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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 29th of November 2021

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Treasuries in Biggest Rally Since Early Months of Covid Pandemic @markets
World Of Finance


Concern about the latest Covid variant on Friday drove 10-year Treasury yields to their biggest one-day drop since the early months of the pandemic.
Investors dumped riskier assets and flocked to haven markets as they dialed back bets on the pace of central bank policy tightening. 

The rally in Treasuries pushed the yield on the benchmark 10-year note down 16 basis points to close around 1.47%, its largest single-session decline since March 2020.

Poor post-holiday liquidity in Treasuries appears to have amplified the move, along with widespread positioning in favor of a monetary policy shift in the opposite direction. 

Two- and five-year yields had reached their highest levels of the pandemic on Wednesday, providing increased scope for Friday’s post-Thanksgiving turnaround.

 “It remains to be seen how much of a global impact the new variant may have, but if there is another big outbreak resulting in more restrictive measures by governments across the globe, it may delay the more hawkish central bank policy currently priced in by front-end markets,” said Zachary Griffiths, rates strategist at Wells Fargo Securities. 

“I’d imagine that thin markets are only exacerbating the sell-off in risk assets and rally in safe havens.”
On Thursday, economists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said they expected the Federal Reserve would move faster than expected in their tapering of monetary policies, as inflationary pressures build.
The central bank will double the pace it’s withdrawing its massive asset purchase program to $30 billion a month from January and start raising interest rates from near zero in June, the economists led by Jan Hatzius said in a report to clients on Thursday.
Rate hikes will occur in September and December, and again twice in 2023, the economists said, revising their previous forecast of a hike in July and November.
Meanwhile, traders on Friday pushed back the timing of a first 25-basis-point rate increase by the Fed to September from June.
The pain is being felt across global markets, hitting equity benchmarks, emerging-market stocks and bonds, and the Bloomberg dollar index. 

The new strain, identified in South Africa, is sparking fear of another resurgence.
The news is “a harsh reminder that we are still dealing with a pandemic that is not completely under control,” Griffiths said. 

23-AUG-2021 ::  ZigZag Therefore, I am clearing the decks and just holding

$TNX 20%
Ultras (#UB_F) 50% 

$NFLX 10%
Short ZAR 10% 

Cash 10%

[AND A REGIME CHANGE IS UNDERWAY] There is no training – 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. @ptj_official


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.


Interesting the Infection happened in the bond and rate markets and has now spilled over into FX 


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The Music has been playing for Eternity and its about to stop
World Of Finance

And below captioned is my favourite musical snippet of recent times 

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Is Vladimir Putin preparing for war? @NewStatesman Bruno Maçães
Law & Politics

What does Vladimir Putin want? Answering this question is difficult as there appears to be little logic to his restless ­actions. 

The Russian president once tried to diversify the country’s economy to make it less dependent on its energy sector, only to later abandon the project as utopian. 

Under his leadership, Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and intervened in Syria in 2015, leaving Russian troops in both countries without exit strategies. 

His long reign of power, which began in 1999 and included a stint as prime minister between 2008 and 2012, was supposed to bring order and continuity to Russian politics, but now his succession looms like a deadly game of ­roulette.

Putin repeatedly talks about chaos, and appears to regard himself as a creature of the chaos that enveloped Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago. 

Today, both Russia and Putin have no illusions about the world. At the Valdai summit in the ­Caucasus ­mountains this year – a private gathering of Russian and international intellectuals and officials, at which I was present – Putin said that Russian society had developed “herd immunity to extremism”, which makes it well-suited to the “upheavals and socio-­economic cataclysms” that are to come.

For Putin, stability is an illusion. As he said at the Valdai summit, quoting the German poet Johann Wolfgang von ­Goethe, those who felt like the winners after the end of the Cold War “and thought they climbed Mount Olympus, soon discovered that the ground was falling away… this time it was their turn, and nobody could stop the moment, no ­matter how fair it seemed”. 

The once-dominant West must now brace for deep changes in the world system.

As I listened to Putin’s speech, it seemed that this line got to the heart of who he is, and why he has come to play the role of evil demiurge, the great tyrant Yaltabaoth, the Son of Chaos. 

