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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Friday 29th of January 2021

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Slow Vaccine Rollout Stands to Halve World Growth, @WorldBank @carmenmreinhart Says @economics

Global growth this year could be less than half the World Bank’s 4% estimate if vaccine distribution doesn’t move quickly, said chief economist Carmen Reinhart.

A more drawn-out recovery will add to the pressure on nations that are burdened with debt, many of which will likely seek to restructure due to the pandemic, Reinhart said in an interview with Stephanie Flanders for Bloomberg’s The Year Ahead virtual summit. 

Emerging markets are going to have a “rough road ahead,” she said.

The Group of 20’s common framework, which aims to get China and private lenders more involved in debt relief, can help poor countries resolve issues faster, Reinhart said.

 A number of countries had fragile debt positions prior to the pandemic, and the world is slowly moving toward forgiveness rather than just payment suspension, she said.

Chad yesterday became the first country to request the restructuring of its external debt under the G-20 framework. 

Zambia and possibly Ethiopia are among some of the countries that would benefit from faster debt resolution, she said.

“The more permanent reductions -- restructurings of some of these countries that are in need -- is more of a medium-term” objective, Reinhart said

Reinhart, co-author with Kenneth Rogoff of the 2009 book “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly,” is known for her expertise in the history of debt and financial crises. She joined the World Bank in June, taking leave from Harvard University, where she is a professor.

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Just weeks after the stock market crashed in 1929, President Herbert Hoover assured the country that things were already “back to normal,” Liaquat Ahamed writes in Lords of Finance
World Of Finance

Five months later, in March 1930, Hoover said the worst would be over “during the next 60 days.”

When that period ended, he said, “We have passed the worst.”

Eventually, Ahamed writes, “when the facts refused to obey Hoover’s forecasts, he started to make them up.”

Government agencies were pressed to issue false data. Officials resigned rather than do so, including the chief of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And we all know how that turned out: The Great Depression.

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Consider this panorama photo taken by @alvinwufoto It is the entire galaxy visible from Earth. These are all the stars we can see on our journey on the planet. @BrianRoemmele

This 360 degree mosaic took two years to complete.

What is it?

It is the entire galaxy visible from Earth.

These are all the stars we can see on our journey on the planet.

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It's hotter now than any time in the history of human civilisation. We are catapulting ourselves out of the Holocene into uncharted territory @rahmstorf

In just 100 years, fossil fuel use has more than undone 5000 years of natural cooling. It's hotter now than any time in the history of human civilisation. We are catapulting ourselves out of the Holocene into uncharted territory. Current life on Earth is not adapted to this.

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09-NOV-2020 :: The Single biggest Issue remains how Biden engages with the Algorithmic Master [Blaster] and Sun Tzu Maestro
Law & Politics

''The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting''

Xi salami-sliced his way into a deeply forward position during the Obama Administration and in 2020 snaffled up Hong Kong, marched 400 kilometers into Indian Territory and the Straw Man Narendra Modi has not even uttered a word and Xi might even decide to roll over Taiwan during this Interregnum.

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Data from #Covid19 worldwide on January 28: + 587,567 cases in 24 hours, i.e. 101,454,341 in total @CovidTracker_fr

Data from #Covid19 worldwide on January 28: + 587,567 cases in 24 hours, i.e. 101,454,341 in total + 16,532 deaths in 24 hours, or 2,191,822 in total

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Resurgence of COVID-19 in Manaus, Brazil, despite high seroprevalence @TheLancet

By contrast, in Manaus, Brazil, a study of blood donors indicated that 76% (95% CI 67–98) of the population had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 by October, 2020.2 

High attack rates of SARS-CoV-2 were also estimated in population-based samples from other locations in the Amazon Basin—eg, Iquitos, Peru 70% (67–73).3 

The estimated SARS-CoV-2 attack rate in Manaus would be above the theoretical herd immunity threshold (67%), given a basic case reproduction number (R0) of 3.4

In this context, the abrupt increase in the number of COVID-19 hospital admissions in Manaus during January, 2021 (3431 in Jan 1–19, 2021, vs 552 in Dec 1–19, 2020) is unexpected and of concern

There are at least four non-mutually exclusive possible explanations for the resurgence of COVID-19 in Manaus. 

First, the SARS-CoV-2 attack rate could have been overestimated during the first wave, and the population remained below the herd immunity threshold until the beginning of December, 2020.

Second, immunity against infection might have already begun to wane by December, 2020, because of a general decrease in immune protection against SARS-CoV-2 after a first exposure.

