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Thursday 10th of February 2022
 
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Zeitgeist comes from the outside, but works on the inside. It affects everyone, but not everyone is affected in the same way. Karl Ove Knausgard
Misc.


The generational difference between people who are looking for ladders and people who are looking for trampolines @kevinroose



The ‘’Zeitgeist’’ of a time is its defining spirit or its mood. Capturing the ‘’zeitgeist’’ of the Now is not an easy thing because we are living in a dizzyingly fluid moment.



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A $4.5 Billion Crypto Crime Stars an NYC Couple, Stolen Bitcoin and Rap @crypto
World Currencies


They are, to hear the feds tell it, a Bonnie and Clyde for the crypto age — made-for-TikTok personalities who broke bad, glamorously, right before their followers’ eyes.
She billed herself as “The Crocodile of Wall Street” and “Razzlekhan,” a surrealist artist and rapper with tattooed hands and, she boasted, more pizzazz than Genghis Khan.

He assumed a tamer persona: that of a “tech entrepreneur” and “occasional magician” who’d proposed, in a social media moment, via flashing billboards in Times Square.

At 7 a.m. on Tuesday, their blingy world of TED talk-style salons and music videos collapsed around them when they were arrested by federal law enforcement officials in New York City and accused of a crime that would’ve seemed preposterous in a halcyon, pre-cryptocurrency era: enriching themselves off a cache of stolen Bitcoin that is today worth about $4.5 billion.
Heather Morgan, 31, and her husband Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, were detained on charges of conspiring to launder 119,754 Bitcoin. 

The digital currency, the authorities say, came from the 2016 hack of Bitfinex, a cryptocurrency exchange owned and operated by iFinex Inc.

At an initial appearance in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday evening, Morgan wore a white hooded sweatshirt, her long hair down. 

Lichtenstein, who goes by the nickname “Dutch,” showed up wearing jeans and a gray shirt. Neither wore shackles nor spoke publicly. 

Their lawyers — they have retained separate counsel — did the talking. The trial will eventually be held in Washington.
The judge granted both bail, setting a bond of $3 million for Morgan and asking her parents to post their home as security. 

For Lichtenstein, the amount was $5 million. The government initially asked the judge not to allow them to be released on bail. 

Each is facing the possibility of a 20-year prison sentence, so they have the motivation to run, a prosecutor told the judge.
Overnight, a judge in Washington granted an emergency request by the U.S. government to hold the couple in jail ahead of their trial. 

“The defendants are sophisticated cyber criminals and money launderers who present a serious risk of flight,” prosecutors said. 

While the majority of the stolen funds have been seized, Morgan and Lichtenstein control several other virtual currency addresses that hold about 7,506 Bitcoin, valued at more than $328 million, the government says.

None of this could have happened 20 years ago. Or 10. Or maybe even five. 

The couple’s audacious plan, as laid out by federal authorities, as well as the brazen lifestyle that plan supposedly afforded, seemed tailored to these times, and these times alone.

The Department of Justice says that the Bitcoin stolen during the 2016 hack was sent to a digital wallet controlled by Lichtenstein and then to one the couple controlled via a complex laundering scheme. 

The cryptocurrency was worth $71 million when it was spirited away in 2016. Now the stash is worth $4.5 billion as Bitcoin prices have skyrocketed, of which $3.6 billion worth of tokens has been recovered by federal agents. 

The couple weren’t accused of doing the actual hacking.
Until Tuesday, Morgan and Lichtenstein lived lives made for social media. 

Even Lichtenstein’s 2019 proposal appeared to be aimed at boosting his future wife’s career as Razzlekhan, an artist specializing in collage, sculpture, painting and fashion design. In a Facebook post, Lichtenstein said he planned the marriage proposal around “a weird, creative multi-channel marketing campaign.”
That campaign featured posters and digital ads that “captured the essence of Razzlekhan: surreal, mysterious, creepy and sexy.”  

He proposed to Morgan as images of her face flashed across a digital billboard.
Morgan, for her part, also dropped singles and music videos on YouTube. In her 2019 song, “Versace Bedouin” — a number she characterized as an “anthem for misfits and weirdos” — she struts across cobbled streets in New York’s financial district and dons a shimmering gold jacket in front of a statue of George Washington.

As the “Crocodile of Wall Street,” she also rapped about investment strategies, calling herself a risk-loving moneymaker who was “sly as a gator.” 

