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Wednesday 24th of March 2021
 
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Africa

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08-FEB-2021 :: The front end of the us interest rate curve is flirting with negative
World Of Finance



Negative rates are the only escape hatch

Here's my alchemy formula. You take real $ rates, -100bps and you multiply by total debt-to-GDP, 450pc, and you get a negative real cost of debt at the macro level of -4.5pc of GDP, a trillion bucks. @hendry_hugh

2. Here is why central banks are trapped and cannot raise rates even if inflation rises: @dlacalle_IA Feb 2

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Prices in a ‘Bubble,’ Beeple Says After His $69 Million NFT Sale @luxury
World Of Finance



NFT art is “absolutely” in a bubble, said the digital artist who this month sold a non-fungible token of his piece “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” for an eye-watering $69.3 million.

“I absolutely think it’s a bubble, to be quite honest. I go back to the analogy of the beginning of the internet. There was a bubble. And the bubble burst,” Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“But it didn’t wipe out the internet. And so the technology itself is strong enough where I think it’s going to outlive that.”

The record-setting NFT is a collage of images made each day for 13 years. 

“It’s really something that sort of catalogs both my life over that time and sort of things that have happened in the world over that time,” he said.

Winklemann, or Beeple, said watching the conclusion of the Christie’s online auction on March 11 was “very surreal. It sort of jumped from like 27 million to 50 million. It was literally just like a bomb went off in the room.”


The sale was a record for digital art, and catapulted Winklemann to third place on the list of works from a living artist, behind the Jeff Koons sculpture “Rabbit” and and David Hockney’s painting, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures).”

NFTs are virtual collectibles that use similar technology to that behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to create a certificate of ownership over a specific digital file.

The South Carolina artist’s work was purchased by anonymous digital asset investor known as Metakovan, Bloomberg News reported. 

Christie’s accepted payment in Ether, the world’s second-biggest digital coin, which the artist quickly converted to cold cash.

“By Friday night, the guy -- it’s a guy in Singapore -- he had the artwork and I had the money,” he said. “$55 million in my bank account. Like, boom, done, the next day.”


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Title: Bar, Las Vegas, Nevada Artist: Robert Frank
Misc.




Anybody can be decisive during a panic It takes a strong Man to act during a Boom. VS NAIPAUL

“The businessman bought at ten and was happy to get out at twelve; the mathematician saw his ten rise to eighteen, but didn’t sell because he wanted to double his ten to twenty.”


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Chyulu Hills is a mountain range in Kenya. It forms a 100 kilometre long volcanic field in elongated NW-SE direction. Its highest peak is 2188 metres high
Africa



Volcanism in the area started about 1.4 million years ago in the northern parts of the hills, and over time the volcanism propagated towards the southeast.

The Chyulu Hills do not have any permanent rivers, but rainfall on hills feeds the Tsavo and Galana rivers and Mzima Springs on the surrounding plains

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Drinking the Kool-Aid
World Of Finance



“Everybody, everybody everywhere, has his own movie going, his own scenario, and everybody is acting his movie out like mad, only most people don’t know that is what they’re trapped by, their little script.” ― Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

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Welcome to shocked & awed 21st century geopolitics @asiatimesonline
Law & Politics



It took 18 years after Shock and Awe was unleashed on Iraq for the hegemon to be mercilessly shocked and awed by a virtually simultaneous, diplomatic Russia-China one-two.

How this is a real game-changing moment cannot be emphasized enough; 21st century geopolitics will never be the same again. 

Yet it was the hegemon who first crossed the diplomatic Rubicon. 

In the middle of a softball interview, the handlers behind the hologram Joe “I’ll do whatever you want me to do, Nance” Biden whispered in his earpiece that he should brand Russian President Vladimir Putin as a soulless “killer.” 

Not even at the height of the Cold War had the superpowers resorted to ad hominem attacks. 

The result of such an astonishing blunder was to regiment virtually the whole Russian population behind Putin – because that was perceived as an attack against the Russian state.

Then came Putin’s cool, calm, collected – and quite diplomatic – response, which needs to be carefully pondered. 

These sharp-as-a-dagger words are arguably the most devastatingly powerful five minutes in the history of post-truth international relations.