Third, SARS-CoV-2 lineages might evade immunity generated in response to previous infection.15 

Three recently detected SARS-CoV-2 lineages (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1), are unusually divergent and each possesses a unique constellation of mutations of potential biological importance.16,  17,  18 

Of these, two are circulating in Brazil (B.1.1.7 and P.1) and one (P.1) was detected in Manaus on Jan 12, 2021.16 

One case of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection has been associated with the P.1 lineage in Manaus19 that accrued ten unique spike protein mutations, including E484K and N501K.16 

Moreover, the newly classified P.2 lineage (sublineage of B.1.128 that independently accrued the spike E484K mutation) has now been detected in several locations in Brazil, including Manaus.20 

P.2 variants with the E484K mutation have been detected in two people who have been reinfected with SARS-CoV-2 in Brazil,21,  22 and there is in-vitro evidence that the presence of the E484K mutation reduces neutralisation by polyclonal antibodies in convalescent sera.15

Fourth, SARS-CoV-2 lineages circulating in the second wave might have higher inherent transmissibility than pre-existing lineages circulating in Manaus.

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“Vaccinating a lot of people in a few countries, leaving the virus unchecked in large parts of the world, will lead to more variants" @kakape

“Vaccinating a lot of people in a few countries, leaving the virus unchecked in large parts of the world, will lead to more variants .... The more that arise, the higher the risk of the virus evolving to an extent where our vaccines, treatments and tests are no longer effective."

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.2106

Dollar Index 90.712

Japan Yen 104.556

Swiss Franc 0.88913

Pound 1.3699

Aussie 0.7655

India Rupee 72.9705

South Korea Won 1118.89

Brazil Real 5.4406

Egypt Pound 15.7085

South Africa Rand 15.1864

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This is unacceptable.We now need to know more about @RobinhoodApp ’s decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit. @AOC
World Of Finance

This is unacceptable.We now need to know more about @RobinhoodApp ’s decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit.

As a member of the Financial Services Cmte, I’d support a hearing if necessary.

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Drinking The Kool Aid
World Of Finance

During the Hunts' accumulation of the precious metal, silver prices rose from $11 an ounce in September 1979 to nearly $50 an ounce in January 1980.

Silver prices ultimately collapsed to below $11 an ounce two months later,[2] much of the fall occurring on a single day now known as Silver Thursday, due to changes made to exchange rules regarding the purchase of commodities on margin.[3]

“Hunt had a paranoid world view and it made sense to him to amass silver and hang on to it.”

Most traders buy and sell paper. The actual stuff represented by that paper is delivered to someone else. Hunt wanted the silver.

He chartered three 707 jet aircraft to haul the metal to warehouses in Switzerland and hired a dozen sharpshooting cowboys to provide security, according to Knight.

When he began buying silver with his brothers in 1973, it cost $2 an ounce and a big consumer was Eastman Kodak to make film.

Before the Hunts were through, seven years later, they’d stockpiled more than 200 million ounces, the price was soaring past $45 an ounce and regulators were preparing to take measures to make sure nothing like what Nelson Bunker Hunt had done would ever happen again.

“They broke the ascent by basically outlawing the buying of silver,” said Knight, who blogs at slopeofhope.com.

“Only liquidation orders would be accepted. It’s almost criminal what they did.”

On March 27, 1980 — what came to be known as “silver Thursday” — Comex asked Bache Group, the Hunts’ broker, for $134 million.

The three Hunt brothers had $4.5 billion in silver holdings, $3.5 billion of it profit, Knight said. But they didn’t have $134 million.

A $180 million judgment against them pushed the Hunts into bankruptcy.

All Bunker Hunt had left from his billions were a few million, a stable of racehorses and a $90 million tax bill to be paid over a 15-year period, Knight said.

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Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 2 Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher

Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher,

vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

A generation goes, and a generation comes,

but the earth remains forever.

The sun rises, and the sun goes down,

and hastens[b] to the place where it rises.

What has been is what will be,

and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said,

“See, this is new”?

It has been already

in the ages before us.

There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance

of later things[d] yet to be

among those who come after.

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Robinhood Raises $1 Billion in Dash for Cash After Client Revolt @markets
World Of Finance

The capital injection is “a strong sign of confidence from investors that will help us continue to further serve our customers,” a Robinhood spokesperson later said in an emailed statement. The money will allow the firm to “continue to invest in record growth.”


Dead Parrot Sketch (the original)

@RonySeikaly  - Rajeh Yittammar (Revolution Radio Mix)

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Semantic Density, Algos & Gamestop: This Time It’s Different @DaveNadig

This isn’t really another article about the weird trading activity in Gamestop (GME). 