She was an active TikToker too. In one of her videos, Morgan free-style rapped about investing in the meme stocks often discussed on the “Wall Street Bets” subreddit.
“My tendies going global / Bitcoin, Ethereum HODL!” Morgan rapped.
Morgan — who was born in Oregon and grew up in California — has foreign ties, having lived in Hong Kong and Egypt, the prosecutor said on Tuesday. 

Lichtenstein, a dual Russian and American citizen, moved to the U.S. at age 6, according to his lawyer. 

He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and gained U.S. citizenship in 2002.
Tarun Chitra and Ruthie Nachmany, co-founders of the speaker series NYC Salon, on Tuesday recalled meeting Morgan in July 2019. 

Morgan told them she had just flown in first class from Japan and, over lunch at a French-style bistro downtown, pitched herself as a potential speaker.

“I was actually quite surprised she knew so much about cryptocurrencies,” Chitra recalled.
Morgan’s eventual talk, held at the Williamsburg Hotel, in hipster Brooklyn, was titled, “How to Social Engineer Your Way Into Anything.” 

She defined social engineering as “the act of manipulating someone into divulging information or taking a particular action.”
She told the crowd that she had sent 10,000 cold emails over the previous decade and had helped 720 companies improve email campaigns. 

The talk focused mostly on how to crash events, suggesting that would-be crashers bring cash for tips, wear a black T-shirt to appear as if they were security, and also bring layered outfits in case they need to change their look quickly.
Her presentation ended with another slide: “How Can You Socially Engineer Yourself OUT of a Bad Situation?” Above the line was an image of two cuffed hands behind bars.

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He said that snakes had been known to bite their own tails Roberto Bolaño Last Evenings on Earth
Misc.

He said that snakes had even been known to swallow themselves whole & if you see a snake in process of swallowing itself you better run because sooner or later something bad is going to happen some dislocation of reality

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Americans have lost touch with reality. @27khv
Law & Politics

Washington’s rhetoric about the possibility of imposing colossal sanctions on Russia is so outrageous that Moscow sees little point in even responding, one of the country’s top diplomats has said.
In an interview with RIA Novosti on Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin was asked about the possibility of Washington imposing unprecedentedly harsh measures on the Russian energy and financial sectors, including additional sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline linking the gas fields of Siberia to consumers in Germany.
“It’s long been clear to everyone that American legislators have lost touch with reality and are living in a kingdom of their own phobias regarding our country, churning out obscurantist plans to deter Russia on all fronts, with any justification or without one,” Pankin replied.

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If a Chinese civil aircraft intentionally flew over Dongyin Island last week, it would be a serious act of provocation as it has directly entered Taiwan’s airspace. 1/ @wen1949
Law & Politics

If a Chinese civil aircraft intentionally flew over Dongyin Island last week, it would be a serious act of provocation as it has directly entered Taiwan’s airspace. It would be more alarming than aircraft passing through Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone. 1/n

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It is public information that Taiwan has Stinger missiles and other air-defense systems deployed on Dongyin. Dongyin does not have an air traffic control tower to send warnings towards civil aircraft. 2/n @wen1949
Law & Politics

It is public information that Taiwan has Stinger missiles and other air-defense systems deployed on Dongyin. The MND has stated that it has closely monitored the situation last week.  Dongyin does not have an air traffic control tower to send warnings towards civil aircraft. 2/n

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Here's a report about the incident that unfortunately mislabels the plane as a drone. .@wen1949
Law & Politics

Taiwan's Ministry of Natl Defense later described the aircraft as a "civilian fixed wing twin-engine turboprop aircraft," which makes it most likely a manned plane

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This superb report by @ToshiYoshihara is the perfect primer on CCP political warfare. I recently read it & learned a ton. @Ian_M_Easton
Law & Politics

Americans tend to focus on the defense game, but Beijing has political weapons in its arsenal we’ve never even heard of. Check it out!

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Evaluating the Logic and Methods of China's United Front Work @ToshiYoshihara
Law & Politics

The West has emerged as a major battleground in the People’s Republic of China’s quest for global influence. Chinese agents of influence have waged political warfare to refashion the West’s narratives, perceptions, and policies in ways that favor Beijing. China’s worldwide campaign, in turn, has undermined the sovereignty of Western nations and the integrity of free societies. This article contends that a deeper understanding of Chinese political warfare, as Beijing’s leaders understand it, will improve the West’s ability to diagnose the challenge and to devise counterstrategies. Drawing from the Chinese Communist Party’s own writings, this study illustrates the rationales and modalities of Chinese political warfare, assesses the factors propelling the globalization of China’s influence operations, and explains why political warfare will serve as a permanent instrument of Chinese statecraft. It concludes that the West must prepare for a long and arduous political struggle against China.

