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Max Weber Would Make Covid Vaccination Mandatory

At least that’s how I understand the German sociologist’s exhortation to take responsibility rather than just hide behind convictions......»»

Category: topSource: washpostNov 25th, 2021

Bureaucrat"s False Promise: Take Two COVID Shots And We Will Reopen

Bureaucrat's False Promise: Take Two COVID Shots And We Will Reopen Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com, More lockdowns are underway in Europe. What happened to reopen promises? Fury Over Lockdowns  Global markets are reeling in the wake of more lockdowns and threats of them. The Economist (paywall) notes surge of deadly covid cases in Europe is met by popular fury over lockdowns. The sight of 40,000 unvaccinated Austrians marching through their capital, Vienna, in recent days was troubling twice over. The tightly packed opponents of lockdown measures were at risk of spreading the coronavirus. They also threatened to stir up an already tense political situation. Karl Nehammer, Austria’s interior minister, warned that anti-vaxxers in the Alpine republic are growing more radicalised. He called the demonstration’s mood “incensed” and “aggressive”. Some protesters were extremely provocative, carrying placards likening Alexander Schallenberg, Austria’s new chancellor, to Josef Mengele, the sadistic physician at the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. The protesters were marching against Austria’s increasingly tough measures against anti-vaxxers. On November 22nd the government imposed a full lockdown once again, to last for at least ten days. That compels Austria’s 9m people to hunker down at home, leaving only for work, essential shopping and exercise. Austria is also the first Western democracy to make covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for all, starting on February 1st 2022. “For a long time—maybe too long—I and others assumed that it must be possible to convince people in Austria to get vaccinated voluntarily,” said Mr Schallenberg when he announced his “very difficult” decision. Let Our Guard Down The Washington Post (paywalled) reports ‘We let our guard down’: Frustrated Europe heads into second pandemic winter Life was finally starting to feel normal. An online flier for an October party in this Belgian beach town cursed the coronavirus and invited people to dance and drink again, to “get your clacker back from the attic” and kick off Carnival season. Hundreds attended that event and another Carnival party the next night. Most of the town is vaccinated, and people were required to show proof, or a recent negative test, to enter. But it wasn’t enough. Coronavirus cases spiked the week after. Officials worried about pressure on the local hospital. And soon the town found itself under semi-lockdown once more. As Americans catch up with family and friends this holiday week, with some trepidation about enduring risk, Europe is facing another wave of the virus — and a gloomy and frustrating second pandemic winter. New Heavily Mutated Covid Variant CNBC reports Belgium Confirms Case of New, Heavily Mutated Covid Variant. The emerging variant arrives in Europe amid an already devastating Covid surge linked to the delta strain. Europe saw more than 2.4 million new Covid cases over the week ended Nov. 21, an increase of 11% from the previous seven days, according to the WHO’s most recent epidemiological update. Europe represented 67% of all Covid cases reported globally during that span, the WHO measured. Belgium tightened restrictions this week to stop the spread of the virus, requiring people to work from home four days a week through the middle of December. Austria started its fourth lockdown of the pandemic on Monday, with a nationwide vaccine mandate scheduled to take effect on Feb. 1. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has said that the lockdown will last for at most 20 days. New Lockdowns and Restrictions Slovakia declared a two-week lockdown on Wednesday. People can leave home for a limited number of reasons, including buying groceries, going to work and to school, and getting vaccinated. And starting next week, all workers will have to show they’ve been vaccinated, recovered from the coronavirus or had a recent negative test. Austria, imposed a lockdown that will last at least 10 days and up to 20.  The Netherlands ordered bars and restaurants to close at 8 p.m. Belgium has mandated that all but essential employees work from home four days a week. Belgium also reinstituted an indoor mask mandate this month. Merkel pushed for a German lockdown as its death toll passed 100,000. The U.K.  halted flights from six countries in the region, and European Union member states have collectively agree to pause travel to and from southern Africa. Singapore banned flights from southern Africa Japan is increasing border controls for travelers from the region. Italy requires proof of vaccination or recovery for access to many parts of public life. Vaccination restrictions fcome into effect on December 6 and last until January 15. Mess in Germany  Eurointelligence comments on Germany's Federal Virus. The massive outbreak in Covid-19 hospitalizations and fatalities in Germany raises disturbing questions about who is in charge. Having failed to achieve the right levels of vaccine procurement early on during the pandemic, the German authorities have repeated the same mistake. They did not procure the booster shots they needed. They have not set up a network of vaccination centres to deliver them rapidly. As of this weekend, only 11.4% of the population has received booster shots. It is very difficult to get an appointment. Only doctor's surgeries are allowed to deliver them. The network has not been expanded to pharmacies.  So why is this happening again? The answer is that the German healthcare system, well-funded as it is, is not set up for a pandemic, or indeed for public health emergencies in general. This is a publicly-funded, but privately run, healthcare system. The states are in charge of the local healthcare administrations and hospitals. Health insurance is a matter for the federal government, but states supervise the health insurance companies. What can possibly go wrong? Message From German Stats In Germany, over 45% of people hospitalized for Covid-19 are fully vaccinated. That last stat sounds more shocking than it really is. Germany is 68% fully vaccinated. Thus 55% of the hospitalizations cases come from 32% of the population. Only 11% of Germany received a booster. Given vaccinations wear off, the proper take away is get a booster, not flout the stats.  Vaccine Mandate US In the US, the Biden administration imposed a vaccine mandate vis OSHA on companies with more than 100 employees. On November 15, I noted Appeals Court Blocks Biden's Vaccine Mandate in a Blistering Rebuke The rebuke was a huge attack on the competence of Biden's mandate. My position, upfront was the mandate was unconstitutional.  Given multiple attacks on the mandate, jurisdiction, the case moved from the 5th Circuit to the 6th Circuit, where Biden doubled down.  On November 23, I commented Biden Doubles Down on Vaccine Mandate With Another Circuit Court The justice department files an emergency motion with the 6th circuit court arguing the 5th circuit's postponement of the OSHA vaccine mandate was unjustified I strongly suspect the 6th Circuit will reaffirm the previous ruling. Meanwhile, protests or not, mutations go on and on.  What Covid Lockdowns and Disruptions in Europe Signal to the U.S. False Promise "Take two shots and we will reopen society. That turned out to be a false promise." It's been one false promise after another, by Dr. Fauci, by Trump, by Biden, by Merkel, globally everywhere. Trust is essentially gone and rising protests are proof. *  *  * Like these reports? If so, please Subscribe to MishTalk Email Alerts. Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 13:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 27th, 2021

Things Are Getting Messy In Draghi"s Italy

Things Are Getting Messy In Draghi's Italy Authored by Nick Corbishley via NakedCapitalism.com, Sixteen percent of the country’s officially employed workforce just lost their jobs (temporarily for the moment). And as one would expect, they’re not happy.   It is a strange experience watching the events currently unfolding in Italy from the relative calm and normality of Catalonia. As I reported in August, Spain’s Supreme Court ruled against the use of covid passports to restrict access to public spaces — specifically hospitality businesses (bars, restaurants and nightclubs). Since then the court has scaled back the ruling, allowing certain regions, including Galicia and Catalonia, to use the digital documents to restrict access to bars and nightclubs. But things are still moving quite slowly though I’m sure they’ll pick up speed soon. Italy, by contrast, has just introduced the strictest rules in Europe. “No Jab, No Job” Writ Large As of last Friday all residents of Italy need a covid passport, or Green Pass, to access not only public spaces but also public and private workplaces. The pass proves that they have either been vaccinated against Covid-19, have recovered from the disease in the past six months or have recently tested negative. And now they need it to make a living, to feed their families. The “no jab, no job” rule applies to workers of all kinds, including the self employed, domestic staff and even people working remotely. If you’d still rather not get vaccinated, you have the option of showing proof of a negative test every two days. That can cost anywhere between €15 and €50 each time — far beyond the means of most low-paid workers. If you still refuse to get vaccinated or present proof of negative tests, you face unpaid suspension as well as a fine of up to €1,500. Public sector workers have five days to present the green pass before being suspended. Private sector workers without a green pass face suspension from the first day. Here’s more from Politico (comment and emphasis in brackets my own): By law, all workers must be able to show a so-called Green Pass, proving they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have tested negative in the past 48 hours. Roughly 81 percent of Italians over 12 are fully vaccinated. While polls suggest the majority of Italians are in favor of vaccine passes (just as the majority of people in all countries are in favour of vaccine passes, according to polls), there are still 3.8 million unvaccinated workers, many in strategic sectors and public services such as ports, trucking, health care and law enforcement, who will be unable to work. Massive Cull of Workers This is by any measure a massive cull of workers. Three point eight million is more than 5% of Italy’s entire population and over 16% of the country’s officially employed workforce (22.7 million). The total number of people currently unemployed in Italy is 2.3 million. In other words, if none of the unvaccinated workers were to cave in to the government’s demands — some will, of course, we just don’t know how many — the number of people without work in Italy would increase by well over 150% — in the space of just one week! And as the Politico article mentions, many of these workers are in strategic sectors and public services. This is all happening as Europe — and the world at large — faces the worst supply chain crisis in decades as well as acute energy and labor shortages. The move also risks giving a huge boost to Italy’s already quite large informal economy. Given as much, this is a huge, high-stakes bluff on the part of Draghi’s technocratic government, which was formed eighth months ago. If it pays off, the vast majority of Italy’s vaccine holdouts will fall into line and go back to work, and other governments across Europe will follow suit with similar mandates. If it doesn’t, Italy’s economy could be plunged into chaos. So far, data suggest that the government’s “no jab, no job” rule hasn’t exactly had the desired effect. When the rule was initially unveiled, on September 16, Italy’s Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta said it would trigger such a “huge” boost vaccination take-up that its job would largely be done before it even came into effect. That hasn’t happened. As El Mundo reports, in the week through Oct.8 some 410,000 people received the first dose, according to official data, a 36% drop from the previous week and the lowest weekly count since early July.  Over the last few days the response of many of the affected workers has been to stage rolling strikes and protests across the country. Roads and ports have been blocked. This has coincided with hundreds of flight cancellations due to strikes by workers at the former flagship airline Alitalia, which flew its last flight on Thursday. There have also been violent demonstrations by far-right groups such as Casa Pound and Forza Nuova as well as a 24-hour general strike held last week by unions to protest the government’s labour and economic policies. Since Friday Italy’s largest port, Trieste, 40% of whose employees are unvaccinated, has been an important focal point of industrial action. “There are no blockades, whoever wants to work does,” said Stefano Puzzer, leader of the protest against the health pass in the port of Trieste, on Friday. Yet although the strike was reportedly entirely peaceful and workers who wanted to work were allowed to do so, riot  police yesterday used water cannons and tear gas to evict the longshoremen. One Little Flaw The ostensible logic behind the government’s latest mandate is that by “nudging” almost everyone who can get vaccinated to get vaccinated, it will help the country finally achieve herd immunity and thereby eliminate the virus. Also, work spaces will become much safer places because all workers will either have been fully vaccinated against covid-19, will have natural immunity or will have recently tested negative for the virus. There’s just one little flaw in the plan: the current crop of covid-19 vaccines are rather “leaky”, particularly with regard to the Delta variant. As such, people who are vaccinated are still liable to catch and transmit the virus and in some countries (such as the UK) the vaccinated account for more cases (in nominal terms) than the unvaccinated. In addition, what protection the vaccines do provide tends to wane rapidly. At the peak of Israel’s latest wave of infections, in August, half of the seriously ill hospitalized patients had been fully vaccinated at least five months prior, reported NPR.  Which begs the question: if a vaccinated person and an unvaccinated person have a similar capacity to carry, shed and transmit the virus, particularly in its Delta form and even more so after four of five months after vaccination, what difference does implementing a vaccination passport, certificate or ID actually make to the spread of the virus? Vaccine Passport: An End In and Of Itself? In sum, Italy just unleashed the most severe de facto vaccine mandate in Europe on the basis of a vaccine that doesn’t actually work very well and is still only authorised by the European Medical Agency for emergency use. To give an idea of just how extreme the Draghi government’s position now is, the only other country in the world to have introduced a mandatory Covid passport for all workers is Saudi Arabia, reports Thomas Fazi in a recent article: With these changes, we are effectively stripping citizens who haven’t broken any law whatsoever (in Italy, like elsewhere, Covid vaccines are not mandatory) of their basic constitutional rights — the right to work, to study, to move freely. That should give anyone reason to pause and reflect. This kind of discrimination is also in direct violation of EU Regulation 2021/953, which states that “[t]he issuance of [Covid] certificates… should not lead to discrimination on the basis of the possession of a specific category of certificate”, and that “[i]t is necessary to prevent direct or indirect discrimination against persons who are not vaccinated, for example because of medical reasons… or because they have not yet had the opportunity or chose not to be vaccinated”. This is also echoed by Resolution 2361 (2021) of the Council of Europe. In fact, the word “discrimination” doesn’t even begin to do justice to what we are witnessing in Italy. Representatives of the political, medical and media establishment have openly accused the unvaccinated of being “rats”, “subhumans” and “criminals”, who deserve to be “excluded from public life” and “from the national health service” and even to “die like flies”. Perhaps more worryingly, both prime minister Mario Draghi and the president Sergio Mattarella have accused the unvaccinated of “putting the lives of others at risk” (a claim based on the assumption that the vaccinated aren’t contagious). That claim has now been thoroughly disproved by myriad scientific studies, as Yves painstakingly documented in August. So why do governments continue to repeat it? Why aren’t they rethinking their strategy? Perhaps, as Fazi postulates, the green pass is not just a means to an end — mass vaccination — but also an end in and of itself: The Italian economic-political establishment has a long history of invoking, embellishing or even engineering crises — usually economic in nature — to justify technocratic governments and emergency measures, as well as the sidestepping of the normal channels of democracy. In this sense, it is not outlandish to posit that the country’s elites, under Draghi’s leadership, may view the current conjecture as a golden opportunity to complete the oligarchisation of the country they’ve been working at for the past decades (and in which Mario Draghi has played a central role). A crucial feature of this process has been the transition from a post-war regime based on the centrality of parliament to one dominated by executive, technocratic and supranational powers, in which the legislature performs a marginal role, thus insulating policymaking from democratic processes. As a result, there has been an increased resort to so-called “technical governments” run by “experts” supposedly untainted by political partisanship and unburdened by the complications of parliamentary politics — as well as the transfer of key policy tools from the national level, where a certain degree of democratic control can always potentially be exercised, to the supranational institutions of the EU, which are undemocratic by design. Now Draghi is even being heralded in some quarters as a possible new figurehead for Europe in the post-Merkel era. The financial and economic elite are no doubt salivating at the prospect.   Tyler Durden Wed, 10/20/2021 - 02:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 20th, 2021