Yes, it’s nutty what’s happening, and I have answered far more questions from reporters about Gamma, Delta, market maker hedging and day trading than I ever have in any one-week period of my life.  

But this is mostly an article about information density and curation.

The plumbing of the GME story is where most of the focus has been.  The narrative goes something like this:

A bunch of folks are trapped at home with less to occupy themselves than normal, and they’ve decided to become daytraders.  

These message-board daytraders cause weird market distortions as they move from stock to stock.  

And now that they’ve discovered small-lot options trading, they have leverage and are in over their heads, and boy this feels just like the 1990s.

More sophisticated versions of the narrative focus on the procyclical nature of out-of-the-money options market maker hedging:

If the stock is at 25 you don’t hedge the call option you just sold by buying the stock to offset your exposure, you buy a fraction of the value, based on the options propensity to move with the stock (Delta).  

Generally speaking, the closer the stock price moves to the out-of-the-money strike price, the closer the delta gets to one (the rate of change is gamma), so as the stock goes up, the long-call seller has to hedge by buying more stock.

These narratives aren’t inaccurate, but I’m going to argue they’re missing most of the point.  

The most pernicious mistake here is italicized — the idea that we’re just seeing a kind of retail-driven blow off top, just like the end of the dotcom bubble.

“The ’90s”

I’ve been waiting for the day when being a failed mid-50’s former portfolio manager would come in handy! 

I’ve read hundreds of tweets at this point talking about how “this feels just like the 1990s” and I understand why: we had a lot of retail interest back then, and the market got really bubbly and disconnected from the fundamentals. 

I know this because I’m a chapter in the most embarrassing and ill-timed investment book of all time.

This is not a good book, and thankfully it’s out of print.  It documents a dozen or so 30-nothing wannabees who got very lucky in the late 1990s running money during a crazy tech and IPO boom.  

I was interviewed for this in early 2001 (well into the crash).

The fund I helped manage, OpenFund, was radical at the time for being a fully transparent, actively managed technology fund.  

In 1999, the Nasdaq 100 had run from about 1500 to almost 4000, on its way to 5000, and our fund had kept pace and more.  We thought we were geniuses. We raised a lot of money.  

Then March 2000 hit and our fund nosedived.  But we were convinced we were right and took the long ride all the way down to NDX 1500 again.

Still, I was a true believer and even knowing that the game was over, I was a full on Type 1 Charlatan – I believed.  

Here’s a tasty little tidbit of how I described how we ran money in something called (brace yourself cowboy): “The OpenFund Manifesto.”

We believe that the most important insights are those that operate at the most macroscopic level of analysis: understanding the great trends — the MetaThemes — that drive the new economy.  

We argue that the importance, impact and scope of the dynamics of the new economy are not fully understood and are appreciated by the market.

I then went on to opine about made up things like “InfoGenesis,”  “Corporate Tribalism,” and “The Innovate or Die Economy.”  

I declare in the book that we are “all citizens of day-trader nation,”  that the economy was splitting “K-shaped” into dinosaurs and futurists.  

It’s pretty nauseating stuff in retrospect, but under the hood, I don’t think I was wrong… I was just wrong about the implications for markets.  

Of course innovation is important.  Of course corporations have developed brand tribalism to new heights.

But the honest truth is, for a mid-50s trader from the 1990s, it sure looks like not all that much has changed since the Motley Fool boards on AOL tracking IoMega, or the Raging Bull arguments about flipping IPOs.

But anyone who tells you this is wrong.  Really, really wrong.  This time, it really is different.

TikTok & Reg NMS

Frothy markets, IPOs and SPACs, retail daytraders with access to leverage.  These are all things we did in fact see before in the 1990s, but a few things have changed since then.  

Reg NMS changed the fundamental tone of the market and the reality under the hood.  

It’s often said that Reg NMS made the market more about speed than price, and birthed the high-speed market making/profit making algo business.  

It’s true enough I wont argue the point.  Markets are vastly faster than they were in the 1990s.  Consider a random 400 milliseconds of GME trading on Monday:

I’m not expecting you to glean much from this other than: the stock moved over 2% in the amount of time it takes your visual cortex to form an image from the stimulation of your retina.  

Markets have always been fast, but its obvious nobody “made a decision” to trade anything here, they set things in motion, and this just happens to be when trades cleared based on disparate actors with disparate intents and instructions.

