Global Pandemic Preparedness - Which Country Is The Most (And Least) Ready For COVID-19?

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Global Pandemic Preparedness - Which Country Is The Most (And Least) Ready For COVID-19?

The world has experienced many pandemics throughout its history, but not every era has had the benefit of modern medicine and hindsight.

However, as Visual Capitalist's Nichaolas LePan notes, even with the readily available medical expertise and equipment that exists today, it is still unevenly distributed throughout the glo

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be. Combine this with a highly interconnected global economy, and large populations are still at risk from infection.

Today’s chart pulls data from the 2019 Global Health Security Index, which ranks 195 countries on health security. It reveals that while there were top performers, healthcare systems around the world on average are fundamentally weak - and not prepared for new disease outbreaks.

Pathways for Commerce and Disease

Modern transportation and trade have linked the farthest stretches of the world to fuel a global economy. Physical distance plays less a limiting role and more an enabling one to form a flat world as Thomas Friedman put it, creating opportunities for commerce anywhere in the world.

A person can sell dishware from his home in Cusco, Peru, online to a customer in Muncie, Indiana, with products manufactured in China, from materials sourced in Africa.

While these connections sound sterile, there are people interacting with one another to procure, manufacture, package, and distribute the goods. The connections are not just through products, but also people and animals across many borders.

Now, add up the interactions within the global food supply chain with plants and livestock and tourism industries and place them under the pressures of climate change, urbanization, international mass displacement, and migration—and the volume and variety of opportunities for disease transmission and mutation becomes infinite.

The same pathways of global commerce become the transmission vectors for disease. A cough in Dubai can become a fever in London with one flight and one day.

You Cannot Manage What You Do Not Measure

Despite this, we still live with national healthcare systems that look inward towards national populations, with less of a focus on integrating what is happening with the outside world.

The Global Health Security (GHS) Index is the first comprehensive effort to assess and benchmark health security and related capabilities by nation, and it tracks six key factors to come up with an overall score for each of the 195 countries in the ranking:

  1. Prevention

    Prevention of the emergence or release of pathogens

  2. Detection and Reporting

    Early detection and reporting for epidemics of potential international concern

  3. Rapid Response

    Capability of rapidly responding to and mitigating the spread of an epidemic

  4. Health System

    Sufficient and robust and health system to treat the sick and protect health workers

  5. Compliance with Global Norms

    Compliance with international norms by improving national capacity, financing plans to address gaps

  6. Risk Environment

    Risk environment and country vulnerability to biological threats

Note: The GHS Index is a project of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHU), and was developed with The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Country Overall Rankings

Overall, the rankings uncover a distressing insight. Global preparedness for both epidemics and pandemics is weak, with the average score in the index sitting at 40.2 out of 100.

The countries with the highest scores have effective governance and politics systems in place, while those with the lowest scores fall down for their inadequate healthcare systems—even among high-income countries.

Here are the 10 highest-ranking countries in the index:

You can view the complete rankings of all 195 countries on the GHS Index website.

Interestingly, 81% of countries score in the bottom tier for indicators related to biosecurity—and worse, 85% of countries show no evidence of having completed a biological threat-focused simulation exercise in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the past year.

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases vs. Global Health Security Score

Many healthcare systems have had their security tested with the outbreak of COVID-19.

Although it is still extremely early, there appears to be a relationship between a nation’s health security and its ability to cope with pandemics.

Takeaways: A World Unprepared

While there may be top performers relative to other countries, the overall picture paints a grim picture that foreshadowed the current crisis we are living through.

“It is likely that the world will continue to face outbreaks that most countries are ill positioned to combat. In addition to climate change and urbanization, international mass displacement and migration—now happening in nearly every corner of the world—create ideal conditions for the emergence and spread of pathogens.”

 – The Global Health Security Index, 2019

The report outlined eight critical insights about global health security in 2019 that reveal some of the problems countries are now facing.

  1. National health security is fundamentally weak globally. No country is fully prepared for epidemics or pandemics, and every country has important gaps to address.

  2. Countries are not prepared for a globally catastrophic biological event.

  3. There is little evidence that most countries have tested important health security capacities or shown that they would be functional in a crisis.

  4. Most countries have not allocated funding from national budgets to fill identified preparedness gaps.

  5. More than half of countries face major political and security risks that could undermine national capability to combat biological threats.

  6. Most countries lack basic health systems capacities critical for epidemic and pandemic response.

  7. Coordination and training are inadequate among veterinary, wildlife, and public health professionals and policymakers.

  8. Improving country compliance with international health and security norms is essential.

A Stark Reality

The intention of the Global Health Security Index is to encourage improvements in the planning and response to one of the world’s most omnipresent risks–infectious disease outbreaks. When this report was released in 2019, it revealed that even the highest ranking nations still had gaps to fill in preparing for a pandemic.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20. The COVID-19 outbreak has served as a wake-up call to health organizations and governments around the world. Once all of the curves have been flattened, the next version of this report will undoubtedly be viewed with renewed interest.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 22:30

Peter Schiff: Hyperinflation Is Now The Most Probable Scenario

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Peter Schiff: Hyperinflation Is Now The Most Probable Scenario

Via SchiffGold.com,

March 23 was Peter Schiff’s birthday. It was also the day the Federal Reserve announced QE Infinity. So, Peter spent over three hours hosting a live videocast talking about the latest Fed moves, the potential impact on the economy and answering questions from viewers.

Peter said he was hoping to combat the rampant economic ignorance that

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is pretty much everywhere.

There’s probably one thing that is spreading right now throughout the country faster than the coronavirus and that is economic ignorance and misinformation. It’s all over the place. It’s gone completely viral … The best thing anybody can do to combat the virus of ignorance is to turn off their television sets or their computers and don’t listen to anything that is being said in conventional media, whether it’s a news-related channel or a financial channel, I can virtually assure you that every single thing that you’re hearing is wrong.”

Peter hammered on a number of central themes you won’t hear discussed in the mainstream. For one thing, the Federal Reserve and the US government are repeating the mistakes of 2008.

Peter reminds us that as the crisis unfolded in ’08, he warned that the policies of bailouts and monetary stimulus were a mistake and that they would lead to a bigger crisis in the future.

Well, welcome to the future.”

He also emphasized that this isn’t about the coronavirus. The virus pricked a bubble that was inflated long ago. The economic chaos we’re seeing today started long before the virus reared its ugly head.

Everybody wants us to go back to normal, the way things were before anybody heard the word coronavirus of COVID-19. But you know what? We weren’t normal back then. The economy was sick before the virus infected us. It was a bubble. There was nothing normal about that bubble. And the problem with bubbles is once they pop, they’re not going to reflate. You need a new bubble. You need a bigger bubble. That’s what the Fed did. They inflated the NASDAQ bubble. That popped. They inflated a bigger bubble in housing. That popped. And then they inflated a bubble in everything. Well, everything has already been in a bubble. There’s nothing left to bubble up. It’s over.”

Peter also warned about what’s coming down the pike with all of this money being injected into the economy.

They are going to unleash a tsunami of inflation.”

And people losing their money in this crisis is going to be the least of the problems.

What we’re going to suffer as an economy is far worse than losing your money. Because you know what’s worse than losing your money? Having your money but your money losing it’s purchasing power. That is the worst thing that can happen and that is what’s going to happen. Hyperinflation has gone from the worst-case scenario to the most probable scenario. And that means people have to act quickly to protect themselves.”

Peter spent a lot of time taking questions from viewers. This is a great opportunity to get some economic analysis you’re not going to see on CNBC or Fox Business.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 19:50

Mortgage Apps Crash Most Since 2009

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Mortgage Apps Crash Most Since 2009

While The Fed cut rates to zero and unleashed unprecedented QE and backstops, mortgage rates have spiked in the last two weeks...

Source: Bloomberg

So much for "helping Main Street." Amid COVID-19 shutdowns and quarantines and related financial turmoil, general anxiety has taken the shine off a renaissance in the housing market as mortgage applicat

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ions crashed 29.4% week-over-week - the biggest weekly drop since the financial crisis.

Source: Bloomberg

Home-purchase applications dropped by 14.6% while refinancing applications plummeted 33.8%...

Source: Bloomberg

As Bloomberg notes, the decline in applications is an early sign suggesting home sales will slow and that refinancings are coming off a spike. That follows other data indicating a precipitous dropoff in business activity this month as stores and schools shutter to prevent the spread of the virus.

Source: Bloomberg

And with mREITs collapsing left and right, amid margin calls and liquidity chaos which sparked a massive decoupling between mortgage rates and Treasuries, one wonders, aside from MOAR unprecedented-er action by The Fed to buy more mortgages and reliquify those that borrowed short to lend long...

Source: Bloomberg

After all, we live in bailout nation - so why not?

Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:11

Gold Surges Most Since 2009 After Fed Unveils QEternity, Stocks & Bond Yields Tumble

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Gold Surges Most Since 2009 After Fed Unveils QEternity, Stocks & Bond Yields Tumble



The Fed unveiled its ultimate bazooka today - unlimited buying of pretty much any- and every-thing until this all calms down. The problem is - it didn't reassure investors as they've had 10 years of knowing that whatever The Fed 'creates' is simply money-printed delusion that does not reflect any real economic progress.






Even The Most Powerful Central Banks Cannot Save Us

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Even The Most Powerful Central Banks Cannot Save Us

Authored by Ye Xie, macro commentator at Bloomberg

Even the Most-Powerful Central Banks Cannot Save Us

First, the European Central Bank tried and failed to calm the market. Then, the Fed brought out the bazooka and it turned out to be a dud.

