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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Wednesday 18th of November 2020
 






I have been reading Daniel Defoe's a Journal of the Plague Year
Africa





It is an account of one man's experiences of the year 1665, in which the bubonic plague struck the city of London in what became known as the Great Plague of London, the last epidemic of plague in that city.

“The Apprehensions of the People, were likewise strangely encreas’d by the Error of the Times; in which, I think, the People from what Principle I cannot imagine, were more adicted [sic] to Prophesies, and Astrological Conjurations, Dreams, and Old Wives Tales, than ever they were before or sense.”

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Breathtaking Aerial Photos of Grounded Planes During COVID-19 Is Now a Coffee Table Book @mymodernmet
Misc.



Dangling from a helicopter, Hegen focused on six German airports and documented grounded planes parked on the runway. 

The symmetrical compositions are immediately eye-catching and speak to the strength of his vision. 

Whether framed as lonely creatures or grouped with others, these grounded airplanes are a symbol for the world's reduced movement in 2020.

What is it about airports that inspire you?


Aviation is one of the key factors for globalization. Since civil aviation began, goods and people are able to be transported faster across the continents. 

But the intensive networking of the world also means that diseases are spreading faster than ever before. 

Due to globalization, the coronavirus spread from Wuhan to all parts of the world and shut down public life. 

The corona pandemic could also be seen as an act of revenge by nature on globalization. 

In April 2020, worldwide air traffic had fallen dramatically. At many airports around the world, runways are closed and used as parking areas for grounded planes. 

The airplanes that were once a symbol of globalization are now becoming a symbol of the current lockdown.


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The Way We Live Now
World Of Finance


It certainly is a new c21st that we find ourselves in. There is a luminous and Fairy Tale feel to life in quarantine

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Aerial Photos of Surprisingly Colorful Salt Ponds Look Like Abstract Paintings @mymodernmet
Misc.



Tom Hegen has been examining the industrial scars left by humans for the past two years. 

From the effects of quarries and coal mining to industrial farming, he's been able to give a new perspective on how humans are shaping the environment. 

In The Salt Series, he explores the ancient practice of sea salt extraction.

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“You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away - a man is not a piece of fruit.” The Spinning Top
Law & Politics


“If personal meaning, in this cheer leader society, lies in success, then failure must threaten identity itself.”

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Europe 267,875 avg cases per day flat past 2wks while North America up 66% to 169,667 avg cases/day. Asia avg exponential growth rate dropped to 0.5% while South America’s increased to 0.52%. @jmlukens
Misc.


Europe, North America, Asia, & South America all well past 10M total #COVID19 cases.  Europe 267,875 avg cases per day flat past 2wks while North America up 66% to 169,667 avg cases/day.  Asia avg exponential growth rate dropped to 0.5% while South America’s increased to 0.52%.

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Massive Covid-19 activity in Switzerland: Since Oct. 17th - so in the last month cases have risen 400%. @L0gg0l
Misc.


The 7 day death rate has risen to 70/million people which is big numer for a country with one of the most advanced health care systems in the world

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UBS, for example: "[We now forecast vaccines will] provide immunity to only 7 ½% of the global population by end '21, whereas our [prior] scenario assumes 55%". Now that's a walk-back. @pkedrosky
Misc.


Some major brokerage firms walking back their vaccine estimates in all the vaxphoria. Here's UBS, for example: "[We now forecast vaccines will] provide immunity to only 7 ½% of the global population by end '21, whereas our [prior] scenario assumes 55%". Now that's a walk-back.

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Moderna Vaccine TLDR: @PriapusIQ
Misc.



30k in trial.


15k on Placebo.

15k on Vaccine.

90 on Placebo caught Covid.

5 on Vaccine caught Covid.

29,905 did not catch Covid.

14,910 on the Placebo did not catch Covid.

14,995 on the Vaccine did not catch Covid.


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Another interesting line from this PhD thesis from the Chinese CDC Director's lab: @Ayjchan
Misc.