The post-Cold War prospect of a global community united in peace and democracy has vanished, and for many in the West it is Putin who is to blame for the return to global strife, confusion and disorder.

“After the death of Mahatma Gandhi, there’s nobody to talk to,” the Russian leader sarcastically joked in 2007. 

There have been many interpretations of this reference. For some, it was no more than a grim witticism. 

Others think it was an oblique reflection on the dominance of realpolitik and the futility of international dialogue. 

As a long-time observer of Russian politics in Washington recently told me, it could be a veiled reference to the two men Putin regards as his soulmates: Stalin and Hitler, both of whom died around the same time as Gandhi did. 

In other words, it was a private joke. “Even Putin knows better than blurting that out,” said the source.

As odd or shocking as it may sound, Putin probably does consider himself to be in the same category as Gandhi. Both he and ­Gandhi are slayers of empires. Both are ­disrupters of the status quo. 

Just as Gandhi played the decisive role in ending the British empire, Putin may one day look back and take satisfaction in his role precipitating the fall of the postwar US empire and reopening the gates of history.

In practical terms, China might be the main beneficiary. As the Russian president put it in Valdai: 

“We are observing that certain countries are on the rise even though they have a lot of unsolved problems. They resemble erupting volcanoes, like the one on the Spanish island, which is disgorging its lava. But there are also extinguished volcanoes, where fires are long dead and one can only hear birds singing.” 

The first line was a reference to China, the latter to western Europe. As for Russia, it might be seen as a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.

In this passage, Putin was referring to the theory of “passionarity”, which was developed by the Soviet historian Lev ­Gumilyov. 

The central tenet of Gumilyov’s philosophy is that the life of each nation passes through different stages of growth and decay, as its vital energy expands or contracts. 

Gumilyov’s ideas have had a significant bearing on Putin’s world-view. But when asked in Valdai what his main intellectual influences were, the first name Putin mentioned was the 20th-century Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin. “I have his book lying on my shelf, and I pick it up and read it from time to time,” he said.

Some have argued that Putin models ­himself on Ilyin’s description of the archetypical Russian leader – a strong personality able to contain the excesses of the Russian spirit, too vital and expansive to be restrained by mere rules.

Putin, the Son of Chaos, came of age in the Soviet Union’s dying moments in 1989 and 1990 when the geopolitical might of the USSR collapsed like a house of cards. 

“I got the feeling then that the country no longer existed. That it had ­disappeared,” Putin recounted in an interview in 2000.

Writing in 1990, the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky could already see how the next decade would be one of chaos and contradictions, but he also understood the close connection – at least in Russia – between chaos and political power. 

“This chaos and these contradictions”, he wrote, “are, in fact, a guarantee of the stability of a power that is attempting to create order out of chaos.”

Brodsky added that the last days of the Soviet Union would become an object of universal fascination because they were evidence of an existential truth. 

In a world bereft of revealed religion, we must accept that no one knows the meaning of life. Some will settle on daily routines and never ask how they should spend their years on Earth. 

The political regime under which they live, including democracy, will push or tilt people in certain directions and provide comfort that whatever life they lead is as close as possible to the ideal. 

Brodsky thought that it was to the credit of the dying Soviet government that it did not even try to evade or disguise the question of meaning. There was no answer, there was no meaning to life – people had simply to live with that fact.

What Brodsky identified was the connection between power and chaos. Since power needs the presence of chaos as a source of legitimacy, then chaos itself is legitimised and may even be celebrated

When Russia actively pursues the destabilisation of countries such as Ukraine, whose territory it invaded in 2014 and continues to threaten with regular troop movements, this is partially in order to appeal to a rather crude hierarchy of power, between those states that can create order and those that fail this basic political task.

Brodsky recognised that power and chaos feed each other and grow together. Power is born from the act of bringing order to chaos. If there is no chaos then power itself must be used to create it. This is central to Putin’s thinking.

Addressing a crowd in ­Vasilyevsky Spusk Square in Moscow in 2015, he said: “We ourselves will continue moving forward. We will strengthen our statehood and our country. We will overcome the difficulties that we have so easily created for ourselves over these recent times.”

Chaos is never completely pacified. It continues to exist beneath the veneer of civilisation and the role of the sovereign consists in its management, so that it does not erupt to the surface. 

