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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Wednesday 27th of May 2020

China's Weaker Yuan Fix Is the Real Cold War Salvo @bopinion @johnauthers
World Currencies

For those following the market, the clashes amid the Hong Kong skyscrapers weren’t even the clearest signal of provocative and ambitious Chinese intent. 

That came from the People’s Bank of China’s fix for the Chinese currency to start the week. 

This is the level the central bank sets as a guide for the market, and the exchange rate can vary from it by no more than 2% in either direction — it effectively tells the world how far China is prepared to allow its currency to move. 

And Monday’s fix against the dollar was the weakest since 2008.

China left its currency fixed at an unrealistically weak level for several years after it acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2001. 

After 2005, it agreed on a swift appreciation, which halted in the spring of 2008 as the credit crisis took hold. 

In 2010 it was allowed to resume a steady climb. Since its shock devaluation in 2015, which caused a minor global crisis, the trend has been toward letting the currency weaken, particularly when China might want to send a message  — as it did when the fix reached its previous post-2008 low in the days after the U.S. announced new tariffs on China in August last year. 

A weaker currency tends to make China more competitive, and makes life harder for U.S. exporters. 

So this can be seen as a very provocative gesture. Could China conceivably be prepared to let the yuan move all the way back to 8.0 per dollar?

The shift in the currency followed a stiffening of the U.S. approach. President Donald Trump has barred a pension fund controlled by the federal government from buying or holding Chinese securities, opening a risk of broader sanctions by pension funds across the U.S. — which in the age of passive investing and exchange-traded funds can be done simply and cheaply. 

The administration has also announced the blacklisting of 33 Chinese entities over human rights violations. It had already barred U.S. manufacturers from supplying goods to telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies Co., on security grounds.

To add to this, the conversation around the future for the global economy and financial system is ever more using the word “war.” 

It is in the title of two books published this month, both by respected authors with a long history in finance and academe. 

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Yuan's relative stability in recent days looks unusual as downside pressure on Hong Kong dollar builds. @VPatelFX
World Currencies

Hong Kong political tensions typically spill over into the yuan - but stability in and around the 2020 NPC may be masking potential downside risks. Case for weaker $CNY growing

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13-AUG-2019 :: The most important currency to watch right now is the USDCNH
World Currencies

George Magnus writing in Bloomberg’s Quint

China allowing the yuan to slide below 7 to the dollar is a watershed moment for currency markets that’s symbolically equivalent to the U.S. and other countries abandoning the gold standard in the interwar period, or the collapse of the postwar Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates four decades ago.

The implications for the global economy are equally significant. The world’s major currencies aren’t tethered in the way they were in those periods, but gold and Bretton Woods both served as anchors for the world’s mone- tary system, and their demise reflected the economic and political disarray of their times.

Today, the yuan is semi-pegged to the U.S. dollar. The arrangement serves as an anchor for China’s financial system, now the world’s largest by assets; for many currency systems in Asia and around the world; and for U.S.-China economic and financial relations.

If that mainstay ruptures, it’s liable to set off chain reactions inside and outside China.

That’s why the loosening in currency policy by the People’s Bank of China this week, while it may seem unremarkable for most people, is an important development.

The Point is this the Yuan is now the catalyst and China has signalled it will be a shock absorber. Xi Jinping was also signalling he had control of the console. The direction of travel for the Chinese currency is therefore lower.

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China's Xi urges preparedness for military combat amid coronavirus epidemic - state TV
Law & Politics

President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday China would step up its preparedness for armed combat and improve its ability to carry out military tasks as the coronavirus pandemic is having a profound impact on national security, state television reported.

China’s performance in fighting the new coronavirus has shown the success of military reform, Xi was quoted as saying, adding that the armed forces should explore new ways of training amid the pandemic.

Xi, who chairs China’s Central Military Commission, made the comments when attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People’s Liberation Army and People’s Armed Police Force on the sidelines of the annua

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7 OCT 19 :: China turns 70

“Hongkong ist das neue Berlin”

I am sure Xi sees Hong Kong and Taiwan like a virus

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Hotels Where You Can Chase the Midnight Sun @CNTraveler
Tourism, Travel & Transport

Summer in the Arctic is a long, polar day of blooming tundra, baby animals, and great migrations. It comes to a peak on June 21, the summer solstice and longest day of the year. 

For the ultimate midnight sun experience, travel beyond the Arctic Circle—at 66˚ of latitude, that invisible line marks the place where the sun stays above the horizon for 24 hours on the solstice. 