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Christopher J.L. Murray, analyzes the current global landscape of the pandemic. @IHME_UW
Misc.

29-NOV-2021 ::  #Omicron Regime Change
https://j.mp/32AZEK5

The Invisible Microbe has metastasized into Omicron and what we know is that COVID-19 far from becoming less virulent has become more virulent.
The transmissibility of #Omicron is not in question, it clearly has a spectacular advantage.
The Open Question is whether it is more virulent. If it is less virulent then #Omicron is breaking the Trend of increasing virulence.

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New global cases are falling - but are still a long way above their previous peak. @video4me
Misc.

The transmissibility of #Omicron is not in question, it clearly has a spectacular advantage.
https://j.mp/32AZEK5

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Nations w/ fast COVID 2wk avg case/day increase #Omicron @jmlukens
Misc.


Russia 12.8M total cases up 170.5k yesterday, above 159k/day avg. #Omicron

Indonesia: 1021%
Iran: 624%
West Bank & Gaza: 521%
Azerbaijan: 434%
Armenia: 416%
Korea, South: 336%
Belarus: 242%
Slovakia: 232%
Russia: 231%
Jordan: 172%

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Nations w/ high COVID19 avg exponential growth rate (daily/total) #Omicron @jmlukens
Minerals, Oil & Energy

Japan: 3.04%
Denmark: 2.26%
South Korea: 3.26%
Norway: 2.23%
Latvia: 2.09%
"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."
https://j.mp/32AZEK5

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In some locations – including some states in India and Brazil – are reporting much lower peaks in reported #COVID19 cases than expected. @AliHMokdad
Misc.


There are two possible explanations: either testing capacity is being exceeded leading to a rapid drop in the infection-detection rate, 1/

or the number of susceptible in these populations has been overestimated perhaps because past rates of infection have been underestimated. @AliHMokdad


or the number of susceptible in these populations has been overestimated perhaps because past rates of infection have been underestimated. In Brazil, another explanation may be that #Omicron has less immune escape against prior Gamma infection than for other variants. end/

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Why are US life insurance companies revealing an overwhelming unexplained increase (40%) in all-cause deaths amongst 18 to 49-year-olds. @catturd2
Misc.


Is anyone else following this story?

The Open Question is whether it is more virulent. If it is less virulent then #Omicron is breaking the Trend of increasing virulence.
https://j.mp/32AZEK5

There was an unexpected 40% increase in ‘all cause deaths’ in 2021 @KUSINews 


Several US life insurance companies have recently revealed an overwhelming unexplained increase (40%) in “all-cause deaths” amongst 18 to 49-year-olds.
Three physician “whistle-blowers” have just released real data from the DoD, drawn from the clinical diagnosis codes. 

The increases found are from 2021, compared to the five year average from 2016 to 2020.

Myocardial infarction: 269% increase
> Miscarriages: 300% increase
> Bell’s palsy: 291% increase
> Congenital malformations: 156% increase
> Female infertility: 471% increase
> Pulmonary embolisms: 467% increase
> Neurologic abnormalities: 300% increase
> Cancers: 300% increase

As of now, the CDC has not explained this data.

Dr. Kelly Victory discussed the surprising findings and respond to those who believe the COVID-19 vaccines have caused these increases.

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Human DNA has remnants of ancient viral infections called Human Endogenous Retroviruses(HERV) @yaneerbaryam
Misc.


Viruses are obviously ancient, and perhaps primeval. They are molecular sharks, a motive without a mind.

https://bit.ly/3bE1xo6
Think of these as Zombie viruses @yaneerbaryam


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Ibsen, Lewis and Camus have written novels about the intimate intertwining of politics with public health @greg_travis
Misc.