What the world’s two most-powerful central banks showed Thursday was that they are powerless

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in dealing with a bug. That’s bad news for global markets, and China is no exception.

Literally, there was no place to hide. Gold sold off, along with stocks, credit and oil, for a second day.

European stocks tumbled the most on record and U.S. investment-grade bond funds suffered unprecedented outflows.

It happened even as the ECB boosted its QE and liquidity tools, while the Fed resumed its own asset purchase programs.

What’s more worrying is that the stress is emerging in dollar funding markets as banks and investors scramble for the U.S. currency to hunker down. You can see the dollar hoarding in the widening cross-currency basis swap, and falling CNH forwards.

As a result, the dollar rallied and the offshore yuan tumbled the most since December.

The Fed stepped in quickly Thursday with massive repo operations to alleviate the funding stress. Keep an eye on that to see if it succeeds in calming markets down. If not, the yuan could weaken along with others.

China clearly is not in the eye of the storm. Yet its currency and equity markets are now down for the year. The problem is that the contagion of the virus is still growing exponentially globally.  The following chart shows how the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. is following the same path as Italy.

Until other governments start to panic, the worst is yet to come.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 03/12/2020 - 22:45

Caterpillar Machine Sales Plunge Most In Three Years As Pandemic Paralyzes Heavy Industries

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Caterpillar Machine Sales Plunge Most In Three Years As Pandemic Paralyzes Heavy Industries

Just in case the world needed yet another confirmation the world's manufacturing industries, primarily construction and mining, are grinding to a halt, it got one late on Thursday when Caterpillar reported that in February its global machine sales suffered their biggest drop since December 2016.

The report, which covers

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the first full month when the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed China's economy and was rapidly spreading across the rest of the world "underlines how the coronavirus outbreak is putting a drag on the industries that Caterpillar supplies" according to Bloomberg. While the North American region posted another double digit drop, declining from -11% in January to -12% in February, it was Asia that was hit the hardest, tumbling from a modest, -2% drop in January to a whopping -17% in February, the biggest decline in four years.

As Bloomberg further notes, the downbeat mood in the heavy manufacturing industry permeated ConExpo, the largest construction convention in North America. In remarks at the Las Vegas gathering this week, which surprisingly has not been canceled, Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby said the coronavirus hasn’t yet caused major supply snags, and the company was focusing on executing the plan set in place when he first took over as CEO. In other words, the real fall in retail sales is yet to come, and may be why Umpleby didn’t offer much detail on how the worldwide move to stamp out the virus will change prospects for the business.

"Our guidance was based on the best information that we had at the time, and if we have any changes to that we’ll do it when we put out our first-quarter results," Umpleby told Bloomberg in an interview. Translation: expect CAT to pull its entire 2020 guidance in the coming days.

Fears about the virus’s impact on global growth have helped send shares of the economic bellwether down 38% this year, off to its worst start since 2009.

But the worst is yet to come, because the coronavirus is not even the company's biggest threat: the sudden Saudi oil price war is. CAT reported that oil and gas retail sales fell just 3% (a sixth straight month of declines in the segment), however with the industry now frozen with virtually no new exploration for the foreseeable future, we expect this CAT vertical to plummet to zero next month. Trying to put some lipstick on the pig, CFO Andrew Bonfield said Wednesday that oil-market tumult from the past week will impact the oil and gas business, but said that it’s still too early to tell how strong that may be.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 03/12/2020 - 23:05

Visualizing The Most Loved Brands, By Generation

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Visualizing The Most Loved Brands, By Generation

When it comes to buying into brands, consumers are spoiled for choice, but, as Visual Capitalist's Katie Jones notes, the vast amount of options available makes it increasingly difficult for brands to build meaningful emotional connections with them.

But for the brands that do, the payoff can be huge.

Today’s graphic pulls data from MBLM’s 2020 B

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rand Intimacy Report and visualizes the top 10 brands that different generations connect with the most.

Can Emotion Be Measured?

Brands that tap into consumers’ emotions can establish higher levels of trust. This in turn creates a culture of loyalty that could ensure a unique standing in the market and long-term growth.

In fact, intimate brands that have a strong emotional bond with their consumers tend to outperform top companies listed on the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 in both revenue and profit. To measure how brands emotionally connect with consumers, MBLM looked at four key factors:

  • Users: The existing relationship between a brand and a consumer

  • Emotional Connection: The degree of positive feelings the user has for a brand, and the extent to which their personal values align with the brand’s values

  • Archetype: The six markers that are present among intimate brands, which include fulfillment, identity, enhancement, ritual, nostalgia, and indulgence

  • Stage: The degree of intensity in the relationship across three phases: sharing, bonding, and fusing

  • Intimacy Score: Based on these four components, a score is assigned, ranging from 0-100

The total score also reveals which brands rank the highest across different age groups. While there are some commonalities across each generation, can brands be all things to all people?

The Chosen One

There are very few brands that have the luxury of retaining loyal customers from different age brackets. Amazon, however, manages to transcend age. The retail giant appears in the top five for Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers—with the latter awarding the brand their #1 spot.

Every generation named “enhancement” as Amazon’s defining trait, meaning their lives have improved as a result of the relationship. The “ritual” trait also scored high, with users claiming the brand has become ingrained into their daily behavior.

Ranked: Top Brands by Generation

Gen Z and Millennials (18-34)

Sony-owned PlayStation holds the title for the most intimate brand among Millennials, climbing up from the 8th spot in 2019. Impressively, more than 50% of Millennials have an emotional connection to the brand, with men having a particularly strong affinity for it.

Having recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, the gaming brand’s success has been fueled by the increasing popularity of multiplayer and professional gaming, as well as new product innovation—with five of the ten best selling consoles owned by PlayStation.

Interestingly, when Gen Z (18-24) are singled out, Microsoft-owned Xbox ranks as #1, increasing its score to 73.5 in 2020 from 49.7 in 2018.

Gen X (35-54)

As the generational middle child, Gen X did not grow up with the same access to technology. However, their tech adoption is almost on par with Millennials, with similar adoption rates across tablet and smartphone ownership.

It is no surprise therefore, that Apple has captured the hearts of this generation, sitting proudly in first place. When the iPhone launched in 2007, this group was between 22-41 years old, so they have likely been loyal followers of the tech brand since its earlier days.

While this generation has no qualms about shopping online, 72% of them shop in brick and mortar stores and are satisfied with doing so—which may be part of the reason why retail giant Walmart joins Amazon in the top 10.

Baby Boomers (55-64)

Controlling almost 70% of disposable income in the U.S., Baby Boomers are arguably the most influential of all consumer groups.

While they feel the most emotionally connected to Amazon, it’s also true that Apple was another tech brand to win the affection of this age group.

This generation dominates almost 50% of consumer packaged goods (CPG) sales in the U.S.—which likely explains why the rest of their top brands are more traditional household names, such as Macy’sHershey’s, and Kellogg’s.

It is also clear from the ranking that this group values brands with nostalgic qualities, as well as the ability to provide them with moments of indulgence.

The Changing Brand Landscape

The brand and consumer relationship has shifted with the ages, but each generation’s unique value system has remained the most important piece of the puzzle.

It is worth noting that none of the Baby Boomer’s favorite brands appear in the ranking for those aged 18-24 (Gen Z). Are the preferences of younger generations signalling a cultural shift, in which we place more value on distraction rather than satisfaction?

Note: The 2020 Brand Intimacy Report covers an age range of 18-64. The way that the ranking is structured makes it difficult to reflect conventional demographic groups (e.g. Gen Z, the Silent Generation etc.)

Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 23:45

European Stocks Crash Most 'Since Lehman', Enter Bear Market

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European Stocks Crash Most 'Since Lehman', Enter Bear Market

European stock markets just suffered their worst decline since Lehman... Oct 2008 as the crude and Covid chaos rolls around the world...

Europe is now down over 22.5% - a bear market - from highs just 3 weeks ago...

Source: Bloomberg

The selling was absolutely across the board...

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Source: Bloomberg

European banks crashed to their lowest since March 2009... but judging by EU bank credit, there's more to come...

Source: Bloomberg

And European credit is crashing...

Source: Bloomberg

German bonds were aggressively bid all day with two- and five-year yields dropping to -1%,

Source: Bloomberg

Gilt yields fall below 0% in two- and five-year segments, with BOE’s buyback seeing the institution buy at a sub-zero rate

Source: Bloomberg

But, Italian yields surged, rising 30bps in 2-year to 10-year segments.

Source: Bloomberg

Paging Christine Lagarde!!

Tyler Durden

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 13:03

Canada Shock And Awe: BOC Unexpectedly Cuts By 50bps Most Since Crisis; "Ready To Adjust Further"

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Canada Shock And Awe: BOC Unexpectedly Cuts By 50bps Most Since Crisis; "Ready To Adjust Further"

With Wall Street consensus expecting nothing from the Bank of Canada today, and even money markets were at beast hoping for a modest easing, moments ago the Bank of Canada "pulled a Fed" when it shocked traders after cutting rates by an unexpected 50bps, from 1.75% to 1.25% (with expectations for an unchanged print), citing the COVID-19 virus as "a material negative

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shock to the Canadian and global outlooks," and as a result "monetary and fiscal authorities are responding."

The 50bps rate cut was the biggest since the financial crisis.