This speed has been part of markets for a decade, at least, so we’ve gotten a bit used to the idea that things just happen super fast.  

Still, most of our analysis happens at glacial speeds. We have conversations. We *gasp* read things.

Which is where TikTok comes in. For those of us in Gen X or older, TikTok seems like just another social media platform, just one geared towards short videos. It’s not.  

If you’ve never “gotten it” about TikTok, go download it on your phone (not an iPad, not a browser), and search for something you actually care about. 

If you’re into making bread, just type in “bread.”  Then spend an hour seeing what it gives you to watch.

The TikTok algo is designed to do one thing — learn what will keep you watching.  If you watch a video from more than a second or two, it gets weight.  If you watch it all the way through for an entire, endless minute, it will get enormous weight.  

Obviously if you engage deeply enough to actually follow a creator or like a video, that carries weight too, but really, it’s about dwell time.  

Seconds are the unit of measurement and attention/action is the unit of value. 

Your instantaneous reactions are what matter, much more than the depth of the content.  

Sound familiar?  It’s time over price. It’s the same time compression we’ve seen in execution, applied to information.

The TikTok algo is so good at this that if you spend that time on TikTok,  within minutes — quite literally — TikTok has funneled you into a well of content that is insanely narrow, and bolstered by people “like you” — where “like you” is based on a much more complex profile than just info you could find in some database.  

And that result is very, very deep, and very, very narrow.  You watch one video about ETFs all the way through and you’re going to see a LOT of ETF videos.  

You watch a video about your favorite videogame, you suddenly get every TikTok about gaming ETFs ever made.

800 million users use TikTok regularly.  40% of them are 16-24. Over a billion videos are seen a day

Most TikToks convey their core message within the first 3 seconds, because after that, folks swipe up and move on.  

To make up for this, TikTok creators have realized that they need maximum information density: they use text, comments, graphics, editing choices, and music to convey information and tone, of course, but they also rely on the viewer knowing the language of TikTok.  

If there’s a sea shanty in the background of a “get rich quick with real estate” video, that’s not an accident, it’s semantic signaling.  

It’s the same kind of semantic signaling that implies community membership when you tell someone what sport team you root for.  

The difference is that these semantic signals change every day.  Take a week off, be prepared to be lost for a few days as you relearn the current meme-language of the day.

Now Make It About Money

I’m a novice TikTok user, but I started checking more in the past week.  I have never once liked a video, or followed a content creator.  

I’ve never typed anything into the search bar other than the one time I entered “ETF” and “Personal Finance” just to see what happens.  My feed is currently dominated by videos like this:

I’m not suggesting that somehow there’s something nefarious going on here.  

What I’m trying to point out is that social media — which includes the curation algorithms of TikTok, Reddit, Robinhood, Amazon, Netflix, etc. — is designed not to do anything good for you (the consumer) but to keep you engaged on the platform you happened to launch from your phone.  

Nearly by definition, this leads you down a funnel into which it is very difficult to return. 

Once your TikTok feed is full of stock tips, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of them.  

Once you start following /r/WallStreetBets, you’re going to get the most sensational, clickbait posts bubbled to the top of your window:  Go deep, Go narrow, Stay engaged.  

And do it in a market designed to take those few seconds of attention and execute on them.

When I was back trading OpenFund with a great team of good friends (one Matt Hougan included), we were playing on this and didn’t even realize it at the time.  

We were, in our way, investment theater: designed to catch the attention of a message-board obsessed market. 

If we launched today, we’d probably launch on TikTok.  Please read that as contrite, not crowing.

That’s what’s new here. It’s not that this generation of daytraders has invented daytrading or learned how to use options for the first time or even swarmed a “story stock” (now we call them “meme stocks” I guess).  

What’s new is that an entire generation of investors is locked at home with little to do and a set of services on their phone designed to funnel them into the most extreme, most dopamine-driving financial ideas.

So What? Big Deal

Gamestop will stop being a story.  Market makers will start pricing out of the money options so outrageously expensively that eventually, the procyclical gamma trade will exhaust. 

But it would be a mistake to dismiss this as the craze of the moment.  The herd — which isn’t a real group, it’s a herd created by algorithm — will move on. 

When it does, just like Sea Shanty TikTok, it will move on with the semantic context of this entire event, along with the meme-focused content of the entire platform. 

When someone on /r/WallStreetBets talks about “tendies” they’re drawing on literally 6 years of meme-content around “chicken tenders,” in precisely the same way as someone who says they’re a “Ben Graham Value Investor” is relying on not just one book but decades of interpretation to convey a huge amount of information in a few words.