In For Leviathan, it’s so cold in Alaska, we forecast what could then take place in the US-China 2+2 summit at a shabby hotel in Anchorage, with cheap bowls of instant noodles thrown in as extra bonus. 


China’s millennial diplomatic protocol establishes that discussions start around areas of common ground, which are then extolled as being more important than disagreements between negotiating parties. That’s at the heart of the concept of “no loss of face.” Only after establishing the common ground do the parties discuss their differences.

Yet it was totally predictable that a bunch of amateurish, tactless and clueless Americans would smash those basic diplomatic rules to show “strength” to their home crowd, distilling the proverbial litany on Taiwan, Hong Kong, South China Sea and the “genocide” of Uighurs.

Oh, dear. There was not a single State Department hack with minimal knowledge of East Asia to warn the amateurs you don’t mess with the  formidable head of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CCP’s Central Committee, Yang Jiechi, with impunity.

Visibly startled, but controlling his exasperation, Yang Jiechi struck back. And the rhetorical shots were heard around the whole Global South. 

They had to include a basic lesson in manners: “If you want to deal with us properly, let’s have some mutual respect and do things the right way.”


But what stood out was a stinging, concise diagnostic blending of history and politics:  

The United States is not qualified to talk to China in a condescending manner. The Chinese people will not accept that. It must be based on mutual respect to deal with China, and history will prove that those who seek to strangle China will suffer in the end.

And all that translated in real time by young, attractive and ultra-skilled Zhang Jing – who inevitably became an overnight superstar in China, reaping an astonishing 400 million plus hits on Weibo.


The incompetence of the “diplomatic” arm of the Biden-Harris administration beggars belief. 

Using a basic Sun Tzu maneuver, Yang Jiechi turned the tables and voiced the predominant sentiment of the overwhelming majority of the planet: Stuff your unilateral “rules-based order.” 

We, the nations of the world, privilege the UN charter and the primacy of international law.  

So this is what the Russia-China one-two achieved almost instantaneously: From now on, the hegemon should be treated, all across the Global South, with at best disdain. 


Inevitable historical process


Pre-Alaska, the Americans went on to Japan and South Korea for “consultations” – a charm offensive. 

That’s irrelevant. What matters is post-Alaska, starting with the crucial Sergey Lavrov-Wang Yi meeting of foreign ministers in Guilin.

Lavrov, always unflappable, clarified in an interview with Chinese media how the Russia-China strategic partnership sees the current US diplomatic train wreck:

As a matter of fact, they have largely lost the skill of classical diplomacy. Diplomacy is about relations between people, the ability to listen to each other, to hear one another and to strike a balance between competing interests. 

These are exactly the values that Russia and China are promoting in diplomacy.

The inevitable consequence is that Russia-China must “consolidate our independence,” Lavrov said.

The United States has declared limiting the advance of technology in Russia and China as its goal. 

So, we must reduce our exposure to sanctions by strengthening our technological independence and switching to settlements in national and international currencies other than the dollar. 

We need to move away from using Western-controlled international payment systems.


Lavrov pointed out that Russia-China have clearly identified how the “Western partners” are:


promoting their ideology-driven agenda aimed at preserving their dominance by holding back progress in other countries. 

Their policies run counter to the objective international developments and, as they used to say at some point, are on the wrong side of history. The historical process will come into its own, no matter what happens.

And then, at the joint press conference with Wang Yi in Guilin on Tuesday, Lavrov dropped a stunning but predictable bombshell:


“There are no relations with the European Union as an organization. The entire infrastructure of these relations has been destroyed by unilateral decisions made by Brussels.”


The door to reconciliation, though, is left open, “if and when Europeans deem fit to eliminate these anomalies in contacts with their largest neighbor.” Lavrov almost ruefully compared “no changes on the Western front” with a “very intensive agenda” in the East.  

As a stark presentation of an inevitable “historical process,” it doesn’t get more crystal clear than that. And, predictably, it had taken no time at all for the “Western partners” to fall back into – what else? – their same old bag of sanctions tricks. 

Here we go again: a US, UK, EU, Canada “alliance” issuing sanctions against selected Chinese officials because the People’s Republic of China in Blinken’s words “continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.”

The EU, UK, and Canada didn’t have the guts to extend the sanctions to a key player: Xinjiang party chief Chen Quanguo, who’s a Politburo member. The Chinese response would have been – economically – devastating.