That is the secret of what Putin wants. You may look all you want for a grand design, a vision of the world. Putin has a preference for something much more fluid and volatile. 

His conception of political order is one finely balanced between power and chaos. I suspect he would call it natural. 

He regards the Western attempt to banish the very thought of chaos from political life as a pretence, a naive belief that the contradictions of politics can be comprehensively resolved.

In 2019, at the Palazzo della Gran Guardia in Verona, I asked the influential Russian strategist Sergey Karaganov what Russia’s intentions are in Syria. 

Russia intervened in the Syrian Civil War in 2015 to fight Islamic State and stop the Assad regime from being overthrown. 

The first phase of the military intervention had been successful – Bashar al-Assad had been saved through the timely intercession of his Russian protector. But what now? 

There must be a plan. Karaganov, the head of the Presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defence Policy, a man of significant influence in the Kremlin, shook his head in mild censure. 

“This is not about creating heaven on Earth. We are not Americans. Things are already as we want them. Syria offers endless business opportunities for our economic agents and it gives us leverage over countries such as Saudi Arabia or Iran.” 

Russia is in no hurry to create a permanent political order – an expensive project and one where its qualities are less in demand and to which it can contribute little.

It is in Belarus that Putin has elevated the politics of chaos into an art form. For as long as Belarus remained stable, Alexander Lukashenko, the president since 1994, felt no need to please Moscow and even dared to displease it, such as when he continued to equivocate on the legal status of Crimea

This suited the European Union, which upgraded its political and economic relations with the dictatorship. Then crisis struck. In 2019, Moscow began to reduce its economic support to Belarus. 

Covid then severely damaged the economy and public discontent festered, with crowds protesting the results of the last presidential election in 2020.

Fearing he would be ousted from power, Lukashenko turned to Russia for protection. The Kremlin understands that Europeans have such a deep aversion to dealing with instability and conflict that a sure way to repel Europe’s encroachment on the Russian near-abroad is to engineer unresolved conflicts, political disorder, and border disputes

Of the six countries forming the Eastern Partnership – the EU initiative governing relations with its eastern neighbours Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – only one, Belarus, is not beset by an unresolved military conflict featuring Russian military and political involvement. 

Even that exception may no longer apply, as Russian troops have been deployed to guard the Polish border. In despair, Lukashenko is destined one day to offer the Belarus state to Putin.

The more the EU aspires to be an island of stability in a world of chaos, the more dangerous and fatal its position becomes. 

The crisis on the Polish border is a good example. Lukashenko ferried large numbers of Iraqis and Syrians from their countries of origin directly to the Polish border, manufacturing a migrant crisis that he sees as revenge for previous EU sanctions, as well as a source of revenue in the form of smuggling fees. 

The chaos grows and, since only Putin seems capable of stopping it, European leaders are now asking him to intervene in Belarus.

The two approaches – one that wants to build a placid civilisation, the other to remind us how fragile everything is – could not be more evident than in the way Europe and Russia think about energy security. 

For officials in Brussels and the main national capitals, close energy links with Russia are seen as a form of mutual dependence. 

They think that any concerns about being dependent on Russian energy are misplaced because Russia is interested in being a reliable supplier of natural gas – a large source of its state revenue. 

This is a risky bet because Putin has already shown that he believes energy crises are useful reminders of Russia’s geostrategic power.

These lessons apply to domestic politics no less than foreign policy. The Kremlin is far from shy when using state power for its international goals or when punishing its enemies. 

Yet state power was restrained when Russia dealt with the pandemic, with the most difficult decisions, such as vaccine mandates, left to regional governors. 

For Putin, why promise what cannot be delivered? In Sochi he noted how “the coronavirus pandemic has become another reminder of how fragile our community is, how vulnerable it is, and our most important task is to ensure humanity a safe existence and resilience”. 

Remind people of their fundamental human weakness and individual powerlessness and it will reinforce their ties to the state. After all, bourgeois comfort breeds revolutionary thoughts.

There are risks to Putin’s strategy, and the question is whether he can control the forces of chaos or whether he risks being devoured by the demons of his own making. 

With respect to the politics of natural gas, can Putin be sure the forces he unleashed will not come back to haunt him, or perhaps his successor? 

