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Thursday 28th of April 2022
 
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The @POTUS Official Who Pierced Putin’s Sanction-Proof Economy
Law & Politics


Singh said, “We’ve made him stare into an economic abyss. But he could choose to pull back.”
The markets are where these two systems touch—the supply of buckwheat, the joint energy ventures, the price of the ruble—and within this arena the sanctions were a demonstration that Washington still had levers to pull. 

“You know, we can play chess, too,” Singh said. “It was important for us to show that the fortress could come crumbling down.”


if you believe that the West can craft sanctions that maximize pain for Russia while minimizing financial stability risks and price stability risks in the West, you could also believe in unicorns. #Zoltan



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You can print money, but not oil to heat or wheat to eat wrote @CreditSuisse’s Zoltan Pozsar.
World Of Finance

The Sanction warfare program is a reiteration of the @BarackObama 2014 version but then Oil was dropped to $20.00 and today its trading at $97.56 a barrel. This is the first flaw in the sanction warfare effort.
Russia essentially gave the $ and the Euro the very same exorbitant privilege that King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia gave President Franklin D Roosevelt aboard the USS Quincy in Great Bitter Lake in February 14, 1945 when the petro dollar economy was symbolically born.
By insisting payments are made in Russian Rubles for Russian commodities Vladimir Putin has withdrawn that exorbitant privilege.
The Russian Ruble rally is real and has much further to go.

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If you think $EUR is on a path to parity (we think we'll get pretty close to there)... then rest assured that sentiment for this isn't crowded. @VPatelFX
World Currencies


No FX forecaster on Bloomberg sees $EUR below 1.04 by year-end. Europe's energy shock will see multi-decade $EUR lows tested

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Luck is luck. Luck isn’t structural... Luck is running out Zoltan Pozsar
World Of Finance

Luck is luck. Luck isn’t structural... Luck is running out; central banks were lucky to have price stability as a tailwind when they had to fight crises of FX pegs, par, repo, and the cash-futures basis. Those were the easy crises. The ones you can print your way out of with QE.
But not this time around...

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Global financial conditions now the tightest since 2009, according to Goldman's financial conditions index. @ReutersJamie
World Of Finance

US financial conditions tightest since Oct 2020 ... and deteriorating as Wall Street falls, credit spreads widen and dollar rallies.

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Its a Wizard of Oz moment
World Of Finance


We have reached the point when the curtain was lifted in the Wizard of Oz and the Wizard revealed to be ‘’an ordinary conman from Omaha who has been using elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself seem “great and powerful”’’ 

The Curtain has been lifted and Mr. Powell has now arrived at his Volcker moment 

Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid notes that yesterday's surge in the 2-year US Treasury yield was, by one measure, "the biggest "shock" since October 1979 when Volcker announced his intentions on the world @ReutersJamie
The last time inflation was here, February 1982 - the Fed Funds Rate was 15%. @Convertbond
Dartmouth economist and former Fed adviser Andrew Levin says the Fed needs to get rates to a neutral setting within a year or so, and that the means getting the Fed Funds rates up to 4% or 5%

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A REGIME CHANGE IS UNDERWAY in the markets
World Of Finance



There is no training – classroom or otherwise.. that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. 
There's typically no logic to it; irrationality reigns supreme, and no class can teach what to do during that brief, volatile reign. Paul Tudor-Jones

The Music has been playing for Eternity and its about to stop




Love Fellini. So brave, with that whiff of insanity. @DiAmatoStyle Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 @tcm
https://twitter.com/tcm/status/1232079264385773570?s=20

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

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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My Origin Story @G_S_Bhogal
Misc.


When I was an adolescent idiot, I believed our species' greatest problems—crime, war, prejudice, tyranny—were the result of mere ignorance, and that if people only knew more, they'd become rational and compassionate, and society would flourish.
To make matters worse, I believed this flourishing was inevitable; I viewed history as humanity's journey out of ignorance toward enlightenment, a process of gradual maturation whereby our species would accumulate countless small truths, growing ever wiser, until we finally grasped the Truth, at which point we'd realize how cruel and stupid we'd all been, and then redeem ourselves by creating a techno-utopia.
So in the mid-90s, when I first heard of this new technology—the World Wide Web—which could transmit the world's information to anyone almost instantly, my reaction was virtually religious. 

Surely this was the first step to permanently vanquishing human ignorance and reaching the promised land of Truth, enlightenment, salvation?
My belief in the promise of the web to fix humanity was why I decided to study computer science at university. 

I quickly came to regard search engines as the most important aspect of the web, because they were its doorways, dictating the paths people would take through the labyrinth of all human knowledge.