Even below the true Arctic, though, the days stretch long. When you’re north of the 60th parallel, the sun sinks just a few degrees below the horizon on the summer solstice, creating a brief dusk in the early hours.

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Arctic Treehouse, Finland @CNTraveler
Tourism, Travel & Transport

Playful treehouse charm enlivens ultra-modern suites in this forest hotel, which brings creature comforts to the woods of Finnish Lapland. 

Beds are positioned by floor-to-ceiling windows—you can bask in late-night sunshine, or draw blackout curtains for a nap—and heated floors ward off the Arctic Circle chill. 

To celebrate the midnight sun in Finnish luxury, book the hotel’s private forest spa and enjoy a wood sauna, outdoor jacuzzi, and nearby lake for cooling off. 

The on-site restaurant gathers the forest’s seasonal flavors into a menu featuring foraged mushrooms alongside wild Arctic berries and fish reeled from icy rivers. 67˚ north; +358 50-517-6909; arctictreehousehotel.com

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Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel, Iceland @CNTraveler
Tourism, Travel & Transport

The Ion Adventure Hotel is located near a tectonic boundary simmering with geothermal energy, and summer weather softens the lava fields of Nesjavellir with new growth that hints at energy beneath the surface. 

Icelandic wool blankets and amenities made with local herbs are some of the hotel’s many sustainable touches, which make this an eco-friendly home base for exploring Thingvellir National Park. 

There, you can take advantage of the mild summer temperatures to snorkel the Silfra Rift between the North American and Eurasian plates, or take a shaggy Icelandic horse for a cross-country ride under late-night sunshine. 64˚ north

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Songs for the Drowning @DalrympleWill

You are the fires,

The winds

And the tides of the sea...

And we’re done with

growing & perishing

waxing and waning

like the moon-

Done with


& unknowing

like sunshine and nightdark.


Trans Ramanujan

Songs for the Drowning


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There are now reportedly close to 10,000 PLA troops on Indian soil. PLA has upping the ante and claimed the entire Galwan River valley. @ajaishukla
Law & Politics

If PLA can enforce that claim, India's new road to Daulet Beg Oldi will be unusable. Sub-Sector North will be isolated.

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07-OCT-2019 :: Joshua Wong told German Media "Hongkong ist das neue Berlin"
Law & Politics

“The Folks in Hong Kong [whom Xi is seeking to unmask so he can exercise algorithmic control over them] are in open rebellion. 

Joshua Wong told German Media “Hongkong ist das neue Berlin” referencing the “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech given by United States President John F. Kennedy on June 26, 1963, in West Berlin.

I am sure Xi sees Hong Kong and Taiwan like a virus and he is looking to impose a quarantine just like he has imposed on Xinjiang. 

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'No force can stop the Chinese people and the Chinese nation forging ahead', he said.
Law & Politics

“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.

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05-DEC-2016:: '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.'
Law & Politics

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.

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17-SEP-2012 Information warfare will not be couched in rationale of geopolitics, the author suggests, but will be 'spawned' - like any Hollywood drama - out of raw emotions
Law & Politics

Now set these events alongside these comments from the US army war college quarterly 1997. The US officer assigned to the deputy chief of staff (Intelligence), charged with defining the future of warfare, wrote 

“One of the defining bifurcations of the future will be the conflict between information masters and information victims.”

This information warfare will not be couched in the rationale of geopolitics, the author suggests, but will be “spawned” - like any Hollywood drama - out of raw emotions. “Hatred, jealousy, and greed - emotions, rather than strategy - will set the terms of [information warfare] struggles”.

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n November 2018, just over a year before first coronavirus case was identified in Wuhan China, U.S. Customs at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese biologist with three vials labeled 'Antibodies' in his luggage @YahooNews
Market Crashes / Panic

The biologist told the agents that a colleague in China had asked him to deliver the vials to a researcher at a U.S. institute. After examining the vials, however, customs agents came to an alarming conclusion.

“Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials,” says an unclassified FBI tactical intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News.

The report, written by the Chemical and Biological Intelligence Unit of the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD), does not give the name of the Chinese scientist carrying the suspected SARS and MERS samples, or the intended recipient in the U.S. 

But the FBI concluded that the incident, and two other cases cited in the report, were part of an alarming pattern.

“The Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate assesses foreign scientific researchers who transport undeclared and undocumented biological materials into the United States in their personal carry-on and/or checked luggage almost certainly present a US biosecurity risk,” reads the report. 

“The WMDD makes this assessment with high confidence based on liaison reporting with direct access.”

