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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Thursday 02nd of September 2021
 
Morning
Africa

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23-AUG-2021 :: ZigZag
World Of Finance


The Markets
In one of his books Nassim Nicholas Taleb @nntaleb described his Trading Strategy as one which lost money 364 days of the year but made more on one day than was lost in those preceding 364 days.
He makes the point that Few People or Trading Desks have the mental stamina to last those 364 days for that extreme one day pay out.
I think we have reached this point now where we are picking up nickels and dimes in front of an oncoming Train.
Paul Tudor-Jones
"I love trading macro. If trading is like chess, then macro is like 3D chess. You never have a complete information set or information edge the way analysts can have when trading individual securities." Paul Tudor Jones @NeckarValue
"When it comes to macro, you cannot rely solely on fundamentals; you have to be a tape reader, something of a lost art form''
''While I spend a significant amount of my time on analytics and fundamental information, at the end of the day, I am a slave to the tape and proud of it."
While I'm a staunch advocate of higher education, there is no training – classroom or otherwise.. that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. There's typically no logic to it; irrationality reigns supreme, and no class can teach what to do during that brief, volatile reign.
"This is the BIGGEST bubble I have seen in my career."— Stanley Druckenmiller @TihoBrkan
"As a macro investor, my job for 30 years was to anticipate changes in the economic trends that were not expected by others - and therefore not yet reflected in securities prices". Stanley Druckenmiller http://bit.ly/2M1fCRp
I think we are the Cusp of the Moment
The Music has been playing for Eternity and its about to stop
tabla wizard, Aref Durvesh @thenitinsawhney
https://twitter.com/thenitinsawhney/status/1392335511889580033?s=20

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Amor e um fogo que arde sem se ver Love is a fire that burns unseen,
Misc.

Amor e um fogo que arde sem se ver Love is a fire that burns unseen,


Amor é um fogo que arde sem se ver,
é ferida que doi, e não se sente;
é um contentamento descontente,
é dor que desatina sem doer.

É um não querer mais que bem querer;
é um andar solitário entre a gente;
é nunca contentar-se de contente;
é um cuidar que ganha em se perder.

É querer estar preso por vontade;
é servir a quem vence, o vencedor;
é ter com quem nos mata, lealdade.

Mas como causar pode seu favor
nos corações humanos amizade,
se tão contrário a si é o mesmo Amor?

Love is a fire that burns unseen,
a wound that aches yet isn’t felt,
an always discontent contentment,
a pain that rages without hurting,

a longing for nothing but to long,
a loneliness in the midst of people,
a never feeling pleased when pleased,
a passion that gains when lost in thought.

It’s being enslaved of your own free will;
it’s counting your defeat a victory;
it’s staying loyal to your killer.

But if it’s so self-contradictory,
how can Love, when Love chooses,
bring human hearts into sympathy?

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Jet fighters circle the skies of #Kabul as the U.S. withdrawal concludes, and family members attending a mass funeral look up and weep as the roar of the jet engines never ends. #afghanistan @yamphoto
Law & Politics


Jet fighters circle the skies of #Kabul as the U.S. withdrawal concludes, and family members attending a mass funeral for the 10 they say were killed in a U.S. drone strike – look up and weep as the roar of the jet engines never ends. #afghanistan

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In Leaving Afghanistan, U.S. Reshuffles Global Power Relations @WSJ.
Law & Politics


After Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government collapsed on Aug. 15, Beijing couldn’t contain its glee at what it described as the humiliation of its main global rival—even though Washington said a big reason for withdrawal was its decision to focus more resources on China.
In a briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying highlighted the death of Zaki Anwari, a 17-year-old Afghan soccer player who fell from the landing gear of an American C-17 as it took off from Kabul airport. “American myth down,” she said. “More and more people are awakening.”
In Russia, too, state media overflowed with schadenfreude, albeit tempered by concern about the Afghan debacle’s spillover into its fragile Central Asian allies. 

“The moral of the story is: don’t help the Stars and Stripes,” tweeted Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of Russia’s RT broadcaster. “They’ll just hump you and dump you.”
But now that America’s 20-year Afghan war has come to an end, the gloating is turning to a more sober view of how the war and the withdrawal will affect the global balance of power.
The stunning meltdown of the U.S.’s Afghan client state marked the limits of American hard power. 

The dramatic scenes of despair in Kabul have frustrated and angered many American allies, particularly in Europe, inflicting considerable reputational damage.

Yet despite their propaganda trumpeting the narrative of America’s weakness, it doesn’t appear to have escaped Beijing and Moscow that the U.S. isn’t the only one losing out.

In terms of raw military strength and economic resources, the U.S. remains dominant. 

Its pivot away from Afghanistan means Washington has more resources to put toward its strategic rivalry with China and Russia, two nations that want to redraw an international order that has benefited American interests and those of its allies for decades.
And unlike Russia and China, countries in Afghanistan’s immediate neighborhood, America is far more removed from the direct consequences of the Taliban takeover, from refugee flows to terrorism to the drug trade. 