Why "Natural Immunity" Is A Political Problem For The Regime

Why "Natural Immunity" Is A Political Problem For The Regime Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, Since 2020, public health technocrats and their allies among elected officials have clung to the position that absolutely every person who can possibly get a covid vaccine should get one. Both the Mayo Clinic website and the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, for example, insist that “research has not yet shown” that people who have recovered from covid have any sort of reliable protection. Moreover, the CDC page points to a single study from Kentucky claiming that people with natural immunity are more than twice as likely to contract covid again, compared to people who have been vaccinated. This narrative is reflected in the fact that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates are a one-size-fits-all policy insisting that virtually all adults, regardless of whether or not they’ve already had the disease, receive a covid vaccine. The official position is apparently this: nothing except the vaccine can provide any sort of resistance or immunity. So get a vaccine. No exceptions! Health technocrats have repeatedly insisted that “the science” points unambiguously toward everyone receiving a vaccine, even to the point of pushing vaccines for children. All this in spite of the fact the risk to children from covid is far less than the risk a dozen common daily risks, such as riding in an automobile. The regime has attached itself closely to a vaccinate-everybody-no-matter-what policy, and a sudden u-turn would be politically problematic. So it's no wonder there's so little interest in the topic. Indeed, in a September 10 interview, senior covid technocrat Anthony Fauci claimed that the matter of natural immunity was not even being discussed at government health agencies. Fauci’s response suggested that the facts of natural immunity warranted discussion at some point in the future. But the comment certainly fit the dominant regime narrative nonetheless: the facts of natural immunity don’t matter for now. Everyone should just get vaccinated: CNN's Sanjay Gupta asked if people who have already recovered from COVID-19 should still be required to get the vaccine."I don't have a really firm answer for you on that," [Fauci] said Thursday on CNN. "I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously." Maybe someday they’ll get to talking about it. But some physicians aren’t as obsessed with pushing vaccine mandates as Anthony Fauci, and the evidence in favor of natural immunity is becoming so undeniable that even mainstream publications are starting to admit it. In an op-ed for the Washington Post last week, Marty Makary of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine argues that the medical profession has hurt its credibility in pretending that natural immunity is virtually irrelevant to the covid equation. Moreover, the dogmatic "get vaccinated" position constitutes a lack of honesty about the data. Rather, Makary concludes: [W]e can encourage all Americans to get vaccinated while still being honest about the data. In my clinical experience, I have found patients to be extremely forgiving with evolving data if you are honest and transparent with them. Yet, when asked the common question, “I’ve recovered from covid, is it absolutely essential that I get vaccinated?” many public health officials have put aside the data and responded with a synchronized “yes,” even as studies have shown that reinfections are rare and often asymptomatic or mild when they do occur. And what are these studies? Makary continues: More than 15 studies have demonstrated the power of immunity acquired by previously having the virus. A 700,000-person study from Israel two weeks ago found that those who had experienced prior infections were 27 times less likely to get a second symptomatic covid infection than those who were vaccinated. This affirmed a June Cleveland Clinic study of health-care workers (who are often exposed to the virus), in which none who had previously tested positive for the coronavirus got reinfected. The study authors concluded that “individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from covid-19 vaccination.” And in May, a Washington University study found that even a mild covid infection resulted in long-lasting immunity. The policy bias in favor of vaccines ignores many other facts as well, such as the relative risks of vaccines, especially for the young: The current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention position about vaccinating children also dismisses the benefits of natural immunity. The Los Angeles County School District recently mandated vaccines for students ages 12 and up who want to learn in person. But young people are less likely to suffer severe or long-lasting symptoms from covid-19 than adults, and have experienced rare heart complications from the vaccines. In Israel, heart inflammation has been observed in between 1 in 3,000 and 1 in 6,000 males age 16 to 24; the CDC has confirmed 854 reports nationally in people age 30 and younger who got the vaccine. A second dose of the two-shot mRNA vaccine like that produced by Pfizer and Moderna may not even be necessary in children who had covid. Since February, Israel’s Health Ministry has been recommending that anyone, adult or adolescent, who has recovered from covid-19 receive a only single mRNA vaccine dose, instead of two. Even though the risk of severe illness during a reinfection is exceedingly low, some data has demonstrated a slight benefit to one dose in this situation. Other countries use a similar approach. The United States could adopt this strategy now as a reasonable next step in transitioning from an overly rigid to a more flexible vaccine requirement policy. For comparison, the CDC has long recommended that kids do not get the chickenpox vaccine if they had chickenpox infection in the past. The nonscientific, ideology-induced blind spot for natural immunity also prompted The BMJ  (the journal of the British Medical Association) to note that "[w]hen the vaccine rollout began in mid-December 2020, more than one quarter of Americans—91 million—had been infected with SARS-CoV-2…. As of this May, that proportion had risen to more than a third of the population, including 44% of adults aged 18–59." And yet, the authors note this fact doesn't appear to be a part of any policy discussion at all:  The substantial number of infections, coupled with the increasing scientific evidence that natural immunity was durable, led some medical observers to ask why natural immunity didn’t seem to be factored into decisions about prioritising vaccination. This problem is reflected in the Biden administration’s drive for booster shots—announced in mid-August—even before there was any clinical research on booster shots at all. Even by mid-September, as one hospital’s chief medical officer put it, “the data is not compelling one way or another.” But those sorts of details don’t trouble federal “public health” officials, and the Biden administration quickly moved toward pushing booster shots for everyone.  This Is Why There Should Be No Mandatory Medical Treatment Of course, mandating vaccines—like mandating any medical treatment—would still be immoral even if we could list a dozen studies suggesting boosters are a boon and that natural immunity is no good. What if there were twenty-five studies "proving" vaccines are better than natural immunity, but only twenty studies "proving" natural immunity is better? Would coercive vaccine mandates then suddenly be justified? Unfortunately, that's exactly how many advocates for repressive covid policies think the world should work. For these people, policy is just a matter of adding up the number of studies "proving" their side is right, and then claiming this justifies forcing mandatory medications on millions of human beings.  (It never works in reverse, of course. The fact that there's a lot of evidence—as Makary points out—against vaccines for those who have natural immunity, the dominant narrative is nonetheless that vaccines are “necessary” and “worth it” for everybody, always and everywhere.) In the real world, however, many medications—including these new vaccines—come with risks that must be weighed against potential benefits. These decisions can only be made at the individual level, where patients must make their own decisions about what substances to put into their own bodies. In other words, blanket policies proclaiming "everyone must receive this medical treatment immediately, or else" contradicts the realities of the uncertainties and varying risk levels that affect individuals. The facts of uncertainty and informed consent were once considered a mainstay of medical ethics—and of any political ideology that actually respects self-determination and basic human rights. Unfortunately, the philosophy of "public health" appears to be uninterested in such trivialities. At this point, it would be embarrassing for the regime to admit what actual scientific inquiry has shown: that natural immunity is generally superior to receiving the vaccine. The regime doesn't like to be embarrassed, and neither do the countless doctors and nurses who have long toed the regime's political line. So expect more of the same.  Tyler Durden Wed, 09/29/2021 - 16:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

Will The Omicron Virus Turn Out To Actually Be Bullish For Stocks

Will The Omicron Virus Turn Out To Actually Be Bullish For Stocks Earlier today, we laid out one trader's view - that of Mizuho's multi-asset strategist Peter Chatwell - why despite the incremental mitigating information gathered over the weekend which clearly eased Friday's liquidation panic and today the Nasdaq wiped out all of its losses, the Omicron variant is decidedly bearish for stocks, and why "a re-test of 4600 appears much more likely here than a rally back to 4700." His argument, in a nutshell, was that even though Omicron may appear "extremely mild" - so far - it is based on Chatwell's argument that the South African doctor who discovered the strain, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, treated patients who were mainly 40 or younger, and thus "we cannot conclude that the mild symptoms will translate to older populations." Meanwhile, "it looks like Omicron may be more transmissible and vaccine evasive than Delta, meaning it it likely to infect more vulnerable people." This, to Chatwell, means that it has the ability to evade existing immune response may be more important than its expected lower severity of symptoms. As such "governments are likely to remain cautious, biased towards greater social restrictions and partial lockdowns." Needless to say, this entire bearish argument is based on the forced assumption that even though Omicron is "very mild" for patients below 40 - which incidentally is a trend widely observed in virology where incremental mutations leads to more transmissable but less potent variants - it will somehow prove to be far more dangerous to patients 40 and older. Perhaps, but one can just as easily argue the opposite which is precisely what we did yesterday morning when we said that since Omicron appears to be a far less stable strain than Delta or previous variants due to its numerous, 30+ spike-protein mutations, "one could make the point that while Omicron could soon become the dominant strain due to its higher R-nought (or pace of transmission), that could be a blessing in disguise as it pushes out the much more dangerous (and more stable) delta strain." None other than Pershing Square's Bill Ackman apparently read this take because a few hours later, he tweeted what we said, namely that "while it is too early to have definitive data, early reported data suggest that the Omicron virus causes ‘mild to moderate’ symptoms (less severity) and is more transmissible. If this turns out to be true, this is bullish not bearish for markets.” A thought. While it is too early to have definitive data, early reported data suggest that the Omicron virus causes ‘mild to moderate’ symptoms (less severity) and is more transmissible. If this turns out to be true, this is bullish not bearish for markets. — Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) November 29, 2021 It's not just us and Bill Ackman that have a decidedly contrarian take on the potential impact of Omicron on risk assets: Deutsche Bank's chief credit strategist Jim Reid was also bullish. As he wrote in his Daily Reid note overnight, Omicron "could still prove less deadly (as virus variants over time mostly are) but if it is more contagious that could offset this and it could still cause similar healthcare issues, especially if vaccines are less protective." On the other hand, Reid said, "the South African doctor who first alerted authorities to the unusual symptoms that have now been found to have been caused by Omicron, was on numerous media platforms over the weekend suggesting that the patients she has seen with it were exhausted but generally had mild symptoms. However she also said her patients were from a healthy cohort so we can’t relax too much on this. However as South African cases rise we will get a lot of clues from hospitalization data even if only 6% of the country is over 65s." Putting these together, Reid says that his "personal view is that we’ll get a lot of information quite quickly around how bad this variant is. The reports over the weekend that numerous cases of Omicron have already been discovered around the world, suggests it’s probably more widespread than people think already. So we will likely soon learn whether these patients present with more severe illness and we’ll also learn of their vaccination status before any official study is out. The only caveat would be that until elderly patients have been exposed in enough scale we won’t be able to rule out the more negative scenarios." As for why he remains optimistic, he says that "it's dangerous to be positive on covid at the moment but you only have to look at the UK for signs that boosters are doing a great job. Cases in the elderly population continue to collapse as the roll out progresses well and overall deaths have dropped nearly 20% over the last week to 121 (7-day average) - a tenth of where they were at the peak even though cases have recently been 80-90% of their peak levels. If Europe are just lagging the UK on boosters rather than anything more structural, most countries should be able to control the current wave all things being equal." It appears markets now agree with this benign view: in a subsequent report, Reid published the results of a flash poll he conducted earlier this morning, which found that market participants are not expecting Omicron to be a significant event with only 10% thinking it will be the biggest topic in financial markets at year-end (C). The vast majority - or 60% - thought it would still be an issue but only of moderate importance (B), with 30% thinking it will be largely forgotten about (A). There are two ways to read this data: on one hand it shows that markets are not set up for bad news on this front. So, negative Omicron news is likely to be bad for markets without huge additional stimulus. On the other hand, perhaps just this time Wall Street consensus is due to finally be right... Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 16:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge14 hr. 10 min. ago