European anxiety might well precipitate a faster transition to green energy sources, with a major impact on Russia, a country heavily dependent on exports of fossil fuels to the EU.

A final risk is the fraught question of succession. Putin’s hold on power has been strengthened by the fear of a deadly contest to take his place, but the more Putin, aged 69, closes every path to a stable succession plan, the more dangerous and chaotic that moment will become. 

No one in Russia seems to have any idea of what would happen were Putin suddenly to leave the political scene.

There is a view of Russian politics where the hierarchy of power is direct and unambiguous. None of the conversations I had over many years with Kremlin insiders supports this view. 

They are naturally reluctant to share too many details, let alone to be quoted by name, but a discernible picture emerges when speaking to them: Putin prefers to send ambiguous messages to his deputies. 

He will have everyone guessing at the meaning of his words. In the case of things going wrong, it was simply because this meaning was not accurately interpreted. 

Under these conditions, chaos is bound to grow, but it is seen as productive and capable of reinforcing state power.

In 2019, the year before the pandemic, Putin came to Valdai accompanied by four illustrious guests: Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan; Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the president of Kazakhstan; Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines; and King Abdullah II of Jordan. 

It was the symbol of an integrated Eurasia, the most popular geopolitical theory in contemporary Russia. 

This year he brought not four world leaders but four spectres: the pandemic, the climate crisis, the threat of war, and uncontrolled migration. 

The new four horsemen figured prominently throughout his speech. As we enter a new age of chaos, Putin may feel vindicated. Is he an agent of chaos or merely its prophet?

Some leaders side with order, others choose chaos. Putin believes that nature has a preference for chaos, so the latter are destined to win. 

Russia may be a sick man but a sick man with a gun is still a dangerous man, and in a world in turmoil we may all end up sick anyway. That is the Russia Putin plans to leave behind.

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5 OCT 15 :: Putin is a GeoPolitical GrandMaster
Law & Politics

Let us return to UNGA, where Putin set out his stall and I quote: ‘’I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realise now what you’ve done?’’
With hundreds of thousands of refugees entering Europe, his question was a sharp one.
Within 24 hours of delivering that speech, Russia instructed that the US should vacate Syrian Air Space. 

This message was not delivered to Ashton Carter by his Russian counterpart Shoigu.
It was delivered to the US Embassy in Baghdad. And pretty soon after that message was delivered, Russia began its intervention on the side of President Bashar Assad of Syria.
You could hear the squealing start immediately from Ankara to Riyadh, from the GCC to Washington. 

All these capitals have assets on the ground in Syria, and what is clear is that Russia is not making a distinction between IS or the ‘’moderate opposition fighting Assad’’ [which really means ‘’our’’ terrorists].
Lavrov said: “If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist, it’s a terrorist, right?”
Putin fancies himself the fly-catcher and syria the fly-trap. The speed of execution confirms that Russia is once again a geopolitical actor that will have to be considered. 

It is a breath-taking rebound.

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5 DEC 16 :: The Parabolic Rebound of Vladimir Putin
Law & Politics

So much has happened in 2016, from the Brexit vote to President-elect Trump, and it certainly feels like we have entered a new normal. One common theme is a parabolic Putin rebound

At this moment, President Putin has Fortress Europe surrounded. The intellectual father of the new Zeitgeist that propelled Brexit, Le Pen, the Five Star movement in Italy, Gert Wilders in the Netherlands, is Vladimir Putin.
In the Middle East, it is Putin who is calling the shots in Aleppo, and in a quite delicious irony it looks like he has pocketed Opec as well.
However, my starting point is the election of President Donald Trump because hindsight will surely show that Russia ran a seriously sophisticated programme of interference, mostly digital. 

