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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Thursday 28th of May 2020

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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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US stock market rises 34% as #coronavirus deaths rise from 557 on 23 March to nearly 100,000 @RencapMan
World Of Finance

As a psychopath once said "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic" 

US stock market rises 34% as #coronavirus deaths rise from 557 on 23 March to nearly 100,000

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If the Fed deploys a negative policy rate, it won't just go a little negative, it'll drop rates well-below zero: Standard Chartered's Steve Englander @lisaabramowicz1 [My Base Case scenario]
World Of Finance

If the Fed deploys a negative policy rate, it won't just go a little negative, it'll drop rates well-below zero: Standard Chartered's Steve Englander. "A 50-100 bp move into negative rates would have a major impact on asset market pricing."

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"We're still living at the beginning of the pandemic," Merkel said. "We have gained better control, but the virus is still there." @dwnews #COVID19
Market Crashes / Panic

In recent weeks, Germany has seen local coronavirus outbreaks particularly hitting migrant workers at slaughterhouses, worshippers at a church service, as well as people living in refugee homes across the country.

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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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Wow, Chinese media is announcing that #Huawei’s #MengWanzhou will be released after the Canada court finds her innocent and she can return to China in 4 days (court will decide her fate tomorrow). @jenniferatntd
Law & Politics

Wow, Chinese media is announcing that #Huawei’s #MengWanzhou will be released after the Canada court finds her innocent, and she can return to China in 4 days (by the way, the court will decide her fate tomorrow). @jenniferatntd

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10 DEC 18 :: Truce dinner, Huawei
Law & Politics

Canada will face “grave consequences” if it does not immediately release Meng Wanzhou [Xinhua].

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Doctors in the French Haut-Rhin region, hit hard by Covid-19, say they’ve detected several cases dating back to 16 November 2019 @RFI_En #COVID19
Market Crashes / Panic


Radiologists at the Albert Schweitzer private hospital in Colmar, near the German border, reviewed 2,456 chest X-rays produced between 12 October, 2019 and 30 April, 2020 to see if they coud find one or more “patient zeros”.  

According to French daily Le Figaro, each of the scans was carefully re-studied before being filed into three categories: “not Covid-compatible”, “Covid-compatible” and “typical Covid”. 

Any scan falling into the last two categories needed the validation of a second or third doctor.

The hospital's chief of medical imaging, Professor Michel Schmitt, said the process allowed radiologists to pinpoint two cases of “typical anomalies caused by Covid-19” dated 16 November, 2019 and then 12 others in December and January – up until the virus reached its epidemic stage.


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Coronavirus uses same strategy as HIV to dodge immune response, Chinese study finds @SCMPNews
Market Crashes / Panic

The novel coronavirus uses the same strategy to evade attack from the human immune system as HIV, according to a new study by Chinese scientists.

Both viruses remove marker molecules on the surface of an infected cell that are used by the immune system to identify invaders, the researchers said in a non-peer reviewed paper posted on preprint website bioRxiv.org on Sunday. 

They warned that this commonality could mean Sars-CoV-2, the clinical name for the virus, could be around for some time, like HIV.

Virologist Zhang Hui and a team from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou also said their discovery added weight to clinical observations that the coronavirus was showing “some characteristics of viruses causing chronic infection”.

Their research involved collecting killer T cells from five patients who had recently recovered from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. 

Those immune cells are generated by people after they are infected with Sars-CoV-2 – their job is to find and destroy the virus.

But the killer T cells used in the study were not effective at eliminating the virus in infected cells. 

When the scientists took a closer look they found that a molecule known as major histocompatibility complex, or MHC, was missing.

The molecule is an identification tag usually present in the membrane of a healthy cell, or in sick cells infected by other coronaviruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or Sars. 

It changes with infections, alerting the immune system whether a cell is healthy or infected by a virus.

HIV uses the same strategy – MHC molecules are also absent in cells infected with that virus.

“In contrast, Sars does not make use of this function,” Zhang said.

The coronavirus removes these markers by producing a protein known as ORF8, which binds with MHC molecules, then pulls them inside the infected cell and destroys them, the researchers said.

ORF8 is known to play an important role in viral replication, and most commercial test kits target this gene to detect viral loads in nose or oral swabs.

While drugs being used to treat Covid-19 patients mainly targeted enzymes or structural proteins needed for viral replication, Zhang and his team suggested compounds be developed “specifically targeting the impairment of MHC by ORF8, and therefore enhancing immune surveillance for Sars-CoV-2 infection”.

Earlier studies have found the spike protein of the new coronavirus had a structure that allowed it to enter many types of human cells and bind with them. 

The same structure was also found in HIV, but not in other coronaviruses found in animals such as bats and pangolins.

Another study by researchers in New York and Shanghai also found that Sars-CoV-2 could kill T cells. 

The discovery came after autopsies in China found immune system destruction similar to that caused by Aids.

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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. ”

They also predicted based on the S-ACE2 binding structure, that SARS-like CoVs were not able to use this same attack method (ACE2 mediation).

They decided to create a pseudovirus where they essentially put a SARS-like CoV in a HIV envelope.