Scratch the surface of the best virologist, immunologist & especially epidemiologists
And you'll find a politician underneath

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

―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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Currency markets At A Glance
World Currencies

Euro 1.143050
Dollar Index 95.539
Japan Yen 115.6195
Swiss Franc 0.92400
Pound 1.35350
Aussie 0.717775
India Rupee 75.01545
South Korea Won 1195.835
Brazil Real 5.2361
Egypt Pound 15.737475
South Africa Rand 15.23700

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China's GDP at market exchange rates is still only 70% of US levels. But the market value of its housing is more than two and a half times the value of all US residential real estate @Birdyword
World Of Finance


Actually I think Xi Jinping has been singularly brave and bold a la the Mellon doctrine in seeking to deal with the Real Estate Sector 


Mellon advised him to liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate. Purge the rottenness out of the system

http://bit.ly/2F1qUUi
Mellon doctrine Territory. Mellon believed that economic recessions, such as those that had occurred in 1873 and 1907, were a necessary part of the business cycle because they purged the economy.
In his memoirs, Hoover wrote that Mellon advised him to “liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate. Purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. ... enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people.”

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.@georgesoros on China, Xi Jinping, and the Threat from Within: Delivered at the @HooverInst
China

[the most insightful critique I have heard full stop] I disagree with the Regime change prospect, His point about demography incisive and the Vaccine issue]



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Russia 5-yr Credit Default Swaps Fall 10 Basis Points To 3-week Low At 183 Bps On Hopes Of Diplomatic Resolution Of Ukraine Tensions - Ihs Markit Data @PriapusIQ
Emerging Markets


~ RUB also continues to strengthen.

24-JAN-2022 ::  In fact My Trade of the Year in the Markets would be to buy The Russian Ruble and the Stock Market. Of course, Timing is everything.
https://bit.ly/3rMUq79

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Russia's stock market is up nearly 20% in $ since 24 Jan - despite Russian exercises in Belarus and amphibious ships in Black Sea @RencapMan
Emerging Markets


Consensus sees Gazprom dividend yield at 16% but we think 19% with oil at $90
Still a long way to rise if the story de-escalates


4.09.2018 no-one except die-hard Erdogan-supporting Turkish nationalists is prepared to throw good money after money gone bad on the basis of Erdogan's hocus pocus monetary policy



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Erdogan has his own Islamic version of the Modern Monetary Policy now embraced by US Leftists. The latter holds that Government can print all the money it needs Erdogan does it & inflation is now 50% pa @ELuttwak
Emerging Markets

Erdogan has his own Islamic version of the Modern Monetary Policy now embraced by US Leftists. The latter holds that Government can print all the money it needs to give everyone a good income, w the Fed ordered to keep interest rates low. Erdogan does it & inflation is now 50% pa

In 1998, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told the House of Commons: “There is no way in which one can buck the market.”


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By 2025, Africa will have over 100 cities with more than one million inhabitants – more than three times the number in the European Union. @ecfr @michaeltanchum
Africa


By 2030, 42 per cent of the world’s young people will live in Africa, making the continent home to the largest supply of affordable labour on the planet in the coming decades. @ecfr @michaeltanchum


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Sudan-UAE relations remain strong and steadfast. During a meeting today with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, we discussed ways to deepen our relationship @GeneralDagllo
Africa


Sudan-UAE relations remain strong and steadfast. During a meeting today with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, we discussed ways to deepen our relationship and enhance cooperation on regional issues.
20 JAN 20 :: The Intrusion of Middle Powers


The New York Times has an Article about Mohammed bin Zayed and it reads 

And [how the] U.A.E. approached Sisi and outlined the terms of their financial support before Morsi’s overthrow.
“I think there’s every reason to believe he staged a coup,” I was told by one former diplomat. 

“For a tiny country in the Persian Gulf to overthrow the ruler of Egypt and put their guy in, that’s a big achievement'' 

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We also discussed the Houthi attacks against the UAE, which pose a dire threat to the country's security and stability. @GeneralDagllo
Africa


There can be no place for terrorism in the modern world. We stand ready to provide our brotherly UAE nation and all our partners with any assistance needed to quash this scourge on society. @GeneralDagllo


10-JUN-2019 :: The zeitgeist of the Revolution in Khartoum was intoxicating


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You’ve Heard of the Brady Plan, But What About the Shanghai Plan to Restructure Developing World Debt? @ChinaAfrProject
Africa


This week’s revelation from the AfDB that Africa’s total public debt now stands at $546 billion, more than all of the revenue collected in 2021 by governments across the continent, is the latest indication that the debt issue is blooming into a full-blown crisis for some countries. 