Managing Afghanistan from now on is increasingly a problem for Moscow and Beijing, and their regional allies.
“The chaotic and sudden withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan is not good news for China,” said Ma Xiaolin, an international relations scholar at Zhejiang International Studies University in Hangzhou, China, noting that America is still stronger in technology, manufacturing and in military power. “China is not ready to replace the U.S. in the region.”
In a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said the U.S. needed to remain involved in Afghanistan, including by helping the country to maintain stability and combat terrorism and violence, according to a statement on the Chinese foreign ministry’s website.
Moscow, too, urged the U.S. and allies not to turn away. Zamir Kabulov, President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Afghanistan, said Western countries should reopen embassies in Kabul and engage in talks with the Taliban on rebuilding the country’s economy. 

“This applies first of all to those nations that remained there with their armies for 20 years and caused the havoc that we see now,” Mr. Kabulov told Russian TV.
Chinese scholars who advise the government expect the U.S. to refocus military resources on countering Beijing, especially in the Western Pacific, and to show greater resolve in an area whose strategic importance is now a rare point of bipartisan consensus.

President Biden, in his April speech announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan, after a war that cost hundreds of billions of dollars and took 2,465 American lives, justified the move by highlighting this imperative: 

“Rather than return to war with the Taliban, we have to focus on the challenges that are in front of us,” he said. “We have to shore up American competitiveness to meet the stiff competition we’re facing from an increasingly assertive China.”

Policy move
The U.S. could have enabled the Afghan republic to stave off the Taliban for years, if not decades, by continuing a relatively small U.S. military presence, focused on air support, intelligence and logistics rather than ground combat. 

Instead of a military defeat, like in 1970s Vietnam, the American withdrawal was a deliberate policy move, even if it caused unintended consequences.
“Serious people in Moscow understand that the American military machine and all the components of America’s global superiority are not going anywhere, and that the whole idea of no longer being involved in this ‘forever war’ was a correct one,” said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center. 

“Yes, the execution was monstrous, but the desire to focus resources on priority areas, especially East Asia and China, is causing here a certain unease, a disquiet—and an understanding of the strategic logic.”
The main hope in Moscow, he added, is that the fallout from the Kabul withdrawal will lead to further political polarization inside the U.S., and to new strains in ties between America and its allies.

These strains are already real, especially after Mr. Biden rebuffed European requests to extend the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline so that allies would be able to airlift their remaining citizens and Afghans allies out of Kabul. 

Tens of thousands of such people, eligible for evacuation, remain stranded.

Even the closest of America’s allies, such as the U.K., have openly criticized the U.S. withdrawal. 

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign-affairs committee in the U.K. House of Commons and an Afghanistan war veteran, compared the debacle in Kabul to the 1956 Suez crisis, which bared the limits of British power and precipitated his nation’s strategic retreat.
“In 1956, we all knew that the British Empire was over but the Suez crisis made it absolutely clear. Since President Obama, the action has been of U.S. withdrawal, but my God, has this made it clear,” Mr. Tugendhat said in an interview.
That’s not necessarily great news for Russia and China, he added.
“The reality is that Chinese and Russian bad behavior is only possible in a world that is U.S.-organized,” Mr. Tugendhat said. 

“You can only be an angry teenager if you know that your dad is still going to put petrol in the car the next day.”
The U.S. denouement in Afghanistan has raised particular concerns in Taiwan, the democratic island Beijing seeks to unite with the mainland—by force if necessary. 

The U.S. is obliged by law to help Taiwan defend itself. After pro-Beijing politicians warned that Taiwan shouldn’t depend on U.S. assistance in the event of a Chinese assault, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen issued a statement calling for the island to be more self-reliant.
The prevailing view among U.S. allies and partners in Asia is that Washington can now deliver, finally, on the “pivot to Asia” that the Obama administration promised as a way to counter China but largely failed to deliver as it was preoccupied with Afghanistan and the Middle East.

“There’s an acknowledgment of lessons that need to be learned,” said S. Paul Choi, a former South Korean army officer and adviser to U.S. forces there who is now a Seoul-based security consultant. 

“On a more positive note, what Asian allies would like to see is greater attention, greater human resources, greater training of personnel…that focuses more on this region rather than, say, counterterrorism in the Middle East.”

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki earlier this month challenged the notion that the events in Kabul create an opening for Moscow or Beijing to test America’s will in their own neighborhoods. 

“Our message is very clear: We stand by, as is outlined in the Taiwan Relations Agreement, by individuals in Taiwan,” she said. 