If that wasn't enough of an easing shock, in an even more foreceful dovish surprise, the bank said that "in light of all these developments, the outlook is clearly weaker now than it was in January. As the situation evolves, Governing Council stands ready to adjust monetary policy further if required to support economic growth and keep inflation on target. While markets continue to function well, the Bank will continue to ensure that the Canadian financial system has sufficient liquidity.

Some more highlights from the statement:

  • While Canada’s economy has been operating close to potential with inflation at target, the virus is a material negative shock to the Canadian and global outlooks

  • Before the outbreak, the global economy was showing signs of stabilizing. However, COVID-19 represents a significant health threat to people in a growing number of countries

  • Business activity in some regions has fallen sharply and supply chains have been disrupted, reflective in CAD and commodities

  • It is likely that as the virus spreads, business and consumer confidence will deteriorate, further depressing activity

  • Consumption was stronger than expected, supported by healthy labour income growth

  • Residential investment continued to grow, albeit at a more moderate pace than earlier; meanwhile, both business investment and exports weakened

  • Rail line blockades, strikes by Ontario teachers, and winter storms are dampening economic activity in the Q1.

  • In light of all these developments, the outlook is clearly weaker now than it was in January

  • Bank will continue to ensure that the Canadian financial system has sufficient liquidity

While USDCAD sold off very modestly into the announcement to around 1.3330, it then spiked higher on the 50bp cut to 1.3415.

And with the central bank now clearly in dovish mode, the OIS is pricing in over 50% chance of an additional 25bps cut in April as the entire world sinks into a Japanese trap.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 10:13

America's Newest Most Powerful Submarine Has A Stealth Problem 

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America's Newest Most Powerful Submarine Has A Stealth Problem 

The Navy's newest fast-attack submarine was recently spotted with structural damage to its stealth coating after returning from its first deployment, which brings into question the manufacturing process of the shipbuilder, reported Forbes.

The USS Colorado (SSN 788), a nuclear-powered US Navy Virginia-class attack submarine, was recently photographed with large sections of its steal

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th coating, known as anechoic coating, missing on its starboard side. The layer is an outer skin, consisting of a sonar-absorbing material that makes the vessel virtually undetectable.

Colorado was launched on March 17, 2018, and this is one of America's newest and most powerful submarines, already experiencing issues with its outer stealth coating that could make it susceptible to detection by enemy forces.

The vessel recently returned from deployment in harsh northern waters, traveling approximately 39,000 nautical miles.

Forbes notes that the US, British, and Russian navies have all had similar problems with stealth skin breaking off during deployments.

However, Colorado experienced structural damage to its stealth coating on its first deployment, opening up questions surrounding the shipbuilder's manufacturing process.

The Trump administration has plowed nearly $2 trillion into the military, and the Navy still can't figure out a reliable stealth skin for its most advanced nuclear-powered submarines.

At some point, all this unproductive war spending will bankrupt America. The latest evidence above shows the amount of waste the administration is spending on the military for machines that fall apart in the first deployment.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 23:45

It Begins: Chinese Business Conditions Crash Most On Record

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It Begins: Chinese Business Conditions Crash Most On Record

For the past two weeks, even as the market took delight in China's doctored and fabricated numbers showing the coronavirus spread was "slowing", we warned again and again that not only was this not the case (which was confirmed by the latest data out of South Korea, Japan and now Italy), but that for all its assertions to the contrary, China's workers simply refused to go back to work (even with FoxConn

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offering its workers extra bonuses just to return to the factory) and as a result the domestic economy had ground to a halt, something we described previously in:

  • China Has Ground To A Halt: "On The Ground" Indicators Confirm Worst-Case Scenario

  • China Is Disintegrating: Steel Demand, Property Sales, Traffic All Approaching Zero

  • Terrifying Charts Show China's Economy Remains Completely Paralyzed

Unfortunately, one month after the start of the Lunar New Year it's not getting any better, as the latest high frequency updates out of China, courtesy of Goldman Sachs, demonstrate.

First, here is China's daily coal consumption which have barely pushed off the lows, and are roughly 50% where they were a year ago this time.

With coal demand in the doldrums, it is also to be expected that coal supply is depressed as well, and indeed coal volumes over the past week remain 25% lower than the past 3 years' average, and roughly 33% below the 2019 level.

One of the better indicators of real-time commerce, traffic congestion, remains virtually unchanged, and substantially below where it was in previous years.

Yet, hilariously, this being China even with no transport, no commerce, and virtually no power plant use, pollution is finally starting to ramp up. One wonders what is causing this if it's not coal demand, or transportation: maybe all those crematoriums working overtime?

And speaking of not transport, the number of passengers carried after the New Year is barely above 10 million, almost 50 million below last year's levels.

Meanwhile, a brief silver lining in the economy was promptly snuffed out last week, when the property sales volume in 30 major cities crashed back to earth and remains well below 25% of the seasonal norm.

And with no end market demand, it is hardly a surprise that steel demand has continued to crater, and was below half the normal level from the past 3 years.

Last but not least, and perhaps most ominous of all, the earlier semi-official data print in the form of the February survey on business conditions showed a depression level plunge, with the index crashing more than 18 points, the most on record, to 37.3, which confirms Nomura's expectation of a manufacturing PMI print later this week which may have a 30-handle.


Tyler Durden

Mon, 02/24/2020 - 20:50

Behold The "Green" Scam: Here Are The Most Popular ESG Fund Holdings

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Behold The "Green" Scam: Here Are The Most Popular ESG Fund Holdings

Every several years it's same old: not long after the start of the post-crisis era, the investing craze du jour was 3D printers; when that fizzled it was replaced with craft burgers/sandwiches which then morphed into the biotech bubble; when that burst blockchain companies were the bubble darlings of the day, which in turn were replaced by cannabis stocks. Not longer after, th

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e pot bubble burst, leaving a void to be filled.

That's when the virtue-signaling tour de force that is ESG, or Environmental, Social, and Governance, made its first appearance, which just happened to coincide with the oh so obviously staged anti-global warming crusade spearheaded by a 16-year-old child (whose words are ghost-written by its publicity-starved parents) as well as central banks, politicians, the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, countless "green" corporations and NGOs, and pretty much everyone in the crumbling establishment.

After all, who can possibly be against fixing the climate, even if it costs quadrillions... or rather especially if it costs quadrillions - because in one fell swoop, central banks assured themselves a carte blanche to print as much money as they would ever need, because who evil egotistical bastard would refuse the monetization of, well, everything if it was to make sure future generations - the same generations these same central banks have doomed to a life of record wealth and income inequality - had a better life (compared to some imaginary baseline that doesn't really exist).

And since the green movement was here to stay, so was the wave of pro-ESG investing which every single bank has been pitching to its clients because, well you know, it's the socially, environmentally and financially responsible thing.

There is just one problem. Instead of finding companies that, well, care for the environment, for society or are for a progressive governance movement, it turns out that the most popular holdings of all those virtue signaling ESG funds are companies such as.... Microsoft, Alphabet, Apple and Amazon, which one would be hard pressed to explain how their actions do anything that is of benefit for the environment, or whatever the S and G stand for. It gets better: among the other most popular ESG companies are consulting company Accenture (?), Procter & Gamble (??), and... drumroll, JPMorgan (!!?!!!?!).

Yes, for all those who are speechless by the fact that the latest virtue-signaling investing farce is nothing more than the pure cristalized hypocrisy of Wall Street and America's most valuable corporations, who have all risen above the $1 trillion market cap bogey because they found a brilliant hook with which to attract the world's most gullible, bleeding-heart liberals and frankly everybody else into believing they are fixing the world by investing in "ESG" when instead they are just making Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon richer beyond their wildest dreams, here is Credit Suisse's summary of the 108 most popular ESG funds. Please try hard not to laugh when reading what "socially responsible, environmentally safe, aggressively progressive" companies that one buys when one investing into the "Green", aka ESG scam.

Impossible, you say. Nobody can be that hypocritical... surely Credit Suisse has made an error? Well, no. As confirmation here are the Top 10 Holdings of the purest ESG ETF available: the FlexShares ESGG fund. Below we present, without further commentary, its Top 10 holdings.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/22/2020 - 21:52

ViaBomb? Media Company Crashes Most in a Decade After Revenue Shortfall

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ViaBomb? Media Company Crashes Most in a Decade After Revenue Shortfall

ViacomCBS shares crashed Thursday morning, now down 15% at the 29-handle following a disastrous earnings report. 

Shares are poised for the worst day in 11 years as the company posts Q4 revenue of $6.87 billion, below analysts’ estimates of $7.36 billion.

It reported a net loss from continuing operations of $273 million, or about 44 cents

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per share, from a profit of $884 million, or about $1.43 per share in 4Q18 (pre-merger). 

Ad revenue slipped 2% over the quarter to $3.03 billion, hit by a decline in political ad spending.  

ViacomCBS expects revenue to grow mid-single digits during the 2020 fiscal year. 

The merger between Viacom and CBS was finalized in December, these media giants outlined how it would better prepare them for a fight against deep-pocketed players such as Netflix, Hulu, and Walt Disney.

ViacomCBS’ CEO Bob Bakish said the merger would allow a turnaround in both companies and lead to new revenue growth, yet none of the promises have yet to materialize.

Bakish in a statement hopes the turnaround can occur at some point in 2020 (otherwise, he's skating on thin ice): "In 2020, our priorities are maximizing the power of our content, unlocking more value from our biggest revenue lines, and accelerating our momentum in streaming." 

And we’re surprised that billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s insane amount of political ad spending has yet to boost the media giant. 

