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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Thursday 17th of September 2020

Intact. - QE goes on.- Low rates through 2023. - Twin deficits at record levels. Just a big picture reminder: @TaviCosta
World Of Finance

National debt has grown over 3.5x nominal GDP since the break of the gold standard.

Only one way out folks…

Monetary debasement.

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Ghalib's first poem written when he was eight or ten years old was on kite flying: @FarooqiMehr

One day, my heart like a paper kite,

Took off on freedom’s string,

And began to shy away from me,

Became so wayward, it pestered me.

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Morning of Judgment Day became a false dawn in the forest @FarooqiMehr

Subh-e qiyāmat ēk dum-e gurg thī Asad

Jis dasht men voh shokh-e do ‘ālam shikār thā

Morning of Judgment Day became a false dawn in the forest, Asad,

where my playful beloved, the charmer of both worlds, was hunting



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The beloved who makes a prey of both worlds (heaven and earth) creates such a furor wherever she hunts that the dawn of Judgment paled and was reduced to a false dawn. @FarooqiMehr

The beloved who makes a prey of both worlds (heaven and earth) creates such a furor wherever she hunts that the dawn of Judgment paled and was reduced to a false dawn. 

False dawn or subh-e kāzib is silent; whereas the subh-e qayamat is full of tumult. 



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Scientists to examine possibility Covid leaked from lab as part of investigation into virus origins @Telegraph

An international team of scientists will examine the possibility Sars-Cov-2 leaked from a laboratory as part of a comprehensive investigation into the origins of the virus.

The team is being set up as part of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission, a body established in July to “offer practical solutions” to the pandemic and make recommendations on how the next one can be avoided or better defended against.

The team looking at the origins of the virus will be led by Dr Peter Daszak, a British zoologist and leading authority on zoonotic spillover events.

Dr Daszak said yesterday he and his team would “systematically examine every theory” about the origin of the virus, carefully marshalling the scientific evidence for each. 

He accepted conspiracy theorists would not welcome his appointment but said, as a scientist, he would “not be bound by preconceived ideas” and would investigate all avenues forensically and “with an open mind”.

He warned, however, it was not possible to “prove a negative” and said it was unlikely it would ever be possible to say with “absolute certainty” how the virus emerged. 

“But what we can do is look at every possible theory on the origins of COVID-19 and say, ‘what is the evidence for that?’ And then we put all of those theories together and say, ‘where is the preponderance of evidence?’

“Is it for the virus coming from nature and spilling over into people and emerging that way? Or is it for some form of human involvement that involves a lab or biotechnology? Let's see where the evidence lies”.

Since the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China in late December, a deluge of conspiracy theories have circulated about its origins. 

The Lancet Commission notes in its mission statement that “the evidence to date supports the view that Sars-Cov-2 is a naturally occurring virus rather than the result of laboratory creation and release”.

But it adds that investigators should examine the ‘possibility of laboratory involvement” in “a scientific and objective way that is unhindered by geopolitical agendas and misinformation”.

It is hoped a full investigation will, if nothing else, will rule out “baseless and uninformed allegations and conspiracy theories that are unbacked by evidence”. 

The wider Lancet Covid-19 Commission is being chaired by Professor Jeffery Sachs, an eminent American economist and adviser to the UN.

He will oversee the investigation, not just into the origins of virus, but the world’s reaction to it in order to make recommendations for strengthening pandemic preparedness globally. 

“What we have learned, I think, about the public health response [to date] is that even though this is a devilish virus it is controllable”, he told the Telegraph. 

“Around two billion people live in countries that have substantially suppressed the virus. They've been able to do that, primarily because of public health means, and especially these non-pharmaceutical interventions [social distancing]”.

“But if we look at the UK, the US, and western Europe, we failed to put such policies in place basically until now. In the US we still don't have an effective control system.

“We have a lot of emphasis on hospitals, but far far less on public health”. 

Prof Sachs said he hoped and expected the Lancet Commission would be conducted on an objective basis and would be free of political bias.

“There has been a lot of rumour-mongering and statements that are way out of line, that are part of a political agenda by some people, senators in the US and others that have really gone far beyond what we know,” he said.As the world has become more developed, mobile and connected the risk of spillover events escalating has risen, causing scientists to speculate that we may be facing a “pandemic century” in which major outbreaks become much more common.   “We may be much more vulnerable to these pandemics than we think,” said Dr Daszak. “We may be creating a perfect storm. And if that's true, we need to know it. We need to get some data around it.

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.@WHO experts will travel to #China this weekend to work together with their Chinese counterparts to prepare scientific plans for identifying the zoonotic source of #COVID19. @DrTedros

“An inquiry that presupposes — without evidence — that the virus entered humans through a natural zoonotic spillover and that fails to address the alternative possibility that the virus entered humans through a laboratory accident, will have no credibility,” said Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“To have any credibility and any value, an investigation must address the possibility that the virus entered humans through a laboratory accident and must also address the further possibility that the ability of the virus to infect humans was enhanced through laboratory manipulation — ‘gain-of-function research of concern’.”