"... the coronavirus spike needs to be cleaved into S1 & S2... the virus is only infectious after this."

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Here we provide further information about the bat SARS-related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV) strain RaTG13 reported in our Article. @nature H/T @TheSeeker268
Misc.





In 2018, as the next-generation sequencing technology and capability in our laboratory had improved, we performed further sequencing of these bat viruses and obtained almost the full-length genome sequence (without the 5′ and 3′ ends) of RaTG13. 

In 2020, we compared the sequence of SARS-CoV-2 with our unpublished bat coronavirus sequences and found that it shared a 96.2% identity with RaTG13.

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However, after sequencing the full genome for RaTG13 the lab’s sample of the virus disintegrated, he said. “I think they tried to culture it but they were unable to, so that sample, I think, has gone.”
Misc.




According to Daszak, the mine sample had been stored in Wuhan for six years. Its scientists “went back to that sample in 2020, in early January or maybe even at the end of last year, I don’t know. They tried to get full genome sequencing, which is important to find out the whole diversity of the viral genome.”

However, after sequencing the full genome for RaTG13 the lab’s sample of the virus disintegrated, he said. “I think they tried to culture it but they were unable to, so that sample, I think, has gone.”


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The genetic structure of SARS‐CoV‐2 does not rule out a laboratory origin @ydeigin & @Rossana38510044
Misc.



Genomic analyses show SARS‐CoV‐2 likely to be chimeric, most of its sequence closest to bat CoV RaTG13, whereas its receptor binding domain (RBD) is almost identical to that of a pangolin CoV. Chimeric viruses can arise via natural recombination or human intervention. The furin cleavage site in the spike protein of SARS‐CoV‐2 confers to the virus the ability to cross species and tissue barriers, but was previously unseen in other SARS‐like CoVs. Might genetic manipulations have been performed in order to evaluate pangolins as possible intermediate hosts for bat‐derived CoVs that were originally unable to bind to human receptors? Both cleavage site and specific RBD could result from site‐directed mutagenesis, a procedure that does not leave a trace.

The hypothesis that the Wuhan Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was the first source for animal–human virus transmission has now been conclusively dismissedi and the few market samples that were collected showed only human‐adapted SARS‐CoV‐2, with no traces of zoonotic predecessor strainsii 

Zhou et al.[3] from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) were the first to identify and characterize a new coronavirus (CoV), SARS‐CoV‐2. The genomic sequences obtained from early cases shared 79% sequence identity to the CoVs that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS‐CoV) in 2002–2003 and 96.2% sequence identity to RaTG13 (MN996532), a CoV sequence detected from a Rhinolophus affinis bat. RaTG13 is currently the closest phylogenetic relative for SARS‐CoV‐2 found,[4] but its complete genomic sequence was not published before the outbreak of SARS‐CoV‐2 and the original sample was collected in the Yunnan province (China) by the same group of WIV researchers in 2013. Zhou et al.[3] stated to have found a match between SARS‐CoV‐2 and a short region of RNA‐dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of a CoV in their database and then fully sequenced the original sample collected in 2013, which they called RaTG13.

We discovered that the RdRp of RaTG13 has 100% nucleotide identity with the sequence BtCoV/4991 (KP876546), which was identified by Ge et al.[5] in a Rhinolophus affinis bat in the Yunnan province in 2013, same location and year as RaTG13. BtCoV/4991 was collected in a mine colonized by bats near Tongguanzhen, Mojiang, Yunnan. The WIV researchers were invited to investigate the mine after six miners there had contracted severe pneumonia in 2012iii , and three of the miners have died.