Don DeLillo, who is a prophetic 21st writer, writes as follows in one of his short stories:
The specialist is monitoring data on his mission console when a voice breaks in, “a voice that carried with it a strange and unspecifiable poignancy”.
He checks in with his flight-dynamics and conceptual- paradigm officers at Colorado Command:
“We have a deviate, Tomahawk.”
“We copy. There’s a voice.”
“We have gross oscillation here.”
“There’s some interference. I have gone redundant but I’m not sure it’s helping.”
“We are clearing an outframe to locate source.”
“Thank you, Colorado.”
“It is probably just selective noise. You are negative red on the step-function quad.”
“It was a voice,” I told them.
“We have just received an affirm on selective noise... We will correct, Tomahawk. In the meantime, advise you to stay redundant.”
The voice, in contrast to Colorado’s metallic pidgin, is a melange of repartee, laughter, and song, with a “quality of purest, sweetest sadness”.
“Somehow we are picking up signals from radio programmes of 40, 50, 60 years ago.”

I have no doubt that Putin ran a seriously 21st predominantly digital programme of interference which amplified the Trump candidacy. POTUS Trump was an ideal candidate for this kind of support.
Trump is a linguistic warfare specialist. Look at the names he gave his opponents: Crooked Hillary, Lyin’ Ted, Little Marco, ‘Low-energy’ Jeb — were devastating and terminal. 

The first thing is plausible deniability (and some folks here at home need to remember those words).
The second thing is non-linearity, you have to learn how to navigate a linear system (the new 21st digital ecosystem) in a non-linear way. 
Beppe Grillo, the comic turned leader of the Five Star movement in Italy said: This is the deflagration of an epoch. It’s the apocalypse of this information system, of the TVs, of the big newspapers, of the intellectuals, of the journalists.”
He is right, traditional media has been disrupted and the insurgents can broadcast live and over the top. 

From feeding the hot-house conspiracy frenzy on line (‘’a constant state of destabilised perception’’), timely and judicious doses of Wikileaks leaks which drained Hillary’s bona fides and her turn-out and motivated Trump’s, what we have witnessed is something remarkable and noteworthy.
Putin has proven himself an information master, and his adversaries are his information victims.

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Putin's system was also ripe for export, Mr Surkov added. Foreign governments were already paying close attention, since the Russian political algorithm had long predicted the volatility now seen in western democracies.
Law & Politics

With a flourish he sponsored lavish arts festivals for the most provocative modern artists in Moscow, then supported Orthodox fundamentalists, dressed all in black and carrying crosses, who in turn attacked the modern-art exhibitions. @TheAtlantic

"It was the first non-linear war," writes Surkov in a new short story, "Without Sky," published under his pseudonym and set in a dystopian future after the "fifth world war":

A ceaseless shape-shifting that is unstoppable because it is undefinable Adam Curtis
The underlying aim, Surkov says, is not to win the war, but to use the conflict to create a constant state of destabilised perception, in order to manage and control

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B.1.1.529 seems to have gone from 0.1% to 50% in just a couple of weeks, when it took Delta several months to achieve that. #Omicron @TWenseleers

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

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Combined with effective reproduction nr of Omicron being ca 6x higher than Delta, it would appear to me that this could only be explained if the advantage is mostly linked to immune escape #Omicron @TWenseleers

..Combined with the effective reproduction nr of Omicron being ca 6x higher than Delta, it would appear to me that this could only be explained if the advantage is mostly linked to immune escape, and that it just reinfects people 6x more frequently than Delta.

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Looks like the new strain was either incubated in an immunocompromized person for months or serially passaged in a lab in the presence of convalescent plasma #Omicron @ydeigin

Looks like the new strain was either incubated in an immunocompromized person for months or serially passaged in a lab in the presence of convalescent plasma — along the lines of what the Italians did a while back.

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@WHO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 23 November 2021

Globally, the numbers of weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths have increased for more than a month

During the week of 15-21 November 2021, nearly 3.6 million confirmed new cases and over 51 000 deaths were reported, reflecting a 6% increase for cases and deaths as compared to the previous week. 