This may not be a world you have any interest in exploring. But it’s this shift in how information moves and is processed that is changing markets, and to deny it’s existence — and it’s seemingly inevitable rise to a kind of information delivery primacy — is folly.

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WHO Says - infections on the continent increased by 50% in the month ending Jan. 25 compared with the previous four weeks. Deaths rose two-fold over the period

A variant of the coronavirus first identified in South Africa is driving record numbers of infections and deaths as it spreads across the region, the World Health Organization said.

The variant has been found in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and the French territory of Mayotte, and is probably circulating in other countries on the continent, said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa. 

Another fast-spreading mutant that surfaced in the U.K. has been detected in Nigeria and the Gambia.

“In addition to the new variants, Covid-19 fatigue and the aftermath of year-end gatherings risk powering a perfect storm and driving up Africa’s second wave and overwhelming health facilities,” Moeti said Thursday in a statement.

The South African variant was detected Thursday in the U.S. state of South Carolina, following on the heels of the U.K. variant that’s already been seen in multiple states. 

Fast-spreading versions of the virus are raising concern as scientists watch to see whether they become more deadly or gain ability to evade new vaccines.

The South African version has been seen in least 24 countries outside Africa. 

It’s about 50% more transmissible than earlier versions but unlikely to cause more severe illness, scientists said earlier this month.

Twenty-two African countries are experiencing a resurgence, with infections on the continent increasing by 50% in the month ending Jan. 25 compared with the previous four weeks. 

Deaths rose two-fold over the period, with more than 15,000 concentrated in 10 countries, according to the WHO statement.

The agency, together with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, has helped set up a network of laboratories equipped to genetically analyze and spot variants in eight African nations. 

The agency urged countries to ship at least 20 samples to sequencing laboratories every month to help monitor the situation.

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New COVID-19 variants fuelling Africa’s second wave @WHOAFRO

Brazzaville – COVID-19 cases and deaths are surging in Africa as new, more contagious variants of the virus spread to additional countries.

Over 175 000 new COVID-19 cases and more than 6200 deaths were reported in Africa in the last week while infections rose by 50% on the continent between 29 December 2020 and 25 January 2021 when compared with the previous four weeks. 

In the past week, there has been a small dip in cases in South Africa, but 22 countries continue to see their case numbers surge. 

Deaths rose two-fold in the same four-week period, with over 15 000 concentrated in 10 mainly southern and northern African nations. 

The 501Y.V2 variant, first identified in South Africa, is predominant and powering record case numbers in South Africa and the sub-region. 

It has been found in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, the French Indian Ocean region of Mayotte, Zambia and in 24 non-African nations. 

“The variant which was first detected in South Africa has spread quickly beyond Africa and so what’s keeping me awake at night right now is that it’s very likely circulating in a number of African countries,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.

The variant that was initially detected in the United Kingdom has been found in The Gambia and Nigeria. 

Further research is needed to determine whether the new strain causes more severe illness.

WHO is working to track and tackle new variants by helping countries build and boost the complex genomic surveillance capacities needed to detect and respond to new variants, shipping samples to sequencing laboratories and providing supplies and technical guidance. 

With the Africa Centres of Disease Control and Prevention, WHO helped set up a COVID-19 genomic sequencing laboratory network with laboratories in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.

WHO calls on all countries to ship at least 20 samples to sequencing laboratories every month to help map the fast-evolving situation and best target responses at all levels. 

“In addition to the new variants, COVID-19 fatigue, and the aftermath of year-end gatherings risk powering a perfect storm and driving up Africa’s second wave and overwhelming health facilities,” said Dr Moeti. 

“Africa is at a crossroads. We must stick to our guns and double down on the tactics we know work so well. That is mask wearing, handwashing and safe social distancing. Countless lives depend on it.”

Facing a second wave of infections, African nations must ramp up testing, the isolation of contacts and the treatment of patients, as well as enhancing proven prevention measures. 

“Our shared goal is to get ahead of the virus. Unfortunately, the journey will be longer, harder and far more costly in the absence of consistent, all-of-society commitments to blocking infection,” said Dr Moeti.

Dr Moeti spoke during a virtual press conference today facilitated by APO Group. 

She was joined by Professor Tulio de Oliveira, Director, KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform, University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, and Dr Amadou A Sall, Director of Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal.