It didn't take long for me to realise that the search engine didn't value objectivity highly. 

For instance, it would often rank tendentious pages from, say, Fox News or Salon, above more neutral pages from news agencies like the Associated Press.

I learned that this was because the search formula was configured to favour objectivity less than other parameters like popularity. 

It wasn't that it was harder to create algorithms that could value objectivity (one simple method was to count the number of Russell conjugations in unquoted text). It was just that web-users wanted objectivity less than they wanted interestingness. 

And, as a business, Microsoft (and Google) had to cater to human desires, no matter how silly.

This discovery was a concussive blow to my techno-utopian idea that the web could cure human ignorance. 

What good was offering people the truth if they were more interested in consuming gossip, sensationalism, hackery, clickbait, and other forms of vivid fiction?

It seemed the problem with people was not that they didn't know the truth, but that they didn't want the truth. 

A search algorithm could only be as good as the desires it served, so fixing the bugs in our tech was of little use if we couldn't fix the bugs in our brains. 

As long as human nature was fundamentally irrational, technology wouldn't civilise us, we'd primitivise it. 

Upon this realisation, my interest began to shift away from technology to psychology. Perhaps, I wondered, the key to our enlightenment lay in upgrading the algorithms of the mind.
I began to pay close attention to the people around me, scrutinising their words and gestures as I'd once examined computer code, searching for bugs that might be fixed. 

I wrote articles about some of these bugs, and submitted them to various magazines, but no one was interested in what a junior computer scientist thought about the human mind. 

I knew that if I was going to be taken seriously, I'd have to do something drastic. And the opportunity soon came.

With the rise of social media in the early 2010s, people became more concerned about the role of the web in spreading delusions and promoting dangerous views. 

This period saw surges in both jihadism and far-right extremism in the UK, and nowhere was this more apparent than in the town of Luton.

With a large isolated population of ethnic Pakistanis, Luton had long been synonymous with conservative Islam, and it was a major stronghold of the UK's deadliest jihadist network, al-Muhajiroun. 

Due to what was regarded by some as an Islamic takeover of the town, a young man who went by the name of Tommy Robinson founded the English Defence League, a nativist, anti-Islam protest group. 

By 2010 the EDL and local Islamists were engaged in an escalating discourse of violence.

Curious, I decided to relocate to the neighbourhood. I wanted to know whether the town's problems were really the result of online misinformation, or if, as I suspected, there was a deeper cause rooted in the human brain.

I rented a place near Bury Park, the neighbourhood where most of Luton's jihadists were concentrated. 

I approached al-Muhajiroun supporters at their stalls to question them, observed their rallies and protests, attended the same mosques as them, and eavesdropped on them in the streets and in cyberspace.

The more I studied these men, the more it became clear their radicalisation couldn't simply be blamed on misinformation or ignorance. 

They'd received their fair share of good knowledge from the schools and universities they'd attended, and they had the same access to the world's information as the rest of us. But they'd rejected it all to appease pathological prejudices.

Sure, many of them had been led astray by the videos of Anwar al-Awlaki and other online propagandists, but if decades of a mind's education and experience can be overruled by a couple of online hate-sermons, is the real problem with the sermons, or with the mind?
It became even clearer that the main problem was not (mis)information but the mind when I began to monitor the jihadists’ conversations. 

They spent their days scanning the mainstream media for signs of the fulfilment of apocalyptic prophecies, and any news that could be matched to their prophecies was unquestioningly accepted as true, while anything that didn't was reflexively dismissed as Jewish propaganda. 

News of every Isis victory became more proof that the group deserved the support of Muslims ("See? God is with them!"), but so did news of every defeat ("See? They're dying and need our help!"). 

In short, what the jihadists believed was not based on what they saw as much as what they saw was based on what they believed.
What I learned was this: information doesn't enter the mind intact like a puzzle-piece slotted into a jigsaw. 

Instead, it becomes distorted to fit the shape of its container, like water poured into a vessel. 

Luton’s jihadists had been given plenty of good, honest facts by society, but these facts had been warped by their biases to fit their delusions.

In short, I realised that most of us are not much more rational than the jihadists; it's just that our irrationalities tend to go unnoticed because they follow society's contours rather than reacting violently against them.

By now, I was mature enough to know that our problems couldn't be blamed on any one thing.

The fact that we tended to prefer entertaining fictions over mundane truths was part of the problem, but not the whole problem. 

As was the fact that we tended to distort the truths we received to better align with our prejudices.

This last issue seemed to me to be the most fundamental. We were so busy thinking about the world (cognition) that we neglected to think about our thinking (metacognition). 