It worked. Using an HIV envelope, they replaced the RBD (receptor binding domain) of SL-CoV with that of SARS-CoV, and used it to successfully infect bats through ACE2 mediation.

12 years goes by.

A SARS-like CoV begins sweeping the globe that is far more infectious than previous outbreaks.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1018

Dollar Index 98.848

Japan Yen 107.83

Swiss Franc 0.9681

Pound 1.2269

Aussie 0.6628

India Rupee 75.7295

South Korea Won 1239.115

Brazil Real 5.2742

Egypt Pound 15.8469

South Africa Rand 17.3049

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10-MAY-2020 :: ―Brazil is the global epicenter of the coronavirus.
Market Crashes / Panic

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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Catholic Church in Burundi says it observed "many irregularities" during last week's election that call into question results that delivered victories to the ruling party and its presidential candidate. @AFP
Law & Politics

during last week's election that call into question results that delivered victories to the ruling party and its presidential candidate.

The Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi said its observers stationed at polling centres across the country witnessed ballot box tampering, officials harassing and intimidating voters, and proxies registered "in place of dead people and refugees".

In an audio statement heard by AFP late Tuesday, the head of the conference, Bishop Joachim Ntahondereye, said the ballot count was conducted in secret, and unauthorised people came and went from the tally room.

"We deplore the many irregularities regarding the freedom and transparency of the electoral process, as well as fairness in the treatment of certain candidates and voters," said the bishop.

"Faced with these, and other irregularities, we wonder if this does not prejudice the (final) results yet to be proclaimed."

Relations between the church and the government of Nkurunziza, a devout evangelical, soured after the church opposed his third-term bid in 2015.

Violence triggered by Nkurunziza's decision to stay in office left at least 1,200 people dead and pushed 400,000 to leave the country.

In November, the government accused the church of "spitting venomous hatred" after priests delivered sermons denouncing intolerance and political violence ahead of this year's elections.

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As of 27 May, Ethiopia has reported 731 COVID-19 cases, 80% of which are have occurred in people aged between 15 and 44 and five deaths @addisstandard
Market Crashes / Panic

The number of cases has increased throughout May, with community spread accounting for 25%.

On the economic front, the country’s major economic constraints and dwindling tax revenues mean that economy-wide stimulus or provision of extensive safety nets are unrealistic. 

Although resources have been donated and the government has reallocated budget to fight the pandemic, measures to support small and medium enterprises and vulnerable groups are insufficient. 

Nor is the government in a position to fund a rescue plan for the state-run Ethiopian Airlines and other public enterprises. 

For its part, Ethiopian Airlines has had to implement new cost-cutting measures to secure its cash flow and has shifted its strategy from growth to survival. 

To make up the lost passenger revenues, freight capacity has been doubled by improving productivity and converting 25 passenger aircrafts.

Nonetheless, this crisis exposes vulnerabilities in the economic system, including weak exports, low productive capacity, and economic diversification. 

As the pandemic continues, the economy will be further weakened, undermining the recovery process. 

The low level of diagnostic testing is a binding constraint; the current social distancing measures are inadequate; and border controls must be strengthened. 

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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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The 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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#Zambia hires #Lazard for what's likely to be a restructuring of its Eurobonds & other external debt. Company gets a three-year, $5m contract. @PaulWallace123

Lazard's becoming the go-to firm for nations in distress. It's also advising Lebanon and Argentina (both already in default) & Ecuador.

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@DrAhmedKalebi said Kenya’s low case load so far “suggests to me we have actually kind of dodged a bullet.” #COVID19 @ReutersAfrica

Kenya has so far recorded 1,348 cases of COVID-19 and 52 deaths, far fewer than in comparably-sized countries in Europe, Asia or the Americas. In recent days, there has been an increase in cases in Kibera, and the Kenyan government has weighed plans to lock down the area, Kenyan daily The Standard reported.

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'No masks, no gloves': Kenyan government under fire over quarantine centres @Reuters

Kenya’s government is facing growing criticism over quarantine centres it set up to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with witnesses saying some are squalid and expose residents to the risk of catching COVID-19.

Since mid-March, the government has enforced a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for anyone who flies into the country or has direct contact with someone infected and lives in an area where self-isolation is not allowed.

Those who can pay spend the quarantine in an upmarket hotel. Others are placed in government-run facilities established in buildings such as schools or universities.

Demonstrations have broken out in some centres, break-outs have been reported, and the government faces two lawsuits over alleged mistreatment which it has yet to respond to.

Reuters interviewed 12 people who have spent time in quarantine in the government-run centres. Two said conditions were satisfactory. 

The other 10, who asked not to be identified to avoid stigma, described filthy conditions with bedbugs, overflowing toilets and bad food.

Reuters sought comment from the facilities where these people were housed, but phone and text messages sent over several weeks received no responses. 

Health Ministry spokeswoman Judy Sirima declined comment.

One woman told Reuters she was quarantined at Nairobi’s Kenya Medical Training Center for two weeks and tested negative for the coronavirus.

Then others at the facility, where people were crowded together at mealtimes, tested positive. She was kept another week, and then tested positive too.

“I got it from the quarantine,” she said. “We were sharing washrooms; we were sharing everything.”

Reuters could not verify where she contracted the virus.

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

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