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CoViD19-ΛFЯICΛ: Confirmed: 3 493 724 (+ 19590) Actives: 431 943 (-3360) @NCoVAfrica

Confirmed: 3 493 724 (+ 19590)

Actives: 431 943 (-3360)

Deaths: 87 997 (+ 1047)

Recoveries: 2 971 387 (+ 21903)

Update: Jan 28, 2021 - 11:45 am

Active cases 16.934% below record high print of 520,000 earlier this month 

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Update: #COVID19 in #SouthAfrica 28 January '21 • New cases = 7 150• • Test positivity = 14.8% • Active cases = 122 496 @rid1tweets

• New cases = 7 150

• New tests = 48 406

• Test positivity = 14.8% 

• New deaths = 555

• Active cases = 122 496

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One can see the increased R due to the variant in the model. The "error" term contains an indication of a rise in R Here is the error term for Eastern Cape: @lrossouw

One can see the increased R due to the variant in the model.  The "error" term contains an indication of a rise in R that could not be explained by other means.  Here is the error term for Eastern Cape.

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They fancied themselves free, wrote Camus, ―and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.

In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences.

A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away.

But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they have taken no precautions

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Decrying vaccines, Tanzania leader @MagufuliJP says 'God will protect' from COVID-19 @Reuters

“Vaccines are not good. If they were, then the white man would have brought vaccines for HIV/AIDS,” Magufuli said during the opening of a new farm in his western home region.

“We Tanzanians haven’t locked ourselves in and we don’t expect to lock ourselves down. I don’t expect to announce any lockdown because our God is living and He will continue to protect Tanzanians.”

Tanzania has not published nationwide figures since May 8, when it had 509 cases and 21 deaths, according to WHO data.

“We will also continue to take health precautions including the use of steam inhalation,” he said.

“You inhale while you pray to God, you pray while farming maize, potatoes, so that you can eat well and corona fails to enter your body. They will scare you a lot, my fellow Tanzanians, but you should stand firm.”

Without giving any evidence, Magufuli said vaccines may be part of a foreign plot to steal Africa’s wealth.

“Tanzanians should be careful with these imported things. You should not think that they love you a lot. This nation is rich, Africa is rich, everyone wants some of it,” he said.

“I know some Tanzanians who left the country to other countries and got vaccinated. From there, they brought a strange type of corona. Stand firm.”

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Banks Ordered to Slash Costs, Placing Tanzanian Jobs at Risk @markets

Tanzania’s central bank ordered the nation’s lenders to deal with souring loans and slash costs, threatening jobs in the latest industry reforms announced by President John Magufuli’s government.

Bank of Tanzania gave lenders until the end of 2022 to reduce their cost-to-income ratios to below 55% and to cut non-performing loans to below 5% of their books, according to a Jan. 22 circular signed by Bernard Kibesse, the deputy governor in charge of financial stability.

That compares with an average NPL of 11% in April 2020, according to central bank data, after five years of bad debts that hit lenders in the East African country and suppressed the growth of credit to businesses and households. 

The cost-to-income ratios of the 10 biggest banks range from 57% to 80%, Dar es Salaam-based newspaper Citizen reported, without saying where it got the data.

“It will not be an easy task for most banks and financial institutions,” said Ivan Tarimo, a partner at financial advisory firm Bankable Tanzania. 

“The potential negative side is that some banks may be forced to reduce their staff numbers or some of their marketing costs and leases may have to go.”

The spike in credit impairments in recent years was driven by a combination of economic developments and prudential action that forced banks to keep bad loans on their books for a longer period before writing them off. 

The central bank also introduced stricter capital buffer rules that resulted in several industry tie-ups.

In its latest move, the central bank ordered lenders to freeze dividends and bonus payments and warned those that fail to comply with its directives will be “subjected to regulatory sanctions,” according to the directive.

“The government is also championing the consolidation of the industry so that we have fewer but deeper banks and the third agenda is to push banks to digitize faster,” Tarimo said.

Over the past two years, the central bank has approved mergers and acquisitions of at least five local banks and said it wants to see more consolidation. 

Since coming to power in 2015, Magufuli’s government has introduced reforms targeting businesses, especially in the mining and telecommunications companies, that critics say have had a chilling effect on foreign investment inflows.

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Ethiopia Moves Artillery to Sudanese Border After Deadly Clashes @bpolitics

Ethiopia moved heavy weapons to disputed territory on its border with Sudan, according to people familiar with the matter.

The military build-up in an area known as the al-Fashqa triangle signals increasing tensions, after deadly clashes in recent weeks raised international concern. 

Sudanese officials met Saudi Arabian officials in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss the crisis, after the U.K. last week called for a de-escalation of tensions.