The Euro"s Death Wish

The Euro's Death Wish Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Last week’s Goldmoney article explained the Fed’s increasing commitment to dollar hyperinflation. This week’s article examines the additional issues facing the euro and the Eurozone. More nakedly than is evidenced by other major central banks, the ECB through its system of satellite national central banks is now almost solely committed to financing national government debts and smothering over the consequences. The result is a commercial banking system both highly leveraged and burdened with overvalued government debt secured only by an implied ECB guarantee. The failings of this statist control system have been covered up by a pass-the-parcel any collateral goes €10 trillion plus repo market, which with the TARGET2 settlement system has concealed the progressive accumulation of private sector bad debts ever since the first Eurozone crisis hit Spain in 2012. These distortions can only continue so long as interest rates are suppressed beneath the zero bound. But rising interest rates globally are now a certainty — only officially unrecognised by central bankers — so there can only be two major consequences. First, the inevitable Eurozone economic recession (now being given an extra push through renewed covid restrictions) will send debt-burdened government deficits which are already high soaring, requiring an accelerated pace of inflationary financing by the ECB. And second, the collapse of the bloated repo market, which is to be avoided at all costs, will almost certainly be triggered. This article attempts to clarify these issues. It is hardly surprising that for the ECB raising interest rates is not an option. Therefore, the recent weakness of the euro on the foreign exchanges marks only the start of a threat to the euro system, the outcome of which will be decided by the markets, not the ECB. Introduction The euro, as it is said of the camel, was designed by a committee. Unlike the ship of the desert the euro and its institutions will not survive — we can say that with increasing certainty considering current developments. Instead of evolving as demanded by its users, the euro has become even more of a state control mechanism than the other major currencies, with the exception, perhaps, of China’s renminbi. But for all its faults, the Chinese state at least pays attention to the economic demands of its citizens to guide it in its management of the currency. The commissars in Brussels along with national politicians seem to be blind to the social and economic consequences of drifting into totalitarianism, where people are forced into new lockdowns and in some cases are being forced into mandatory covid vaccinations. The ECB in Frankfurt has also ignored the economic consequences of its actions and has just two priorities intact from its inception: to finance member governments by inflationary means and to suppress or ignore all evidence of the consequences. The ECB’s founding was not auspicious. Before monetary union socialistic France relied on inflationary financing of government spending while Germany did not. The French state was interventionist while Germany fostered its mittelstand with sound money. The compromise was that the ECB would be in Frankfurt (the locational credibility argument won the day) while its first true president, after Wim Duisenberg oversaw its establishment and cut short his presidency, would be French: Jean-Claude Trichet. Membership qualifications for the Eurozone were set out in the Maastricht treaty, and then promptly ignored to let in Italy. They were ignored again to let in Greece, which in terms of ease of doing business ranked lower than both Jamaica and Columbia at the time. And now the Maastricht rules are ignored by everyone. Following the establishment of the ECB the EU made no attempt to tackle the divergence between fiscally responsible Germany with similarly conservative northern states, and the spendthrift southern PIGS. Indeed, many claimed a virtue in that Germany’s savings could be deployed for the benefit of investment in less advanced member nations, a belief insufficiently addressed by the Germans at the time. The ECB presided over the rapidly expanding balance sheets of the major banks which in the early days of the euro made them fortunes arbitraging between Germany’s and the PIGs’ converging bond yields. The ECB was seemingly oblivious to the rapid balance sheet expansion with which came risks spiralling out of control. To be fair, the ECB was not the only major central bank unaware of what was happening on the banking scene ahead of the great financial crisis, but that does not absolve it from responsibility. The ECB and its banking regulator (the European Banking Authority — EBA) has done nothing since the Lehman failure to reduce banking risk. Figure 1 shows current leverages for the Eurozone’s global systemically important banks, the G-SIBs. Doubtless, there are other lesser Eurozone banks with even higher balance sheet ratios, the failure of any of which threatens the Eurosystem itself. Even these numbers don’t tell the whole story. Most of the credit expansion has been into government debt aided and abetted by Basel regulations, which rank government debt as the least risky balance sheet asset, irrespective whether it is German or Italian. Throughout the PIGS, private sector bad debts have been rated as “performing” by national regulators so that they can be used as collateral against loans and repurchase agreements, depositing them into the amorphous TARGET2 settlement system and upon other unwary counterparties. Figure 2 shows the growth of M1 narrow money, which has admittedly not been as dramatic as in the US dollar’s M1. But the translation of bank lending into circulating currency in the Eurozone is by way of government borrowing without stimulation cheques. It is still progressing, Cantillon-like, through the monetary statistics. And they will almost certainly increase substantially further on the back of the ongoing covid pandemic, as state spending rises, tax revenues fall, and budget deficits soar. Bear in mind that the new covid lockdowns currently being implemented will knock the recent anaemic recovery firmly on the head and drive the Eurozone into a new slump. There can be no doubt that M1 for the euro area is set to increase significantly from here, particularly since the ECB is now nakedly a machine for inflationary financing. In the US’s case, rising interest rates, which the Fed is keen to avoid, will undermine the US stock market with knock-on economic effects. In the Eurozone, rising interest rates will undermine spendthrift governments and the entire commercial banking system. Government debt creation out of control The table below shows government spending for leading Eurozone states as a proportion of their GDP last year, ranked from highest government spending to GDP to lowest (column 1). The US is included for comparison. Some of the increase in government spending relative to their economies was due to significant falls in GDP, and some of it due to increased spending. The current year has seen a recovery in GDP, which will have not yet led to a general improvement in tax revenues, beyond sales taxes. And now, much of Europe faces new covid restrictions and lockdowns which are emasculating any hopes of stabilising government debt levels. The final column in the table adjusts government debt to show it relative to the tax base, which is the productive private sector upon which all government spending, including borrowing costs and much of inflationary financing, depends. This is a more important measure than the commonly quoted debt to GDP ratios in the second column. The sensitivity to and importance of maintaining tax income becomes readily apparent and informs us that government debt to private sector GDP is potentially catastrophic. As well as the private sectors’ own tax burden, through their taxes and currency debasement they are having to support far larger obligations than generally realised. Productive citizens who don’t feel they are on a treadmill going ever faster for no purpose are lacking awareness. These are the dynamics of national debt traps which only miss one element to trigger them: rising interest rates. Instead, they are being heavily suppressed by the ECB’s deposit rate of minus 0.5%. The market is so distorted that the nominal yield on France’s 5-year bond is minus 0.45%. In other words, a nation with a national debt that is so high as to be impossible to stabilise without the necessary political will to do so is being paid to borrow. Greece’s 5-year bond yields a paltry 0.48% and Italy’s 0.25%. Welcome to the mad, mad world of Eurozone government finances. The ECB’s policy failure It is therefore unsurprising that the ECB is resisting interest rate increases despite producer and consumer price inflation taking off. Consumer price inflation across the Eurozone is most recently recorded at 4.1%, making the real yield on Germany’s 5-year bond minus 4.67%. But Germany’s producer prices for October rose 18.4% compared with a year ago. There can be no doubt that producer prices will feed into consumer prices, and that rising consumer prices have much further to go, fuelled by the acceleration of currency debasement in recent years. Therefore, in real terms, not only are negative rates already increasing, but they will go even further into record territory due to rising producer and consumer prices. It is also the consequence of all major central banks’ accelerated expansion of their base currencies, particularly since March 2020. Unless it abandons the euro to its fate on the foreign exchanges altogether, the ECB will be forced to raise its deposit rate very soon, to offset the euro’s depreciation. And given the sheer scale of previous monetary expansion, which is driving its loss of purchasing power, euro interest rates will have to rise considerably to have any stabilising effect. But even if they increased only into modestly positive territory, the ECB would have to quicken the pace of its monetary creation just to keep Eurozone member governments afloat. The foreign exchanges will quickly recognise the situation, punishing the euro if the ECB fails to raise rates and punishing it if it does. But it won’t be limited to cross rates against other currencies, which to varying degrees face similar dilemmas, but measured against prices for commodities and essential products. Arguably, the euro’s rerating on the foreign exchanges has already commenced. The ECB is being forced into an impossible situation of its own making. Bond yields have started to rise or become less negative, threatening to bankrupt the whole Eurozone network as the trend continues, and inflicting mark-to-market losses on highly leveraged commercial banks invested in government bonds. Furthermore, the Euro system’s network of national central banks is like a basket of rotten apples. It is the consequence not just of a flawed system, but of policies first introduced to rescue Spain from soaring bond yields in 2012. That was when Mario Draghi, the ECB’s President at the time said he was ready to do whatever it takes to save the euro, adding, “Believe me, it will be enough”. It was then and its demise was deferred. The threat of intervention was enough to drive Spanish bond yields down (currently minus 0.24% on the 5-year bond!) and is probably behind the complacent thinking in the ECB to this day. But as the other bookend to Draghi’s promise to deploy bond purchasing programmes, Lagarde’s current intervention policy is of necessity far larger and more destabilising. And then there is the market problem: the ECB now acts as if it can ignore it for ever. It wasn’t always like this. The euro started with the promise of being a far more stable currency replacement for national currencies, particularly the Italian lira, the Spanish peseta, the French franc, and the Greek drachma. But the first president of the ECB, Wim Duisenberg, resigned halfway during his term to make way for Jean-Claude Trichet, who was a French statist from the École Nationale d’Administration and a career civil servant. His was a political appointment, promoted by the French on a mixture of nationalism and a determination to neutralise the sound money advocates in Germany. To be fair to Trichet, he resisted some of the more overt pressures for inflationism. But then things had not yet started to go wrong on his watch. Following Trichet, the ECB has pursued increasingly inflationist policies. Unlike the Bundesbank which closely monitored the money supply and paid attention to little else, the ECB adopted a wide range of economic indicators, allowing it to shift its focus from money to employment, confidence polls, long-term interest rates, output measures and others, allowing a fully flexible attitude to money. The ECB is now intensely political, masquerading as an independent monetary institution. But there is no question that it is subservient to Brussels and whose primary purpose is to ensure Eurozone governments’ profligate spending is always financed; “whatever it takes”. The private sector is now a distant irrelevance, only an alternative source of government revenue to inflation, the delegated responsibility of compliant national central banks, who take their orders from the economically remote ECB. It is an arrangement that will eventually collapse through currency debasement and economic breakdown. Prices rising to multiples of the official CPI target and the necessary abandonment by the ECB of the euro in the foreign exchanges in favour of interest rate suppression now threaten the ability of the ECB to finance in perpetuity increasing government deficits. The ECB, TARGET2 and the repo market Figure 3 shows how the Eurozone’s central bank balance sheets have grown since the great financial crisis. The growth has virtually matched that of the Fed, increasing to $9.7 trillion equivalent against the Fed’s $8.5 trillion, but from a base about $700bn higher. While they are reflected in central bank assets, TARGET2 imbalances are an additional complication, which are shown in the Osnabrück University chart reproduced in Figure 4. Points to note are that Germany is owed €1,067bn. The ECB collectively owes the national central banks (NCBs) €364bn. Italy owes €519bn, Spain €487bn and Portugal €82bn. The effect of the ECB deficit, which arises from bond purchases conducted on its behalf by the national central banks, is to artificially reduce the TARGET2 balances of debtors in the system to the extent the ECB has bought their government bonds and not paid the relevant national central bank for them. The combined debts of Italy and Spain to the other national central banks is about €1 trillion. In theory, these imbalances should not exist. The fact that they do and that from 2015 they have been increasing is due partly to accumulating bad debts, particularly in Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain. Local regulators are incentivised to declare non-performing bank loans as performing, so that they can be used as collateral for repurchase agreements with the local central bank and other counterparties. This has the effect of reducing non-performing loans at the national level, encouraging the view that there is no bad debt problem. But much of it has merely been removed from national banking systems and lost in both the euro system and the wider repo market. Demand for collateral against which to obtain liquidity has led to significant monetary expansion, with the repo market acting not as a marginal liquidity management tool as is the case in other banking systems, but as an accumulating supply of raw money. This is shown in Figure 4, which is the result of an ICMA survey of 58 leading institutions in the euro system. The total for this form of short-term financing grew to €8.31 trillion in outstanding contracts by December 2019. The collateral includes everything from government bonds and bills to pre-packaged commercial bank debt. According to the ICMA survey, double counting, whereby repos are offset by reverse repos, is minimal. This is important when one considers that a reverse repo is the other side of a repo, so that with repos being additional to the reverse repos recorded, the sum of the two is a valid measure of the size of the market outstanding. The value of repos transacted with central banks as part of official monetary policy operations were not included in the survey and continue to be “very substantial”. But repos with central banks in the ordinary course of financing are included. Today, even excluding central bank repos connected with monetary policy operations, this figure probably exceeds €10 trillion, allowing for the underlying growth in this market and when one includes participants beyond the 58 dealers in the survey. An interesting driver of this market is negative interest rates, which means that the repayment of the cash side of a repo (and of a reverse repo) can be less than its initial payment. By tapping into central bank cash through a repo it gives a commercial bank a guaranteed return. This must be one reason that the repo market in euros has grown to be considerably larger than it is in the US. This consideration raises the question as to the consequences of the ECB’s deposit rate being forced back into positive territory. It is likely to substantially reduce a source of balance sheet funding for commercial banks as repos from national central banks no longer offer negative rate funding. They would then be forced to sell balance sheet assets, which would drive all negative bond yields into positive territory, and higher. Furthermore, the contraction of bank credit implied by the withdrawal of repo finance will almost certainly have the knock-on effect of triggering a widespread banking liquidity crisis in a banking cohort with such high balance sheet gearing. There is a further issue over collateral quality. While the US Fed only accepts very high-quality securities as repo collateral, with the Eurozone’s national banks and the ECB almost anything is accepted — it had to be when Greece and other PIGS were bailed out. High quality debt represents most of the repo collateral and commercial banks can take it back onto their balance sheets. But the hidden bailouts of Italian banks by taking dodgy loans off their books could not continue to this day without them being posted as repo collateral rolled into the TARGET2 system and into the wider commercial repo network. The result is that the repos that will not be renewed by commercial counterparties are those whose collateral is bad or doubtful. We have no knowledge how much is involved. But given the incentive for national regulators to have deemed them creditworthy so that they could act as repo collateral, the amounts will be considerable. Having accepted this dodgy collateral, national central banks will be unable to reject them for fear of triggering a banking crisis in their own jurisdictions. Furthermore, they are likely to be forced to accept additional repo collateral rejected by commercial counterparties. In short, in the bloated repo market there are the makings of the next Eurozone banking crisis. The numbers are far larger than the central banking system’s capital. And the tide will rapidly ebb on them with rising interest rates. Inflation and interest rate outlook Starting with input prices, the commodity tracker in Figure 6 illustrates the rise in commodity and energy prices in euros, ever since the US Fed went “all in” in early 2020. To these inputs we can add soaring shipping costs, logistical disruption, and labour shortages — in effect all the problems seen in other jurisdictions. Additionally, this article demonstrates that not only is the ECB determined not to raise interest rates, but it simply cannot afford to. Being on the edge of a combined government funding crisis and with a possible collapse in the repo market taking out the banking system, the ECB is paralyzed with fear. That being so, we can expect further weakness in the euro exchange rate. And the commodity tracker in Figure 6 shows that when commodity prices break out above their current consolidation phase, they will likely push alarmingly higher in euros at least. The ECB’s dilemma over choosing inflationary financing or saving the currency is about to get considerably worse. And for probable confirmation of mounting fear over the situation in Frankfurt, look no further than the resignation of the President of the Bundesbank, who has asked the Federal President to dismiss him early for personal reasons. It was all very polite, but a high-flying, sound money man such as Jens Weidmann is unlikely to just want to spend more time with his family. That he can no longer act as a restraint on the ECB’s inflationism is clear, and more than any outsider he will be acutely aware of the coming crisis. Let us hope that Weidmann will be available to pick up the pieces and reintroduce a gold-backed mark.   Tyler Durden Sun, 11/28/2021 - 07:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 28th, 2021

First Cases Of Omicron COVID Variant Detected In UK

First Cases Of Omicron COVID Variant Detected In UK Two infections with the new Omicron variant (also known as B.1.1.529 COVID-19 variant) have been detected in the U.K., according to the health secretary.  Health Minister Sajid Javid tweeted Saturday that the U.K. Health Security Agency has been notified about two U.K. cases of the Omicron variant. He said, "the two cases are linked and there is a connection with travel to southern Africa," adding "these individuals are self-isolating with their households while further testing and contact tracing is underway." Javid said one infection was detected in Chelmsford, Essex, and another in Nottingham. He said, "as a precaution, we are rolling out additional targeted testing in the affected areas," calling the infiltration of the new coronavirus variant "a fast-moving situation." He added, "We are taking decisive steps to protect public health." The health secretary announced that four countries – Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia – will be added to the "red list," effective from 0400 local time Sunday. Anyone returning from these countries must isolate for ten days and receive "PCR tests."  Last week, scientists first detected the new variant in Botswana and then in South Africa. It has since spread to other countries, including Israel, Hong Kong, and Belgium, prompting officials in Europe, Asia, and North America to restrict travel from Africa.  Citi analyst Andrew Baum spoke with Pfizer's CEO, Albert Bourla, about the new variant, who said laboratory tests are underway and could take up two weeks to decide whether a reformulation of the COVID-19 vaccine is needed. If so, Bourla said it could take 100 days to develop a novel variant vaccine to combat Omicron.  Courtesy of Bloomberg's James Ludden, here are the latest updates on the latest COVID scare: U.K. Reports Two Cases of Omicron Variant (9:16 a.m. N.Y.)  The U.K. has confirmed two cases of the new Covid-19 strain omicron. "The two cases are linked and there is a connection with travel to southern Africa," Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Twitter. The individuals and their households -- one in Chelmsford and one in Nottingham -- are self-isolating and contact tracing is ongoing, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency German Scientists Urge Immediate Restrictions (8:03 a.m. N.Y.)  The German National Academy of Science Leopoldina is urging the government to implement stringent contact restrictions immediately for a few weeks to combat the pandemic and address the Omicron variant. These bans must also cover vaccinated people and those who recovered from an infection. The government also must make vaccination mandatory over the coming months, the academy said in a statement on its website. Highly Probable Omicron Is in Germany (6:21 p.m. H.K.)  It's "very likely" the new coronavirus strain, omicron, has arrived in Germany, a state official said Saturday. A traveler returning from South Africa on Friday night showed several symptoms typical of the new variant, Kai Klose, minister of social affairs in the German state of Hesse, said on Twitter without providing more detail. While the virus sample hasn't been sequenced, there's a "high level of suspicion" that the person has the new strain, Klose said. The traveler has been isolated at home. Modi Wants to Review Easing of Travel Rules (6:02 p.m. H.K.)  Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Indian officials to review plans for the easing of international travel restrictions after the emergence of the new omicron variant. India needs to be "proactive in light of the new variant," Modi said during a meeting on the Covid-19 situation and the pace of vaccinations in the country. On Friday, the Press Trust of India cited the civil aviation ministry as saying scheduled international flights to and from India will resume starting Dec. 15.  Dutch: 61 Flyers From S. Africa Test Positive (5:49 p.m. H.K.)  Sixty-one people arriving in the Netherlands on separate flights from South Africa tested positive for the coronavirus and were in isolation Saturday, the A.P. reported. Further tests are underway to determine if any of those who arrived at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport are infected with the new omicron variant. The planes arrived in the Netherlands on Friday shortly after the Dutch government imposed a ban on flights from some southern African nations following discovery of the new variant. New Zealand, Australia Tighten Borders (4:17 p.m. H.K.)  New Zealand joined Australia in banning entry to travelers from nine African countries in an effort to protect against the new omicron variant. The restrictions start Sunday night but don't apply to returning citizens, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. New Zealanders returning from those nations are required to undergo testing and a 14-day managed isolation period, he said. Earlier, Australia said direct flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique were being suspended, Health Minister Greg Hunt said. Returning citizens and their dependents who have been in any of those countries in the past 14 days must enter supervised quarantine on arrival. Thailand Bars Entry From Eight African Nations (2:38 p.m. H.K.)  Thailand will ban entry from eight southern African nations from Dec. 1, after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha ordered agencies to step up vigilance against the new omicron variant. Arrivals from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will be forbidden, said Opas Karnkawinpong, director general of the Disease Control Department. N.Y. Governor Declares State of Emergency (8:35 a.m. H.K.)  New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Friday due to a rise in the state's Covid cases and the threat of the omicron variant. She said the variant hasn't yet been detected in New York but she decided to sign an executive order to allow the health department to limit non-essential, non-urgent procedures at hospitals and acquire critical supplies more quickly. The order takes effect Dec. 3 and will be re-assessed Jan. 15. CDC Concerned Vaccines May Not Work Well (5:49 a.m. H.K.)  Based on omicron's mutation profile, partial immune escape is likely, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in a threat assessment report Friday. The E.U.'s health agency is among the first official authorities to acknowledge that vaccines may not work well against the new strain. The ECDC pushed authorities to "urgently" reinforce pandemic restrictions, avoiding travel to affected areas, and the vaccination of holdouts. U.S., Canada Curb Travel From Southern Africa (2:05 p.m. N.Y.)  President Joe Biden's administration will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries starting on Monday, according to senior administration officials. In addition to South Africa, they include Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. The policy doesn't apply to American citizens and lawful permanent residents, though they must still test negative prior to travel to the U.S. Canada is banning the entry of foreign nationals who have traveled through southern Africa in the last 14 days. As anyone who works in P.R. and or marketing knows, global elites need to keep their COVID narrative fresh, relevant and scary. We urge everyone to read what we know so far about variant in Friday's note titled "A Scared Nu World: Here's What We Know About The COVID "Omicron" Strain."   Here's a possible guide of what could happen next: Remember, U.S.' top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, did say months ago that the U.S. may face a "dark winter." How long until he blames the unvaccinated?  Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 11:16.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 27th, 2021