As such, we didn't understand understanding, leaving us at the mercy of every trick of the mind that prevented us from grasping reality, such as its preference for entertainment over truth, and its tendency to twist facts into fiction. 

It became clear to me that, without metacognition, all the cognition in the world would merely awaken us from one dream into another.

Determined to avoid this trap, I began to think a lot about thinking. As the online culture war reached fever pitch in 2017, I noticed the same tribalism I'd seen in the jihadists emerging in everyone, including myself. 

A lifelong liberal, I saw that my ideology was making me partisan and irrational, so I reluctantly abandoned my political views. 

I no longer identify with an ideology, but I retain my basic principles—equality of opportunity, freedom of expression, truth no matter how inconvenient.
Many of my friends who didn't abandon ideology enlisted in the culture war and either became "woke" or "based". 

This polarisation soon become a major talking point in the media, and the idea I'd rejected a decade earlier, that algorithms were to blame, became mainstream. 

Governments and advertisers began ramping up pressure on the tech giants to censor "disinformation" and "hate speech", as if it were possible to quarantine fools from falsehood. 

Meanwhile, no one seemed to be talking about the real issue—a universe of knowledge without the knowledge to interpret it.
I therefore took it upon myself to spread this meta-knowledge. I became active on Twitter, posting about the psychological traps we all fall prey to. 

My online following grew quicker than I anticipated, and I took this to mean that there are many of you who, like me, wish to understand ourselves so we might begin to understand everything else. And that is why I’ve launched this blog.
I used to think Truth was a destination, a techno-utopia, a place or moment of ultimate enlightenment. But I now know Truth is a horizon; we'll never quite reach it, but by pursuing it, we'll reach so much else, including, perhaps, a better understanding of the world. 

So I hope you'll accompany me as I embark, in these pages, on a journey of discovery toward the infinite skyline.

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Aux armes, citoyens: dissecting the stage-managed French elections @TheCradleMedia
Law & Politics


In the end, it happened exactly like the French establishment designed it. I called it last December in a column here at The Cradle.
These are the essentials: Certified Arabophobe Eric Zemmour, who is of Algerian origin, was manufactured by key establishment players of the Institut Montaigne variety to cut off the populist right-wing candidacy of Marine Le Pen. 

In the end, Zemmour’s electoral performance was dismal, as expected. Yet another candidate pulled off a miracle intervention and was even more useful: ambitious egomaniac opportunist and so-called progressive Jean-Luc Melenchon.
‘Le Petit Roi’ Emmanuel Macron generates less than zero empathy across France. 

That explains the huge voter abstention of 28 percent in the second round of votes.
The numbers tell the story: There are 48,803,175 French citizens registered to vote. Macron got 18,779,809 votes. Marine Le Pen got 13,297,728 votes. 

Yet the most eyebrow-raising performance was by the Abstention/Nullified/Blank candidate: 16,674,963 votes.
So the president of France was re-elected by 38.5 percent of voters while the real second place, Absention/Nullified/Blank got 34.2 percent.
That implies that roughly 42 percent of registered French voters bothered to hit the polls basically to bar Le Pen: a brand that remains toxic in vast swathes of urban France – yet hardly as much as before – and even with the whole weight of oligarchic mainstream media engaged in Two Minute Hate campaign mode. 

The five oligarchies who run the so-called ‘audiovisual landscape’ (PAF, according to the French acronym) of campaign messaging are all Macronists.
Who, in fact, is this illusionist Petit Roi that qualifies at best as a messenger of transnational plutocracy?
From the bowels of the system, arguably the sharpest verdict comes from Mathieu Pigasse, informally referred to in Paris as “the punk banker” because of his infatuation with the British punk-rock band The Clash.
When Macron was a mergers & acquisitions banker at Rothschild & Company, Pigasse was working for the opposition, Lazard Freres. It was Macron who convinced Nestlé’s interests to be handled by Rothschild, while Pigasse was representing Danone.
Pigasse also happens to be one of the major shareholders of Le Monde – which used to be a great newspaper up to the 1980s and now is a shallow carbon copy of the New York Times. Le Monde is Macronist to the core.
Pigasse defines Macron as “the purest product of French elitism, in terms of the Parisian microcosm.” 