Tyler Durden

Thu, 02/20/2020 - 11:14

Dan Loeb's Luxury Yacht Slams Into "The Most Remarkable Reef In The West Indies" Near Belize

zerohedge News loebs luxury yacht slams into most remarkable reef west indies near belize All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
Dan Loeb's Luxury Yacht Slams Into "The Most Remarkable Reef In The West Indies" Near Belize

When you become a billionaire, you run into a whole new class of problems that you sometimes have to deal with.

For instance, those making minimum wage at a Burger King somewhere, while honorable work, may not have the luxuries of the billionaire lifestyle - but at least they never have to worry about slamming their super-yacht into the side of

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a prized coral reef off the coast of Belize. 

Because that's the problem that hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb is being forced to deal with this week. Loeb's yacht damaged what is being called a "pristine reef" near the famous Great Blue Hole outside of Belize, according to Bloomberg.

Loeb's 200 foot yacht was filmed last Sunday anchored at Belize's Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Spokespeople say Loeb was not on the yacht at the time and the Financial Times has reported there will be an official investigation. 

A spokesperson for Belize's department of the environment said Loeb's yacht caused the damage: “Samadhi on Sunday lowered the anchor in a very sensitive area of Belize. Officers are doing an investigation. We know that damage was done,” the spokesperson to FT. 

Loeb responded:

 “As a life-long surfer and someone who loves the ocean, I was horrified to hear about this incident in Belize. We promptly contacted the Belize Audubon Society (a conservation group) and are committed to working together to restore the reef.”

Loeb acquired his super-yacht back in 2013 from former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill. It's offered as for charter on several websites for about $360,000 per week.

The yacht was on a charter trip at the time when its anchor was dragged through the coral. According to Bloomberg, the barrier reef outside of Belize "is a Unesco World Heritage site and the largest of its kind in the northern hemisphere." 

It was once called “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies” by Charles Darwin. 

Professor Daniel Parsons, director of the energy and environment institute at the University of Hull in the UK and a member of a 2018 expedition with Richard Branson that mapped the reef, told the Financial Times:

“These very fragile ecosystems are under significant stress already. So any additional stress that’s placed on them, the reef in that location where it’s been damaged has probably not got the capacity to recover.”

We expect the Belize Audubon Society will be getting a sizable check from Mr. Loeb in the coming weeks...

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/15/2020 - 22:00

The U.S. Cities Mired In The Most Debt

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The U.S. Cities Mired In The Most Debt

Truth in Accounting has released its 2020 Financial State of Cities report, highlighting the fiscal health of America's 75 most populous cities. Statista's Niall McCarthy notes that the study found that this year, 63 cities do not have enough money to pay their bills and total municipal debt now stands at $323 billion.

It ranked the cities according to their taxpayer burden or surplus which

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is the amount each taxpayer would have to pay to clear municipal debt with nothing, such as benefits and services, in exchange.

You will find more infographics at Statista

New York has $62.7 billion available to pay $249.4 billion worth of bills which breaks down to a burden of $63,100 per taxpayer.

In Chicago, each taxpayer would have to pay $63,100 in future taxes without anything in return while Hononulu has the third-highest burden at $26,400.

Some cities are run better than others with Irvine, California and Washington D.C. notable examples. The former has a surplus of $4,100 per taxpayer while D.C. has a surplus of $3,500.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 23:45


Business Finance


Mapping Where Corruption Is Most Rampant

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Mapping Where Corruption Is Most Rampant

Transparency International just released its 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index.

Statista's Niall McCarthy notes that the organization stating that despite anti-corruption movements gaining momentum around the world last year, a staggering number of countries have showed little to no improvement in tackling the problem.

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>The index ranks 180 countries and territories on perceived public sector corruption with 0 meaning "highly corrupt" and 100 meaning "very clean". This time around, more than two-thirds of countries scored 50 or below which means they have serious problems preventing foul play in their public sectors.

The average global score was 43.

You will find more infographics at Statista

Denmark and New Zealand came joint-first with a score of 87 followed by Finland, Singapore and Sweden. Somalia was rock bottom of the index with a score of just 9, followed by South Sudan and Syria with 12 and 13 respectively.

Transparency International said that only 22 countries saw a significant improvement in their scores over the past eight years including Greece, Guyana and Estonia. During the same time frame, 21 countries recorded a significant decrease with Canada, Nicaragua and Australia among their ranks.

The U.S. had a disappointing score of 69 this year, its worst score in eight years.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 02:45

UN didn't patch SharePoint, got mega-hacked, covered it up, kept most staff in the dark, finally forced to admit it

logicfish Security didnt patch sharepoint mega-hacked covered kept most staff dark finally forced admit All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
For an organization accused of being 'all talk, no action', there's not even enough talking – to its own employees

The United Nations’ European headquarters in Geneva and Vienna were hacked last summer, putting thousands of staff records at miscreants' fingertips. Incredibly, the organization decided to cover it up without informing those affected nor the public.…


Xerox names the 11 directors it hopes will oust most of HP's board and put $33bn hostile takeover to shareholders

logicfish Business xerox names directors hopes will oust most board 33bn hostile takeover shareholders All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
The dirty dozen... well, almost

Updated  Xerox is done playing mister nice guy – the company has named a slate of directors it wants to shoehorn onto HP's board to spearhead its £33bn hostile takeover bid.…


Discover Crashes Most Since The Financial Crisis On Highest Q4 Charge-off Rate This Decade

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Discover Crashes Most Since The Financial Crisis On Highest Q4 Charge-off Rate This Decade

One of America's most popular credit card companies, Discover, is having a bad day. In fact, dropping as much as 11% today after announcing Q4 earnings, DFS has suffered its biggest one day drop since the financial crisis, even greater than the 9% drop recorded on the day the US was downgraded in August 2011.

What was behind this tremend

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ous drop? After all, Discover not only did not miss earnings, it reports Q4 EPS of $2.25 that beat Wall Street consensus estimates of 2.24 and were above the 2.03 EPS reported a year ago. No, the reason for the plunge was not to be found on the income statement, but rather the balance sheet, where Discover reported that its Q4 credit card net principal charge off rate had unexpectedly jumped from 3.32% in Q3 to 3.41% in Q4, and 18bps higher than Q4 2018. In fact, as shown in the chart below, while not quite the highest charge off rate (which follows a seasonal pattern) in the past decade, this was the highest Q4 charge off going back all the way to financial crisis (specifically 2011 when the company's charge off rate plunged from over 5% to the high 2%s).

And while the sellside was quick to pointsout what was painfully obvious in retrospect, and rushed to downgrade the stock after the fact, as follows...

  • Evercore ISI analyst John Pancari cut the recommendation on Discover Financial Services to underperform from inline.  PT set to $75, implies a 13% decrease from last price. Discover Financial average PT is $92.89. Targets range from $75 to $105

  • Piper Sandler cut the recommendation on Discover Financial Services to neutral from overweight. PT set to $86, implies a 0.2% increase from last price. Discover Financial average PT is $90.63. Targets range from $75 to $105

... the bigger question once goes to the strength of the driving force behind the US economy, namely the US consumer, because if Discover's charge off data is indicative of the deterioration that is taking place below the surface, the US consumer is already tapped out and that's with stocks at all time high and unemployment at all time low, both on the back of the Fed's unprecedented interventions in the economy. What happens when the Fed stops? (Incidentally, that's a rhetorical question: the Fed can no longer afford to stop and the best it can do is go down with the ship.)


Tyler Durden

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 13:35


Business Finance


The Real Umbrella Corp: Wuhan Ultra Biohazard Lab Was Studying "The World's Most Dangerous Pathogens"

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The Real Umbrella Corp: Wuhan Ultra Biohazard Lab Was Studying "The World's Most Dangerous Pathogens"

Now that not one but seven Chinese cities - including Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus epidemic - and collectively housing some 23 million people, are under quarantine...

... comparisons to the infamous Raccoon City from Resident Evil are coming in hot and heavy. And, since reality often tends to imitate if not a

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rt then certainly Hollywood, earlier today we jokingly asked if the Medical Research Institute at Wuhan University would end up being China's version of Umbrella Corp.

As it turns out, it wasn't a joke, because moments ago it was brought to our attention that in February 2017, Nature penned an extensive profile of what it called the "Chinese lab poised to study world's most dangerous pathogens." The location of this BSL-4 rated lab? Why, Wuhan.

A quick read of what this lab was meant to do, prompts the immediate question whether the coronavirus epidemic isn't a weaponized virus that just happened to escape the lab:

The Wuhan lab cost 300 million yuan (US$44 million), and to allay safety concerns it was built far above the flood plain and with the capacity to withstand a magnitude-7 earthquake, although the area has no history of strong earthquakes. It will focus on the control of emerging diseases, store purified viruses and act as a World Health Organization ‘reference laboratory’ linked to similar labs around the world. “It will be a key node in the global biosafety-lab network,” says lab director Yuan Zhiming.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences approved the construction of a BSL-4 laboratory in 2003, and the epidemic of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) around the same time lent the project momentum. The lab was designed and constructed with French assistance as part of a 2004 cooperative agreement on the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases. But the complexity of the project, China’s lack of experience, difficulty in maintaining funding and long government approval procedures meant that construction wasn’t finished until the end of 2014.

The lab’s first project will be to study the BSL-3 pathogen that causes Crimean–Congo haemorrhagic fever: a deadly tick-borne virus that affects livestock across the world, including in northwest China, and that can jump to people.