German Health Minister Calls For "Massive Contact Restrictions" To Fight COVID

German Health Minister Calls For "Massive Contact Restrictions" To Fight COVID By TheLocal.de, German Health Minister Jens Spahn has urged the incoming government to take drastic measures after more than 76,000 new Covid infections were reported within a day, saying the situation was "more serious than any other time in this pandemic." Health Minister Jens Spahn addresses reporters at a press conference in Berlin on November 26th, 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka The situation is dramatically serious,” the CDU politician told reporters gathered in Berlin on Friday. “More serious than at any other time in this pandemic.” Calling the current situation in Germany a ‘national emergency’, Spahn claimed that the incoming government was doing too little, too late to try and stem the tide. “We must stop this wave now,” he warned. On Friday, the weekly incidence of Covid infections hit yet another new peak of 438 infections per 100,000 people, while the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported a record-breaking 76,000 new infections within a day. In the worst-hit region of Saxony, the 7-day incidence recently topped 1,000 per 100,000 people. In the meantime, weekly hospitalisations have been edging up and now stand at 5.97 per 100,000 people nationally. The daily Covid death toll hit 357 on Friday, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 100,476.   Criticising politicians who he said had underestimated the scale of the crisis, Spahn warned that the Covid wave would “continue to move west and north” from the regions in the south and east of Germany that have been badly affected so far. In the short term, he said, there is only one thing that will make a decisive difference: “The number of contacts must be reduced, significantly, otherwise (the measures) are no use at all.” States should introduce consistent access rules that allow entry only to vaccinated and recovered people who have a negative test to hand (a system known as 2G plus) and should consider the cancellation of festive celebrations and large events, he said. Appearing at the press conference alongside Spahn, RKI president Lothar Wieler also urged lawmakers to take decisive action in order to stem the spread of the virus. RKI president Lothar Wieler appears at a press conference alongside Jens Spahn on Friday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa “I now expect decision-makers to initiate all possible measures to jointly bring the case numbers down,” he said, adding that contact restrictions should once again be brought into play. “With every contact we don’t have, with every meeting we forgo, with every crowd we avoid, we help slow the spread of the virus,” Wieler said. He appealed to Germans: “Please get vaccinated or get your booster jabs, and please also comply with all the measures adopted in the federal states.” South African ‘supervariant’ At the press conference on Friday morning, Spahn also expressed concern about the new ‘supervariant’ (B.1.1.529) that has recently appeared in South Africa. As The Local reported on Friday, the discovery of the new variant has prompted Germany to ban all incoming travel from the country for people who don’t live in Germany or hold German citizenship. The aim must be to avoid the entry of this variant as far as possible, the caretaker health minister said. “The arrival of a new variant is the last thing we need now in our current situation,” he added. Spahn urged all people who have arrived in Germany from South Africa and the surrounding countries in recent days to get tested for the virus with a PCR test to be on the safe side. RKI chief Wieler said that, as of Friday morning, he was not aware that the virus variant had made it into Europe or Germany. At the same time, he stressed: “We are very concerned. And I very much hope that stringent work will be done to at least limit the spread of this variant as much as possible through travel restrictions.” In some provinces of South Africa, there’s been a stark upswing in the number of infections over the past few days, which experts believe could be due to the new variant. Compared to Delta, which has two mutations, and Beta, which has three, the as-yet unnamed South African variant has ten mutations, meaning it could be more resistant to vaccines, spread faster and place more strain on the human immune system. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is said to be studying the newly emerged variant to see if it should be classed as variant of ‘interest’ or ‘concern’. Meeting of state leaders On Thursday, November 25th, Germany’s ‘epidemic situation of national importance’ was allowed to expire after almost a year and a half. The epidemic situation clause had granted sweeping powers to the federal government and states to impose Covid restrictions such as lockdowns and mandatory masks without consulting parliament. The incoming government has opted to replace the clause with amendments to the Infection Protection Act, but critics from the opposition CDU/CSU parties say the new regulation does not go far enough. In order to get their amended Act through the upper house of parliament, the three ‘traffic light’ parties were forced to strike a deal with Merkel’s conservatives. The deal ensured that the bill would be allowed to pass in the Bundesrat – but only if it was subject to review at the next meeting of state leaders on December 9th. Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) holds up a graph to reporters at Friday’s press conference. Photo: picture alliance/dpa With the Covid situation worsening daily, however, outgoing Health Minister Spahn has been calling on state leaders to bring the meeting forward. The meeting should ideally be held over the next few days, he said. In light of the rising number of Covid patients on intensive care wards, urgent operations are currently having to be cancelled and postponed, while up to 100 intensive care patients have had to be moved to other hospitals in Germany where medical staff are less overburdened, Spahn revealed. But these are only temporary solutions and cannot continue indefinitely, he said. According to Spahn, however, there is one piece of good news: “The vaccination campaign is picking up again.” In the past three days, there have been more than 300,000 new vaccinations against Covid, while this week, more than two million booster vaccinations have been administered. “Every vaccination gives hope that this winter will not be as dark as it currently looks,” the Health Minister said. Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 27th, 2021

Black Friday Turns Red On "Terrible News" - Global Markets Crater On "Nu Variant" Panic