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However, after sequencing the full genome for RaTG13 the lab’s sample of the virus disintegrated, he said. “I think they tried to culture it but they were unable to, so that sample, I think, has gone.”
Law & Politics

According to Daszak, the mine sample had been stored in Wuhan for six years. Its scientists “went back to that sample in 2020, in early January or maybe even at the end of last year, I don’t know. They tried to get full genome sequencing, which is important to find out the whole diversity of the viral genome.”

However, after sequencing the full genome for RaTG13 the lab’s sample of the virus disintegrated, he said. “I think they tried to culture it but they were unable to, so that sample, I think, has gone.”

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1765

Dollar Index 93.434

Japan Yen 104.94

Swiss Franc 0.9129

Pound 1.2933

Aussie 0.7260

India Rupee 73.73

South Korea Won 1174.19

Brazil Real 5.2378

Egypt Pound 15.7499

South Africa Rand 16.41163

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08-JUN-2020 :: Anybody can be decisive during a panic It takes a strong Man to act during a Boom.
World Of Finance

“Anybody can be decisive during a panic; it takes a strong man to act during a boom.” ― V.S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River

“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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Australia Has a Nuclear Option in Its China Diplomacy @bopinion
Law & Politics

After years of slow deterioration, diplomatic relations between China and Australia have taken a sharp turn for the worse. 

The disputes range from pressure on journalists, to spying allegations, to an investigation of Australia’s wine exports. 

Beijing holds most of the cards, but Australia does have one doomsday weapon at its disposal. It’s better not used.

The conflict echoes China’s widening disputes with other countries. 

Two journalists working for Australian Broadcasting Corp. and the Australian Financial Review newspaper fled China this week, after a third Australian working for state-run China Global Television Network was detained. 

For their part, Australia’s intelligence services have interviewed at least one Chinese journalist in a probe of alleged covert foreign influence of a state legislator, according to reports in Xinhua news agency and the Sydney Morning Herald. 

Recent years have been a minefield of clashes over Australia’s foreign-influence laws, China’s human rights record and response to Covid-19, and even competitive swimming.

These diplomatic disagreements are spilling into the economic arena. Having slapped tariffs as high as 80.5% on Australian barley exports in May over alleged dumping, 

China has now started an equally improbable investigation of the wine industry

Canberra last month prevented China Mengniu Dairy Co. from buying local milk, juice and beer producer Lion from its Japanese owner Kirin Holdings Co. for reasons that aren’t really clear. 

Through all this, the bedrock of their trading relationship has been surprisingly solid. China's imports from Australia are up 75% year-to-date on the same period of 2016, the last time there was a meeting between the country’s leaders.

The core of this is a product that’s absolutely central to Beijing’s ability to direct the Chinese economy: iron ore. 

The 700 million metric tons China imported from Australia over the last 12 months is more than double the levels that prevailed when relations were stronger in the early 2010s. 

That’s a source of surprising vulnerability for China — but like any nuclear option, it’s a weapon that Australia would be wise not to use.

As we’ve written in the past, pushing the button on giant engineering and real estate projects is to China what cutting interest rates is to other countries. 

Private sector-dominated manufacturing and retail sectors are still reeling from the impact of the coronavirus, with fixed-asset investment down on levels that were already subdued last year. 

State-dominated construction and engineering sectors such as power generation and real estate are where all the growth is. 

Keeping the economy ticking over through 2020 is going to involve adding further to that teetering pile.

This economic machine runs on steel — and Australia has a crucial role there. Its mines provide about two-thirds of China’s iron ore imports, as well as a significant chunk of the coking coal used to turn that ore into usable metal

Were Canberra ever to attempt to turn that supply chain into a weapon in the diplomatic spat between the two countries — by imposing spurious paperwork, for instance, as Chinese customs officials applied to Australian coal last year, according to some reports — it would be aiming at the heart of Beijing’s economic management.

China’s addiction to industrial stimulus and Australia’s desire to work as its dealer are unhealthy dynamics for both economies. 

Still, it’s notable that their current fight has focused on agricultural and food produce, which attracts a lot of attention but ultimately counts for relatively few dollars. 

That's probably because touching heavy industry would represent a doomsday weapon that would be quite as damaging to an export-dependent Australia as it is to an import-hungry China.

Australia has spent decades building up a reputation as a reliable supplier of raw materials to the rest of the world. 

As the U.S. learned the hard way, consumers of commodities have alternatives if they don’t trust their trading partners. 

American attempts to use soybeans as a weapon of trade diplomacy in the 1970s encouraged Japan to foster a rival export industry in Brazil

Similarly, a consortium of Chinese companies in June signed a deal to develop the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, a country that might be more reliably compliant than Australia if relations with Canberra sour further.

When the dust stirred up by the wolf warriors and trade war-mongers dies down, China and Australia — and the U.S. — have far more to gain from working together than from threatening each other.

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Unprecedented challenges but most EM/FMs did well in defending FX reserves: @akcakmak
Emerging Markets

Saudi Arabia & Turkey worst on budgetary transfers & CA deficits, respectively

Russia currency lower on political risks but reserves up

Brazil & South Africa currencies lost with fiscal concerns

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

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