Still, Beijing counterpunched with its own sanctions – targeting, crucially, Adrian Zenz, the German far-right evangelical nut posing as a “scholar” who produced the bulk of the completely debunked “proof” of a million Uighurs held in concentration camps. 


Once again, the “Western partners” are impermeable to logic. Adding to the already appalling state of EU-Russia relations, Brussels chooses to also antagonize China based on a single fake dossier, playing right into the hegemon’s not exactly secret divide-and-rule agenda.


Mission (nearly) accomplished: Brussels diplomats tell me the EU Parliament is all but set to refuse to ratify the China-EU trade deal painstakingly negotiated by Merkel and Macron. The consequences will be immense.  

So Blinken will have reasons to be cheerful when he meets assorted eurocrats and NATO bureaucrats this week, ahead of the NATO summit.

One has to applaud the gall of the “Western partners.” It’s been 18 years since Shock and Awe – the start of the bombing, invasion and destruction of Iraq. 

It’s been 10 years since the start of the total destruction of Libya by NATO and its Gulf Cooperation Council minions, with Obama-Biden “leading from behind.” 

It’s been 10 years since the start of the savage destruction of Syria by proxy – complete with jihadis disguised as “moderate rebels.” 

Yet now the “Western partners” are so mortified by the plight of Muslims in Western China. 

At least there are some cracks within the EU illusionist circus. Last week, the French Armed Forces Joint Reflection Circle (CRI) – in fact, an independent think tank of former high-ranking officers – wrote a startling open letter to cardboard NATO secretary-general Stoltenberg de facto accusing him of behaving as an American stooge with the implementation of the NATO 2030 plan.

The French officers drew the correct conclusion: the US/NATO combo is the main cause of appalling relations with Russia.

These Ides of March



Meanwhile, sanctions hysteria advances like a runaway train. Biden-Harris already threatened to impose extra sanctions on Chinese oil imports from Iran. 

And there are more in the pipeline – on manufacturing, technology, 5G, supply chains and semiconductors. 

And yet no one is trembling in his boots. Right on cue with Russia-China, Iran has stepped up the game, with Ayatollah Khamenei issuing the guidelines for Tehran’s return to the JCPOA.

The US regime is in no position to make new demands or changes regarding the nuclear deal.

The US is weaker today than when the JCPOA was signed.

Iran is in a stronger position now. If anyone can impose new demands it’s Iran and not the US.

And with that we have a Russia-China-Iran triple bitch slap on the hegemon. 

In our latest conversation-interview, to be released soon in a video + transcript package, Michael Hudson – arguably the world’s top economist – hit the heart of the matter: 

The fight against China, the fear of China, is that you can’t do to China what you did to Russia. 

America would love for there to be a Yeltsin figure in China to say, let’s just give all of the railroads that you’ve built, the high-speed rail, let’s give the wealth, let’s give all the factories to individuals and let the individuals run everything and, then we’ll lend them the money, or we’ll buy them out and then we can control them financially. 

And China’s not letting that happen. And Russia stopped that from happening. And the fury in the West is that, somehow, the American financial system is unable to take over foreign resources, foreign agriculture. It is left only with military means of grabbing them as we are seeing in the near East and you’re seeing in the Ukraine right now.

To be continued. As it stands, we can all be sure that the Ides of March – the 2021 version – have already configured a brand new geopolitical chessboard. 

The Russia-China Double Helix on high-speed rail has left the station – and there’s no turning back.


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Xi Jinping is both Sun Tzu ‘'The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting'' And hard edged at the same time.
Law & Politics



He has brought Hong Kong to heel, he is prowling around Taiwan like a Lion prowled around our Tent one night in the Tsavo, he has marched 400 kms into Indian Territory and Narendra ‘’Benito’’ Modi has said nary a word.


Xi has taken calculated risks. The muscular and multi-faceted nature of Chinese Power is seen in its handling of COVID19


Controlling the COVID19 Narrative, suppressing the Enquiry, parlaying the situation into one of singular advantage marks a singular moment and Xi Jinping has exhibited Chinese dominance over multiple theatres from the Home Front, the International Media Domain, the ‘’Scientific’’ domain over which he has achieved complete ownership and where any dissenting view is characterized as a ‘’conspiracy theory’’

It remains a remarkable achievement.