Black Friday Turns Red On "Terrible News" - Global Markets Crater On "Nu Variant" Panic The Friday after thanksgiving is called black Friday because that's when retailers finally turn profitable for the year. Not so much for market, however, because this morning it's red as far as the eye can see. The culprit: the same one we discussed late last night - the emergence of a new coronavirus strain detected in South Africa, known as B.1.1.529, which reportedly carries an "extremely high number" of mutations and is “clearly very different” from previous incarnations, which may drive further waves of disease by evading the body’s defenses according to South African scientists, and soon, Anthony Fauci. British authorities think it is the most significant variant to date and have hurried to impose travel restrictions on southern Africa, as did Japan, the Czech Republic and Italy on Friday. The European Union also said it aimed to halt air travel from the region. "Markets have been quite complacent about the pandemic for a while, partly because economies have been able to withstand the impact of selective lockdown measures. But we can see from the new emergency brakes on air travel that there will be ramifications for the price of oil," said Chris Scicluna, head of economic research at Daiwa. As a result, what was initially just a 1% drop in US index futures, has since escalated to a plunge of as much as 2% with eminis dropping the most since September, at one point dropping below 4,600 after closing on Wednesday above 4,700 as a post-Thanksgiving selloff spread across global markets amid mounting concerns the new B.1.1.529 coronavirus variant - which today will be officially called by the Greek lettter Nu - could derail the global economic recovery.  Russell 2000 contracts sank as much as 5.4%. Technology shares may be caught in the net too as Nasdaq 100 futures slid. The VIX increased as much as 9.4 vols to 28, it's biggest jump since January. It was last seen up 7.4 points, or the biggest increase since February. Adding to the pain, there is nothing on today's macro calendar and the US market closes early which will reduce already dismal liquidity even more, exacerbating some of the moves throughout the session. Headlines are likely to center on various nations preventing travel from South Africa whilst potentially imposing more stringent COVID measures domestically, as well as which countries "find" the Nu variant. Amid the panicked flight to safety, 10Y TSY yields tumbled as traders slashed bets on monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve (just hours after Goldman predicted that the Fed would double the pace of its taper and hike 3 times in 2022, oops) ... ... as did oil amid fears new covid lockdowns will lead to a collapse in crude demand (they will also certainly force OPEC+ to put on pause their plans to keep hiking output by 400K every month). Paradoxically, even cryptos are tumbling, which is surprising since even the dumbest algos should realize by now that a new covid outbreak means more dovish central banks, no tightening, and if nothing else, more QE and more liquidity which is precisely what cryptos need to break out to new all time highs. Cruise ship operator Carnival slumped 9.1% in premarket trading and Boeing slid 5.8% as travel companies tumbled worldwide. Stay-at-home stocks such as Zoom Video rallied.  Didi Global shares fell after Chinese regulators reportedly asked the ride-hailing giant to delist from U.S. bourses. Here are some of the other big premarket movers: Airlines and other travel stocks slumped in premarket trading on growing concern about a new Covid-19 variant identified in southern Africa. The European Union is proposing to halt air travel from several countries in the area and the U.K. will temporarily ban flights from the region. United Airlines (UAL US) fell 8.9%, Delta Air (DAL US) -7.9%, American Airlines (AAL US) -6.7%; cruiseline-operator Carnival (CCL US) -12%; hotelier Marriott (MAR US) -6.1%; lodging company Airbnb (ABNB US) -6.9%. Stay-at-home stocks that benefit from higher demand in lockdowns rose in premarket, with Zoom Video (ZM US) gaining 8.5% and fitness equipment group Peloton (PTON US) +4.7%. Vaccine stocks surged in premarket, while Pfizer and BioNTech got an added boost after their coronavirus shot won European Union backing for expanded use in children. Moderna (MRNA US) rose 8.8%, Novavax (NVAX US) +6.2%, Pfizer (PFE US) +5.1%, BioNTech (BNTX US) +6.4%. Small biotech stocks gained in premarket as investors sought havens. Ocugen (OCGN US) added 22%, Vir Biotechnology (VIR US) +7.8%, Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE US) +5%. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks fell as Bitcoin dropped as investors dumped risk assets. Marathon Digital (MARA US) declined 9%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) -8.8%, Coinbase (COIN US) -4.6%. Didi Global (DIDI US) declined 6% in premarket after Chinese regulators were said to have asked the ride-hailing giant to delist from U.S. bourses. Selecta Biosciences (SELB US) dropped 13% in Wednesday’s postmarket ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving closure, after saying the U.S. FDA placed a clinical hold on a trial. Quotient Technology (QUOT US) gained 3.9% in Wednesday’s postmarket on news that a board member bought $150,000 of shares. What happens next will matter and so, all eyes are on the opening bell for the U.S. markets, set to return from the holiday for a shortened trading session. Tumbling futures and a soaring VIX signaled that the rout in Asia and Europe won’t spare New York equities, while lack of liquidity will only make the pain worse. The Japanese yen emerged as the main haven currency of the day, with the dollar languishing. “Every trader in New York will be rushing to the office now,” said Salm-Salm & Partner portfolio manager Frederik Hildner, adding that news of the new variant could mean the end of the inflation and tapering debate. The worsening pandemic poses a dilemma for central banks that are preparing to tighten monetary policy to curb elevated price pressures, according to Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “It’s terrible news,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, said in emailed comments. “The new Covid variant could hit the economic recovery, but this time, the central banks won’t have enough margin to act. They can’t fight inflation and boost growth at the same time. They have to choose.” “We now have a new Covid variant that’s ‘very’ different from the ones we knew so far, a rising inflation, and a market bubble,” she said.  “The only encouraging news is the easing oil prices, which could tame the inflationary pressures and give more time to the central banks before pulling back support.” In the meantime, the World Health Organization and scientists in South Africa were said to be working “at lightning speed” to ascertain how quickly the B.1.1.529 variant can spread and whether it’s resistant to vaccines. The new threat adds to the wall of worry investors are already contending with in the form of elevated inflation, monetary tightening and slowing growth. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index headed for the biggest drop in 13 months plunging 2.7%; travel and banking industries led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down as much as 3.7%, the biggest intraday drop since June 2020. Airbus slumped 8.6% in Paris and British Airways owner IAG tumbled 12% in London, while food-delivery stocks gained.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Stay-at-home stocks and Covid testing firms such as TeamViewer and DiaSorin are among the biggest gainers as worries over a new Covid variant send the Stoxx 600 tumbling on lockdown fears TeamViewer and DiaSorin rise as much as 6% and 7%, respectively On the down side, travel and leisure stocks plunge, with the likes of IAG, Lufthansa and Carnival posting double- digit falls IAG drops as much as 21% Software AG shares rise as much as 9.5% after Bloomberg reported that the firm is exploring strategic options, including a potential sale, with Morgan Stanley saying the company’s biggest headwinds are behind it. Evolution gains as much as 4.6%, recouping part of Thursday’s 16% plunge, with Bank of America saying the share price’s “crazy time” amounts to a good buying opportunity. Skistar rises as much as 3.7%, bucking steep declines for travel and leisure stocks, after Handelsbanken upgraded the stock, saying bookings for the Scandinavian ski resort operator are “set to surge.” Telecom Italia climbs as much as 2.8% following a Bloomberg report that private equity firms KKR and CVC are considering teaming up on a bid for the company. ING Groep falls as much as 11% after Goldman Sachs analyst Jean-Francois Neuez cut his recommendation to neutral from buy. Getlink drops as much as 6% as French fishermen start protests aimed at stepping up pressure on the U.K. in a post-Brexit fishing dispute. Earlier in the session, MSCI's index of Asian shares outside Japan fell 2.2%, its sharpest drop since August. Casino and beverage shares were hammered in Hong Kong, while travel stocks dropped in Sydney and Tokyo. Japan's Nikkei skidded 2.5% and S&P 500 futures were last down 1.8%. Giles Coghlan, chief currency analyst at HYCM, a brokerage, said the closure of the U.S. market for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday had exacerbated moves. "We need to see how transmissible this variant is, is it able to evade the vaccines - this is crucial," Coghlan said. "I expect this story to drag on for a few days until scientists have a better understanding of it." Indian stocks plunged as the detection of a new coronavirus strain rattled investor sentiment globally, raising concerns over a likely setback to the nascent economic recovery.  The S&P BSE Sensex lost 2.9%, the most since mid-April, to 57,107.15 in Mumbai, taking its loss this week to 4.2%, the biggest weekly drop since January. The NSE Nifty 50 Index declined by a similar magnitude on Friday. Reliance Industries was the biggest drag on both measures and declined 3.2%.  “There is fear of this new variant spreading to other countries which might again derail the global economy,” said Hemang Jani, head of equity strategy at Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd.   Of the 30 shares in the Sensex index, 26 fell and 4 gained. All but one of 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. retreated, led by a index of realty companies. The S&P BSE Healthcare index was the only sub-index to gain, surging 1.2%. While researchers are yet to determine whether the new virus variant is more transmissible or lethal than previous ones, authorities around the world have been quick to act. The European Union, U.K., Israel, and Singapore placed emergency curbs on passengers from South Africa and the surrounding region. Travel stocks were among the hardest hit. InterGlobe Aviation Ltd. fell 8.9%, Spicejet Ltd. slipped 6.7% and Indian Hotels Co. Ltd. plunged 11.2%, the most since March 2020.  “Nervousness on the new variant of coronavirus and expectations of the U.S. Fed increasing the pace of tapering have led to recent market weakness,” Amit Gupta, fund manager for portfolio management services at ICICI Securities Ltd. said. “This trend may take some time to recover as the WHO meeting on the new mutant variant impact and hospitalization rates in US and Europe will be watched by the market very closely.” Crude oil to emerging markets completed this picture of mayhem. In rates, fixed income was firmly bid as Treasuries extended their advance led by the belly of the curve, outperforming bunds, while money markets pared rate-hike bets amid fears that a new coronavirus strain may spread globally, slowing economic growth. Cash Treasuries outperformed, richening 12-14bps across the short end, with Thursday’s closure exacerbating the optics. As shown above, 10Y Treasury yields shed as much as 10 basis points while the Japanese yen jumped the most since investors’ March 2020 rush for safety. Yields across the curve are lower by more than 8bp at long end, 13bp-15bp out to the 7-year point, moves that if sustained would be the largest since at least March 2020 and in some cases since 2009. Short-term interest rate futures downgraded the odds of Fed rate increases. Gilts richened 10-11bps across the curve, outperforming bunds by 4-5bps. Peripheral and semi-core spreads widen. In FX, JPY and CHF top the G-10 scoreboard with havens typically bid. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after earlier touching a fresh cycle high, and the greenback was mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers as the yen and the Swiss franc led gains while the Canadian dollar and Norwegian krone were the worst performers as commodity prices plunged. Traders pushed back the timing of a 25-basis-point rate increase by the Federal Reserve to July from June, with only one further hike expected for the remainder of 2022. It’s a similar story in the U.K. where the Bank of England is now expected to tighten policy in February instead of next month. Wagers that the ECB will raise its deposit rate by the end of next year have also been slashed, with only a six basis-point increase priced in, half of that seen earlier this week. The European Union is proposing to follow the U.K. in halting air travel from southern Africa after the new Covid-19 variant was identified there. The yen is at the epicenter of skyrocketing currency volatility as the new virus variant shakes markets. The cost of hedging against swings in the Japanese currency over the next week, which captures the release of the next U.S. payrolls report, is the most expensive in more than a year. In commodities, crude futures are hit hard. WTI drops over 7% before finding support near $73, Brent drops over 5% before recovering near $78. Spot gold grinds higher, adding $21 to trade near $1,809/oz. Base metals are sharply offered with much of the complex off as much as 3%. Looking at the otherwise quiet day ahead, data releases include French and Italian consumer confidence for November, as well as the Euro Area M3 money supply for October. Otherwise, central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos, and the ECB’s Visco, Schnabel, Centeno, Panetta and Lane, and BoE chief economist Pill. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 1.9% to 4,607.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 2.8% to 468.04 MXAP down 1.8% to 193.33 MXAPJ down 2.2% to 628.97 Nikkei down 2.5% to 28,751.62 Topix down 2.0% to 1,984.98 Hang Seng Index down 2.7% to 24,080.52 Shanghai Composite down 0.6% to 3,564.09 Sensex down 2.7% to 57,234.83 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.7% to 7,279.35 Kospi down 1.5% to 2,936.44 Brent Futures down 5.8% to $77.46/bbl Gold spot up 0.9% to $1,805.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.33% to 96.46 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31% Euro up 0.4% to $1.1259 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The European Union is proposing to halt air travel from southern Africa over growing concern about a new Covid-19 variant that’s spreading there, as the U.K. said it will also temporarily ban flights from the region Those close to the Kremlin say the Russian president doesn’t want to start another war in Ukraine. Still, he must show he’s ready to fight if necessary in order to stop what he sees as an existential security threat: the creeping expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in a country that for centuries had been part of Russia Bitcoin tumbled 20% from record highs notched earlier this month as a new variant of the coronavirus spurred traders to dump risk assets across the globe Germany’s Greens tapped their two co- leaders to run the foreign ministry and take charge of an influential portfolio overseeing economy and climate protection in the country’s next government under Social Democrat Olaf Scholz A more detailed breakdown of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets declined and US equity futures were also on the backfoot on reopen from the prior day’s Thanksgiving lull with markets spooked by new COVID variant concerns related to the B.1.1.529 variant in South Africa that was first detected in Botswana. The new variant showed a high number of mutations and was said to be the most evolved strain ever which spurred fears it could be worse than Delta and is prompting both the UK and Israel to halt flights from several African nations. ASX 200 (-1.7%) was negative with heavy losses in energy and broad underperformance in cyclicals leading the downturn across all sectors, while the much better than expected Australian Retail Sales data was largely ignored. Nikkei 225 (-2.5%) underperformed and gave up the 29k status as selling was exacerbated by detrimental currency inflows and with SoftBank shares among the worst hit on reports that China is said to have asked Didi to delist from US exchanges on security fears, which doesn't bode well for SoftBank given that its Vision Fund is the top shareholder in the Chinese ride hailing group with a stake of more than 20%. Hang Seng (-2.