Although Macron is a provinciale from Amiens, he perfectly fit into the Parisian beau monde, which is in itself a quite rarefied, and yes, equally provincial universe, like a village where everyone ‘that matters’ knows everyone.
Pigasse also identifies the establishment characters who invented Macron and placed him at the top of the pyramid – ranging from avowed eugenicist Jacques Attali to Serge Weinberg (ex-CEO of Sanofi), Francois Roussely (ex-president of EDF) and Jean-Pierre Jouyet, a former minister under disgraced former President Nicolas Sarkozy and then number two at the Elysée Palace under the supremely incompetent Francois Hollande.
Attali, incidentally, describes Macronism as a “pro-European modernization, engaged, liberal and optimist. That corresponds to a center-right of modern France” – and then Attali himself gives away the game – “which is not necessarily the whole of France.”
“Not necessarily the whole of France” in fact means the majority of France, if one bothers to leave a few tony Paris arrondissements to talk to people in Pas-de-Calais, Bourgogne or the Var. 

This ‘real’ France identifies the “social market economy” extolled by Attali and promoted by Macron as a gigantic fake.
It would be too easy to paint the current national divide between, on one side, the elderly and the very young carrying a diploma, living in comfort; and on the other side, the 25 to 60 year olds, without higher education and barely making ends meet. That is, the working class masses.
It is more nuanced than that. Still, the two most important factors in this election are that close to one third of voters didn’t even bother to show up – or nullified their vote (even here in Paris). 

And that the gullible Melenchon horde handed it over to Le Petit Roi, assuming their leader will become a de facto ‘prime minister.’
The working classes will be literally exterminated throughout another five years of hardcore neoliberalism. 

France’s until recently stellar social welfare system will be decimated. 

Retirement age will be extended to 65 years old. Smaller pensions will be barely enough to live on. T

he super-wealthy will pay much lower taxes while the common worker will pay much higher ones. Education and healthcare will be privatized.
France will merrily catch up with the fast decaying casino capitalism of the US and UK. And don’t forget further travel restrictions and food and fuel shortages.
Islamophobia will not dissolve into a mellow woke rainbow. On the contrary: it will be instrumentalized as the perfect scapegoat for serial Macronist incompetence and corruption.
Meanwhile, in Azovstal…
If we add the spectacular performance of the Absention/Nullifed/Blank candidate plus people who didn’t even bother to vote, we have something like a silent majority of 30 million people who instinctively feels the whole system is rigged.
The winners, of course, are the usual suspects: the BlackRock/McKinsey/Great Reset/weapons industry/EuroNazicrat axis. 

McKinsey virtually run French government policy – bordering on fiscal fraud – a scandal corporate media did everything to bury. 

For his part, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, a very close ‘consultant’ of the Elysee Palace, must have popped a few extra bottles of Krug.
And then, there’s France as Great Power. Leader of great swathes of Africa (fresh from receiving a punch in the teeth from Mali); Leader of West Asia (ask the Syrians and Lebanese about it); Leader of the Great Resetting EU; And deeply embedded in the NATO war machine.
Which bring us to the top invisible story before this election, totally buried by corporate media. Yet Turkish intelligence picked it up. 

The Russians, for their part, have kept themselves deliciously mute, in their trademark ‘strategic ambiguity’ mode.
Denis Pushilin, the head of Donetsk People’s Republic, confirmed once again early this week there are roughly 400 foreign ‘instructors’ cum mercenaries – from NATO – huddling in the bowels of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, with no way out.
Turkish intel maintains that 50 of them are French, some of them high-ranking. 

That explains what has been established by several Russian sources – but not acknowledged at all by Paris: Macron has placed a flurry of frantic phone calls to Putin to set up a “humanitarian corridor” to extricate his valuable assets.
The measured Russian response has been – once again – trademark geopolitical judo. 

No “humanitarian corridor” for anyone in Azovstal, be it Azov neo-Nazis or their foreign NATO handlers, and no bombing them to oblivion. Let them starve – and in the end they will be forced to surrender.
Enter the still unconfirmed yet plausible Macron directive: no surrender by any means.  

Because surrendering means giving Moscow on a silver plate a series of confessions and all the facts of an illegal, secret operation conducted by the ‘leader of Europe’ on behalf of neo-Nazis.
All bets are off when – and if – the full story breaks out in France. It might as well happen during the upcoming war crimes tribunal to be set up most probably in Donetsk.
Aux armes, citoyens? Well, they have five years down the road to hit the barricades. It may happen sooner than we think.

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NEW: Russian forces are LIKELY attempting to cut off heavily fortified Ukrainian troops in the east: UK Defense Intelligence @JackDetsch
Law & Politics



Russia has reportedly taken Kreminna and there is heavy fighting south of Izyum as 🇷🇺 tries to advance on Sloviansk & Kramatorsk "from the north and east"

Conclusions

This was blindingly obvious weeks ago. The Western Military gaslighting on the platform has been off the charts to what purpose I know not.