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Nation w/ fast COVID19 case/day increase past 2wks @jmlukens

South Africa: 1124%
France: 191%
Spain: 134%
Portugal: 115%
Switzerland: 111%
Ecuador: 105%
Czechia: 101%
Jordan: 95%
Vietnam: 89%
Sweden: 88%

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

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Nations w/ fastest COVID avg growth rate (daily/total) @jmlukens

Laos: 2.01%
Vietnam: 1.36%
Austria: 1.26%
Germany: 1.06%
Belgium: 1.06%
Slovakia: 1.05%
Norway: 0.99%
Hungary: 0.98%
Czechia: 0.94%
Netherlands: 0.89%

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COVID-19 infections are still rising in 59 countries. @ReutersGraphics

18 countries are still near the peak of their infection curve

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1279
Dollar Index 96.28
Japan Yen 113.44
Swiss Franc 0.9254
Pound 1.3336
Aussie 0.7133
India Rupee 74.975
South Korea Won 1193.88
Brazil Real 5.5683
Egypt Pound 15.7768
South Africa Rand 16.17

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Bitcoin tumbles 20% from record highs earlier this month, entering a bear market #BTC @crypto 57,300 Last
World Currencies

If after this morning you still think that #BTC is a hedge against world events, or represents "diversification", you must stay out of finance, & take up some other hobby s.a. stamp collecting, bird watching or something less harmful to yourself & others. @nntaleb

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Oil’s Black Friday: Algos, Options Turn Tumble Into a Crash @markets
Minerals, Oil & Energy

Black Friday turned red very quickly for global oil markets.
The day after Thanksgiving has been choppy before -- fewer traders can mean more volatility -- but nothing like this year. 

The prospect of the freshly named Omicron variant of Covid derailing the world’s fight against the pandemic saw an early morning sell-off become a full-blown crash.
At the end, investors were rushing to cover short positions, analysts were ripping up forecasts and next week’s OPEC+ meeting was up in the air. 

West Texas Intermediate oil, the U.S. benchmark, closed 13% lower, the biggest decline since April 2020. Brent crude slumped 12%.
Oil had climbed fairly steadily through the year, staging a comeback as economic life gradually recovered from the pandemic, putting drivers back in cars and passengers into planes. 

Many analysts have global demand close to pre-pandemic levels above 100 million barrels a day. With OPEC+ keeping a tight grip on supply, several senior traders said $100 oil could be close.
But news of a fresh Covid-19 variant, which scientists fear could be more transmissible and less susceptible to vaccines than existing strains, sent familiar shivers through the market. 

Benchmark crude futures posted the biggest single-day plunge since the early days of the pandemic, showing just how fragile this recovery is. 

“It’s been a crazy day in the markets that feels very reminiscent of last March,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda Europe. 

WTI fell below 200-day moving average for the first time since November 2020
  The initial plunge was driven by revived fears of widespread lockdowns and travel bans, but a host of technical factors, including anaemic post-holiday volumes, exacerbated the sell-off. 

The panic spread to every corner of the market from European diesel trades and time-spreads, the relative value of oil today to oil tomorrow, through to opaque options markets.
“Factors such as the break of technical support levels and an environment with lower liquidity post the Thanksgiving holiday have intensified the price drop,” said Giovanni Staunovo, commodity analyst at UBS Group AG.
It had already been an unusual week in the market. On Tuesday, the U.S. and other top oil consumers said they would release supplies from emergency reserves in a bid to curb surging energy costs. 

In response, the OPEC+ cartel, led by Saudi Arabia, had said it might scrap plans to increase production. London’s benchmark Brent prices rallied back above $80 a barrel.
But that was before Omicron.
Asia and and European trading saw a steady sell-off early on Friday, prices were down 5% by mid-morning in London. But the real excitement came in U.S. hours.
The market spiraled ever lower as oil broke through key technical levels -- U.S. futures pierced their 100-day and 200-day moving averages. 

That gave algorithmic computer-driven trades the upper hand on a day when many participants were away from the market.
“The sell-off has no doubt been driven exacerbated by algo-driven trading as key technical levels broke down,” said Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst at ThinkMarkets.
Then the options market kicked in. When prices fall heavily, banks often sell futures contracts in order to hedge themselves against losses from put options -- contracts that grant the right to sell at a particular price. 

Banks often sell puts to producers who want to protect against a bear market. This feedback loop, known as negative gamma to options traders, was seen as a factor on Friday.
“Dealers just took down hedges and they are shorter put options than normal, so must sell futures to hedge,” said Ilia Bouchouev, a partner at Pentathlon Investments and former head of oil derivatives at Koch Supply and Trading.
At the worst point of the crash, New York’s WTI futures slumped 14% from its pre-Thanksgiving close and London’s Brent collapsed more than 12%. 