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.7%) conformed to the risk aversion with the mood not helped by ongoing geopolitical concerns after a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson noted they are ready to crush Taiwan independence bid "at any time”, while China also said it opposes US sanctions on its companies and will take all necessary measures to firmly defend the rights of Chinese companies. Beijing interference further contributed to the headwinds amid the request by China for Didi to delist from US which reports stated regulators could backtrack on and with Tencent subdued after some Chinese state-run companies restricted the use of Tencent's messaging app. Top Asian News Stocks in Asia Set for Worst Day Since March on Virus Woes Mizuho CEO Steps Down After Regulator Hit on System Issues Meituan 3Q Revenue Meets Estimates Japan’s Kishida Delivers $316 billion Extra Budget for Recovery European equities are trading markedly lower (Stoxx 600 -2.9%) with losses in the Stoxx 600 extending to 3.8% WTD. Sentiment throughout the week has been hampered by various lockdown measures imposed across the region with the latest leg lower accelerated by new COVID variant concerns related to the B.1.1.529 variant in South Africa. The new variant has shown a high number of mutations and is said to be the most evolved strain so far. This has spurred fears it could be worse than Delta and has prompted multiple nations to halt flights from several African nations.The handover from the overnight session was an equally downbeat one with the Nikkei 225 (-2.5%) dealt a hammer blow by the risk environment and unfavourable currency flows. Stateside, futures are lower across the board with the RTY the clear laggard with losses of 4.2% compared to the ES -1.8%, whilst the tech-heavy NQ is faring better than peers but ultimately still lower on the session to the tune of 1.6%. Note, early closures in the US and subsequent liquidity conditions could exacerbate some of the moves throughout the session. With the macro calendar light, focus for the session is likely to centre on various nations preventing travel from South Africa whilst potentially imposing more stringent COVID measures domestically. Any further clarity on the spread of the variant and its potential to evade vaccines will be of great interest to the market and likely be the main driving force of price action today. Sectors in Europe are lower across the board with the Stoxx 600 Banking (-5.1%) sector bottom of the pile amid the declines seen in global bond yields as markets scale back expectations of central bank tightening (e.g. pricing now assigns a 63% chance of a 15bps hike by the BoE next month vs. 93% a week ago). Oil & Gas names (-4.8%) are suffering on account of the declines in the crude space with WTI crude in freefall with losses of 6.7% given the potential impact of travel restrictions on demand. Travel restrictions on South Africa (from UK, Israel, EU et al) and the potential for further announcements has crushed the Travel & Leisure sector (-5.7%) with airline names dealt a hammer blow; IAG (-13.5%), easyJet (-11%), Deutsche Lufthansa (-12%), Air France (-9.5%). Elsewhere, there are a whole raft of other laggards which are very much in-fitting with the March 2020 playbook but there are simply too many to list for the purpose of this report. Defensives and Tech are faring better than peers but ultimately still lower on the session to the tune of 1% and 1.9% respectively. Finally, for anyone wanting some positivity from today’s session, the potential for further lockdowns has proved to be beneficial for the likes of HelloFresh (+3.2%), Ocado (+2.1%) and Delivery Hero (+1.9%). Top European News Airlines Skid on South Africa Travel Bans Tied to Variant German Coalition Proposes a Combustion-Car Ban Without Saying So Putin Pushes Confrontation With NATO as Hardliners Prevail Siemens Is Said to Kick Off Sale of Postal Logistics Business In FX, the index has been under pressure in the risk-averse environment amid a slump in yields and gains in its basket components – namely the JPY, CHF, EUR (see below) – and with liquidity also thinned by Thanksgiving. From a technical perspective, the index has declined from its 96.787 overnight high, through the 96.500 mark, to a low of 96.332 – with the weekly trough at 96.035. Ahead, the US calendar is once again light, with the US also poised for an early Thanksgiving closure; thus, impulses will likely be derived from the macro environment. JPY, CHF, EUR - Haven FX JPY and CHF are the clear outperformers as a function of risk-related inflows. USD/JPY has retreated from a 115.37 peak and fell through its 21 DMA (114.15) to a base around 113.66 - with the current weekly low around 113.64. USD/CHF retreated from 0.9360 to 0.9260 – with the 50 and 100 DMAs seen at 0.9234 and 0.9219, respectively, ahead of 0.9200. EUR/USD meanwhile gains on what is seemingly an unwind of the carry trade amid a spike in volatility. EUR/USD found support near 1.1200 before rebounding to a current 1.1288 peak. AUD, NZD, CAD, GBP - The non-US Dollar risk currencies bear the brunt of the latest market downturn, with losses across industrial commodities not helping. The Loonie has taken the spot as the biggest G10 loser as hefty COVID-induced losses in the oil complex keep the currency suppressed. USD/CAD trades towards the top of a current 1.2647-2774 range. AUD is also weighed on by softer base metal prices – AUD/USD fell from a 0.7200 overnight high to a current low at 0.7110. On that note, Westpac sees AUD/USD pushed down to 0.7000 by Jun 2022 (prev. 0.7700) amid rate differentials with the US; Westpac made significant changes to its FOMC policy forecast and now expect consecutive increases in the fed funds rate in Jun, Sept, and Dec 2022. NZD/USD is slightly more cushioned amid smaller exposure to commodities, and as the AUD/NZD cross takes aim at 1.0450 to the downside. GBP, meanwhile, was initially among the losers amid its high-beta status but thereafter nursed losses in a move that coincided with EUR/GBP rejecting an upside breach of its 21 DMA at 0.8475. EM - The ZAR is the standout laggard given the new South African COVID variant - B.1.1.529 COVID-19 variant (expected to be named Nu) – which is said to be the most evolved strain so far and thus prompted several countries to halt travel to the country of origin. USD/ZAR currently trades within a 15.9375-16.3630 intraday band. Meanwhile, the downturn oil sees USD/RUB north of 75.00 and closer to 76.00 from a 74.2690 base. The Lira also feels some contagion despite the lower oil prices (Turkey being a large net oil importer) – USD/TRY is back on a 12.00 handle and within 11.92-1226 parameters at the time of writing. In commodities, the crude complex has been hit by compounding COVID fears which in turn triggered various travel restrictions and subsequently took its toll on global crude demand prospects. The new and more evolved South African variant prompted the UK, Singapore, and Israel to expand their travel red lists to include some African nations (Israel reported its first case of the new COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.529). Japan also imposed tighter border restrictions. China’s Shanghai city see flights impacted by its own outbreak. Europe also tackles its surge in daily cases - German Green Party's Baerbock (incoming Foreign Minister) does not rule out a German lockdown, according to Spiegel. EU Commission President von der Leyen is also to propose activation of the emergency air brake, to halt travel from southern Africa due to the B.1.1.529 COVID-19 variant. Losses in oil have exacerbated - with WTI Jan and Brent Feb now under USD 74/bbl (vs high 78.65/bbl) and USD 77/bbl (vs high 80.42/bbl), -6.0% and -5.0% respectively. This comes ahead of the OPEC+ confab next week, whereby OPEC watchers have suggested that oil prices will be a large contributor to the final decision. It is difficult to see how OPEC+ will increase output to the levels the US et al. will be content with, with the latest COVID downturn building the case for a pause in planned output hikes. Elsewhere, haven demand sees spot gold extend on gains above USD 1,800/oz after topping the 100 DMA (1,792.95/oz), 200 DMA (1,791.38/oz), 50 DMA (1,790.13/oz) overnight. Base metals are softer across the board amid the risk aversion. LME copper posts losses of around 3% at the time of writing, as prices threaten a more convincing downside breach of USD 9,500/t. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Things have escalated on the covid front quite rapidly over the last 12 hours. Yesterday new covid variant B.1.1.529 was slowly starting to gather increasing attention but overnight it has begun to dominate markets and has caused a notable flight to quality with 10 year USTs -8bps lower. It was originally identified in Botswana and is starting to spread rapidly in Africa. The South African Health Minister has said it is "of serious concern". Almost 100 cases have already been identified in South Africa and the UK moved to put the country back (along with 5 other African nations) on a reinstated red travel list last night with others following this morning. The variant is said to be the most heavily mutated version yet and the WHO will meet today to decide if it is a variant of interest or a variant of concern. So a lot of eyes will be on how severe it is and whether it completely evades vaccines. At this stage very little is known. Mutations are often less severe so we shouldn’t jump to conclusions but there is clearly a lot of concern about this one. Also South Africa is one of the world leaders in sequencing so we are more likely to see this sort of news originate from there than many countries. Suffice to say at this stage no one in markets will have any idea which way this will go. Overnight in Asia all benchmarks are trading lower on the news with the Shanghai Composite (-0.50%), CSI (-0.64%), KOSPI (-1.27%), Hang Seng (-2.13%) and the Nikkei (-2.90%) all lower. Airlines and other travel stocks have obviously fallen heavily. Hong Kong has detected two confirmed cases of the new variant just as Hong Kong and China were considering quarantine-free travel. S&P 500 (-0.93%) and DAX (-1.82%) futures are also much weaker. Elsewhere, in Japan, CPI rose +0.5% year-on-year (+0.4% consensus and +0.1% previously), on the back of 16-month high fuel prices. With the US out on holiday for Thanksgiving, there wasn’t much going on yesterday after a very quiet day in markets. The variant news was only slowly creeping into the news flow so it hardly impacted trading. But in keeping with the theme of recent days, both inflation and the latest covid wave in Europe remained very much in the picture as jitters continue to increase that we could see further lockdowns as we move towards Christmas. Starting with the headline moves, European equities did actually show signs of stabilising yesterday, with the STOXX 600 up +0.42% thanks to a broad-based advance across the continent. In fact that’s actually the index’s best daily performance in over three weeks, although that’s not reflecting any particular strength, but instead the fact the index inched steadily but persistently towards a record high before selling off again a week ago. Other indices moved higher across the continent too, with the FTSE 100 (+0.33%), the CAC 40 (+0.48%) and the DAX (+0.25%) all posting similar advances. These will all likely reverse this morning. One piece of news we did get came from the ECB, who released the account of their monetary policy meeting for October. Something the minutes stressed was the importance that the Governing Council maintain optionality in their policy settings, with one part acknowledging the growing upside risks to inflation, but also saying “it was deemed important for the Governing Council to avoid an overreaction as well as unwarranted inaction, and to keep sufficient optionality in calibrating its monetary policy measures to address all inflation scenarios that might unfold.” Against this backdrop, 10yr bond yields moved lower across multiple countries, with those on bunds (-2.3ps), OATs (-2.3bps) and BTPs (-1.9bps) all declining. There was also a flattening in all 3 yield curves as well, with the 2s10s slope in Germany (-3.0bps), France (-3.7bps) and Italy (-2.8bps) shifting lower. And the moves also coincided with a continued widening in peripheral spreads, with both the Spanish and the Greek spreads over 10yr bund yields widening to their biggest levels in over a year. Of course, one of the biggest concerns in Europe right now remains the pandemic, and yesterday saw a number of fresh measures announced as policymakers seek to get a grip on the latest wave. In France, health minister Veran announced various measures, including the expansion of the booster rollout to all adults, and a reduction in the length of time between the initial vaccination and the booster shot to 5 months from 6. Meanwhile in the Czech Republic, the government declared a state of emergency and approved tighter social distancing measures, including the closure of restaurants and bars at 10pm. And in Finland, the government have said that bars and restaurants not using Covid certificates will not be able to serve alcohol after 5pm. All this came as the European Medicines Agency recommended that the Pfizer vaccine be approved for children aged 5-11, which follows the decision to approve the vaccine in the US. Their recommendation will now go to the European Commission for a final decision. There wasn’t much in the way of data at all yesterday, though German GDP growth in Q3 was revised down to show a +1.7% expansion (vs. +1.8% previous estimate). Looking at the details, private consumption was the only driver of growth (+6.2%), with government consumption (-2.2%), machinery and equipment (-3.7%) and construction (-2.3%) all declining over the quarter. To the day ahead now, and data releases include French and Italian consumer confidence for November, as well as the Euro Area M3 money supply for October. Otherwise, central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos, and the ECB’s Visco, Schnabel, Centeno, Panetta and Lane, and BoE chief economist Pill. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/26/2021 - 08:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 26th, 2021

With Low Vaccination Rates, Africa"s COVID Deaths Remain Far Below Europe & US

With Low Vaccination Rates, Africa's COVID Deaths Remain Far Below Europe & US Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, Since the very beginning of the covid panic, the narrative has been this: implement severe lockdowns or your population will experience a bloodbath. Morgues will be overwhelmed, the death total toll will be astounding. On the other hand, we were assured those jurisdictions that do lock down would see only a fraction of the death toll. Then, once vaccines became available, the narrative was modified to: "Get shots in arms and then covid will stop spreading. Those countries without vaccines, on the other hand, will continue to face mass casualties." The lockdown narrative, of course, has already been thoroughly overturned. Jurisdictions that did not lock down or adopted only weak and short lockdowns ended up with covid death tolls that were either similar to—or even better than—death tolls in countries that adopted draconian lockdowns. Lockdown advocates said locked-down countries would be overwhelmingly better off. These people were clearly wrong.  Undaunted by the increasing implausibility of the lockdown narrative, the global health bureaucrats are nonetheless doubling down on forced vaccines—as we now see in Austria—and we continue to be assured that only countries with high vaccination rates can hope to avoid disastrous covid outcomes.  Yet, the experience in sub-Saharan Africa calls both these narratives into question: Africa's numbers have been far, far lower than the experts warned would be the case.  For example, the AP reported this week that in spite of low vaccination rates, Africa has fared better than most of the world: [T]here is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said…. Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated. For months, the WHO has described Africa as “one of the least affected regions in the world” in its weekly pandemic reports. Yet disaster for Africa has long been predicted for several reasons even beyond the availability of vaccines. For instance, it is known that lockdowns are especially impractical in the poorest parts of the world. This is because populations in places with undeveloped economies can’t simply sit at home and live off savings or debt. Rather, these people must go out into the world and earn a living on a day-to-day basis. Starvation is the alternative. Moreover, much of this work is done in the informal economy, so enforcing lockdowns becomes especially difficult. Source: Our World in Data (Confirmed Deaths per Million, November 19, 2021;  Share of People Vaccinated against Covid-19, November 19, 2021). It was also assumed covid would be especially deadly in Africa due to the fact many large households live in small housing units. But that "conventional wisdom" flies in the face of the reality of covid in Africa, which is that there have been fewer deaths. The "experts" have groped around, looking for possible explanations. Some sources, for example, insist that the low death totals are only an artifact of incomplete reporting on covid infections and that "a lack of good qualitative data was the issue." But Richard Wamai at Northeastern University rejects the claim it’s all about case reporting, and says that "local systems for reporting deaths in Africa make it difficult to hide COVID-19 casualties." In a paper for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Wamai and his coauthors conclude, "[T]here is no evidence that COVID-19 mortality data is less accurately reported in Africa than elsewhere" and "While the true picture of infections and mortality in the continent has yet to fully emerge, the quality of data for other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, indicates that Africa has the capacity to collect and report valid disease surveillance data." In any case, the World Health Organization reports that covid deaths in Africa make up only 2.9 percent of covid deaths, while Africa’s population is 16 percent of the global total. Africa’s covid total could double or triple, and Africa would still be faring far better than Europe and the Americas. Wamai et al. also note that at this point "[i]t is likely that SARS-CoV-2 has already been widely disseminated through Africa…. If so, widespread infection is likely to also result in widespread natural immunity." In other words, continued claims by health officials—both in Africa and elsewhere—that mass death is right around the corner with the "next wave" look increasingly implausible.  It looks increasingly likely that the lack of covid mortality in Africa is not due to a data issue nor a situation in which covid has been "contained" up until now. So then why is Africa doing so much better than the wealthy West? Naturally, the advocates of forced lockdowns and coerced vaccines would prefer to ignore this issue altogether, but the undeniable reality of Africa’s experience has forced mainstream researchers to publicly admit the many ways that many factors can explain covid's prevalence beyond vaccination rates and mask mandates. For instance, mentioning that obesity is an important factor in covid mortality has in the past been likely to get one savaged in the media for "fat shaming." Yet the Africa situation has forced the well informed to admit that yes, obese populations clearly suffer more from covid. In Africa, not surprisingly, we find that obesity rates are far below those found in North America and Europe. Other possible explanations forwarded as reasons for Africa’s situation include past exposure to other coronaviruses, youthful populations, fewer patients lacking zinc and vitamin D, past use of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccination, climate, genetic background, and parasite load.  In addressing the African "enigma" one group of researchers in the journal Colombia medica dared even suggest it’s possible—although not conclusively shown at this point—that “a mass public health preventive campaign against COVID-19 may have taken place, inadvertently, in some African countries with massive community ivermectin use.” Source: "Global Obesity Levels," ProCon.org, last modified March 27, 2020; Our World in Data (Share of People Vaccinated against Covid-19, November 19, 2021). In the West, however, the media drumbeat around covid has consistently been "Shut up, stay home, get jabbed, and stop doubting the experts on forced vaccines." Fortunately, however, the African situation has forced many researchers to ask inconvenient questions. In fact, it’s amazing Africa has not been overcome by mass death considering that covid lockdowns and covid "mitigation" measures have contributed to the impoverishment and mass starvation on the continent. Or as Germany’s DW News puts it, “Measures put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus are pushing millions of people in Africa into severe hunger.” And as Wamai notes, “[S]ome of the excess deaths in Africa “can be attributed not to the disease, but to lockdown measures that cut off access to medical care for other illnesses.” But Africa hasn’t gotten the bloodbath that was promised, and as one Nigerian put it, "They said there will be dead bodies on the streets and all that, but nothing like that happened." Tyler Durden Thu, 11/25/2021 - 05:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