BtCoV/4991 and RaTG13 have been later asserted to be two different coding names of the same strain, as their original authors at WIV registered the two strains as one entry in the Database of Bat‐associated Viruses (DBatVir).iv

The possibility that pangolins could be the intermediate host for SARS‐CoV‐2 has long been under discussion. [32-34] The biggest divergence between SARS‐CoV‐2 and RaTG13 is observed in the RBD of their spike proteins.[4] Although its overall genome similarity is lower to SARS‐CoV‐2 than that of RaTG13, the MP789 pangolin strain isolated from GD pangolins has an almost identical RBD to that of SARS‐CoV‐2. Indeed, pangolin CoVs and SARS‐CoV‐2 possess identical amino acids at the five critical residues of the RBD, whereas RaTG13 only shares one amino acid with SARS‐CoV‐2.[35] ACE2 sequence similarity is higher between humans and pangolins than between humans and bats. Intriguingly, the spike protein of SARS‐CoV‐2 has a higher predicted binding affinity to human ACE2 receptor than to that of pangolins and bats.ix Before the SARS‐CoV‐2 outbreak, pangolins were the only mammals other than bats documented to carry and be infected by SARS‐CoV‐2 related CoV.[12] Recombination events between the RBD of CoV from pangolins and RaTG13‐like backbone could have produced SARS‐CoV‐2 as chimeric strain. For such recombination to occur naturally, the two viruses must have infected the same cell in the same organism simultaneously, a rather improbable event considering the low population density of pangolins and the scarce presence of CoVs in their natural populations.x 


SARS‐CoV‐2 differs from its closest relative RaTG13 by a few key characteristics. The most striking difference is the acquisition in the spike protein of SARS‐CoV‐2 of a cleavage site activated by a host‐cell enzyme furin, previously not identified in other beta‐CoVs of lineage b[36] and similar to that of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus.[35] Host protease processing plays a pivotal role as a species and tissue barrier and engineering of the cleavage sites of CoV spike proteins modifies virus tropism and virulence.[37] The ubiquitous expression of furin in different organs and tissues have conferred to SARS‐CoV‐2 the ability to infect organs usually invulnerable to other CoVs, leading to systemic infection in the body.[38] Cell‐cultured SARS‐CoV‐2 that was missing the above‐mentioned cleavage site caused attenuated symptoms in infected hamsters,[39] and mutagenesis studies have confirmed that the polybasic furin site is essential for SARS‐CoV‐2′s ability to infect human lung cells.[40]

The polybasic furin site in SARS‐CoV‐2 was created by a 12‐nucleotide insert TCCTCGGCGGGC coding for a PRRA amino acid sequence at the S1/S2 junction (Figure 1). Interestingly, the two joint arginines are coded by two CGGCGG codons, which are rare for these viruses: only 5% of arginines are coded by CGG in SARS‐CoV‐2 or RaTG13, and CGGCGG in the new insert is the only doubled instance of this codon in SARS‐CoV‐2. The CGGCGG insert includes a FauI restriction site, of which there are six instances in SARS‐CoV‐2 and four instances in RaTG13 (and two in MP789). The serendipitous location of the FauI site could allow using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) techniques [41] for cloning [42] or screening for mutations, [43] as the new furin site is prone to deletions in vitro.[39, 44]



Therefore, SARS‐CoV‐2 remains unique among its beta CoV relatives not only due to a polybasic furin site at the S1/S2 junction, but also due to the four amino acid insert PRRA that had created it. The insertion causes a split in the original codon for serine (TCA) in MP789 or RaTG13 to give part of a new codon for serine (TCT) and part of the amino acid alanine (GCA) in SARS‐CoV‐2 (Figure 3).


In this context, SARS‐CoV‐2 could have been synthesized by combining a backbone similar to RaTG13 with the RBD of CoV similar to the one recently isolated from pangolins[12], because the latter is characterized by a higher affinity with the hACE2 receptor. Such research could have aimed to identify pangolins as possible intermediate hosts for bat‐CoV potentially pathogenic for humans. Subsequent serial cell or animal passage, as described by Sirotkin & Sirotkin [1] could have provided the perfect adaptation of the RBD to the hACE2.