Future plans include studying the pathogen that causes SARS, which also doesn’t require a BSL-4 lab, before moving on to Ebola and the West African Lassa virus,

What does BSL-4 mean?

BSL-4 is the highest level of biocontainment: its criteria include filtering air and treating water and waste before they leave the laboratory, and stipulating that researchers change clothes and shower before and after using lab facilities. Such labs are often controversial. The first BSL-4 lab in Japan was built in 1981, but operated with lower-risk pathogens until 2015, when safety concerns were finally overcome.

And here's why all this is an issue:

Worries surround the Chinese lab. The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times, notes Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Below we repost the full Nature article because it strongly hints, without evidence for now, that the coronavirus epidemic may well have been a weaponized virus which "accidentally" escaped the Wuhan biohazard facility.

Inside the Chinese lab poised to study world's most dangerous pathogens

A laboratory in Wuhan is on the cusp of being cleared to work with the world’s most dangerous pathogens. The move is part of a plan to build between five and seven biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) labs across the Chinese mainland by 2025, and has generated much excitement, as well as some concerns.

Hazard suits hang at the National Bio-safety Laboratory, Wuhan, the first lab on the Chinese mainland equipped for the highest level of biocontainment.

Some scientists outside China worry about pathogens escaping, and the addition of a biological dimension to geopolitical tensions between China and other nations. But Chinese microbiologists are celebrating their entrance to the elite cadre empowered to wrestle with the world’s greatest biological threats.

“It will offer more opportunities for Chinese researchers, and our contribution on the BSL‑4-level pathogens will benefit the world,” says George Gao, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology in Beijing. There are already two BSL-4 labs in Taiwan, but the National Bio-safety Laboratory, Wuhan, would be the first on the Chinese mainland.

The lab was certified as meeting the standards and criteria of BSL-4 by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) in January. The CNAS examined the lab’s infrastructure, equipment and management, says a CNAS representative, paving the way for the Ministry of Health to give its approval. A representative from the ministry says it will move slowly and cautiously; if the assessment goes smoothly, it could approve the laboratory by the end of June.

BSL-4 is the highest level of biocontainment: its criteria include filtering air and treating water and waste before they leave the laboratory, and stipulating that researchers change clothes and shower before and after using lab facilities. Such labs are often controversial. The first BSL-4 lab in Japan was built in 1981, but operated with lower-risk pathogens until 2015, when safety concerns were finally overcome.

The expansion of BSL-4-lab networks in the United States and Europe over the past 15 years — with more than a dozen now in operation or under construction in each region — also met with resistance, including questions about the need for so many facilities.

The Wuhan lab cost 300 million yuan (US$44 million), and to allay safety concerns it was built far above the flood plain and with the capacity to withstand a magnitude-7 earthquake, although the area has no history of strong earthquakes. It will focus on the control of emerging diseases, store purified viruses and act as a World Health Organization ‘reference laboratory’ linked to similar labs around the world. “It will be a key node in the global biosafety-lab network,” says lab director Yuan Zhiming.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences approved the construction of a BSL-4 laboratory in 2003, and the epidemic of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) around the same time lent the project momentum. The lab was designed and constructed with French assistance as part of a 2004 cooperative agreement on the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases. But the complexity of the project, China’s lack of experience, difficulty in maintaining funding and long government approval procedures meant that construction wasn’t finished until the end of 2014.

The lab’s first project will be to study the BSL-3 pathogen that causes Crimean–Congo haemorrhagic fever: a deadly tick-borne virus that affects livestock across the world, including in northwest China, and that can jump to people.

Future plans include studying the pathogen that causes SARS, which also doesn’t require a BSL-4 lab, before moving on to Ebola and the West African Lassa virus, which do. Some one million Chinese people work in Africa; the country needs to be ready for any eventuality, says Yuan. “Viruses don’t know borders.”

Gao travelled to Sierra Leone during the recent Ebola outbreak, allowing his team to report the speed with which the virus mutated into new strains. The Wuhan lab will give his group a chance to study how such viruses cause disease, and to develop treatments based on antibodies and small molecules, he says.

The opportunities for international collaboration, meanwhile, will aid the genetic analysis and epidemiology of emergent diseases. “The world is facing more new emerging viruses, and we need more contribution from China,” says Gao. In particular, the emergence of zoonotic viruses — those that jump to humans from animals, such as SARS or Ebola — is a concern, says Bruno Lina, director of the VirPath virology lab in Lyon, France.

Many staff from the Wuhan lab have been training at a BSL-4 lab in Lyon, which some scientists find reassuring. And the facility has already carried out a test-run using a low-risk virus.

But worries surround the Chinese lab, too. The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times, notes Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. Tim Trevan, founder of CHROME Biosafety and Biosecurity Consulting in Damascus, Maryland, says that an open culture is important to keeping BSL-4 labs safe, and he questions how easy this will be in China, where society emphasizes hierarchy. “Diversity of viewpoint, flat structures where everyone feels free to speak up and openness of information are important,” he says.

Yuan says that he has worked to address this issue with staff. “We tell them the most important thing is that they report what they have or haven’t done,” he says. And the lab’s inter­national collaborations will increase openness. “Transparency is the basis of the lab,” he adds.

The plan to expand into a network heightens such concerns. One BSL-4 lab in Harbin is already awaiting accreditation; the next two are expected to be in Beijing and Kunming, the latter focused on using monkey models to study disease.

Lina says that China’s size justifies this scale, and that the opportunity to combine BSL-4 research with an abundance of research monkeys — Chinese researchers face less red tape than those in the West when it comes to research on primates — could be powerful. “If you want to test vaccines or antivirals, you need a non-human primate model,” says Lina.

But Ebright is not convinced of the need for more than one BSL-4 lab in mainland China. He suspects that the expansion there is a reaction to the networks in the United States and Europe, which he says are also unwarranted. He adds that governments will assume that such excess capacity is for the potential development of bioweapons.

“These facilities are inherently dual use,” he says. The prospect of ramping up opportunities to inject monkeys with pathogens also worries, rather than excites, him: “They can run, they can scratch, they can bite.”

The central monitor room at China’s National Bio-safety Laboratory

If that wasn't enough, here is January 2018 press release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, announcing the launch of the "top-level biosafety lab."

China has put its first level-four biosafety laboratory into operation, capable of conducting experiments with highly pathogenic microorganisms that can cause fatal diseases, according to the national health authority. Level four is the highest biosafety level, used for diagnostic work and research on easily transmitted pathogens that can cause fatal diseases, including the Ebola virus.

The Wuhan national level-four biosafety lab recently passed an assessment organized by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, according to a news release on Friday from the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Virologists read data on a container for viral samples at China's first level-four biosafety lab at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan

After evaluating such things as the lab's management of personnel, facilities, animals, disposals and viruses, experts believed the lab is qualified to carry out experiments on highly pathogenic microorganisms that can cause fatal diseases, such as Marburg, Variola, Nipah and Ebola.

"The lab provides a complete, world-leading biosafety system. This means Chinese scientists can study the most dangerous pathogenic microorganisms in their own lab," the Wuhan institute said.

It will serve as the country's research and development center on prevention and control of infectious diseases, as a pathogen collection center and as the United Nations' reference laboratory for infectious diseases, the institute said.

Previous media reports said the Wuhan P4 lab will be open to scientists from home and abroad. Scientists can conduct research on anti-virus drugs and vaccines in the lab.

The lab is part of Sino-French cooperation in the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases, according to the news release.

The central government approved the P4 laboratory in 2003 when the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome spread alarm across the country. In October 2004, China signed a cooperation agreement with France on the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases. This was followed by a succession of supplementary agreements.

With French assistance in laboratory design, biosafety standards establishment and personnel training, construction began in 2011 and lasted for three years. In 2015, the lab was put into trial operation.

Finally, this is what the real Umbrella Corp looks like from space:

Tyler Durden

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 14:10




Baltic Dry Plunges Most Since 2008 As Tariff-Frontrunning Ends

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Baltic Dry Plunges Most Since 2008 As Tariff-Frontrunning Ends

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index fell for the 20th consecutive session to an eight-month low (the longest streak of losses since Nov 2015) as world trade continues to slump amid signs the so-called "front-loading" effect ahead of tariff deadlines has ended.

The Baltic Dry Index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry

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bulk commodities across the world, plunged 2.3%, or about 18 points, to 773 on Wednesday (according to Refinitiv data), the lowest level since April 2019: 

  • The capesize index .BACI fell 74 points, or 5.8%, to 1,197 - its lowest since May 8. Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, decreased $2 to $9,020. 

  • The panamax index .BPNI declined 42 points, or 5%, to 803 points, its lowest since Feb. 27. 

  • Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, dipped $386 to $7,223. 

  • The supramax index .BSIS fell 18 points to 593.

Beleggers Belangen analyst Karel Mercx tweeted that "the Baltic Dry Index is the most important indicator for the rates of bulk shipping. The rate is determined based on the rates that are paid to transport raw materials on the 25 busiest shipping routes. Prices are falling sharply due to the cooling global economy."

With the index already tumbling the most since 2008, it may suggest the global economy is, in fact, continuing to decelerate.

The chart below makes clear that the spike in shipping rates was a one-off event spurred by importers front-running tariffs in 2019, now that is over, shipping rates are plunging as a manufacturing recession in the US deepens. 

And while shipping demand tends to be an economic bellwether of the global economy, it seems that semiconductors have priced in a recovery that might be fantasy. 