Futures Slide As Dollar Jumps, Yields Rebound Ahead Of Massive Data Dump

Futures Slide As Dollar Jumps, Yields Rebound Ahead Of Massive Data Dump For the third day in a row, US equity futures have been weighed down by rising (real) rates even as traders moderated their expectations for monetary-policy tightening after New Zealand’s measured approach to rate hikes where the central banks hiked rates but not as much as some had expected. Traders also braced for an epic data dump in the US, which includes is an epic data dump which includes an update to Q3 GDP, advance trade balance, initial jobless claims, wholesale and retail inventories, durable goods, personal income and spending, UMich consumer sentiment, new home sales, and the FOMC Minutes The two-year U.S. yield shed two basis points. The dollar extended its rising streak against a basket of peers to a fourth day. At 730am, S&P 500 e-mini futures dropped 0.3%, just off session lows, while Nasdaq futures dropping 0.34%. In premarket trading, Nordstrom sank 27% after the Seattle-based retailer posted third-quarter results featuring what Citi called a big earnings per share miss. The company reported higher labor and fulfillment costs in the third quarter while sales remained stubbornly below pre-pandemic levels and profit missed analyst estimates. Telecom Italia SpA surged in Europe on enhanced takeover interest. Oil prices fluctuated as producers and major consuming nations headed for a confrontation. Other notable premarket movers: Gap (GPS US) sank 20% premarket after the clothing retailer reported quarterly results that missed estimates and cut its net sales forecast for the full year. Analysts lowered their price targets. Nordstrom (JWN US) tumbles 27% in premarket after the Seattle-based retailer posted third-quarter results featuring what Citi called a big earnings per share miss. Jefferies, meanwhile, downgrades the stock to hold from buy as transformation costs are rising. Guess (GES US) posted quarterly results which analysts say included impressive sales and margins, and showed the company navigating supply-chain issues successfully. The shares closed 9.2% higher in U.S. postmarket trading. HP (HPQ US) shares are up 8.4% in premarket after quarterly results. Analysts note strong demand and pricing in the personal computer market. Meme stocks were mixed in premarket after tumbling the most since June on Tuesday as investors bailed out of riskier assets. Anaplan (PLAN US) slides 18% in premarket as a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss wasn’t enough to stem a downward trend. Analysts slashed price targets. Autodesk (ADSK US) shares slump 14% in premarket after the building software maker narrowed its full-year outlook. Analysts are concerned that issues with supply chains and the pandemic could impact its targets for 2023. GoHealth (GOCO US) gained 8.4% in postmarket trading after the insurer’s CEO and chief strategy officer added to their holdings. As Bloomberg notes, investors are on the edge as they face a wall of worry from a resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe to signs of persistent consumer-price growth. Damping inflation is now center-stage for policy makers, with ultra-loose, pandemic-era stimulus set to be wound down. The slew of U.S. data as well as Federal Reserve minutes due today may provide the next catalysts for market moves. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index erased earlier gains of up to 0.4% to trade down -0.1%, with tech and travel and leisure leading declines. Miners gained 0.8%, tracking higher copper prices on easing concerns over Chinese demand, while travel stocks slid over 1% on prospects of harsher travel curbs: Italy and France are debating new measures to cope with Covid’s resurgence while Germany isn’t ruling out fresh curbs. Oil stocks rose 1.2%, set for their biggest jump in over a month, with crude prices inching higher as investors remained sceptical about the effectiveness of a U.S.-led release of oil from strategic reserves. Here are some of the most notable European equity movers: Mulberry shares surge as much as 24%, the most since March 12, after the U.K. luxury company swung to a 1H profit from a year earlier and reported an increase in sales. Telecom Italia shares rise as much as 10% following a Bloomberg report that KKR is considering to raise its offer for the company after top investor Vivendi said the bid was too low. However, the stock is still trading below the initial non-binding offer from KKR. Golden Ocean gains as much as 9.6%, most since Feb., after earnings. DNB says “Golden Ocean delivered solid Q3 results” and adds “Furthermore, guidance for Q4 should lift consensus estimates and solidify further dividend potential in our view.” Intertek shares gain as much as 6.7%, the most since May 2020, after the company issued a trading update. UBS says the company’s accelerating momentum and reiterated targets are “reassuring.” Aegon shares rise as much as 5.5% after Credit Suisse upgraded its recommendation to outperform from neutral and raised the PT to EU5.30 from EU4.00. IQE shares slump as much as 21% for the biggest intraday drop since March 2020, falling to their lowest level since June 2020 after the semiconductor company said it sees softening demand in 4Q. Genus shares fall as much 15% after the animal genetics firm lowered its FY22 earnings guidance, leading Peel Hunt and Liberum to cut estimates. European stocks are on course for weekly losses, as the return of COVID-19 curbs, rate hike and inflation concerns sparked fears of a weaker economic growth outlook. "There's a two-way pull between macro concerns and what's happening bottoms-up in terms of corporate profits," said Nick Nelson, head of European equity strategy at UBS, adding that while the third quarter has been one of the decade's best reporting seasons for Europe, macro concerns such as a rise in U.S. bond yields and COVID-19 cases have been holding stocks back. Earlier in the session, Asian equities declined, on track for a third-straight session of losses, as higher U.S. Treasury yields continued to weigh on technology stocks in the region. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.6%, with Japan stocks leading losses as traders returned from a holiday to access the prospect of tighter U.S. monetary policy to curb inflation. TSMC and Tencent were among the biggest drags on the regional gauge. READ: Samsung Plans $17 Billion Texas Chip Plant, Creating 2,000 Jobs The renomination of Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chair earlier this week has sent U.S. 10-year Treasury yields to about levels near 1.65%, implying higher borrowing costs. That’s adding to concerns about weak earnings growth in Asia as well as ongoing supply-chain constraints. Investors will now turn their attention to U.S. gross domestic product data and FOMC minutes due out after Asian markets close Wednesday.  “A cautious tone may still seem to prevail for now,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia, said in a note. “Markets continue to shift their expectations towards a tighter Fed monetary policy.” New Zealand’s stock gauge added 0.6% after the central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points, less than the 50 points that some economists had predicted. Singapore authorities, meanwhile, expect gross domestic product to expand 3% to 5% next year, a slower pace than this year as the country rebounds from the pandemic. Indian stocks fell ahead of the November monthly expiry on Thursday, led by technology companies. The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.6% to 58,340.99 in Mumbai to close at its lowest level in two months. The gauge gained 0.3% on Tuesday, snapping four sessions of selloff.   The NSE Nifty 50 Index declined 0.5% on Wednesday, reversing intraday gains of as much as 0.6%. Software exporter Infosys Ltd. was the biggest drag on both gauges and slipped more than 2%. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex, 21 dropped and nine rose.  Investors roll over positions ahead of the expiry of derivatives contracts on the last Thursday of every month. Fourteen of 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. fell, led by a measure of IT companies. “The scheduled monthly expiry would keep the traders busy on Thursday,” Ajit Mishra, vice president research at Religare Broking Ltd. wrote in a note. “We suggest continuing with negative bias on the index while keeping a check on leveraged positions.” In Fx, the most notable movers was the drop in the kiwi: New Zealand’s currency ironically slid to the weakest in nearly two months and the nation’s bond rallied as the central bank’s 25 basis-point rate hike disappointed traders betting on a bigger increase. The central bank projected 2% benchmark borrowing costs by the end of 2022. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced a fourth consecutive day as the greenback gained versus all Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen, which reversed its losses after falling to the lowest since March 2017. The euro underperformed, nearing the $1.12 handle amid broad dollar strength even before data showing German business confidence took another hit in November and amid renewed fears that Germany may be considering a full lockdown and mandatory vaccines. RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr said policy makers considered a 50bps move before deciding on 25bps, and he sees the OCR climbing to around 2.5% by end-2023.  Elsewhere, Turkey’s lira stabilized after Tuesday’s plunge. MSCI’s gauge of emerging-market stocks edged lower for a sixth session.   In rates, Treasuries were richer by 1bp to 2bp across the curve, paced by European bonds ahead of a raft of U.S. data preceding Thursday’s market close. 10-year Treasury yields were richer by ~1bp on the day at around 1.655%, slightly trailing bunds; most curve spreads are within a basis point of Tuesday’s close with comparable shifts across tenors. During Asia session, Treasuries were supported by wider gains across Kiwi bonds after RBNZ hiked policy rates, but still erred on the dovish side. Bunds remain supported during European morning as haven demand stems from prospect of a nationwide German lockdown. Italian bonds snapped a two-day decline. In commodities, oil futures in New York swung between gains and losses following an announcement by the U.S. and other nations of a coordinated release of strategic reserves. Focus now turns to OPEC+ on how the group will respond to the moves. The alliance has already said that such releases were unjustified by market conditions and it may reconsider plans to add more supply at a meeting next week. Base metals are well bid with LME nickel adding over 2% to outperform peers. LME copper rises over 1% to best levels for the week. Crude futures fade a modest push higher fading after a brief push through Tuesday’s best levels. WTI trades flat, having briefly printed above $79; Brent prints highs of $83 before fading. Spot gold holds a narrow range close to $1,790/oz To the day ahead now, and there’s a significant amount of US data ahead of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday. That includes the weekly initial jobless claims, the second estimate of Q3 GDP, October’s personal income and personal spending, new home sales, and the preliminary October readings for durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Over in Germany, there’s also the Ifo’s business climate indicator for November. Finally on the central bank side, there’s the release of the FOMC’s November meeting minutes, and speakers include the ECB’s Panetta and Schnabel, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,683.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 480.66 MXAP down 0.5% to 196.76 MXAPJ down 0.1% to 643.18 Nikkei down 1.6% to 29,302.66 Topix down 1.2% to 2,019.12 Hang Seng Index up 0.1% to 24,685.50 Shanghai Composite up 0.1% to 3,592.70 Sensex down 0.3% to 58,499.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,399.44 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,994.29 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $82.63/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,791.37 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.57 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.22% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1231 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Olaf Scholz is set to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor after forging an unprecedented alliance that aims to revamp Europe’s largest economy by tackling climate change and promoting digital technologies The European Commission is set to announce the recommendations for the entire EU as soon as Thursday, Politico’s Playbook newsletter reported, citing three unidentified officials and diplomats Italy’s government is debating tough new measures to stem an increase in coronavirus cases, which could include restrictions on unvaccinated people and be approved as soon as Wednesday The ECB’s pandemic purchasing program may enter a “waiting room” rather than be abolished completely once net purchases are set to end in March, Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said at briefing in Vienna The U.K.’s biggest business lobby group has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to back down in its dispute with the European Union over Northern Ireland and not follow through with threats to suspend parts of the Brexit divorce deal Polish central bank Governor Adam Glapinski said further weakening of the zloty wouldn’t be consistent with the country’s economic fundamentals, helping lift the embattled currency from 12-year lows The supply crunch that’s helped drive inflation to multi- decade highs shows some signs of easing in the U.S. -- but it’s still getting worse in Europe. That’s the takeaway from the latest readings on Bloomberg Economics’ new set of supply indicators The unraveling of the Turkish lira threatens to erode Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s grasp on the economy and is already emboldening his political opponents. Small protests erupted in Istanbul and Ankara overnight, calling for an end to economic mismanagement that’s unleashed rapid inflation and triggered the currency’s longest losing streak in two decades A more detailed breakdown of global news courtesy of newsquawk Asia-Pac equity indices were mixed following the choppy performance of their US counterparts where energy rallied despite the SPR announcement and tech lagged as yields continued to gain, with the latest RBNZ rate hike, as well as looming FOMC Minutes and US data releases adding to the tentative mood. ASX 200 (-0.2%) was rangebound with the index subdued by losses in tech and gold miners which suffered from the rising yield environment, but with downside cushioned by strength in the largest weighted financials sector and with outperformance in energy after oil prices rallied in the aftermath of the widely anticipated SPR announcement. The strength in oil was attributed to several reasons including a “sell the rumour/buy the news” play and expectations of a response from OPEC+, while an administration official kept the prospect of an oil export ban on the table which is seen as bullish as it would remove US supply from the global market. Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) was the laggard on return from holiday amid flows into the local currency and with reports also suggesting the BoJ is considering tweaking its pandemic relief program. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) swung between gains and losses with early indecision due to the broad tech weakness tech which was not helped by reports that Chinese cyberspace regulators and police summoned Alibaba (9988 HK) and Baidu’s (9888 HK) cloud unit for telecoms network fraud, although the losses for Chinese bourses were eventually reversed amid gains in the energy heavyweights and after a mild PBoC liquidity injection. Finally, 10yr JGBs opened lower on spillover selling from global peers but gradually pared some of the losses after rebounding from support at 151.50 and with the BoJ in the market for nearly JPY 1.5tln of JGBs with up to 10yr maturities. Top Asian News Shinsei Drops Poison Pill Against SBI in Japan Takeover Saga Morgan Stanley to Repay Hong Kong Staff $5,100 for Quarantine KKR, Equinix Among Suitors for $11 Billion Global Switch Japan to Issue $192 Billion in Debt for Stimulus: Nikkei European equities attempted to claw back some of the week’s losses (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2%; Stoxx 600 -0.2%) at the open with Monday and Tuesday’s session dominated by ongoing COVID angst in the region. Lockdown measures were enough to see investors shrug off yesterday’s better-than-expected PMI metrics for the Eurozone with today’s slightly softer than hoped for German Ifo report having little sway on price action. Despite the upside seen at the open, optimism has faded throughout the session as speculation mounts over whether the announcement of the German coalition deal (set to be unveiled at 14:00GMT) could prompt further lockdown measures for the nation. Furthermore, reports note that the Italian government is debating potential restrictions on the unvaccinated; measures could be approved as soon as today. On a more positive footing French Finance Minister Le Maire says at the moment he does not see any need for further COVID-related restrictions in France. However, it remains to be seen how long this viewpoint can be sustained. Stateside, futures are a touch softer with losses across the majors of a relatively equal magnitude (ES -0.1%) in the final full session of the week ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Given the shortened week, today sees a deluge of data from the US with releases including key personal income, spending and PCE data for October, a second look at Q3 GDP, final Michigan consumer sentiment data, as well as weekly jobless claims and energy inventory data. All of which is followed by the FOMC minutes from the November meeting. In a recent note, BNP Paribas stated it is of the view that equities will go on to provide the highest returns across asset classes in 2022 with the French bank targeting 5100 (currently 4690) for the S&P 500 by the end of next year. From a European perspective, BNP expects the Euro Stoxx 50 to close 2022 out at 4500 (currently 4300) with the market “too pessimistic” on margins; albeit the Bank concedes that the resurgence of COVID presents a risk to its view. Sectors in Europe are mostly constructive with Oil & Gas and Basic Resources underpinned by gains in the underlying commodities with the former continuing to garner support post-yesterday’s SPR announcement. The Travel & Leisure sector lags peers with the Travel element of the group hampered by reports that the European Commission is preparing new COVID travel recommendations for the whole of the EU. For Leisure names, Entain (-5.0%) and Flutter Entertainment (-3.0%) have been hit by news that over 160 UK MPs and peers are said to be demanding that online gambling limits are lowered. Finally, Telecom Italia (+9.7%) is the best performer in the Stoxx 600 after source reports suggesting that KKR is considering a higher bid for the Co. in an attempt to win over support from Vivendi.   Top European News Scholz Seals Coalition Deal to Become Next German Chancellor Italy Readies Curbs on the Unvaccinated as Covid Cases Rise Booking Agrees to Buy CVC’s Etraveli for About EU1.63b Orange CEO Convicted in $453 Million Arbitration Fraud Case In FX, the Dollar index has gained traction and continued its gains above 96.500+ status in early European hours before eclipsing resistance at 96.700 to a fresh YTD peak at 96.758, with US players also preparing to wind down for the long weekend. Before that, the Buck will be facing a plethora of Tier 1 US data, including Prelim GDP (Q3), weekly Jobless Claims, and monthly PCE in the run-up to the FOMC Minutes – which will be eyed for clues on what could warrant an adjustment of the pace of tapering (Full preview available in the Newsquawk Research Suite). On the downside, immediate support will likely be at yesterday’s 96.308 low before this week’s current 96.035 trough. In terms of early month-end FX flows (on account of the holiday-shortened week), Morgan Stanley’s model points towards USD weakness against most G10 peers. EUR, GBP - The single currency dipped a 16-month low just before the release of the German Ifo survey, which unsurprisingly voiced cautiousness against the backdrop of COVID and supply chain issues – with Ifo forecasting a growth stagnation this current quarter, whilst ING believe that today’s Ifo signals that “The risk of stagnation or even recession in the German economy at the turn of the year has clearly increased.” The currency came under further pressure in what coincided with reports that Germany is mulling a full COVID lockdown and mandatory vaccinations, although the piece failed to cite any sources nor officials and seemed to be more an extrapolation of recent remarks from the German Health Minister. EUR/USD fell through pivotal support at 1.1210 to a current low at 1.1206 ahead of 1.1200. Traders should also be cognizant of several chunky OpEx clips including EUR 1.3bln between 1.1195-1.1200. Ahead, the SPD, Greens and FDP set to unveil their coalition deal at 14:00GMT. ECB speak today include from the likes Schnabel after Panetta and Holzmann failed to spur action across EU assets. Elsewhere, the GBP/USD is flat intraday and saw little reaction to BoE Governor Bailey yesterday, suggesting he does not think the MPC will go back to a hard form of guidance and stated that it is not off the table that they give no guidance at all on rates. Bailey also stated that decisions are made meeting by meeting and that they have a very tight labour market. From a political standpoint, European Commission VP Sefcovic said EU-UK talks on Northern Ireland trade rules will probably drag into 2022. Cable remains within a 1.3353-89 range whilst EUR/GBP trades on either side of 0.8400. Looking ahead, BoE’s Tenreyro speaking at the Oxford Economics Society – with early-Nov commentary from the MPC member suggesting that monetary policy will have to bite if there are signs of second-round inflation effects, but policy cannot fix energy price spikes. NZD, AUD - The Kiwi stands as the G10 laggard following a dovish 25bps hike by the RBNZ, with the board citing optionality. Desks suggest that FX was clearly gearing for a hawkish surprise from the central bank, with markets pricing some 35% of a 50bps hike heading into the meeting given the inflation survey earlier this month. Money markets were also disappointed, with participants flagging that the 2yr swap fell over 15bps despite the RBNZ upping its 2023 OCR forecast to 2.3% (prev. 1.7%). NZD/USD fell further beneath the 0.7000 mark to a current 0.6957 low. AUD meanwhile sees its losses cushioned from another day of firm gains in iron ore, whilst cross-currency flows help the AUD/NZD test 1.0450 to the upside. Nonetheless, the cautious market mood keeps AUD/USD around the flat mark after the pair found support at 0.7200. JPY - The traditional haven outperforms as risk aversion creeps into the market. USD/JPY pivots the 115.00 market after hitting an overnight high of 115.23. Some desks suggest that offers are seen from 115.30 on Wednesday, with more around the 115.50 area, according to IFR citing Tokyo sources. In terms of notable OpEx, USD/JPY sees USD 1.7bln between 115.00-10. In commodities, WTI and Brent Jan futures consolidate following yesterday’s gains post-SPR announcement. The release disappointed the oil bears given the widely telegraphed nature of the announcement coupled with relatively small contributions from members. Desks have also highlighted that the reserves will need to be replenished at some time in the future, and thus, analysts have passed the effects from the SPR release as temporary; although, cautioning that if the desired impact is not achieved, then further action can be taken – with a temporary export ban still on the table. Meanwhile, on the demand side, futures dipped after CNBC reported that Germany could head into a full lockdown, but the piece did not make a mention of officials nor sources but seemed to be more an extrapolation of recent comments from the Germany Health Minister, with an announcement on this matter potentially to come today. Further, tomorrow could see revised travel guidance for the whole of the EU, according to Politico sources, although "The biggest overall change will be a move away from a country-based approach and to a person-based one, which takes into account a citizen’s individual COVID status." Despite this month’s European COVID developments, JPMorgan sees global oil demand growing by another 3.5mln BPD next year to reach 99.8mln BPD (280k BPD above 2019 level); 2023 demand is expected to average around 101.5mln BPD (1.9mln BPD above pre-COVID levels) and suggested that global oil demand is on track to exceed 2019 levels by March 2022 and strengthen further. As a reminder, next week also sees the OPEC+ meeting whereby the group is expected to continue with plans of monthly output increases of 400k BPD, with a risk of a more dovish decision and/or commentary. WTI Jan trades around USD 78.50/bbl (vs high 79.23/bbl) and Brent Jan around USD 82.25/bbl (vs high 83.00/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold is interestingly unfazed by the rampant Dollar as prices remain caged within a cluster of DMAs (100 around 1,793, 200 around 1,791 and 50 around 1,788). Copper prices are again on the grind higher with LME around USD 9,800/t at the time of writing – with participants citing underlying demand, particularly from China. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 3Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 2.2%, prior 2.0% 8:30am: 3Q GDP Price Index, est. 5.7%, prior 5.7% 8:30am: 3Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 4.5%, prior 4.5% 8:30am: 3Q Personal Consumption, est. 1.6%, prior 1.6% 8:30am: Oct. Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.2%, prior -0.3% 8:30am: Oct. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8%; - Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5% 8:30am: Oct. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 1.4% 8:30am: Oct. Retail Inventories MoM, est. 0.3%, prior -0.2%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.4% 8:30am: Oct. Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. - $95b, prior -$96.3b 8:30am: Nov. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 260,000, prior 268,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.03m, prior 2.08m 9:45am: Nov. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 50.7 10am: Oct. Personal Income, est. 0.2%, prior -1.0%; 10am: Oct. Personal Spending, est. 1.0%, prior 0.6% 10am: Oct. Real Personal Spending, est. 0.6%, prior 0.3% 10am: Oct. New Home Sales, est. 800,000, prior 800,000 10am: Oct. New Home Sales MoM, est. 0%, prior 14.0% 10am: Oct. PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.3% 10am: Oct. PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.2% 10am: Oct. PCE Deflator YoY, est. 5.1%, prior 4.4% 10am: Oct. PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 4.1%, prior 3.6% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 67.0, prior 66.8 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, prior 4.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Current Conditions, prior 73.2 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Expectations, prior 62.8 2pm: Nov. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We’ve had a number of requests to bring back our Covid tables in the EMR. At the moment I’m resisting as they take a considerable amount of time. While we work out an efficient form of articulating the current wave on a daily basis, in today’s EMR we show graphs of the daily rolling 7-day cases and fatalities per million in the population for the G7. We’ve also included Austria, given how topical that is, and also The Netherlands, given mounting problems there. These act as a useful reference point for some of the more stressed countries. The cases chart should be in the text below and the fatalities one visible when you click “view report”. Germany is probably the main one to watch in the G7 at the moment and overnight reported 66,884 new cases (a record) compared with 45,362 the day before. A reminder that yesterday we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detailed IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. We also published the results of our ESG issuer and investor survey where around 530 responded. Please see the results here. As we hit Thanksgiving Eve and a US data dump of a day given the holiday tomorrow, the big story over the last 2-3 business days has been real rates in the US. As recently as Friday, after the Austria lockdown news, 10yr real rates hit -1.2%. Yesterday they traded above -0.95% before closing at -0.97%, +4.0bps higher than the previous close. Our view in the 2022 credit strategy document is that credit is more tied to real rates than nominal rates and if the market attacks the Fed as we expect, then they should go up. However, note that I’ve also said I suspect they’ll stay negative for the rest of my career so while higher real yields are likely, I suspect that this is a trade rather than a structural long-term journey given likely long-term financial repression. Anyway, rising real yields, a fresh covid wave and belief over a less dovish Fed post the Powell reappointment saw a tough day for equities, especially in Europe, before the US managed to eke out a gain into the close. The S&P 500 (+0.17%) was up for the first time in 3 days, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 (-1.28%) posted its worst daily performance in nearly 2 months. On a sector level, it was the same story in the US, where energy (+3.04%) shares benefitted from climbing oil prices and financials (+1.55%) gained on steeper and higher yields. Larger tech firms retreated on the higher discount rates, with the Nasdaq declining -0.50%. Meanwhile the VIX index of volatility was back above the 20-mark for the first time in over a month, coinciding with a broader tightening of financial conditions. However, we dipped back below 20 into the stronger close. Honing in on bonds now and there was a major selloff yesterday that hit a number of European countries in particular. By the close of trade, yields on 10yr bunds were up +8.1bps, which is their single-biggest daily increase in over a year, actually since the day we found out that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had proven successful in trials and was set to be rolled out. The move came about entirely due to higher real rates, with Germany 10yr inflation breakevens actually down -2.0bps on the day. Similar moves were seen elsewhere on the continent, with yields on 10yr OATs (+8.6bps) and BTPs (+10.5bps) seeing sharp rises of their own, which occurred in part on the back of stronger than expected flash PMI data raising the prospect of a quicker drawdown in monetary stimulus, not least with inflation still running some way ahead of the ECB’s target. For US Treasuries, yields were a touch more subdued, and the yield curve twist steepened. 2yr yields declined -1.8bp whilst every other maturity increased, and all tenors out to 7 years are at post-pandemic highs. The 5yr nominal yield increased +2.2bps to 1.34%. The 10yr was up +4.1bps to 1.67% due, as we discussed above, to real yields. 10yr breakevens were flat (+0.2bp) at 2.63%. The 10 year is 7.5bps off of 2021 closing highs and in the 430 plus business days since the pandemic started there have only been 14 days with a higher close than last nights. Elsewhere yesterday, we had an important piece of news on the energy front, as the US announced that it would be releasing 50m barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with the move occurring alongside similar decisions in China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK. 32m of those 50m will be an exchange, whereby oil is released over the next few months that is then returned over the coming years, while another 18m are coming from an acceleration of an oil sale that Congress had already authorised. Oil prices rose following the release however, with Brent crude (+3.27%) and WTI (+2.28%) both seeing decent advances, in part because the contribution from other nations was smaller than many had anticipated, but also because the potential release from the SPR had been widely reported in advance, thus sending prices lower from their peak around a month ago. Even with the news, there’s no sign that inflationary pressures will be going away just yet, since much of what happens next will depend on the reaction of the OPEC+ group. If they move to cancel plans to increase production, then that could put upward pressure on prices again and help counter the impact of the move from the various energy consumers. And as we’ve been discussing, inflationary pressures have been widening for some time now, stretching beyond specific categories like energy and used cars to an array of other areas. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly in the red with the CSI (-0.03%), Hang Seng (-0.06%), Shanghai Composite (-0.10%), KOSPI (-0.48%) and the Nikkei (-1.35%) all lower. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has raised interest rates for the second consecutive month and lifted the official cash rate 25bps to 0.75%. There was some who expected 50bps so bonds are rallying with 2yr and 10yrs -5.5bps and -7.5bps lower, respectively. The central bank were pretty hawkish in their comments though. US Treasuries are 2-4bps lower across the curve overnight as well. Staying on New Zealand, the country eased its travel restrictions by allowing fully vaccinated travellers (and other eligible travellers) from Australia without any isolation from Jan 17 and those from the rest of the world from February 14. Elsewhere, South Korea reported its highest ever daily new cases of 4,115 with 586 critical cases with the PM announcing the situation is "more serious than expected". Futures are indicating a slightly weaker start in the US and Europe with the S&P 500 (-0.24%) and DAX (-0.09%) lower. Over in Europe, there’s no sign of the pandemic letting up just yet, with French health minister Veran saying in parliament that “we are sadly well and truly in a fifth wave of the epidemic” as France announced 30,454 new cases yesterday. Austria has been the main country in the headlines recently as it moved into a nationwide lockdown, but the reality is that the trend lines have been moving higher across the continent, raising the prospect of fresh restrictions. In terms of yesterday’s developments, the Netherlands announced that social distancing would be reintroduced on a mandatory basis, and that people should stay 1.5m apart, and Poland saw the biggest daily increase in hospitalisations since April. Elsewhere, Slovakia’s PM said that he was considering following the steps adopted in Austria, and the outgoing Czech PM said that mandatory vaccines for the over-60s were being considered. In spite of the growing Covid wave across Europe, the flash PMIs released yesterday actually proved better than the consensus was expecting, and even saw something of an uptick from the October readings. The Euro Area composite PMI ended a run of 3 successive declines as it rose to 55.8 (vs. 53.0 expected), with both manufacturing (58.6) and services (56.6) rising relative to a month ago. And both the German (52.8) and the French (56.3) composite PMIs were also better than expected. On the other hand, the US had somewhat underwhelming readings, with the flash services PMI down to 57.0 (vs. 59.0 expected), as the composite PMI fell to 56.5. To the day ahead now, and there’s a significant amount of US data ahead of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday. That includes the weekly initial jobless claims, the second estimate of Q3 GDP, October’s personal income and personal spending, new home sales, and the preliminary October readings for durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Over in Germany, there’s also the Ifo’s business climate indicator for November. Finally on the central bank side, there’s the release of the FOMC’s November meeting minutes, and speakers include the ECB’s Panetta and Schnabel, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 08:07.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 24th, 2021

German Politicians Refuse To Rule Out Mandatory COVID Vaccination

German Politicians Refuse To Rule Out Mandatory COVID Vaccination In view of Germany’s dramatic Covid situation, and following last Friday's news that neighboring Austria will impose a mandatory vaccination starting February, the debate about a general vaccination obligation is gaining momentum, with a growing number of political leaders saying they would not rule it out.   On Thursday, the heads of the 16 federal states agreed that mandatory vaccinations for health workers should be carried out “on a facility-by-facility basis” and urged the federal government to implement this as soon as possible. But discussions for mandatory vaccines for the general population are also intensifying. According to TheLocal.de, during a press conference about the availability of mRNA vaccines on Monday morning, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility of introducing mandatory vaccination in Germany in the future.  “That is not a decision we can make today,” he told reporters.  On Sunday evening, SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach had also raised the possibility of compulsory vaccinations in a talk show on the TV station Bild: “We must move towards vaccination obligation,” he argued. “Without compulsory vaccinations, we obviously won’t achieve the vaccination rate we need to get to.”  On Monday morning the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced a  seven-day incidence of 386.5, reaching a new high for the 15th day in a row. 30,643 new infections within 24 hours were also reported, although fewer case numbers are usually reported over the weekend. Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek also recently said that he would not rule out a general vaccination requirement. “I was always actually an opponent of compulsory vaccination,” he told Deutschlandfunk radio. However, he now believes “that we need to talk about this issue relatively quickly.” “Personally, I am now actually in favour of this general vaccination obligation as a last resort,” he said. Bavaria is currently one of the worst-hit federal states in Germany: on Monday the Robert Koch Institut reported an incidence of 640 in the region. The president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, expressed restraint in the debate about compulsory vaccination, but said that it could be seen as “as a last resort” on ZDF television on Sunday. But he repeated his calls for people to get vaccinated voluntarily. “We must ensure that we get as many people as possible to vaccinate, and boost those who have complete basic immunisation,” he said.  As of November 21st,  68 percent (56.5 milllion people) of the overall population were fully vaccinated, and at least 70.5 percent had received at least one dose. But in some states the vaccination rate is considerably lower – in Sachsen, the rate of vaccinated people is only at 59.8 percent. There are already strong objections from some politicians to the idea of a mandatory vaccination, however. The deputy leader of the FDP parliamentary group, Michael Theurer, told the Bild programme: “We think it’s unconstitutional.”  The deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Thorsten Frei, also expressed great skepticism.  He told Die Welt: “A general vaccination requirement is likely to be disproportionate and thus unconstitutional under the current framework conditions because of the serious interference in the right to physical integrity.” Tyler Durden Tue, 11/23/2021 - 02:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 23rd, 2021