By the close they’d both recovered slightly, but for London futures it was still the seventh worst one-day drop in history.
What happens next depends on whether the direst predictions for Omicron’s impact are realized.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a note that Friday’s move priced in a 4 million-barrel hit to demand over the next three months, nowhere close to the first lockdown, but more than enough to throw the market back into disarray. In any case, the Wall Street bank said that was excessive.
For many the crash is a buying opportunity because they expect prices to recover quickly when the U.S. market returns fully after the holiday and volumes return to normal. The longer-term outlook remains robust.
“This is a huge overreaction in terms of the market,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd., said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “This is the market pricing in the worst possible scenarios.”

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BRENT front-month futures closed down -11.3% on Friday, a percentage price change almost 5 standard deviations away from the mean. It was the 9th largest one-day decline since 1990 @JKempEnergy
Minerals, Oil & Energy

BRENT front-month futures closed down -11.3% on Friday, a percentage price change almost 5 standard deviations away from the mean. It was the 9th largest one-day decline since 1990 (larger declines have only been reported on 8 out of 8148 trading days):

Mirrors on the ceiling, The Pink champagne on ice

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door

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Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 93 days @ReutersGraphics

All countries are currently below the peak of their infection curve.

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Update #COVID19 in GAUTENG • 2,629 new cases today, 7-day avg up 331% week-on-week Case incidence doubling every 3.5 days @rid1tweets

• 2,629 new cases today, 7-day avg up 331% week-on-week 
• Case incidence at 8.5 new cases per 100k population per day, doubling every 3.5 days 
• 750 currently in hospital Ambulance
• % adult pop. vaxxed = 37.5% 

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Full Text: China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals via XINHUA H/T 吴鹏 Wu Peng @WuPeng_MFAChina & @hmryder

Entering the new era, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the principles of China’s Africa policy – sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and pursuing the greater good and shared interests, charting the course for China’s cooperation with Africa, and providing the fundamental guidelines.
The world is going through profound change of a scale unseen in a century. 

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South Africa expected 300,000 British passport holders from Dec-Feb according to @satsa_sa @SkyeGrove

Tourism Business Council SA said it would have resulted in 300,000 jobs.
We lost R180mil every week we've been on the UK ‘red list’.

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Let's meet at the war front, he wrote "The time has come to lead the country with sacrifice. @Reuters

19-JUL-2021 :: 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.

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November 8, 2020 .@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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

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A year ago, the Ethiopian government called it a mere law enforcement operation that would be finished within weeks. Now it is an existential war.

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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Deadly clashes between #Sudan's army & #Ethiopia's army supported by Eritrean troops & #Amhara militias in #Al_Fashaga. Ethiopia troops had penetrated 17 km into Flag of Sudan territory this morning. @PatrickHeinisc1

Deadly clashes between #Sudan's army & #Ethiopia's army supported by Eritrean troops & #Amhara militias in #Al_Fashaga. 21 Sudanese soldiers were killed & at least 30 injured. Ethiopia troops had penetrated 17 km into Sudan territory this morning.

JUL-2021 :: The Contagion will surely boomerang and destabilise the Horn of Africa for the forseeable future.

February 1st 2021 ‘The genie out of the bottle’ @AfricanBizMag

“Everybody else is going to start wanting more freedom within the constitution. It’s impossible for the state to manage a guerrilla war up there and at the same time manage to control the rest of the country. If he put more resources into Tigray he’s going to lose more control of the other regions.''
“There’s no hope for him. If he has a fair election he will lose full stop.

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The landlocked southern African country is home to Malawi Gold, an iconic marijuana strain known for its energising properties. @thecontinent_

Malawi’s agriculture minister has appointed none other than Mike Tyson as the country’s official cannabis ambassador.

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How Old Is Zimbabwe’s Famed ‘Big Tree’? The majestic African baobab has seen several growth spurts over its 1,200 or so years. @atlasobscura

ADRIAN PATRUT AND HIS TEAM flew in from three different continents to study the “Big Tree” at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and for good reason. 

The Big Tree is a colossal structure, soaring over 80 feet in the air, around 75 feet in circumference, with bulky branches, many stems that make up its trunk, and a wide, gaping hole at its core. The Big Tree is thought to be one of the largest and oldest African baobab trees in the world.