Chinese researchers are now developing a new debt relief concept similar to Brady Plan from 1980s but this time would restructure developing world debt by bundling it together into a new RMB-denominated asset. @ChinaAfrProject


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Can someone provide an intelligent explanation? @Gab_H_R
Africa

This delayed reporting/continuous backlogs created the wrong impression that attenuation in the Omicron wave compared to last year's wave was 1:5 Now, we see it's 1:4. @x2IndSpeculator

https://twitter.com/x2IndSpeculator/status/1491108192616546305?s=20&t=saq4qLKx0XWOPdi_huIZ7w

This delayed reporting/continuous backlogs created the wrong impression that attenuation in the Omicron wave compared to last year's wave was 1:5 (thanks to previous immunity from vaccination/infection + Omicron being intrinsically less severe). Now, we see it's 1:4.


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. There is a deep irony in Antonio Guterres admiring Picasso's Guernica - a classic painting on the horrors of Spanish Civil War. @RAbdiAnalyst
Africa

Guterres ignored Ethiopian conflict, sided with a genocidal regime, appeased Eritrea and played obstructionist role at UNSC.
Abiy regards him ally.

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Tanzania Debt Tops $37 Billion National debt jumped 19.5% in 2021, central bank report says @markets
Africa


Tanzania’s national debt climbed by almost 20% last year as the East African nation ramped up borrowing to fund its infrastructure projects.
Public debt increased by $6.1 billion to $37.1 billion in 2021, the Bank of Tanzania said in a statement on its website.
Transport and telecommunication activities accounted for the biggest share of external debt, according to the report. Social welfare and education, and energy and mining followed.
Tanzania has increased public investment in rail links, roads, ports and power plants as it looks to develop a regional trade and manufacturing hub. 

The government plans to increase spending by 7.4% in 2022-23, while keeping the budget deficit below 3% of gross domestic product.
The nation’s earnings from gold exports, its biggest source of foreign currency, fell 7.2% to $2.7 billion last year. 

Other foreign earnings, however, climbed; exports of manufactured goods such as sisal and sisal products jumped 33.5% to $1.2 billion, while travel receipts almost doubled to $1.4 billion as international tourist arrivals rebounded.

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Kenya’s Fuel Subsidy Regressive and Inefficient, @IMFNews Says @markets @herbling
Kenyan Economy


Kenya’s fuel subsidy is regressive and has a negative impact on economic efficiency, according to the International Monetary Fund.
They are typically poorly targeted and lead to inefficient allocation of resources because the main beneficiaries are the better off, said Tobias Rasmussen, the fund’s representative in Kenya.
“This happens as energy products have a higher share of the budget among high-income groups,” Rasmussen said in emailed response to queries. 

“The inefficient allocation of resources happens as the subsidies crowd out other more productive spending.”
Consumers in East Africa’s biggest economy pay 5.40 shillings ($0.05) per liter of gasoline and diesel toward a stabilization fund, which has been used to tame prices and keep inflation within the central bank’s targeted range of 2.5% to 7.5%.
Lawmakers plan to halve this subsidy to 2.90 shillings per liter, as well as reduce other taxes and retailers’ margins as part of efforts to lower the cost of fuel, according to proposed legislation in the National Assembly.
Authorities drew almost 25 billion shillings ($220 million) from the fund to stabilize prices between July and December, according to budget documents tabled in the National Assembly last week.
Inflation Driver
Fuel inflation was the key driver of overall consumer prices in Kenya in the past year, due to higher pump prices as oil rallied after muted demand in 2020. 

Global oil prices are at their highest since 2014, owing to depleting stockpiles and diplomatic tensions.
Without the cushion, gasoline prices would have jumped to 144.47 shillings per liter on Jan. 15, while diesel would be 128.44 shillings in the capital Nairobi, according to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority. 

However, the agency left prices unchanged at 129.72 shillings and 110.6 shillings respectively for the third consecutive time, after tapping the fund.
In the long-term, it will be difficult to retain a subsidy funded by a levy that’s been eroded in recent months, according to Renaldo D’Souza, head of research at Nairobi-based Sterling Capital Ltd.
“Inflation would therefore best be fought by monetary policy rather than subsidies, and allow a free economy,” he said in an email.
Kenya can also use other non-tariff measures such as boosting strategic fuel reserves and expanding Mombasa port to reduce demurrage costs, according to lobby group Consumers Federation of Kenya.
Kenya’s current storage capacity lasts 10 days, or a week on average, forcing it to pay about $12 million annually in demurrage for oil tankers, an amount that is passed on to consumers, according to EPRA.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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February 2022
 
 
 
 
 
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