“We stand by partners around the world who are subject to this kind of propaganda that Russia and China are projecting. And we’re going to continue to deliver on those words with actions.”
While the chaos in Afghanistan has at least temporarily undermined America’s credibility with partners and allies, these relationships, from Taiwan to Israel to Ukraine, are based on a unique set of commitments—and, unlike America’s Afghan venture, don’t have a preset expiration date. 

Washington broadcast its intention to leave Afghanistan since President Obama’s first term more than a decade ago, although many Afghan leaders believed it would never actually do so.
Slawomir Debski, director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, an influential Warsaw think tank, said that the trouble in Kabul will have little effect where it matters for his nation: America’s and NATO’s ability to deter Russia on the alliance’s eastern flank.
“Nobody among the allies criticized the Biden administration for the withdrawal decision itself. They criticized its miserable execution,” he said. 

“But this doesn’t change the fundamental relationship. Our alliance with the Americans is long enough for us to know that they make mistakes that are easily avoidable.”
Terrorism
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 because the country’s Taliban rulers at the time hosted Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders who plotted the Sept. 11 attacks on America. 

Since then, Islamist terrorist groups, particularly the far more radical Islamic State, have established other footholds around the world, from Mozambique to the Philippines to West Africa.
Afghanistan, where Islamic State carried out Thursday’s Kabul airport bombing that killed 200 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops, shares a small stretch of mountainous border with China and a lengthy, porous frontier with Tajikistan and other Central Asian states that send millions of migrant workers to Russia.
During recent visits to Russia and China, Taliban leaders have assured their hosts that they won’t allow international terrorists to operate from Afghanistan again.
“The Taliban say all the right words for now: They will not allow the use of their territory for terrorist activities toward the east, in Xinjiang, or toward the north, in Central Asia,” said Andrey Kortunov, director-general of the Russian International Affairs Council, a Moscow think tank that advises the government. 

“But so far these are just words.…There are a lot more questions than answers.”

For China, the key issue in Afghanistan has long been the presence of Uyghur militants from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, and its successor, the Turkestan Islamic Party. 

The United Nations has estimated that some 500 of these Uyghur militants are in Afghanistan, mostly in the northeastern Badakhshan province.

Haneef Atmar, the foreign minister of the fallen Afghan republic, said in an interview in early August that the deployment of these Uyghur militants, some of whom have returned to Afghanistan from battlefields in Syria, were one of the reasons that explained the Taliban’s lightning offensive in the north of the country. 

The Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, and other senior officials have repeatedly said that the Taliban won’t interfere in China’s internal affairs.
Mr. Wang, the foreign minister, raised the issue directly with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Taliban’s political office, when the two met in China at the end of July. 

After that meeting, China said it had made clear its demands, pressing the Taliban to break with all terrorist organizations and take resolute action against ETIM.

While eager to succeed where the U.S. failed, Beijing is reluctant to become embroiled in Afghanistan’s domestic politics or to take on the burden of subsidizing the bankrupt Afghan state indefinitely. China’s military lacks experience beyond Chinese borders.

Moscow, with its own painful history in Afghanistan, is also treading carefully. “Afghanistan is a unique place,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, head of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. “It has shown throughout history that great games there bring no benefit to anyone.”
Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing-based think tank, and a counselor to China’s State Council, brought up the example of Vietnam, once the site of America’s humiliating military defeat and now one of Washington’s key partners in Asia.
“It was the same story with the U.S. withdrawal from South Vietnam in 1975: People said it will be taken over by China or the Russians,” said Mr. Wang. “Look at it now.”

Of course, Afghanistan remains a ‘’Ball of fire’’ and chucking the Ball to others to catch is not a Bad Call all things considered.


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Xi Jinping speech at Central Party School suggests more "wolf warrior" diplomacy: @neilthomas123
Law & Politics


"We must..not budge an inch or yield an inch of ground on matters of principle, and protect national sovereignty, security and development interests with an unprecedented quality of willpower."

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Xi seems to accept worsening foreign confrontation: @neilthomas123
Law & Politics


"There is an accelerating evolution of the changes in the world unseen in a century..The risks and challenges we face are clearly increasing. It is unrealistic to always want to live a peaceful life and not want to struggle."

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Xi told a new class of mid-career cadres to "discard illusions" and "dare to struggle" in the world. @neilthomas123
Law & Politics



The rest of the speech focused on the need for cadres to believe in the Party's ideals, achieve practical results, and maintain strict discipline.

07-OCT-2019 :: The Chinese people can endure more pain than the spoiled and hubristic Americans.
http://bit.ly/2VlypvG

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Taiwan says China can 'paralyse' its defences, threat worsening @Reuters
Law & Politics



China's armed forces can "paralyse" Taiwan's defences and are able to fully monitor its deployments, the island's defence ministry said, offering a stark assessment of the rising threat posed by its giant neighbour.

Beijing is stepping up military activities around the island, which it views as Chinese territory. 