Once the team of three arrived at Victoria Falls, they immediately rented a car to see the Big Tree in person. Its proximity to the falls, a major tourist destination, means that millions of visitors see it in a normal year, making it a sensation in its own right. 

The sight did not disappoint, Patrut says. “It was as if we had entered straight into a museum, into a well-known painting of a master, but we operated as scientists,” according to the nuclear chemist at Babes-Bolyai University in Romania. “I circled the baobab and admired it from all possible angles.”

Patrut, who has been studying ancient trees for decades, and his team made the pilgrimage to study the growth, age, and architecture of the tree. 

Dating ancient trees often involves counting “growth rings” that appear seasonally, a tried and true method that unfortunately doesn’t work well for baobabs. 

These often massive trees have only very faint growth rings, and many have large cavities in their trunk and stems that confound attempts to date them. 

Until recently, most of evaluations of African baobab trees have been “guesstimates,” he says.

But over the past decade, Patrut has been refining a more precise method for estimating the age of baobab trees: radiocarbon dating. Patrut has used it on trees across the continent: South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia. 

For the Big Tree, his team found that its multiple stems have different ages, with its oldest one dating back to about 870, around the time that Vikings first settled in Iceland.

This kind of work, Patrut says, can help scientists get a better idea of the range of life spans for the eight species of baobabs native to Africa and Australia, which are thought to reach up to 2,500 years. 

And this information can help researchers and conservationists better understand the health status of a tree. This is especially important because many of these trees are dying for reasons that are still largely mysterious. 

African baobabs are a “truly amazing, but gravely threatened trees,” says Karl F. Von Reden, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who was involved in the analysis of the samples.

Picture a tree: flared base of roots, a straight and slender trunk, an evenly spreading crown. Many baobab trees—including the Big Tree—have a much more varied architecture. 

In Madagascar, the six species of baobabs native to the island tend to have a single fat trunk, topped by a small crown. 

Australia is also home to a species, characterized by a swollen, blown-out base. 

The African baobab tree is different, and composed of several stems knitted together at the base to form a ring shape. Each stem may have started growing at a different time, so they each merit separate study.

To do this, the team inserted a T-shaped tool called an “increment borer” into different areas of the stems of the baobab. The tool extracts tiny wood samples at different depths, which the team then treated and sent to a lab for dating. 

The results show that the nine stems (including a “false” stem that emerged out of an adjacent one) can be lumped into three distinct generations. 

There was the oldest one, at about 1,100 to 1,200 years old, a group that are around 600 to 700 years old, and another generation that dates to between 200 and 250 years ago. 

The team also found that the oldest stems haven’t grown further for more than a century.

“Stopped growing a hundred or so years ago—that’s an interesting finding,” says Bernd Kromer, a radiocarbon dating expert at Heidelberg University who was not involved in the research. 

The stunting may be attributable to stress and age, but the tree is still alive and continues to produce leaves and flowers.

It’s unclear how baobabs can live for so long. Patrut says that a tree’s capacity to periodically produce new stems that fuse together into the distinctive ring-shaped architecture allows them to persist and reach very large sizes. 

Others say that monumental trees can have extremely long lives because they may be particularly resilient to external agents, including diseases, cancers, and pests.

Patrut’s study gives us insight into the “incredible strategies that trees use to cope with stress and old age,” says Livia Zapponi, an ecologist at the Edmund Mach Foundation, who has studied monumental trees and was not involved in the study.

The Big Tree is something of an outlier. While there are more than 100 million African baobabs in the world, fewer than 100 are thought to be 1,000 years or more old, says Patrut. 

All of them have inevitably endured countless threats, both acute and chronic. The Big Tree is no exception: In the 1960s, it survived a violent storm that virtually destroyed the upper part of its canopy. 

As climate change continues, African baobabs, especially older ones that rely on heavy rainfalls, could face scorching heat and prolonged drought can push them to their limits.

“[These are] very old trees that have survived for centuries, withstanding various abiotic and biotic factors including but not limited to extreme weather events,” says Patrut. 

The Big Tree is large and old, but more than that, he says, it is resilient and adaptive—traits that are ever-more-critical in the face of an uncertain future.

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

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