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07-OCT-2019 :: China turns 70
Law & Politics





They have “stood up.” Xi’s model is one of technocratic authoritarianism and a recent addition to his book shelf include The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos. 

Xi is building an Algorithmic Society.



“Unity is iron and steel; unity is a source of strength,” 

“Complete reunification of the motherland is an inevitable trend..no one and no force can ever stop it!” he added.



The World in the 21st century exhibits viral, wildfire and exponential characteristics and feedback loops which only become obvious in hindsight.

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Data from #Covid19 worldwide as of March 23: + 522,786 cases in 24 hours @CovidTracker_fr
Misc.


Data from #Covid19 worldwide as of March 23: + 522,786 cases in 24 hours, i.e. 124,201,697 in total + 11,075 deaths in 24 hours, i.e. 2,734,900 in total

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Global cases are still rising, The 20-day average growth jumps to around +1.5%/day. @video4me
Misc.



Global cases are still rising, with R in its recent range around 1.1. Exponential growth shows up as linear in the log-log plot. The 20-day average growth jumps to around +1.5%/day.

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India has R based on cases in excess of 1.4. India is concerning as the estimates are on 260 000 cases in the last week. @lrossouw
Misc.


India has R based on cases in excess of 1.4.  Estimates based on deaths are also high.  Various neighbouring countries are also showing large values.  India is concerning as the estimates are on 260 000 cases in the last week.

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My concern is that Brazil which was the epicenter of the Virus in May 2020 is once again a Precursor and a Harbinger
Misc.



And sure the numbers slid for around 6 consecutive weeks but they have bottomed out of late.
“I see a huge storm forming in Brazil.” Denise Garrett, vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington
The bottom line: P.1 is 2.5 times more transmissible than the wild-type B lineage. And way more transmissible than B.1.1.7. @bollemdb @obscovid19br

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


Exponential growth unlike any other that we have seen. Brazil is a global threat @bollemdbModel-based evaluation of transmissibility and reinfection for the P.1 variant of the SARS-CoV-2

The variant of concern (VOC) P.1 emerged in the Amazonas state (Brazil) and was sequenced for the first time on 6-Jan- 2021 by the Japanese National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

It contains a constellation of mutations, ten of them in the spike protein.The P.1 variant shares mutations such as E484K, K417T, and N501Y and a deletion in the orf1b protein (del11288-11296 (3675-3677 SGF)) with other VOCs previously detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa (B.1.1.7 and the B.1.351, respectively).

Prevalence of P.1 increased sharply from 0% in November 2020 to 73% in January 2021 and in less than 2 months replaced previous lineages (4).

The estimated relative transmissibility of P.1 is 2.5 (95% CI: 2.3-2.8) times higher than the infection rate of the wild variant, while the reinfection probability due to the new variant is 6.4% (95% CI: 5.7 - 7.1%).

If you have a "normal" pandemic that is fading, but "variants" that [are] surging, the combined total can look like a flat, manageable situation. @spignal

COVID19 Historic Peaks Deaths a day @brodjustice


I expect th P.1 Lineage to be dominant worldwide in 8-12 weeks notwithstanding the Focus on SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7
My Thesis is based on the ultra hyperconnectedness of the c21st World.

Therefore, I would be tempering my COVID19 optimism and holding my horses which introduces interesting dynamics into the markets.

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08-FEB-2021 :: We are at peak vaccine euphoria
Misc.


Folks I followed on Twitter for their epidemiological excellence now simply recite Vaccine / Inoculation data like a liturgy.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies



Euro 1.1820

Dollar Index 92.502

Japan Yen 108.67

Swiss Franc 0.9359

Pound 1.3687

Aussie 0.7606

India Rupee 72.5965

South Korea Won 1132.115

Brazil Real 5.5215

Egypt Pound 15.7999

South Africa Rand 14.8591

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Front-end contango is the strongest precursor of bear #oil markets. @IliaBouchouev
Commodities


#WTI was the first warning side, now we have the second in #Brent. If/when Dubai structure flips as well then things get ugly fast. So far it's still holding.