It has never renounced the use of force to bring democratic Taiwan under its control.
In its annual report to parliament on China's military, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters, Taiwan's Defence Ministry presented a far graver view than it did last year, when the report said China still lacked the capability to launch a full assault on Taiwan.
This year's report said that China can launch what it termed "soft and hard electronic attacks", including blocking communications across the western part of the first island chain, the string of islands that run from the Japanese archipelago, through Taiwan and down to the Philippines.

China "can combine with its internet army to launch wired and wireless attacks against the global internet, which would initially paralyse our air defences, command of the sea and counter-attack system abilities, presenting a huge threat to us".

China has also improved its reconnaissance abilities using Beidou, China's answer to the U.S.-owned GPS navigation system, the ministry added.
This means Beijing can monitor movements around Taiwan, helped by China's regular use of its own spy planes, drones and intelligence gathering ships, it said.
China's Defence Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Although Taiwan's report noted, like last year, that China still lacked transport abilities and logistical support for a large-scale invasion, the Chinese military is working to boost those abilities.

With precision missile attacks that can hit anywhere on the island, China is also capable of "paralysing" Taiwan military command centres and combat capacity of its naval and air forces, it said.
Chinese spies in Taiwan could launch a "decapitation strike" to destroy political and economic infrastructure, it added.
With the deployment of mid- and long-range missiles and more exercises involving its aircraft carriers, China is trying to position itself to delay "foreign military intervention" in an attack on Taiwan, the ministry said.

President Tsai Ing-wen has made bolstering Taiwan's own defences a priority, building up its domestic defence industry and buying more equipment from the United States, the island's most important arms supplier and international backer.

He has brought Hong Kong to heel, he is prowling around Taiwan like a Lion prowled around our Tent one night in the Tsavo
https://bit.ly/38kpMcc


If Beijing invades Taiwan, most Americans will probably echo the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, who notoriously described the German bid to carve up Czechoslovakia in 1938 as “a quarrel in a far away country, between people of whom we know nothing”. @TheEconomist 

https://j.mp/3gEVYvb

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Looks like we're turning the corner on new reported cases globally. Will it last? @fibke
Misc.




19-JUL-2021 :: So, my Point is this, our Attention span is short and Many Folks seem to feel we are in the final Act of the COVID-19 Play. I would be limit short that particular narrative.



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.@WHO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 31 August 2021
Misc.



With just under 4.4 million new cases reported this week (23-29 August), the number of new cases reported globally remains similar to the previous week after increasing for nearly two months (since mid-June). 

In the past week all regions reported either a decline (Africa, Americas) or a similar trend (Europe, South-East Asia, Eastern Mediterranean) in new cases, except for the Western Pacific Region which reported a 7% increase as compared to previous week. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from

United States of America (938 014 new cases; 8% decrease)

India (270 796 new cases; 17% increase), 

Islamic Republic of Iran (254 753 new cases; similar to the previous week)

United Kingdom (237 556 new cases; 8% increase)

Brazil (175 807 new cases; 16% decrease).




23-AUG-2021 ::  Lets turn briefly to COVID-19 because I sense an Inflexion Point
https://j.mp/384Arar



As to the goal of reaching herd immunity—vaccinating so many people that the virus simply has nowhere to go


“With the emergence of Delta, I realized that it’s just impossible to reach that,” says Müge Çevik, an infectious disease specialist at the University of St. Andrews. Via @ScienceMagazine @kakape
https://j.mp/3B0k6zU
But Holmes was startled. “This virus has gone up three notches in effectively a year and that, I think, was the biggest surprise to me”
The 1918–19 influenza pandemic also appears to have caused more serious illness as time went on, says Lone Simonsen, an epidemiologist at Roskilde University who studies past pandemics.

 “Our data from Denmark suggests it was six times deadlier in the second wave.”

“Many still see Alpha and Delta as being as bad as things are ever going to get,” he says. 

“It would be wise to consider them as steps on a possible trajectory that may challenge our public health response further.”
Some dangerous variants may only be possible if the virus hits on a very rare, winning combination of mutations, Eugene Koonin told me. 

“But with all these millions of infected people, it may very well find that combination.” @kakape 

https://twitter.com/kakape/status/1428503430256021505?s=20
We have now crossed peak Vaccine Euphoria


23-AUG-2021 ::  I think the Spread improvement [Cases versus Deaths] has run its course.



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Predicting an epidemic trajectory is difficult @PNASNews
Misc.






Predicting the trajectory of a novel emerging pathogen is like waking in the middle of the night and finding yourself in motion—but not knowing where you are headed, how fast you are traveling, how far you have come, or even what manner of vehicle conveys you into the darkness. 

A few scattered anomalies resolve into defined clusters. Cases accumulate. You assemble information about temporal sequences, identify a causative agent, piece together a few transmission histories, try to estimate mortality rates. A few weeks pass. 