The Ethiopian army deployed armaments including tanks and anti-aircraft batteries to the border region in the past two weeks, said two foreign diplomats who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. 

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s spokeswoman Billene Seyoum referred a request for comment to the Foreign Ministry, and Redwan Hussein, spokesman for the government’s emergency task force, didn’t respond to a request for comment sent by text message.

Ethiopia’s government earlier this month accused the Sudanese military of carrying out organized attacks using machine-guns and armored convoys at their border. 

Those attacks killed “many civilians,” according to Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry.

Tensions between the two nations have ratcheted up since conflict erupted in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region on Nov. 4. 

Regional analysts and diplomats have said Abiy is under pressure from powerful Amhara politicians in his government, including Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen, not to back down on the border dispute.

The state of Amhara, whose fighters backed the Ethiopian federal army’s incursion into Tigray, claims ownership of parts of al-Fashqa, including areas that are within Sudanese territory. 

Historically, Khartoum has allowed Amhara farmers to conduct business and live in the fertile area as long as they pay taxes and operate under Sudanese laws. 

In turn, Ethiopia has recognized the land as Sudanese.

Demeke’s spokesman, Dina Mufti, didn’t answer two calls to his mobile phone seeking comment.

The border dispute is straining relations already weakened by an impasse over a giant hydropower dam Ethiopia is building on the main tributary of the Nile River. 

Sudan and Egypt depend on the flow of the river for fresh water, and both countries want Ethiopia to agree to rules on the filling and operating of the reservoir to safeguard supplies.

Sudan says the border area around al-Fashqa was demarcated under colonial-era treaties dating back to 1902, putting the land firmly inside its international borders.

Mohamed al-Faki Suleiman, a member of Sudan’s transitional government, said Wednesday he’d sought political support from Saudi Arabia in talks he held in Riyadh, Sudan’s state-run SUNA news agency reported. 

Any eruption of war could affect security in the wider region, including the Red Sea, he said.

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@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance now has a Nobel Prize Winner whom I am reliably informed

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

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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The fugitive leader of Ethiopia’s defiant Tigray region on Monday called on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to “stop the madness” and withdraw troops

The fight is about self-determination of the region of around 6 million people, the Tigray leader said, and it “will continue until the invaders are out.” 

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Turning to Africa the Spinning Top

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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10 NOV 14 : African youth demographic {many characterise this as a 'demographic dividend"} - which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic terminator

Martin Aglo, a law student from Benin, told Reuters: “After the Arab Spring, this is the Black Spring”.We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000?

This is another point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.

The Event is no longer over the Horizon.

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Zambia's January Inflation rises 21.5% From Year Earlier, Statistics Agency says •Prices rose 3.7% month on month. @taongaclifford

•Inflation increased from 19.2% in December 

•Prices rose 3.7% month on month.

http://Dec.Trade Surplus 6.3 billion Kwacha.

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Nigeria Seen Devaluing Naira by as Much as 10% in 2021, Survey Shows @markets

Nigeria’s central bank will probably devalue the naira by as much as 10% this year amid a lingering dollar shortage in Africa’s top oil producer, according to a Bloomberg survey of investors and analysts.

Of the 17 survey participants, eight forecast a devaluation of between 5% and 10% this year. 

Five saw a devaluation of more than 10% and the remaining four predicted a markdown of as much as 5%. 

The median of analysts’ estimates project the naira at 426.5 per dollar by the end of 2021, from around 393 on Wednesday.

A dollar squeeze continues to weigh on the naira even after the Central Bank of Nigeria was forced to weaken its official rate twice last year after a sharp drop in the price of oil, the country’s main export and source of greenbacks.

“If you don’t have sufficient dollars, the idea that you’re controlling the naira is a fiction,” said Andrew Nevin, a partner and chief economist for Nigeria at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. 

“It is impossible to get sufficient investment for the economy to grow above 6% without a unified exchange rate.”

Sunk in recession and starved for cash, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has promised 10% annual growth, agreed to merge the country’s multiple exchange rates and allow the naira to float more freely. 

The World Bank is withholding a $1.5 billion loan until the government moves ahead with currency reforms to attract investment.

Under the lead of central bank governor Godwin Emefiele, the government has tried to preserve dollars by restricting importers’ access to hard currency, limiting dollar sales and reducing international spending. 

Emefiele on Tuesday reiterated threats to ban exporters who fail to repatriate foreign exchange proceeds from using banking services.

Still, there are signs the central bank is allowing for an additional depreciation of the exchange rate for investors and exporters, known as Nafex, toward 400 per dollar, said David Cowan, the London-based Africa economist at Citigroup Inc.