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Figure 3 Alignment of nucleotide and amino acid sequences of the S protein from RaTG13 (MN996532), MP789 (MT084071) and SARS‐CoV‐2 (NC045512.2) at the S1/S2 site.
Misc.


The common nucleotides and amino acids are given in black, SARS‐CoV‐2 unique nucleotides and amino acids in red, RaTG13 unique nucleotides and amino acids in green and common nucleotides and amino acids in SARS‐CoV‐2 and RaTG13 that differ in MP789 in blue. The codon forserine (TCA) in RaTG13 and MP789 is split in SARS‐CoV‐2 to give part of a new codon forserine (TCT) and part of the amino acidalanine (GCA)

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies



Euro 
1.188185

Dollar Index 92.305

Japan Yen 103.907

Swiss Franc 0.910275

Pound 1.327900

Aussie 0.730450

India Rupee 74.09145

South Korea Won 1102.660

Brazil Real 5.3281

Egypt Pound 15.6388

South Africa Rand 15.365295



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Fear of @JoeBiden Chill Prompts Bonds From @Aramco China, Russia @markets
World Of Finance



There’s a pattern emerging in the latest Eurobond sales from the world’s developing economies -- they’re mostly from countries that may not fare so well when Joe Biden enters the White House.

In the past week, Russia, China, Hungary and several companies from the Middle East have tapped international capital markets, ostensibly to lock in borrowing costs before yields and price swings increase next year. 

The average yield on emerging-market dollar bonds fell to a record low this week, according to Bloomberg Barclays indexes.

“We are seeing issuance from regions which could be more under stress from a potential Biden presidency,” said Sergey Dergachev, a money manager at Union Investment Privatfonds GmbH in Frankfurt, who helps oversee about 13 billion euros ($15.4 billion) in emerging-market debt. 

Issuers are looking to place deals while “funding costs and relative volatility are still low,” he said.

The latest to join the flurry is energy giant Saudi Aramco, which kicked off a bond sale Tuesday. 

The company may raise about $6 billion to help fund a dividend payment, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise is also among Gulf corporate issuers tapping the market in November. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC sold $1 billion of sukuk last week.


The sales underscore how some nations may be rushing to international bond markets before a potential cooling in relations with the U.S. 

A Biden White House could mean greater scrutiny of human rights and a restoration of diplomatic norms bypassed by President Donald Trump.

Russia sold 2 billion euros of bonds last week in its first dual-tranche offering in the common currency. 

Russian bonds and the ruble were hit earlier in the year by speculation a Biden win could mean tougher sanctions. 

Speaking in the last debate before the Nov. 3 vote, the Democrat challenger warned that any country interfering in U.S. elections would “pay a price,” adding that it’s clear Russia has already been involved.

Hungary, which is mired in a spat with the European Union over rule-of-law issues, came to market on the same day as Russia, capping its busiest ever year for sales by offering 2.5 billion euros to help pay debt maturing in 2021.


China is using the “window of opportunity” before the change in U.S. leadership, according to Dergachev. 

It’s also being spurred by “the fear of more escalation with the Trump administration before Jan. 20,” he said.

Still, some see the debt rush as a testament to low borrowing costs. Emerging-market “credit is currently in the sweet spot,” Trieu Pham, a strategist at ING Groep NV in London said. 

“Yields are at a historic low for most higher rated emerging-market issuers, but this might change if U.S. Treasury yields start rising.”

Mexico sold $3.625 billion of bonds Monday to extend debt maturities, potentially opening the door for other large Latin American borrowers to take advantage of record low yields in dollars.



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South African Study Puts Covid Deaths Much Higher Than Official Toll @business @AntonySguazzin
Africa




South African hospitals likely under-reported the number of patients with Covid-19 and the death toll from the virus is probably much higher than the official figure, according to a study.

As many as 2.8 million people out of a population of 59 million may have had the virus and almost all of the country’s 62,056 excess deaths since the beginning of the year were probably caused by the pathogen, Alex van den Heever, chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, said in a paper this month. 