Everyone wants to know how far the disease is going to spread, how fast that is going to happen, and what the final toll will be. 

They want predictive models. However, predictive models are difficult to develop and subject to wide uncertainties. 

In PNAS, Castro et al. (1) demonstrate one reason why. They show that based on early data it is nearly impossible to determine precisely whether interventions will be sufficient to quell an epidemic or whether the epidemic will continue to grow unabated. 

At best, we can predict the likelihoods of these opposing scenarios—scenarios that describe completely different worlds. In one a disaster has been narrowly averted, but in the other millions of people become infected and the global economy is upended.
The fundamental problem in predicting epidemic trajectories is the way in which uncertainties compound. 

To begin with, epidemics are stochastic processes. Luck matters—–particularly when superspreading is important—and happenstance shapes patterns of geographic spread 

Early on, little is known about the parameters describing the spread of infection. 

What is the generation interval, how long is the infectious window, and what is the basic reproductive number in any particular setting? 

How is the disease transmitted, how long does it remain in the environment, and what are the effects of seasonality?
Without answers to these questions, it is hard to predict the impact of infection control and social distancing measures (3). 

We cannot afford to hope for the best possible outcome and plan accordingly. If predictions have large uncertainties, prudent policy errs on the side of caution. This seems obvious yet has been frequently ignored with COVID-19, at dreadful cost.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." - Professor Allen Bartlett





''viruses exhibit non-linear and exponential characteristics''






the most tumultuous period in SARS-CoV-2’s evolution may still be ahead of us, says @ArisKatzourakis @ScienceMagazine @kakape
https://j.mp/3B0k6zU

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A virulent plague that “travelled through the air as if on wings, it burned through cities like fire”. @MargaretAtwood
Misc.



And the virus has tricks up its sleeve. Coronaviruses are good at recombining, for instance, which could allow new variants to emerge suddenly by combining the genomes—and the properties—of two different variants.@ScienceMagazine @kakape 
https://j.mp/3B0k6zU

The mutation rate of SARSCoV2 is at least 50% higher than previously thought. The virus mutates about once a week—significantly higher than the rate estimated previously. @DelthiaRicks


UK findings suggest new variants could emerge sooner than earlier estimated

28-MAR-2021  we are seeing a sustained acceleration in mutant viruses.


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Allowing for the virus’s complex mutational and compositional biases, estimate that the mutation rate is at least 49-67% higher than would be estimated based on the rate of appearance of variants in sampled genomes
Misc.



Indeed, from analysis of closely related lineages, in SARS-CoV-2 the Ka/Ks ratio was previously estimated as 1.008, suggesting no within-host selection. 

By contrast, we find a higher number of observed SNPs at 4-fold degenerate sites than elsewhere and, allowing for the virus’s complex mutational and compositional biases, estimate that the mutation rate is at least 49-67% higher than would be estimated based on the rate of appearance of variants in sampled genomes.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1845
Dollar Index 92.488
Japan Yen 109.9855
Swiss Franc 0.9154
Pound 1.3783
Aussie 0.7474
India Rupee 72.9705
South Korea Won 1160.79
Brazil Real 5.1866
Egypt Pound 15.6797
South Africa Rand 14.40

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It needs just a little arithmetic to see that India's Apr-Jun 2021 growth of 20.1% is shocking bad news. This means compared to GDP in Apr-Jun 2019 (i.e. 2 years ago) India has had a growth of -9.2%. @kaushikcbasu
Emerging Markets



It needs just a little arithmetic to see that India's Apr-Jun 2021 growth of 20.1% is shocking bad news. The 20.1% is in comparison to Apr-Jun 2020 when India's GDP had fallen by 24.4%. This means compared to GDP in Apr-Jun 2019 (i.e. 2 years ago) India has had a growth of -9.2%.


The accelerated growth was "a fantastically crafted fiction," according to Prasad, Blood and Soil in @narendramodi's India @NewYorker


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"India’s Arab-Mediterranean Corridor: A Paradigm Shift in Strategic #Connectivity to Europe" via @ISASNus @michaeltanchum
Emerging Markets


India’s Arabian-Mediterranean (Arab-Med) Corridor to Europe is an emerging multi-modal, commercial corridor that could radically reconfigure trade patterns between the Indian Ocean Region, the Middle East and Europe by creating an arc of commercial connectivity spanning Eurasia’s southern rim from India’s Arabian Sea coast to Greece’s eastern Mediterranean coast. 

For India, this new connectivity constitutes a strategic paradigm shift of enormous geopolitical consequence that could reshape its role in the Eurasian economic order.

The new connectivity architecture is a consequence of the 2020 diplomatic normalisation between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, which is giving rise to the creation of a UAE-to-Israel railway network via Saudi Arabia and Jordan with Israel’s Haifa port as its Mediterranean terminal. 

