transport activities, declined by 32%.


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