The report, which came out more than two months before the World Health Organization learned of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan that turned out to be COVID-19, appears to be part of a larger FBI concern about China’s involvement with scientific research in the U.S. 

While the report refers broadly to foreign researchers, all three cases cited involve Chinese nationals.

In the case of the suspected SARS and MERS vials, the intelligence report cites another classified document that is marked “FISA,” meaning it contains information collected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. 

Another case cited in the report appeared to involve flu strains, and a third was suspected E. coli. 

The FBI does not state precisely what sort of biosecurity risk these cases could present, but Raina MacIntyre, a professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said the FBI appears to be concerned with dual-use research that would be used for bioterrorism. 

And if the illicit samples cited in the report were being brought into the U.S., she says, the traffic is likely to be both ways.

However, Ebright doesn’t exclude the possibility that the virus’s spread started from poor biosecurity in China. A leading theory is that the virus jumped from wildlife to humans. 

Some researchers speculate this happened at a live-animal market where exotic species are sold for food. But Ebright also notes that such wildlife viruses are collected in laboratories, including in Wuhan. 

“Therefore, it’s also a possibility that this virus entered the human population through accidental infection of a lab worker carrying out field collection, or an accident by a lab worker characterizing the sample in a laboratory,” he said.

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CoV2/RaTG13 have 17 major aa substitutions in the ultraconserved RdRp.

CoV2/RaTG13 have 17 major aa substitutions in the ultraconserved RdRp. 

They are generally surface exposed and distal to known PPI sites. 

There has been a crazy selection for charged/polar residues, as if these viruses have been adapted to some unique environment.  @ydeigin

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Origin of #COVID19
Market Crashes / Panic

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”

 “There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. ”

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B. comparison between the Wuhan coronavirus (NC_045512) and RaTG13 (MN996532) shows a pattern inconsistent with natural evolution. Sequence alignment was done using EMBOSS Needle.
Market Crashes / Panic

Figure 3. Comparing the nucleotide sequences of different spike proteins on the synonymous mutations (green curve) and non-synonymous mutations (red curve) reveals evidence of human manipulation. A. comparison between two related bat coronaviruses ZC45 (MG772933) and ZXC21 (MG772934), which are nature-borne. B. comparison between the Wuhan coronavirus (NC_045512) and RaTG13 (MN996532) shows a pattern inconsistent with natural evolution. Sequence alignment was done using EMBOSS Needle. Synonymous Non-synonymous Analysis was performed using SNAP at www.hiv.lanl.gov (7).

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VERO E6 in the lab. Removing the #PRRA causes the Spike to infect VERO E6 1.5 times better than it can infect hACE2 cells @Daoyu15
Market Crashes / Panic

Infectivity that is even higher than the intect S in hACE2 cells. Smoking gun of VERO E6 passage before the #PRRA is spliced in.

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SARS-CoV-2 is well adapted for humans
Market Crashes / Panic

In a side-by-side comparison of evolutionary dynamics between the 2019/2020 SARS-CoV-2 and the 2003 SARS-CoV, we were surprised to find that SARS-CoV-2 resembles SARS-CoV in the late phase of the 2003 epidemic after SARS-CoV had developed several advantageous adaptations for human transmission. 

Our observations suggest that by the time SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in late 2019, it was already pre-adapted to human transmission to an extent similar to late epidemic SARS-CoV. However, no precursors or branches of evolution stemming from a less human-adapted SARS-CoV-2-like virus have been detected

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.0955

Dollar Index 99.144

Japan Yen 107.49

Swiss Franc 0.9669

Pound 1.2295

Aussie 0.6645

India Rupee 75.66

South Korea Won 1234.88

Brazil Real 5.3456

Egypt Pound 15.85

South Africa Rand 17.48

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10-MAY-2020 :: ―Brazil is the global epicenter of the coronavirus.
Emerging Markets

In Brazil we have a toxic mix of a „‟Voodoo‟‟ President @jairbolsonaro and a runaway #COVID19

Brazilians aren‘t infected by anything, even when they fall into a sewer

“It‟s tragic surrealism ... I can‟t stop thinking about Gabriel García Márquez when I think about the situation Manaus is facing.” Guardian

Viruses are in essence non linear exponential and multiplicative and COVID19 has „‟escape velocity‟‟ in Brazil.

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@WHO is worried the continent could face a “silent epidemic” if its leaders do not prioritise testing for it, a WHO envoy said @Reuters

“My first point for Africa, my first concern, is that a lack of testing is leading to a silent epidemic in Africa. So we must continue to push leaders to prioritise testing,” Samba Sow told a news conference.