The trans-Mediterranean maritime link from Haifa to the European mainland at the massive transhipment port in Piraeus, Greece, means Indian goods shipped to the UAE’s ports will be able to reach major markets and manufacturing centres of Europe. 

The India-to-Europe Arab-Med Corridor forms an alternative trans-regional commercial transportation route to the troubled Chabahar-based International North-South Transit Corridor. 

Instead of Chabahar, the ports of the UAE – India’s third-largest trading partner – would serve as the Indian Ocean connectivity node. 

From Mumbai, Indian goods shipped via this multi-modal route could arrive on the European mainland in as little as 10 days, 40 per cent faster than via the Suez Canal maritime route.

The multi billion-dollar ‘India-Middle East Food Corridor’ project is being driven by the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s investment partnerships with India that rely on the transformation of India’s agriculture and water management sectors being implemented through India’s partnership with Israel.

In parallel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are working with the Indian government and energy majors to develop an integrated hydrocarbon value chain through multi billion-dollar investments in higher value-added petrochemicals manufacturing in the country

The extent to which India succeeds at industrial value chain integration will determine its role in this new trans-regional commercial architecture, and with it, India’s strategic standing as a Eurasian economic power.

India has a new strategic map. A new multi-modal, India-to-Europe commercial corridor is emerging from the interlinkage of the Arabian Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean that could radically reconfigure trade patterns between the Indian Ocean Region, the Middle East and Europe. 

One of the early fruits of the 2020 diplomatic normalisation between the UAE and Israel is the rail connection being established from the UAE via Saudi Arabia and Jordan to the Port of Haifa on Israel’s Mediterranean coast. 

Combined with the trans-Mediterranean maritime link from Haifa to the European mainland at the massive transhipment port in Piraeus, Greece, 

India’s maritime connectivity with the UAE will soon form part of a larger arc of commercial connectivity that extends from India to Greece. 

Freight rail service from Piraeus through the Balkans and Central Europe means that Indian goods can reach Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany – connecting India to major markets and manufacturing centres of Europe. 

With India’s overland access to Central Asia blocked by Pakistan and China, Beijing’s consolidation of the Silk Road Economic Belt raised the prospect of India’s complete strategic isolation in Central Asia. 

Concurrently ,New Delhi faced the possibility that the advancement of Beijing’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road would be tantamount to the maritime encirclement of India.

Compared to the maritime route via the Suez Canal, the Arab-Med Corridor’s route would cut the travel time by approximately 40percent

The consolidation of the Greece-to-Gulf segment is itself part of a larger international scramble to establish trans-Mediterranean commercial corridors that also include attempts to establish commercial corridors connecting North Africa to southern Europe

The UAE is India’s third largest trade partner with an overall bilateral trade volume of US$41.85 billion (S$55.55 billion) in 2020.
Building upon this foundation, a fundamental reconfiguration of the commercial architecture of the western Indian Ocean Region was initiated in January 2017 with the signing of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) agreement between Abu Dhabi and New Delhi.

The food processing sector has emerged as the centrepiece of India’s value chain integration in the India-to-Europe Arab-Med Corridor because of the symbiosis between the Arab Gulf states’ strategic need to ensure their food security and India’s strategic imperative to increase the value of its food production. 

India is the world’s second largest food producer when measured by calorie content but ranks fourth when measured by the total value of agricultural production, owing largely to the fact that India processes less than 10 per cent of its agricultural output.

India’s ambition to be the food basket of the Middle East fundamentally rests on its ability to increase its agricultural yield and manage its water resources.

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African Region @WHO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 31 August 2021
Africa



This week the African Region reported over 147 000 new cases, a 7% decrease as compared to the previous week as the Region continued its decreasing trend. 

In the past week, two countries, South Africa and Ethiopia, accounted for over half (59%) of all the new cases reported in the Region. 

Over 3800 new deaths were reported in the Region this week, a similar number to that reported during the previous week. 

However, there are still a number of countries reporting worrying mortality trends; in the past week, eight countries reported increases of over 50% in weekly deaths. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

South Africa (76 966 new cases; 129.8 new cases per 100 000 population; a 9% decrease)

Ethiopia (10 058 new cases; 8.7 new cases per 100 000; a 61% increase),

Botswana (7332 new cases; 311.8 new cases per 100 000; a 24% decrease).
The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (2210 new deaths; 3.7 new deaths per 100 000 population; a 7% decrease)

Kenya (227 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 53% increase)

Algeria (195 new deaths; 0.4 new deaths per 100 000; an 11% decrease)

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The 7-day avg of confirmed #COVID19 cases in South Africa finally dips below 10k per day, first time since breaching this level mid-June @rid1tweets
Africa


Test positivity also declining, confirming decline in cases is real & not an artefact of testing, 7-day avg at 17.9%

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“I remember one time Marvin Gaye said to me… Man, I wish I could sing all them songs that you singing we be just singing about love and I said ‘Marvin, why don’t you?’ @BokaniDyer
Africa



and when he was doing ‘What’s goin on’ he said ‘Man I’m doing this!” Hugh Masekela





10-JUN-2019 :: Hugh Masakela said "I want to be there when the People start to turn it around"
https://bit.ly/2Yf5JGV



All over the world, especially across the continent, there is a palpable sense of hope at the prospect of more African states following Zambia into a new period of liberal democracy. @thecontinent_  

https://j.mp/3zpF6A3

a portal into a whole new normal.