“Once this important psychological barrier is breached, it may allow it to slip more significantly in early 2021,” Cowan said.

The naira weakened 1% on the spot market to 393.95 on Thursday, while it traded at 473 on the paralell market, according to abokifx.com, which tracks street prices. 

Nigeria has one of the widest spreads between 12-month currency forwards and one-month contracts among its peers on the continent, suggesting traders expect a large depreciation.

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Mozambique bread riots may be warning sign on African food security Africa Monitor CSMONITOR By Aly-Khan Satchu, September 6, 2010

Given the fragility of the food markets, Maputo might well be a shot across the bows of many regimes, who have yet to secure access to sufficient food at sufficiently low prices for their people. Failure to execute on this front, surely imperils many

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Daviz Simango: “It has been made clear that Beira is a cyclone corridor” @clubOmozambique

In an interview with DW Africa about the damage in the city, mayor Daviz Simango says that “it has become clear that Beira is a cyclone corridor”, especially since, less than two years ago, the region was all but destroyed by Idai, the worst cyclone ever experienced in the country.

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Kenya was not in recession in 3Q according to the most common definition of the term, QoQ growth was -8.4 in 2Q and +4.2 in 3Q. High likelihood of renewed negative growth in 4Q20 @Markbohlund
Kenyan Economy

#Kenya was not in recession in 3Q according to the most common definition of the term, ie. two consecutive quarters of negative growth in seasonally-adjusted quarter-on-quarter terms. QoQ growth was -8.4 in 2Q and +4.2 in 3Q. High likelihood of renewed negative growth in 4Q20.

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East African Breweries Ltd.reports HY PAT -47% Earnings here
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied

Par Value:                  2/-

Closing Price:           150.75

Total Shares Issued:          790774356.00

Market Capitalization:        119,209,234,167

EPS:             5.17

PE:                 29.159

EABL reports Half Year Earnings through 31st December 2020

HY Net Revenue 44.460b versus 45.856b

HY Gross Profit 19.333b versus 21.843b

HY Selling and Distribution Costs [3.878b] versus [3.883b]

HY Administrative Expenses [4.258b] versus [4.023b]

HY Other Costs and Expenses [5.361b] versus [2.816b]

HY Profit before Tax 5.836b versus 10.602b

HY Profit after Tax 3.792b versus 7.209b

HY EPS 2.71 versus 7.00


impact has been a gradual recovery in volume with sales showing sequential improvement against the previous half [Jan-June 2020] and almost level with the same period last year 

Group's volume and net sales declined 5% and 3% respectively compared to the same period last year

First half sales improved 53% compared to the previous half

Tanzania and Uganda net sales grew 17% and 13% respectively compared to the same period last year wile Kenya declined 10% lbeit growing 53% against the previous half

Gross Margin at 43%.

PAT declined 47% drived bty FX losses increase in cost of sales and a one-off tax provision


Rebounded especially when compared sequentially and looks a value proposition on a 24 month outlook. 

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Car & General (Kenya) Ltd. reports FY 2020 Earnings here
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied

Par Value:                  5/-

Closing Price:           24.00

Total Shares Issued:          40103308.00

Market Capitalization:        962,479,392

EPS:            6.85 



Franchise holder for leading automotive and engineering products.

FY Earnings through 30th September 2020 versus 30th September 2019

FY Revenue 12.117976b versus 11.907237b

FY Gross Profit 1.950775b versus 1.692103b

FY Other Income 131.866m versus 119.695m

[Loss] Gain in Fair Value of Investment Properties [50.452m] versus 117.250m

Impairment Provision for Financial Assets 1.163m versus 7.717m

FY Operating Expenses [1.333500b] versus [1.373450b]

FY Profit before EBITDA 936.980m versus 705.122m

FY Finance Costs [612.883m] versus [522.785m]

FY Depreciation of Property Plant and Equipment [89.278m] versus [77.050m]

FY Depreciation of Right of Use Asset [100.423m]

FY [Loss] Profit before Taxation 129.839m versus 99.323m

FY Taxation Credit 144.295m 83.036m

FY [Loss] Profit for the Year 274.134m versus 182.359m

FY EPS 6.85 versus 4.27

Final Dividend 80cents a share


2% Growth in Turnover 

Overall Sales in Kenya dropped 2.5%

Sales outside Kenya grew 8.7%

Uganda and Tanzania now represent 40% of Group sales

Forex Losses 82m


Commendable Earnings which speaks to excellent positioning.

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

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