Plunging shipping rates suggests the global economy continues to decelerate, not accelerate like everyone is hoping.

The question is, what shocks people back into the view the macroeconomic headwinds counting to mount? Is it heighten geopolitical tensions in the Middle East? 

Tyler Durden

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 23:05


Business Finance


Nine States Headed For Recession In Six-Months, Most Since Financial Crisis 

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Nine States Headed For Recession In Six-Months, Most Since Financial Crisis 

President Trump's core campaign promise was to "Make America Great Again," through a revival of the manufacturing complex via launching a trade war against China and debt-fueled tax cuts for corporations. Most of the recovery, well, it was a sugar high, that by the time late 2018 rolled around, economic growth rates started to reverse. 

Manufacturing data on Fr

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iday was more confirmation that an industrial recession continues to persist and could be broadening into early 2020. Now the slowdown appears to be spreading to nine states that are teetering on the edge of a recession. 

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia published new leading index data for 50 states for November 2019 last week. The leading indexes are a six-month forecast of the coincident state indexes that show nine US states are expected to plunge into a recession within six-months – this is the most significant number of states to slide into a contraction since the financial crisis.

State leading indexes for November show that West Virginia's economy is headed for a significant downturn. The coal industry is in tatters, manufacturing is busting, and an opioid crisis continues to ravage local communities across the state. 

Delaware, Vermont, Oklahoma, Montana, Iowa, Kentucky, and Connecticut are other states where leading indexes are indicating an economic contraction could occur in the next six months.  

Leading indicators suggest Midwest and Rust Belt states will record marginal growth in the next six months, but we should note that growth rates have quickly faded in these states where farming and manufacturing have gone bust. 

Bloomberg data shows nine states are headed for an economic contraction; this is the highest amount since July 2009. 

An industrial recession is broad-based at the moment, spreading to nine states, with the risk of infecting another 14 states in the Midwest and Rust Belt by 2021. 

President Trump will be hitting the campaign trail momentarily and visiting many of these states where he promised an economic revival. 

Tyler Durden

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 23:05


Business Finance


Populist Salvini Is Still Italy's "Most Trusted" Politician

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Populist Salvini Is Still Italy's "Most Trusted" Politician

Authored by Onar Am via LibertyNation.com,

The leader of the Italian populist right-wing party, The League, and former Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini is one of Europe’s most controversial politicians. A recent poll shows that he is Italy’s most trusted party leader with 39% voter approval.

The Populist

Despite his popula

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rity, the media and the political elite brands him as “far-right,” but since most people in the E.U. agree with his ideas and positions, center-right is a more appropriate term. More than anything, he is a populist. Populism can be neutrally defined as politics that is popular among ordinary people while despised and rejected by the ruling elites.

Matteo Salvini

As such, populism is not an ideology but a symptom of anti-democratic elitism. Voters only turn to populists when the establishment over a long period arrogantly refuses to listen to the will of the people. Salvini echoes the growing European discontent with the globalist project and the deconstruction of the nation-state.

Dramatic Entry And Exit

Salvini’s entry into the Italian government was as filled with drama as his exit. Initially, his party was called The Northern League and wanted the affluent northern parts of Italy to be a separate state. However, after growing Italian E.U. skepticism and worries about mass immigration, the party reinvented itself to become a national populist party against multiculturalism, eurocracy, and globalism.

In 2018, the two populist parties, The League and Five Star Movement, blasted onto the political stage by winning a substantial majority. Right-wing parties secured a whopping 70% of the votes. Neither of the two gained enough support on their own to form a government, so they joined in a coalition with Salvini as deputy prime minister and minister of interior.

Salvini immediately took steps to curb illegal immigration and was relentlessly attacked by the left. In August 2019, The League was so popular in Italy that Salvini called for a new election, citing inner friction with its coalition party as the reason. The Five Star Movement, which had fallen precipitously in the polls, decided to respond by breaking one of its core promises to its voters: Never collaborate with the left.

Salvini and his party were ousted from government and replaced by an unpopular center-left party as a coalition partner.

Not Game Over

Salvini lost power in Italy, but he may still have the last laugh. As a minister, he gained respect and popularity not only in Italy but all over Europe. He had proven that illegal immigration could easily be stopped by cracking down on N.G.O. human trafficking. During his administration, the Italian government also threatened to cut funding for the U.N. and invest at least €1 billion in North Africa to prevent migrants from trying to cross illegally into Italy.

These and other policies have rendered The League the most popular party, with the potential to govern alone, or possibly with the national-conservative Brothers of Italy.

However, much can still happen. The next general election may come as late as 2023, and by that time, Italy’s political landscape may have radically changed. The underlying issues and problems with migration and multiculturalism are not going away. All over the world, national populist parties are surging, and the most likely outcome of the next election is, therefore, that Salvini will be the next prime minister with a similarly robust mandate as Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the U.K.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 03:30


Social Issues


Queen Elizabeth II Is The Most Admired Woman Ever (Even More Than Oprah!)

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Queen Elizabeth II Is The Most Admired Woman Ever (Even More Than Oprah!)

Former first lady Michelle Obama was the Most Admired Woman in 2019, with current FLOTUS Melania Trump coming in second place.

But, as Statista's Maria Vultaggio notes, it’s Queen Elizabeth II who has appeared on the list the most.

The queen has landed in the top five more than 50 times

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>since Gallup started their annual survey in 1948.

You will find more infographics at Statista

While the British monarch appeared on the Most Admired list for the 51st time in 2019, she said it was a “bumpy” year in her annual Christmas speech.

“The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference," she said, talking about the need for compassion and understanding.

Many inferred she was referring to Brexit (or perhaps her son Andrew's debacle). To much controversy and debate, the United Kingdom is slated to withdraw from the European Union no later than January 31, 2020.

Tyler Durden

Mon, 01/06/2020 - 02:45


Human Interest


Dem Senator Insists Iranian General "Most Significant Leader US Has Ever Assassinated"

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Dem Senator Insists Iranian General "Most Significant Leader US Has Ever Assassinated"

Though it might sound hard to believe, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy insisted during what we imagine was a hastily-arranged appearance on "the Rachel Maddow Show" Thursday night that Iranian General Qasem Suleimani could be "the most significant foreign political leader the United States has ever assassinated."

Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign

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Relations Committee who has long had designs on joining the Democrats' Congressional leadership, was likely invited to appear on the show by its producers after news of the assassination, which took place early Friday morning (local time) near the Baghdad International Airport.

A statement released by the Pentagon after news of the attack broke claimed Suleimani was "actively developing plans" to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq when a two-car convoy that he was traveling in was targeted in a drone strike.

During his brief appearance via phone, Murphy told Maddow that "there's no doubt that Qasim Suleimani was an enemy of the United States...the question tonight is whether Suleimani is a greater threat to the United States as the functional head of the Quds force, or as a maryr."

He also warned about Iran's ability to retaliate against US assets in the region.

"The danger here is of course that we are going to get into a conflict in the region that will ultimately accrue to the detriment of US national security interests no matter how we feel about the fact that Suleimani is dead this evening. They have the capability to launch assassination attempts right back at US political leaders, and their proxy forces can threaten US forces and Israel itself throughout the region."

"They can end up spilling into a set of consequences that ultimately do a lot more damage to US national security interests than the assassination itself cures."

"There are plenty of grave consequences for our relationship with Iraq, This is a very dangerous moment, this could be the most significant political leader that the US has ever assassinated."

Murphy also threw in some criticisms, claiming "you can't do this with Congressional authorization" (though it looks like President Trump just did) and some pundits have been discussing the possibility of the House using this as the basis for a third article of impeachment.

Murphy, of course, wasn't the only Democratic power player to weigh in on the assassination. The four remaining top presidential contenders have all published comments essentially saying the same thing: That Qasem was a bad actor in the region, but that Trump's decision to do something about it was still wrong.

Former Vice President Joe Biden's statement got the most attention after he accused Trump of tossing "a stick of dynamite into a tinder box".

Elizabeth Warren warned Soleimani was a "murder, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans" but added that his assassination will "increase the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict."

And Bernie Sanders accused Trump of breaking his promise to end America's "forever wars."

"Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars. Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one," he said in a tweet, while also managing to bring up the fact that he voted against the War in Iraq.

As for Pete Buttigieg, he hadn't yet tweeted a statement on the attack as of 8 am ET.

Fortunately, Murphy's brief appearance on Maddow isn't the only reason we're talking about Murphy this morning.

In a hilarious example of Dems committing flagrant acts of hypocrisy while condemning the Trump Administration for carrying out such a bold and potentially "game changing" attack, conservatives are pointing out that Murphy - a Democratic Senator who is known for his hawkish foreign policy views - was practically begging for an attack like this just two days ago in a tweet that he and his social media team have somehow not yet deleted.

What a difference two days during a holiday-shortened week can make...

Tyler Durden

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 20:45




The Most Common New Year's Resolutions For Brits

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The Most Common New Year's Resolutions For Brits

It's that time of year again.

As we start to turn our attention away from 2019, hopes and plans for 2020 are now in focus. For some of us, that also means making the traditional New Year's resolutions. According to a new survey by YouGov, 27% of Brits will be doing this and at the top of the list for the largest share of people is the classic 'more exercis

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e/improving fitness' - 47 percent saying this has at some point been their resolution.

You will find more infographics at Statista

Of course, for all of the good intentions behind New Year's resolutions, Statista's Martin Armstrong notes that they are often not kept.