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Zambia’s $1 billion in notes maturing in 2024 dropped by 0.8% to 79.2 cents on the dollar the biggest decline since 22 June Before Wednesday’s pullback, the bonds had surged 19% since Aug. 16
Africa



Hichilema, who took office on Aug. 24 after a landslide election victory, said in an interview Tuesday that the “debt numbers that were being talked about officially are not really the comprehensive numbers,” and that his administration is working out what the true figures are.

Debt transparency will be key in securing a deal with the IMF, as well as in restructuring talks with creditors after Zambia became Africa’s first pandemic-era sovereign defaulter last year. 


23-AUG-2021 ::Finally I want to show you why Frontier markets are all about Politics



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"At end-August 2021, international reserves rose further to about US$2.9bn (5.4 months of import cover) following the receipt of the IMF SDR937.5m allocation (US$1.33bn) " @Markbohlund
Africa


"At end-August 2021, international reserves rose further to about US$2.9bn (5.4 months of import cover) following the receipt of the IMF SDR937.5m allocation (US$1.33bn) as well as market purchases. The Bank of Zambia net purchases amounted to US$152.4m in July and August."

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'War makes for bitter men. Heartless and savage men,” Abiy said in his Nobel prize lecture. @FT @davidpilling
Africa






The falcon cannot hear the falconer;


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.


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After multiple efforts, Amhara state authorities are calling now on all able bodied high school students, among others, in the state to join the fight and 'bury the enemy.' @_hudsonc
Africa


After multiple efforts, Amhara state authorities are calling now on all able bodied high school students, among others, in the state to join the fight and 'bury the enemy.' If high school kids are being led to slaughter maybe start negotiations instead?


 9-JUL-2021 :: His Army has been defeated and now he is sending conscripts to slaughter whilst his Adversaries are fighting for their existence.

https://j.mp/3Bk45Gj

In the Horn of Africa the Prime Minister of Ethiopia who cloaked his messianic zeal in the language of Mandela 1994 is unlikely to last more than twelve months.

His Army has been defeated and now he is sending conscripts to slaughter whilst his Adversaries are fighting for their existence. 

The Contagion will surely boomerang as far as Asmara and destabilise the Horn of Africa for the forseeable future.
If I could I would be limit short the Ethiopian Birr [It trades at 60 to the $ on the black market


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Ethiopia’s Civil War Is a Disaster That’s Only Getting Worse @bopinion @ghoshworld
Africa



As the world is transfixed by the tragedy playing out in Afghanistan, another humanitarian catastrophe is getting little scrutiny.
In Ethiopia, a conflict with roots in a dispute between the central government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and authorities of the northern Tigray region has spilled into neighboring provinces and metastasized into a full-blown civil war — one fueled as much by ethnic enmities as by political grievances. 

It’s time for the West to pay attention and get tougher on the government in Addis Ababa.

International rights groups are seeing an all-too-familiar pattern repeat itself in Ethiopia: There’s the weaponization of rape and hunger, the use of child soldiers, reports of ethnic cleansing and warnings of genocide. The death toll from the fighting is thought to be in the tens of thousands, and millions have been displaced.

Worse is to come: Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians face famine, according to United Nations agencies. 

The fighting is preventing food aid from reaching people in the greatest need. 

Abiy, a Nobel Peace laureate, has ignored appeals from the international community to halt the fighting. 

With the Tigray People’s Liberation Front having inflicted a series of defeats on government forces, the prime minister has called on civilians to join the army and militias, stoking fears of a wider conflagration.
Inevitably, the crisis has resurrected memories of Ethiopia’s previous experience with famine. 

In the 1980s, an estimated 1 million people died from starvation and malnutrition. 

Comparisons are also being drawn to Africa’s other cataclysmic ethnic conflicts, including the Rwandan genocide.
Ethiopia is Africa’s second-most populous nation and was, until the civil war broke out last fall, held up as a beacon for the rest of the continent: Its recent economic success was cited by investors and aid donors alike as an example for other developing countries.
That success is now imperiled as the conflict exacts a heavy toll on the economy. 

The risk premium on Ethiopia’s dollar debt has almost doubled this year. 

The ardor of investors has cooled with the government’s pleas for a debt restructuring. 