His research used data to Oct. 24. By that date, 658,171 infections and 15,907 deaths had been confirmed by the Health Ministry.

Other researchers using different methodology have come up with a lower figure of natural excess deaths, or the number of people who died this year above an historical average. 

They also attribute some deaths to a lack of access to medical facilities and treatment as South Africa imposed movement restrictions. Van den Heever disagrees. Peaks of new infections closely match spikes in excess death numbers, he said.

“The correlation is just too close for it to be collateral deaths,” he said in an interview Monday. 

“There is a strong possibility that they are directly linked to Covid-19. To me it would be the most probable conclusion, unless other evidence is brought to bear.”


South Africa has the most confirmed cases on the continent and the highest number of Covid-19 deaths, according to official figures. 

It has carried out more than 5.1 million tests, many times more than any other country in Africa. Its official death toll, currently at over 20,000, is the world’s 14th highest. Iran, which has a similar number of infections, has a death toll of about 42,000.



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―They fancied themselves free, wrote Camus, ―and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.
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.

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Putin, extending Russian footprint, approves new naval facility in Sudan @Reuters
Law & Politics





President Vladimir Putin on Monday approved the creation of a Russian naval facility in Sudan capable of mooring nuclear-powered surface vessels, clearing the way for Moscow’s first substantial military foothold in Africa since the Soviet fall.


The state-controlled TASS news agency has predicted that the new facility will make it easier for the Russian Navy to operate in the Indian Ocean by being able to fly in replacement crews for its long-range ships.

It has also forecast that Russia will fortify its new African outpost with advanced surface-to-air missile systems, allowing it to create a no-fly zone for miles around.

“Our base in Sudan will be another argument for others to hear us and take heed,” said an opinion piece in TASS about the new facility.


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28 OCT 19 :: From Russia with Love
Law & Politics


Russia was going to be a different kind of superpower, one that does not engage in “pressure, intimidation and blackmail” to “exploit” sovereign African governments.


“Our African agenda is positive and future-oriented. We do not ally with someone against someone else, and we strongly oppose any geopolitical games involving Africa.”


“Russia regards Africa as an important and active participant in the emerging polycentric architecture of the world order and an ally in protecting international law against attempts to undermine it,” said Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov back in November 2018.

To simplify, Russia’s “political technologists” have reportedly devised bespoke solutions for confronting in- cipient and ongoing color revolutions, just like its private military contractors (PMCs) have supposedly done the same when it comes to ending insurgencies.

Once we look through the Optics of two nuclear-capable supersonic bombers belonging to the Russian Air Force landing in Pretoria for the aircraft’s first-ever landing on the African continent and, according to an embassy official, only the second country in which it has made a public appearance outside of Russia.

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.@PMEthiopia warned on Tuesday that a three-day deadline for rebel regional forces to surrender has expired, paving the way for a final push on Mekelle, the capital of Tigray @ReutersAfrica
Law & Politics



Tigrayan forces fired rockets into the neighbouring nation of Eritrea this weekend, escalating a conflict in which hundreds of people have been killed on both sides, and threatens to destabilise other parts of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. More than 25,000 refugees have fled into Sudan.

The prime minister’s warning came after government forces carried out “precision led and surgical air operations” outside Makelle, a government emergency task-force said, and ground forces pushed forwards.

“The three-day ultimatum given to Tigray Special Forces and the militia to surrender to the national defence ... have ended today,” Abiy said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“Following the expiration of this deadline, the final critical act of law enforcement will be done in the coming days.”

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@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.
Law & Politics





Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance now has a Nobel Prize Winner whom I am reliably informed

PM Abiy His inner war cabinet includes Evangelicals who are counseling him he is "doing Christ's work"; that his faith is being "tested". @RAbdiAnalyst

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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Report by @IHSMarkit titled ‘Investors fret over sovereign bankruptcies in coming years’ compiled by @FT shows Kenya's probability of defaulting has grown to 35 per cent. via @TheStarKenya
Africa





Argentina tops the list with a probability of 55 per cent, Angola 52 per cent, Pakistan 48 per cent, Iraq 45 per cent and Cameroon 42 per cent.