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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.051860
Dollar Index 103.438
Japan Yen 130.1125
Swiss Franc 0.97033
Pound 1.251965
Aussie 0.710385
India Rupee 76.66725
South Korea Won 1272.905 
Brazil Real 4.9647000
Egypt Pound 18.503800
South Africa Rand 15.93895 

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Soaring inflation and the resulting 'real' income squeeze is forcing consumers to rethink spending habits and one of the most explosive trends of the COVID lockdown era is in danger of reversing. @ReutersJamie
World Of Finance


The trend is accelerating. In March new subscriptions were 4.4% of total subscriptions, down from 7% a year earlier, and 10.4% of subscriptions were canceled, almost double the 5.6% from a year earlier.
"People are tightening the purse strings and being more selective about where they spend their money," Yahya Mokhtarzada, Truebill's chief revenue officer, told Reuters. "We may have hit peak subscription."

A survey of 1,030 adults of varying ages by Wethrift.com in January showed that 96% of people had at least one video-streaming service, 80% had a music-streaming subscription, followed by meal-kit delivery services at 57%; beauty, health, and wellness at 51%, and 56% that didn't fit a category.

The index (.IXIC) is down 23% from its November peak, after soaring 145% from the March 2020 low. To compare, the S&P 500 index (.SPX) is down 13% from its January peak, having rallied 120% from March 2020.
The more high-octane parts of the tech world are in even deeper trouble. Cathie Wood's ARK Innovation ETF has slumped 23% just this month, and is down 46% this year.
"Costs are going up and that is starting to impact consumer behavior. Where are the easy ways I can cut back spending? People are starting to look at subscriptions. Consumer psychology is changing," said Julie Biel, portfolio manager at Kayne Anderson Rudnick.
According to Andreas Steno Larsen, an independent strategist, the investment upshot could not be more straightforward. "Be long stuff that people need and short stuff that people don't need for now. It is as simple as that," 

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~30% bond drop since Sept @rachelmsavage
Kenyan Bills & Bonds - Short Term


Kenya's dollar bond prices have dropped around 30% since September as pressures have mounted. 


They were little changed on Wednesday having only regained a fraction of the losses seen on Monday that had sent some longer-time frame bonds to record lows.

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Kenya seeks UAE oil on credit to end fuel shortage @BD_Africa
Kenyan Economy


Kenya is in talks to import a third of its fuel from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on credit in efforts to cut the dominance of oil majors who have been blamed for fuel shortages.
Top officials in the energy sector told the Business Daily the negotiations will allow the State-owned National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock) to ship in 30 percent of the country’s diesel and petrol needs.
Nock will be expected to sell the bulk of the UAE cargo to small independent dealers, who have recently been cut off from the wholesale market in a shift that partly contributed to the biting fuel shortage that stalled transportation across the country.
A State subsidy introduced to ease fuel costs made wholesale prices to nearly match the cost of selling diesel and petrol at the pump, making the business unprofitable to independent players who do not import and buy supplies from the big players.

“They [UAE] will finance the product or provide the product with an extended credit period then Nock will trade and pay them back,” said the top official who requested not to be identified before closure of the UAE deal.

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Kenyan Bank Lobby Blames Dollar Shortage on Post-Pandemic Demand @markets @eombok
Kenyan Economy


Group says supply of foreign currency continues to grow
Shilling seen weakening to 122-123/$ this year: EFG Hermes
A Kenyan bankers group said it’s in talks with the regulator to ensure the market is supplied with dollars, blaming shortages of the U.S. currency on strong demand from companies remitting dividends and manufacturers importing components.
The Kenya Bankers Association also denied a local newspaper report that the central bank had directed lenders to ration dollars, the lobbying group said in a statement. 

“The industry is in constant discussion with the central bank to ensure that the current imbalances are addressed as quickly as possible to bring the market back to normalcy,” the KBA said. 

“The supply of foreign currency continues to grow, supported by receipts from the country’s main exports and strong remittances inflows.”
The shilling posted its lowest intraday level of 116.04 to the dollar on Tuesday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

Already hit by a sharp rise in global commodity prices and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kenya’s external accounts are also under pressure as dollar inflows from traditional sources such as agricultural exports and tourism fail to keep up with demand, EFG Hermes Kenya Ltd. said in an April 26 note. 

The brokerage sees the local currency weakening to 122-123 shillings per dollar by the end of 2022.
“We see the downward pressure, which comes after three years of marked stability, emanating primarily from rising external pressures given the imbalance in the global economy,” EFG Hermes said.

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