As Bloomberg News has pointed out, the premium demanded to hold Ethiopia’s 2024 Eurobonds instead of U.S. Treasuries has climbed to 987 basis points, the highest in Africa after Zambia, which is in default. The average spread for African dollar bonds is 541 basis points.
And yet neither economic nor humanitarian considerations carry much weight with Abiy. 

The prime minister seems to have taken an election triumph in June — his party won a large majority in parliament — as an endorsement of his no-compromise posture in the war against the Tigrayans.
But the conflict has grown more complicated since then. Insurgents from the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, have formed an alliance with the Tigrayans against the government.
Who can stop Ethiopia from the coming catastrophe? The African Union is too beholden to the government, which provides its headquarters in Addis Ababa, to have much sway over Abiy, and it doesn’t inspire trust among the rebels. 

The UN’s pleas for a ceasefire have gone unheeded by both sides.
The Biden administration, on the other hand, has some leverage. Ethiopia is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest recipient of American foreign aid, amounting to about $1 billion last year. 

The European Union is another significant donor and trading partner. Some U.S. and EU assistance has been suspended or postponed, but this has not had any restraining effect on Abiy, who refused even to meet with USAID chief Samantha Power when she visited Addis Ababa last month.
Just in case Joe Biden missed this demonstration of defiance, Abiy also snubbed the U.S. special envoy to the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, who flew to the Ethiopian capital the following week.
With shuttle-diplomacy and mild financial restrictions having failed, Western governments will need to lean more heavily on the prime minister to pause the fighting and allow humanitarian supplies into the war zone. 

The Biden administration can lead the way by suspending all nonessential aid to Addis Ababa, as well as blocking assistance from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. 

Washington should also follow through on its threat to cancel duty-free access for Ethiopian exports to the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
Having already announced some restrictions on visas for Ethiopian government and military officials involved in “perpetrating the conflict,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken should now impose harsher sanctions, including freezing any assets these officials hold in the U.S., and pressing the Europeans to do likewise.
Anticipating a ratcheting up of Western pressure, Abiy is seeking support elsewhere: He got some from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a visit to Ankara earlier this month. 

But the combined clout of the U.S. and Europe remains substantial, and it should now be deployed to save millions of Ethiopians from calamity.



What is clear is that Abiy’s campaign to centralize power in the capital is in tatters. 


‘The genie out of the bottle’ @AfricanBizMag




November 8, 2020 Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance




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WPP Scangroup reports FY [loss] for 2020 [1.732528b] versus 158.792m
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services


Par Value:                  1/-
Closing Price:           3.57
Total Shares Issued:          432155985.00
Market Capitalization:        1,542,796,866
EPS:               -3.89
PE:                
 
The largest marketing services company in East Africa.

WPP ScanGroup reports FY 2020 Earnings versus FY 2019

FY Total Assets 8.741833b versus 12.803173b

FY 2020 Continuing Operations

FY Billings 6.341145b versus 9.282328b

FY Revenue 2.238979b versus 2.872837b -22% 

FY Interest Income 204.010m versus 185.203m

FY Interest expense [22.749m] versus [19.583m]

FY Other Income 20.231m versus 30.901m

FY Operating & administrative expenses [3.462382b] versus [2.742291b]

FY Impairment of investment in associates [158.827m]

FY Impairment of Goodwill [315.671m]

FY [loss] Profit before Tax [1.454493b] versus 290.682m

FY Tax Charge [278.035m] versus [131.890m]

FY [loss] / Profit for the Year from continuing operations [1.732528b] versus 158.792m

Discontinued Operations

[Loss] Profit for the Year from discontinued operations [126.682m] versus 332.617m

FY Net gain on disposal of discontinued operations after Tax 2.242028b 

FY Profit for the Year 382.818m versus 491.409m

FY EPS [3.89] versus 0.34

FY Cash and Cash Equivalents 1.854860b versus 2.123944b

Commentary

Operating and Administrative expenses of the Group increased by 720m or 26% mainly as a result of accounts receivables and loan provisions and severance costs resulting from a cost reduction plan.

The one-off charges amounted to 774m

Group takes a ''cautiously optimistic view of 2021''

Foreign Equity Investments

Group has 5 foreign investments Ocean Ogilvy Gabon, Ocean Central Africa Ocean Burkina Faso, Ocean Afrique Occidentale and Ocean Conseil.

The Company has not accounted for these associates using the equity method as the Group has not been able to obtain financial information relating to the above entities for some time and all efforts by the group to obtain any information from these entities has been to no avail.

The group has not received any dividend returns

Company has made full provision a number of years ago.

Specifically the value of investments in subsidiaries and associates was impaired by 3.4b and 159m respectively.

Company paid a special interim dividend of 8 shillings a share on 28th July 2020 following the sale of shares in the Kantar businesses.

Conclusions

Some very dramatic impairments 

Note  Group takes a ''cautiously optimistic view of 2021''

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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September 2021
 
 
 
 
 
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