Others with an above 30 per cent probability are Ghana at 35 per cent, Bolivia 32 per cent, Nigeria and Ukraine at 30 per cent.   



According to the report, the total external debt grew to $34.2 billion (Sh3.48 trillion) last year from $8.55 (Sh872.1 billion) in 2009, a huge chunk of it from Chinese lenders.

The Public Debt Management report 2019/20 by the National Treasury shows debt from China accounts for 20.5 per cent of the country’s total external debt, highest after that from the International Development Association (IDA), which accounts for 24.8 per cent.

Kenya’s debt to China stood at $756 million (Sh80.9 billion) in 2014, the first year of Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency, before ballooning to $6.47 billion (Sh693 billion) in December last year, representing a 766 per cent growth.



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Kenya's total revenue in Q1 declined by 42bn to ksh.378.7bn. @WillisOwiti
Kenyan Economy



Government spending was at ksh.510. 4bn of which ksh.357.1bn went to recurrent expenses such as debt repayment,wages and pensions while ksh.122bn went to development expenses. 

Budget deficit in the 3 months ksh.131.7bn

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.@KCBGroup likely to issue profit warning on Covid woes @BD_Africa
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment



CEO Joshua Oigara says there is little recovery happening in the fourth quarter of the year, making it difficult for Kenya’s largest lender to pull out of the 43.1 percent decline in nine-month net earnings that has been booked.

Mr Oigara explains that the fresh wave in Covid-19 infections has hurt prospects of economic recovery, leaving the lender with high possibilities of issuing a profit warning.

Kenya had 70,804 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 on Monday from 44,196 on October 17, reflecting a 60.2 percent growth in 30 days. Fatalities have increased to 1,287 from 825 a month ago, representing a 56 percent jump.

“We don’t anticipate a change. That is quite normal given the crisis we see today. That (profit warning) is an issue we are discussing with the Capital Markets Authority (CMA),” said Mr Oigara.

“Of course it is too early to say now. As we go into December, it is possible that we may make some recoveries. But I don’t think they will reach 25 percent,” said Mr Oigara.


KCB net profit to September fell by 43.1 percent to Sh10.8 billion as the lender raised its provision for potential loan losses 3.4 times to Sh20 billion to reflect the economic hardships facing borrowers.

The bank has so far restructured loans worth Sh105 billion or 18.2 percent of its loan book to accommodate customers seeking repayment holidays and longer tenures.

Covid-19-induced economic downturn has seem an estimated 1.72 million workers lose jobs in three months to June alone, making it difficult for those who had borrowed on the strength of pay slips to service loans.

Businesses in sectors such as hospitality horticulture, education, media, aviation and manufacturing have had to issue pay cuts, retrenchments and unpaid leaves as their earnings tumbled.

“This is a year of survival. This is not a year to thrive. It is a year to try and hold your business and support customers,” said Mr Oigara.

Mr Oigara says that the rising cases of Covid-19 infections means the economic difficulties will take longer to start clearing, with the best case scenario being June next year.


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.@KCBGroup share price data
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment



Closing Price: 37.50

Market Capitalization: 115,779,125,400

EPS: 8.11

PE:  4.624

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Total value of transactions on the service rose 32.9 percent to Sh9.04 trillion in the six months ended September while the deal volumes grew 14.9 percent to 5.12 billion transactions. @BD_Africa
Africa





The value of zero-rated M-Pesa transactions stood at Sh1.76 trillion in the review period, Safaricom said.

Active users of the mobile money platform rose to 26.7 million in the review period from 23.6 million the year before.

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.@SafaricomPLC share price data & HY Earnings
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services



Conclusions

I think the MPESA decline is a Blip because we are witnesssing a spectacular and even viral level acceleration with regard to Mobile Money obviously COVID19 related.

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