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315,300 Active COVID-19 Cases in Africa @BeautifyData
Africa



-39.377% below record high reached in January 2021 




Conclusions 



We have based out and point higher  




Active #Covid19 cases record 520,000 was in January 2021 @NKCAfrica


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Congo Republic President Denis Sassou Nguesso has been re-elected with more than 88% of the vote, extending his 36 years leading the Central African oil producer despite a prolonged economic crisis @Reuters.
Africa



His closest rival, Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas, who died hours after the polls closed, received less than 8%. Kolelas was being evacuated to France to be treated for COVID-19 when he died.


“It’s a feeling of great responsibility, especially toward young people,” Sassou, wearing a white button-down shirt emblazoned with his own face, told supporters in a victory speech.

Sassou is a former paratrooper who took power in 1979. He lost Congo’s first multi-party elections in 1992 but returned to office in 1997 after a civil war.



Congo’s economy has been in crisis since 2014 when oil prices collapsed. 

That caused the country’s external debt, much of it owed to private oil traders like Glencore, to soar to over 100% of gross domestic product.

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting drop in oil prices last year have made matters worse. 

The economy contracted by more than 8% last year and is expected to grow by less than 1% this year.


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Turning to Africa the Spinning Top
Africa



Democracy from Tanzania to Zimbabwe to Cameroon has been shredded.

We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''

Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

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Report: “Eritrean troops despatched to Oromia”
Africa




In particular, Eritrea’s 22nd division has been dispatched to Oromia.

Haregot Furzun is the commander of the 22nd division and two of his brigades are in Oromia region now.”




Conclusions 



Increasingly looks like a Reverse Takeover of Ethiopia by Eritrea 

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The UK faces a big challenge on this: There may be health security reasons for adding Kenya to the red list, but there are big political reasons not to @adrianblomfield
Africa

The UK faces a big challenge on this: There may be health security reasons for adding Kenya to the red list, but there are big political reasons not to, not least the new trade deal and the status of British soldiers (who brought the UK variant into Kenya!) training in Laikipia.

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.@AbsaKenya reports FY 2020 EPS -43.79% [skips FY Dividend]
Africa


Par Value:                  2/-

Closing Price:           9.38

Total Shares Issued:          5431536000.00

Market Capitalization:        50,947,807,680

EPS:              0.77

PE:                12.1818

ABSA Group Full Year 2020 Earnings versus FY through 2019 

FY Total Assets 379.440676b versus 373.981791b

FY Kenya Government and Other Securities held for dealing Purposes 36.375211b versus 43.774296b

FY Fair Value through other comprehensive Income [FVOCI] Kenya Government Securities 89.681995b versus 79.221471b

FY Loans and Advances to Customers [Net] 208.854694b versus 194.894941b

FY Customer deposits 253.630105b versus 237.738654b

FY Total Interest Income 31.440093b versus 31.023921b

FY Total Interest Expenses 8.058839b versus 7.845382b

FY Net Interest Income 23.381254b versus 23.178539b

FY Total Non-Interest Income 11.140304b versus 10.588312b

FY Total Operating Income 34.521558b versus 33.766851b

FY Loan Loss Provision 9.026772b versus 4.200588b

FY Staff Costs 9.761649b versus 10.158447b

FY Total Operating Expenses 25.673338b versus 21.845616b

FY Profit before Tax and Exceptional Items 8.848220b versus 12.281235b

FY Exceptional Items [3.201987b] versus [1.528986b]

FY Profit after Exceptional items 5.646233b versus 10.752249b

FY Profit after Tax 4.162009b versus 7.456077b

FY EPS 0.77 versus 1.37

FY 0 Dividend 

Company Commentary

Repayment holiday extended to 40+% of total loan accounts 

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Abridged financial statements @AbsaKenya for FY 2020: @MwangoCapital
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment



- Net interest income up 2%

- Loan loss provisions are up by more than 100%

- Normalized Profit After Tax down 23% 

- Exceptional items [income statement] went up 109%

- No dividend


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"During the period , Impairment costs went up by 115% KES9bn from 4.2Bn in 2019" ~ @AbsaKenya @MaudhuiHouse
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment



Conclusions

The Dividend Miss will disappoint.

Double Digit PE is considerably higher than Peers but I surmise they have been very aggressive on the write down side where they will probably have a cushion this Year unlike their Peers

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