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The worrying development is Transmission Hotspots #COVID19 and the Spillover MomentThe worrying development is Transmission Hotspots #COVID19 and the Spillover Moment

Kano in Nigeria for example

Western Cape growing at an alarming rate @sugan250388

Someone with close knowledge of the medical profession said it was almost impossible to secure a hospital bed in several cities.

The Aga Khan hospital in Dar es Salaam had a well-equipped ward for 80 coronavirus patients, but several were dying each night, he said.

The Question for SSA is whether these Transmission Hot Spots expand and conflate?

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02-MAR-2020 :: The #COVID19 and SSA and the R Word

We Know that the #Coronavirus is exponential, non linear and multiplicative.

what exponential disease propagation looks like in the real world. Real world exponential growth looks like nothing, nothing, nothing ... then cluster, cluster, cluster ... then BOOM!

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Nigeria: A strange disease is killing people in Rivers and it 'smells' like coronavirus Flutrackers

Residents say loss of smell, taste and immunity to malaria medication are some of the symptoms of the strange ailment in Rivers state.

A strange ailment is reportedly claiming lives by the day in the Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The symptoms of the ailment mirrors those of the highly contagious novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Punch reports that at the last count, a dozen persons have died from the yet-to-be-identified ailment.

The story adds that two persons who died of the strange ailment were identified as Pauline and Fubara.

“As of today (Sunday), the NCDC (Nigeria Center for Disease Control) officials are in town and taking samples from volunteers to test for COVID-19 and will soon make their findings public.

“A lot of people in Bonny now have malaria and typhoid. Again, over the past one week, many people have lost their senses of smell and taste. That is the worry we have. The next thing we saw after that incident is that some young men started dying.

“For the past two weeks, we have lost 10 men; one of them who worked with Saipem died yesterday; his name is Fubara. It is very painful. We cannot trace this one because the NCDC just entered town on Saturday to ascertain the causes of death and loss of taste and smell.

“Some are saying that the loss of taste and smell is associated with COVID-19. Besides that, the rate of pollution in Bonny has increased. In fact, you cannot drink our underground water because the pipes that enter the water have polluted the water. There is fear everywhere.”

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Kenya government [to] form Aviation Holding Company to run the national carrier and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA). @moneyacademyKE
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

Kenya government, which owns 48.9% of KQ, is expected to buy out the remaining holders of 51.1% of the shares, and form Aviation Holding Company to run the national carrier and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA). @moneyacademyKE

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Kenya Airways reports FY 2019 EPS [2.23] Earnings
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

Par Value:                  5/-

Closing Price:           3.46

Total Shares Issued:          5681616931.00

Market Capitalization:        19,658,394,581

EPS:             -2.23


FY Total Income 128.317b versus 114.185b

FY Total Operating Costs [129.170b] versus [114.868b]

FY Loss before Income Tax [12.975b] versus [7.558b]

FY Loss for the Year [12.985b] versus [[7.558b]

FY Gain on Property Revaluation 2.468b

FY EPS [2.23] versus [1.30] 

revenue up  12% to Kshs128 billion and a 7% increase in passenger numbers to 5.1 million.

If you take the half year 2019 loss after tax figure of Sh8.563 billion & compare it with the Sh8.857 billion figure for total comprehensive loss in the full year 2019 results, then Kenya Airways only made a loss of Sh294 million in the second half of 2019. via @MihrThakar 


Looks like this has now been overtaken by events 

Kenya government, which owns 48.9% of KQ, is expected to buy out the remaining holders of 51.1% of the shares, and form Aviation Holding Company to run the national carrier and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA). 

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Kenyans living outside the country sent home $208 million in April, about 9% less than they did in March, according to data from the central bank.
World Of Finance

It expects those so-called remittance payments to fall as much as 15% for the whole of this year.

Transfers dried up from nations in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in Africa. 

That underscored the dependence many low- and middle-income nations have on remittances. 

The World Bank estimates those payments may fall 20% to $445 billion this year from a record $554 billion in 2019.

The decline will be sharper for sub-Saharan Africa, where the World Bank estimates payments may fall 23.1% to $37 billion in 2020.

For Kenya, infows held up from U.S. and Canada, which contributed about 58% of the total. Payments dropped from the U.K., Germany, South Africa, U.A.E., Saudi Arabia and other eastern Africa countries, according to the central bank.

Kenya’s foreign reserves declined to $8.49 billion in week ending May 21 from $8.53 billion a week ago. The authorities see a boost in the reserves on new borrowings including $1 billion that the World Bank approved last week.

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

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