In the same survey, YouGov found that only 24 percent said they were able to keep all of the promises they made to themselves for 2019. Still, 47 percent at least managed to stick to some of their grand designs for the year.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 02:45


Business Finance


Baltic Dry Tumbles Most Since 2008 As Tariff-Frontrunning Fades

zerohedge News baltic tumbles most since 2008 tariff-frontrunning fades All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
Baltic Dry Tumbles Most Since 2008 As Tariff-Frontrunning Fades

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index has plunged to its lowest levels in six months as world trade continues to fade amid signs the so-called “front-loading” effect ahead of tariff deadlines is starting to wane.

Chinese firms and US importers rushed to ship goods to the US through Q1 to Sept. as the US and China were engaged in a tit-for-tat trade war. The implementation of

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tariffs by both countries on billions of dollars in goods forced importers and exporters to increase outbound and inbound delivers before tariff deadlines went into effect.

As a result of trade policy change, demand for bulk carriers increased throughout the year, raising the Baltic index +318% from Jan. to Sept.

Trade war sentiment improved into Sept. and into Q4 with a phase one deal between both countries -- tariff front-loading declined late into year driving demand lower for bulk carriers.

Historically, The Baltic Dry Index has weakened (seasonally) from May through August, but as the chart below makes clear, this year saw the exact opposite as the 'front-running' sparked an optically-bullish surge in demand for shipping (ahead of the expected tariff rises that would eventually not come to pass).

The index has since tumbled the most since 2008.

Along with front-loading in decline, reduced seasonal trends has also drug down demand for bulk carriers leading to lower rates across all vessel segments.

Reuters breaks down the latest shipping report that saw weakness for all capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that haul bulk commodities:

  • The Baltic index .BADI, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, fell 20 points, or 1.8%, to 1,103, its lowest since June 17.

  • The main index was down for a fourteenth-straight session.

  • The capesize index .BACI dipped 4 points, to 1,954 — its lowest in more than six months.

  • Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, slid $85 to $14,366.

  • The panamax index .BPNI dropped 47 points, or 3.9%, to 1,154, its lowest since Nov. 27.

  • Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, decreased $384 to $9,228.

  • The supramax index .BSIS fell 15 points to 728.

Scanning global dry bulk shipping lanes across the world. We find depressing rates into the late-year that suggests a massive rebound in the global economy might not be imminent as many on Wall Street are predicting.

Brazil to China dry bulk rates for iron ore have seen rates nearly halved since peaking in Sept.

The US to China dry bulk rates for soybeans have also tumbled into the late year.

And even though Brazil and China have signed a recent soybean trade deal and ramped up shipments -- rates between both countries continue to slip for the fourth month.

With the US economy continuing to decelerate and a manufacturing recession deepening -- shipping rates prematurely jumped earlier in the year on artificial demand via front-loading but it seems that the shipping industry is catching down to the reality that not just the US economy is trouble but the rest of the world is entering a new era of low-growth.

So what does that mean for stocks?

Tyler Durden

Wed, 12/25/2019 - 07:35


Business Finance


Investors Have Already Forgotten The Most Important Financial Lessons Of The Past Decade

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Investors Have Already Forgotten The Most Important Financial Lessons Of The Past Decade

With only a few trading sessions left in the decade, the Wall Street Journal's investing columnist Jason Zweig, the longtime author of paper's "Intelligent Investor" column, is looking back on some of the biggest blunders of the decade.

As it turns out, there were a lot: Remember, investors started the decade with US stocks near their post-crisis lows, with

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few anticipating the unbridled rebound that would come to pass during the ensuing months and years.

Even more surprising was the drop in interest rates: Negative interest rates were a defining feature of the decade. But few expected them to persist as long as they did, nor did they expect Treasury yields to remain mired in the 1- and 2-handle territory for as long as they have. Ten years ago, most investors expected yields and interest rates to climb back into a "normal" range north of 4% on the ten year.

Investors couldn't have been more wrong. But that's not all that surprising, as Zweig explained. History has shown again and again that investors tend to base their expectations on the recent past. And at the end of 2009, investors were looking back on a decade where stocks had gone nowhere, value shares had outperformed growth, small companies had outperformed large companies, international shares outperformed US shares and EM markets had outperformed developed markets.

One of the more successful trends to emerge over the past decade is worth a quick note. And that trend is: retail investors' shift from active to passive funds, and from mutual funds to ETFs. Over the past ten years, investors withdrew more than $160 billion from all active funds, while pouring more than $3.76 trillion into index funds, according to Morningstar. Few active managers managed to outperform their benchmarks, making the comparatively low-fee index-based ETFs

Another popular prediction from a decade ago that turned out to be way off base: the notion that EM stocks would outperform their American rivals:

Emerging markets proceeded to underperform U.S. stocks by nearly 10 percentage points a year this decade through Dec. 12. Also striking: The MSCI Emerging Markets index has generated a cumulative total return of 42.3% since Dec. 31, 2009—less than half its return from the March 2009 low through the end of that year.

Though that trend got off to a promising start, the top was in by the end of 2009. Over the next ten years, some of the most popular EM benchmarks (like those produced by MSCI) were effectively flat, meaning that investors who committed to EM over US equities missed out on the entirety of one of the biggest and longest equity rallies in modern history.

Even so, surprises lurked everywhere. From the market low on March 9, 2009, through the end of that year, the MSCI Emerging Markets index gained 108%.

Lured by that spectacular return, investors poured nearly $180 billion into mutual funds and exchange-traded funds specializing in stocks and bonds from developing nations between the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2013, according to data from Morningstar. Emerging markets proceeded to underperform U.S. stocks by nearly 10 percentage points a year this decade through Dec. 12.

Also striking: The MSCI Emerging Markets index has generated a cumulative total return of 42.3% since Dec. 31, 2009 - less than half its return from the March 2009 low through the end of that year.

Zweig concluded with some anecdotal evidence to support his theory that investors have forgotten one of the most important, and most painful, lessons of the financial crisis. He claimed that, if you ask investors how much their portfolio lost during the financial crisis, most will say somewhere between 20% and 30%.

But US stocks collapsed by 55% from the October 2007 highs to the March 2009 lows, while global stocks crashed 59%.

This is dangerous, Zweig said, because investors who underestimate how much they lost during the last crisis can easily overestimate how much they stand to gain from the next one if they can only hold on to their wits.

Just like it did ten years ago, the market is beginning a new decade with the prevailing sentiment unquestionably stretched.

But this time, it's in the other direction.

Source: CNN

Tyler Durden

Tue, 12/24/2019 - 07:20


Business Finance


"I Find It Very Troubling" - Most Americans Lack Savings

zerohedge News find very troubling most americans lack savings All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
"I Find It Very Troubling" - Most Americans Lack Savings

The economy might be strong in the U.S., but, as Statista's Maria Vultaggio details below, nearly 70 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 stashed away, according to GOBankingRates’ 2019 savings survey. The poll, released December 16, revealed 45 percent have nothing saved. The survey questioned 846 respondents November 25 to 26.

You will find m

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ore infographics at Statista

The discovery baffled Bruce McClary, the spokesman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

“It’s puzzling to me that if the economy is doing so well and that we’re so close to full employment, that consumer confidence is up … that we haven’t seen the numbers move much in people’s ability to save,” McClary told Yahoo Finance.

“I find it very troubling that people can’t come up with $1,000 in a savings account to cover expenses without borrowing money.”

As he faces impeachment, President Donald Trump has lauded the strong U.S. economy, saying the American people care more about the economy than the impeachment inquiry.

“The Stock Market hit another Record High yesterday, number 133 in less than three years as your all time favorite President, and the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, want to impeach me. Don’t worry, I have done nothing wrong. Actually, they have!” he tweeted December 17.

“The new USA Today Poll, just out, has me leading all of the Democrat contenders. That’s hard to believe since the Fake News & 3 year Scams and Witch Hunts, as phony as they are, just never seem to end. The American people are smart. They see the great economy, & everything else!”

Tyler Durden

Sat, 12/21/2019 - 21:00


Business Finance


SoCal Millennials Are Piling On Most Credit Card Debt

zerohedge News socal millennials piling most credit card debt All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
SoCal Millennials Are Piling On Most Credit Card Debt

Beverly Hills' Millennials were far ahead of the competition in terms of credit card debt, showing, as Statista's Katharina Buchholz explains, the correlation that exists between high incomes and credit card use in the United States. Cities in affluent Southern California, especially in the Los Angeles area, had some of the highest average per capita credit card debt rates for Millennials, acc

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ording to website Experian.

Beverly Hill’s Millennials piled on an average of more than $12,000 in credit card debt, far more than second-placed Monsey in the New York area, where the average debt rate was around $8,600.

You will find more infographics at Statista

Because high incomes normally lead to better credit scores, richer people are able to go into more debt on their cards. High debt municipalities were most often found around big cities, showing another reason Millennials might feel the need to go into debt: high cost of living. In recent years, U.S. wage growth has not kept up with housing costs, a fact that is amplified in bigger cities - top 10 cities for credit card debt among Millennials were found around L.A., New York, Houston, Miami and Austin.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 23:45


Business Finance


World's Most Bearish Hedge Fund Manager: "This Will End Up Being My Worst Year Ever"

zerohedge News worlds most bearish hedge fund manager this will being worst year ever All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
World's Most Bearish Hedge Fund Manager: "This Will End Up Being My Worst Year Ever"

It is unclear exactly when we entered bizarro world, but we are well and truly in it now. How else does one explain that Horseman Global, the fund which we first dubbed "the world's most bearish hedge fund" and which has only gotten more so with time, most recently clocking in at a near record -100% net short exposure...

... is shutting its Eu

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ropean hedge fund, which despite being up 28% YTD has shrunk over the years to manage just $66 million, even as the larger Horseman Global Fund continues to operate despite being down a record 33% YTD?.

According to Bloomberg, the Horseman European Select fund will close at the end of February after returning 28% through November this year. With the fund “set to be one of the most successful European hedge funds of 2019, I feel that this is an opportune time to change course,” manager Stephen Roberts told investors Tuesday. “I will continue to invest by managing my own family office.”

Whether Roberts is indeed merely seeking the quiet and stability of a family office, or simply no longer wishes to be packaged alongside the far more controversial (and underperforming) Global Fund, is unknown but it does add to the already unprecedented pressure crushing Horseman Global CIO, Russell Clark, who as he writes in his latest letter to investors (reposted below) is about to suffer his "worst year ever" following an 8.1% drop in November and a 33% drop YTD, and whose only hope "is a huge plunge in markets at year end."

Below we repost Clark's latest, November letter to investors, even as the fund's AUM has collapsed from $525MM in Dec 2018 to just $138MM currently. While the future of the fund can at best be described as a "going concern", it does not detract from Clark's ideas - traditionally some of the best in the financial realm when it comes to contrarian originality - especially as relates to his continued bearish view of shale and semis, as well as his doomsday idea that Clearinghouses will implode during the next crisis, resulting in a Fed bailout of large, leveraged funds. While it's only a matter of when, not if, that happens, it remains unclear if Clark will be around to trade it.

Your fund lost 8.06% this month. The short book, bond book and forex books all lost money.

This year has not worked out as planned and, unless there is a huge plunge in markets at year end, will end up being my worst year ever. Coming into this year there were a huge number of reasons to be bearish. Credit spreads were widening. The market was beginning to understand the capital destructive nature of the US shale industry. Japanese machine tool orders were plunging and continue to plunge. Auto sales were declining, and global trade was, and is, in decline. On top of that there still exists a huge amount of autocallables that would act as an accelerant to any sell off.

If there was one big misjudgement this year, it was that US restrictions on Huawei would reduce Chinese demand for US technology, given the risks of being blacklisted. What seems to have happened instead is that Chinese firms have front-loaded demand for semiconductors and semiconductor making equipment, so that they have inventory on hand, just in case they get blacklisted. This had led to a very large dislocation between traditional lead indicators for the semiconductor stocks. We have been reducing this short area all year, but despite the current dislocation, the problems of rising Chinese competition are increasing. There are signs that Chinese makers of semiconductor equipment are beginning to gain share among domestic semiconductor producers. Semiconductors are priced as if there will be no down cycle again, much like the view given to commodity stocks not so long ago.

The BIS Quarterly Report was issued on 8th December. While much commentary was on the analysis the BIS gave to the repo market, the much more interesting part of the Quarterly Review comes later, when it discusses portfolio compression. Compression and netting have allowed notional outstanding to stay stable, but the trading volume would be suggestive of a market that is taking 4 times more risk. Regulators (and the BIS) do not focus on this, but JP Morgan and other big members of clearinghouses plainly agree with me.

Clearinghouses have become the center of the financial system, but they do not bear the cost of any mistakes they make in pricing risks. This is borne by other clearinghouse members. But what the BIS note and the note issued by the banks and other users of clearinghouses makes clear is that the market has become very directional, with banks supplying liquidity to the repo market, while leveraged funds are taking liquidity (until 2017 banks were taking liquidity from the system). As the near bankruptcy of a clearinghouse highlighted last year, it is other members that bear the risk when things go wrong, and hence big US banks have acted rationally in looking to reduce liquidity to the repo market, which of course forced the Federal Reserve to act. Unfortunately, this does not solve the problem that risk is mispriced, and the banks will still be on the hook if other members default.

So what do you do if you run a major US bank, and you are feeling uncomfortable about the risks that clearinghouses are taking, but your efforts to reprice risk are thwarted? Well if it was me, I would have to start to think about nuclear options to force the issue. What would that nuclear option be? Namely to threaten to cancel membership to the clearinghouse, and hence get rid of the potential liability you might face. From the documents I have seen, this only requires 10 days notice. Ultimately if risks were priced correctly, leverage fund unwinding trades would cause a market dislocation. The only way to calm markets sustainably, would be for the Federal Reserve to lend directly to large leveraged funds. I guess this is possible, but I would assume you need a crisis first to cross that Rubicon.

I increasingly hear talk that central bank and government activism has ended recessions and possibly bear markets. Maybe this is true, but it seems to me that we are at a turning point. Large financial institutions have been willing to go along with central bank policy since the financial crisis, but risks to big banks and pension funds are all becoming more and more apparent. In a strange twist of fate, private banks might end up taking away the punchbowl from the Federal Reserve and other central banks. Your fund is short equities, long G7 government bonds.

Finally, for those asking, here is a list of Horseman's Top 10 long positions by NAV:

Tyler Durden

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 17:05


Business Finance


"The Elites Don't Give A F*ck": Bannon Explains Why Boris Won, Blacks Dig Trump, And What GOP Needs Most Right Now

zerohedge News elites dont give bannon explains boris blacks trump what needs most right All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
"The Elites Don't Give A F*ck": Bannon Explains Why Boris Won, Blacks Dig Trump, And What GOP Needs Most Right Now

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon sat down with The Guardian, offering his take on everything from Boris Johnson's win the the recent UK election, to why minority support for Trump is on the rise, and finally - why the GOP needs its own version of AOC.

Bannon says that Boris Johnson's swe

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eping UK victory over Labour's Jeremy Corbyn is a "victory for populism," noting how he was fascinated by focus groups on British TV during the election campaign. "These were Labour voters and they were not going to vote for Labour and the reason was they kept asking, ‘How are these programmes going to be paid for?’ What I was most impressed with was the specificity and the granularity of the questions.."

"People don’t want to be spun any more. They don’t want to be BS’d any more. They want to know what you’re laying out and how you’re going to effectuate it and, most importantly, how you’re going to pay for it and ‘if paying for it means more increased taxes or less opportunities for me, you’re not going to get my vote no matter how good it sounds’."

"I think the Democrats, on whether it’s Green New Deal or healthcare for illegal aliens or whatever, ought to take the lessons of the working class. These are lifetime Labour members that voted for a Tory," Bannon added.

Bannon regards Johnson as neither a nationalist nor a populist and likens the prime minister’s vision of Brexit to “Singapore-on-the-Thames” – very different from the version hoped for by those who voted for him. Even so, Bannon argues that both the Conservatives and Republicans should aim to seize their traditional rivals’ territory by appealing to the working class. -The Guardian

Bannon explains that nationalism is about protecting the working class from both illegal and legal immigration - which disproportionately hurts minorities. 

"Look, this is what drives me nuts about the left. All immigration is to flood the zone with cheap labour, and the reason is because the elites don’t give a fuck about African Americans and the Hispanic working class. They don’t care about the white working class either. You’re just a commodity".

"So they have unlimited labour and they’re paying you nine bucks an hour. ‘Let more guys in and, by the way, it’s bigger markets.’ It destroys the working class. That’s what we’ve got to protect. Once we show working-class people of every ethnicity and race that you being a citizen you get a special deal, you get that realignment."

"As soon as we won in London at the end of June, I kept saying this is a lock for Trump, we’ve just got to drive the same topics. That’s why, when I took over the campaign, it was let’s get back to some basics: stop mass illegal immigration, limit legal immigration, protect your workers. Why do you think Trump today is at 34% approval rating in the Emerson polls among blacks and 36% among Hispanics? He’s going to get 20% of the black vote and here’s why: everybody’s working," said Bannon.

Why the GOP needs an AOC, and Trump can thank Bloomberg for impeachment

"We’ve turned the Republican party into a working-class party," said Bannon, adding "Now, interestingly, we don’t have any elected representatives who believe that, but that’s a legacy issue. We’ll get over that. We’ve got to find our AOCs."

In short, while Trump swept into office on an America First policy aimed at supporting the working class - particularly those in flyover states, the Republican party needs "more bartenders."

Bannon says that the Democrats took back the house in 2018 for two reasons; Mike Bloomberg - whose PAC injected $110 million into supporting Democrats in the midterm elections (21 of the 24 candidates he supported won their races), and "better casting."

Ocasio-Cortez, a 30-year-old former bartender from New York, was elected to Congress last year and has built a huge social media following as a member of “the Squad”, a group of four progressive women of colour. Her eagerly sought presidential endorsement went to fellow progressive senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The Democrats and their supporters have “better casting”, Bannon admitted. “They did an amazing job in 18. I keep saying I admire AOC. I think her ideology’s all fucked up, but I want her. I want to recruit bartenders. I don’t want to recruit any more lawyers. I want bartenders.” -The Guardian

He notes that in addition to AOC and 'the squad,' Democrats had military veterans such as Max Rose of New York and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey. "That’s perfect casting. That’s why we got smoked."

On Bloomberg, Bannon says "people are missing the point."

"Trump wouldn’t be impeached if it were not for Bloomberg. It’s Bloomberg’s hundred million dollars that won the seats … The Democrat party is just like Republicans: a pass through. There’s no actual people to do anything. They’re not out in any state ringing doorbells. Those activist groups are. That’s where Bloomberg put his hundred million dollars."

Tyler Durden

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 11:46


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