CJ Hopkins: Pathologized Totalitarianism 101

CJ Hopkins: Pathologized Totalitarianism 101 Authored by CJ Hopkins via ConsentFactory.org, So, GloboCap has crossed the Rubicon. The final phase of its transformation of society into a pathologized-totalitarian dystopia, where mandatory genetic-therapy injections and digital compliance papers are commonplace, is now officially underway. On November 19, 2021, the government of New Normal Austria decreed that, as of February, experimental mRNA injections will be mandatory for the entire population. This decree comes in the midst of Austria’s official persecution of “the Unvaccinated,” i.e., political dissidents and other persons of conscience who refuse to convert to the new official ideology and submit to a series of mRNA injections, purportedly to combat a virus that causes mild-to-moderate flu-like symptoms (or no symptoms of any kind at all) in about 95% of the infected and the overall infection fatality rate of which is approximately 0.1% to 0.5%. Austria is just the tip of the New Normal spear. Prominent New-Normal fascists in Germany, like Der Führer of Bavaria, Markus Söder, and Minister of Propaganda Karl Lauterbach, are already calling for an allgemeine Impfpflicht (i.e., “compulsory vaccination requirement”), which should not come as a surprise to anyone. The Germans are not going sit idly by and let the Austrians publicly out-fascist them, are they? They have a reputation to uphold, after all! Italy will probably be next to join in, unless Lithuania or Australia beats them to the punch. But, seriously, this is just the beginning of the Winter Siege I wrote about recently. The plan seems to be to New-Normalize Europe first — generally speaking, Europeans are more docile, respectful of all authority, and not very well armed — and then use it as leverage to force the new pathologized totalitarianism on the USA, and the UK, and the rest of the world. I do not believe this plan will succeed. In spite of the longest and most intensive propaganda campaign in the history of propaganda, there remain enough of us who steadfastly refuse to accept the “New Normal” as our new reality. And a lot of us are angry, extremely angry … militantly, explosively angry. We are not “vaccine hesitant” or “anti-vax” or “Covid-denying conspiracy theorists.” We are millions of regular working-class people, people with principles, who value freedom, who are not prepared to go gently into the globalized, pathologized-totalitarian night. We no longer give the slightest shit whether our former friends and family members who have gone New Normal understand what this is. We do. We understand exactly what this is. It is a nascent form of totalitarianism, and we intend to kill it — or at least critically wound it — before it matures into a full-grown behemoth. Now, I want to be absolutely clear. I am not advocating or condoning violence. But it is going to happen. It is happening already. Totalitarianism (even this “pathologized” version of it) is imposed on society and maintained with violence. Fighting totalitarianism inevitably entails violence. It is not my preferred tactic in the current circumstances, but it is unavoidable now that we have reached this stage, and it is important that those of fighting this fight recognize that violence is a natural response to the violence (and the implicit threat of violence) that is being deployed against us by the New Normal authorities, and the masses they have whipped up into a fanatical frenzy. It is also important (essential, I would argue) to make the violence of the New Normal visible, i.e., to frame this fight in political terms, and not in the pseudo-medical terms propagated by the official Covid narrative). This isn’t an academic argument over the existence, severity, or the response to a virus. This is a fight to determine the future of our societies. This fact, above all, is what the global-capitalist ruling classes are determined to conceal. The roll-out of the New Normal will fail if it is perceived as political (i.e., a form of totalitarianism). It relies on our inability to see it as what it is. So it hides itself and the violence it perpetrates within a pseudo-medical official narrative, rendering itself immune to political opposition. We need to deny it this perceptual redoubt, this hermeneutic hiding place. We need to make it show itself as what it is, a “pathologized” form of totalitarianism. In order to do that, we need to understand it … its internal logic, and its strengths, and weaknesses. Pathologized Totalitarianism I have been describing the New Normal as “pathologized totalitarianism” and predicting that compulsory “vaccination” was coming since at least as early as May 2020. (See, e.g., The New Pathologized Totalitarianism). I use the term “totalitarianism” intentionally, not for effect, but for the sake of accuracy. The New Normal is still a nascent totalitarianism, but its essence is unmistakably evident. I described that essence in a recent column: “The essence of totalitarianism — regardless of which costumes and ideology it wears — is a desire to completely control society, every aspect of society, every individual behavior and thought. Every totalitarian system, whether an entire nation, a tiny cult, or any other form of social body, evolves toward this unachievable goal … the total ideological transformation and control of every single element of society … This fanatical pursuit of total control, absolute ideological uniformity, and the elimination of all dissent, is what makes totalitarianism totalitarianism.” In October 2020, I published The Covidian Cult, which has since grown into a series of essays examining New-Normal (i.e., pathologized) totalitarianism as “a cult writ large, on a societal scale.” This analogy holds true for all forms of totalitarianism, but especially for New Normal totalitarianism, as it is the first global form of totalitarianism in history, and thus: “The cult/culture paradigm has been inverted. Instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it.” In The Covidian Cult (Part III), I noted: “In order to oppose this new form of totalitarianism, we need to understand how it both resembles and differs from earlier totalitarian systems. The similarities are fairly obvious — i.e., the suspension of constitutional rights, governments ruling by decree, official propaganda, public loyalty rituals, the outlawing of political opposition, censorship, social segregation, goon squads terrorizing the public, and so on — but the differences are not as obvious. And I described how New Normal totalitarianism fundamentally differs from 20th-Century totalitarianism in terms of its ideology, or seeming lack thereof. “Whereas 20th-Century totalitarianism was more or less national and overtly political, New Normal totalitarianism is supranational, and its ideology is much more subtle. The New Normal is not Nazism or Stalinism. It’s global-capitalist totalitarianism, and global capitalism doesn’t have an ideology, technically, or, rather, its ideology is ‘reality’.” But the most significant difference between 20th-Century totalitarianism and this nascent, global totalitarianism is how New Normal totalitarianism “pathologizes” its political nature, effectively rendering itself invisible, and thus immune to political opposition. Whereas 20th-Century totalitarianism wore its politics on its sleeve, New Normal totalitarianism presents itself as a non-ideological (i.e., supra-political) reaction to a global public health emergency. And, thus, its classic totalitarian features — e.g., the revocation of basic rights and freedoms, centralization of power, rule by decree, oppressive policing of the population, demonization and persecution of a “scapegoat” underclass, censorship, propaganda, etc. — are not hidden, because they are impossible to hide, but are recontextualized in a pathologized official narrative. The Untermenschen become “the Unvaccinated.” Swastika lapel pins become medical-looking masks. Aryan ID papers become “vaccination passes.” Irrefutably senseless social restrictions and mandatory public-obedience rituals become “lockdowns,” “social distancing,” and so on. The world is united in a Goebbelsian total war, not against an external enemy (i.e., a racial or political enemy), but against an internal, pathological enemy. This pathologized official narrative is more powerful (and insidious) than any ideology, as it functions, not as a belief system or ethos, but rather, as objective “reality.” You cannot argue with or oppose “reality.” “Reality” has no political opponents. Those who challenge “reality” are “insane,” i.e., “conspiracy theorists,” “anti-vaxxers,” “Covid deniers,” “extremists,” etc. And, thus, the pathologized New Normal narrative also pathologizes its political opponents, simultaneously stripping us of political legitimacy and projecting its own violence onto us. 20th-Century totalitarianism also blamed its violence on its scapegoats (i.e., Jews, socialists, counter-revolutionaries, etc.) but it did not attempt to erase its violence. On the contrary, it displayed it openly, in order to terrorize the masses. New Normal totalitarianism cannot do this. It can’t go openly totalitarian, because capitalism and totalitarianism are ideologically contradictory. Global-capitalist ideology will not function as an official ideology in an openly totalitarian society. It requires the simulation of “democracy,” or at least a simulation of market-based “freedom.” A society can be intensely authoritarian, but, to function in the global-capitalist system, it must allow its people the basic “freedom” that capitalism offers to all consumers, the right/obligation to participate in the market, to own and exchange commodities, etc. This “freedom” can be conditional or extremely restricted, but it must exist to some degree. Saudi Arabia and China are two examples of openly authoritarian GloboCap societies that are nevertheless not entirely totalitarian, because they can’t be and remain a part of the system. Their advertised official ideologies (i.e., Islamic fundamentalism and communism) basically function as superficial overlays on the fundamental global-capitalist ideology which dictates the “reality” in which everyone lives. These “overlay” ideologies are not fake, but when they come into conflict with global-capitalist ideology, guess which ideology wins. The point is, New Normal totalitarianism — and any global-capitalist form of totalitarianism — cannot display itself as totalitarianism, or even authoritarianism. It cannot acknowledge its political nature. In order to exist, it must not exist. Above all, it must erase its violence (the violence that all politics ultimately comes down to) and appear to us as an essentially beneficent response to a legitimate “global health crisis” (and a “climate change crisis,” and a “racism crisis,” and whatever other “global crises” GloboCap thinks will terrorize the masses into a mindless, order-following hysteria). This pathologization of totalitarianism — and the political/ideological conflict we have been engaged in for the past 20 months — is the most significant difference between New Normal totalitarianism and 20th-Century totalitarianism. The entire global-capitalist apparatus (i.e., corporations, governments, supranational entities, the corporate and state media, academia, etc.) has been put into service to achieve this objective. We need to come to terms with this fact. We do. Not the New Normals. Us. GloboCap is on the verge of remaking society into a smiley-happy pathologized-totalitarian dystopia where they can mandate experimental genetic “therapies,” and any other type of “therapies” they want, and force us to show our “compliance papers” to go about the most basic aspects of life. This remaking of society is violent. It is being carried out by force, with violence and the ever-present threat of violence. We need to face that, and act accordingly. Here in New Normal Germany, if you try to go grocery shopping without a medical-looking mask, armed police will remove you from the premises (and I am saying this from personal experience). In New Normal Australia, if you go to synagogue, the media will be alerted and the police will surround you. In Germany, Australia, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, and many other countries, if you exercise your right to assemble and protest, the police will hose you down with water cannons, shoot you with rubber bullets (and sometimes real bullets), spray toxic agents into your eyes, and just generally beat the crap out of you. And so on. Those of us fighting for our rights and opposing this pathologized totalitarianism are all-too familiar with the reality of its violence, and the hatred it has fomented in the New Normal masses. We experience it on a daily basis. We feel it every time we’re forced to wear a mask, when some official (or waiter) demands to see our “papers.” We feel it when when we are threatened by our government, when we are gaslighted and demonized by the media, by doctors, celebrities, random strangers, and by our colleagues, friends, and family members. We recognize the look in their eyes. We remember where it comes from, and what it leads to. It isn’t just ignorance, mass hysteria, confusion, or an overreaction, or fear … or, OK, yes, it is all those things, but it’s also textbook totalitarianism (notwithstanding the new pathologized twist). Totalitarianism 101. Look it in the eye, and act accordingly. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 21:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

Key Events This Holiday-Shortened Week: A Wednesday Data Dump For The Ages

Key Events This Holiday-Shortened Week: A Wednesday Data Dump For The Ages This week will be heavily compressed given Thanksgiving on Thursday. The highlight though will be the just announced White House decision to nominate Powell for a second term as Fed Chair with Lael Brainard set to become Fed vice chair (suggesting Rich Clarida is out). Overnight it’s been announced that Biden will give a speech to the American people tomorrow on the economy and prices. Biden will likely discuss hiw decision here and perhaps plans to release oil from the strategic reserve. Following that, DB's Jim Reid notes that Wednesday is especially busy as a pre-holiday US data dump descends upon us. We’ll see the minutes of the November 3rd FOMC meeting and earlier that day the core PCE deflator (the Fed's preferred inflation metric), Durable Goods, the UoM sentiment index (including latest inflation expectations), new home sales and jobless claims amongst a few other releases. In addition to the abovementioned Fed chair decision, there are also a number of other positions to fill at the Fed in the coming months, with Vice Chair Clarida’s term as an FOMC governor expiring in January, Randal Quarles set to leave the Board by the end of this year, and another vacant post still unfilled. So a significant opportunity for the Biden administration to reshape the top positions at the Fed. More internationally, covid will be focus, especially in Europe as Austria enters lockdown today after the shock announcement on Friday. Germany is probably the swing factor here for sentiment in Europe so case numbers will be watched closely. Staying with Germany, there’s anticipation that a coalition agreement could be reached in Germany between the SPD, Greens and the FDP, almost two months after their federal election. Otherwise, the flash PMIs for November will be in focus, with the ECB following the Fed and releasing the minutes from their recent meeting on Thursday. That said, the Fed chair decision is unlikely to have a material impact on the broad policy trajectory. Inflation in 2022 is likely to remain at levels that make most Fed officials uncomfortable, whilst the regional Fed presidents rotating as voters lean more hawkish next year, so there’ll be constraints to how policy could shift in a dovish direction, even if an incoming chair wanted to move things that way. Another unconfirmed but much anticipated announcement this week could come from Germany, where there’s hope that the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP will finally reach a coalition agreement. The general secretaries of all three parties have recently said that they hope next week will be when a deal is reached, and a deal would pave the way for the SPD’s Olaf Scholz to become chancellor at the head of a 3-party coalition. Nevertheless, there are still some hurdles to clear before then, since an agreement would mark the start of internal party approval processes. The FDP and the SPD are set to hold a party convention, whilst the Greens have announced that their members will vote on the agreement. On the virus, there is no doubt things are getting worse in Europe but it’s worth putting some of the vaccine numbers in some context. Austria (64% of total population) has a double vaccination rate that is somewhat lower than the likes of Spain (79%), Italy (74%), France (69%), the UK (69%) and Germany (68%). The UK for all its pandemic fighting faults is probably as well placed as any due to it being more advanced on the booster campaign due to an earlier vaccine start date and also due to higher natural infections. It was also a conscious decision back in the summer in the UK to flatten the peak to take load off the winter wave. Europe is a bit behind on boosters versus the UK but perhaps these will accelerate as more people get 6 months from their second jab, albeit a bit too late to stop some kind of winter wave. There may also be notable divergence within Europe. Countries like Italy and Spain (and to a slightly lesser extent France) that were hit hard in the initial waves have a high vaccination rate so it seems less likely they will suffer the dramatic escalation that Austria has seen. Germany is in the balance as they have had lower infection rates which unfortunately may have encouraged slightly lower vaccination rates. The irony here is that there is some correlation between early success/lower infections and lower subsequent vaccination rates. The opposite is also true - i.e. early bad outcomes but high vaccination rates. The US is another contradiction as it’s vaccination rate of 58% is very low in the developed world but it has had high levels of natural infections and has a higher intolerance for lockdowns. So tough to model all the above. Elsewhere, in light of the rising caseloads, the November flash PMIs should provide some context for how the global economy has performed into the month. We’ve already seen a deceleration in the composite PMIs for the Euro Area since the summer, so it’ll be interesting to see if that’s maintained. If anything the US data has reaccelerated in Q4 with the Atlanta Fed GDPNow series at 8.2% for the quarter after what will likely be a revised 2.2% print on Wednesday for Q3. Time will tell if Covid temporarily dampens this again. Elsewhere datawise, we’ll also get the Ifo’s latest business climate indicator for Germany on Wednesday, which has experienced a similar deceleration to other European data since the summer. The rest of the week ahead appears as usual in the day-by-day calendar at the end. Courtesy of DB here is a day-by-day calendar of events Monday November 22 Data: US October Chicago Fed national activity index, existing home sales, Euro Area advance November consumer confidence, Australia flash November manufacturing, services and composite PMIs (22:00UK time) Central Banks: ECB’s Holzmann, Kazaks and Kazimir speak Tuesday November 23 Data: Flash November manufacturing, services and composite PMIs from France, Germany, Euro Area, UK and US, US November Richmond Fed manufacturing index Central Banks: BoE’s Haskel speaks Other: President Biden to speak on economy and prices Wednesday November 24 Data: Japan flash November manufacturing, services and composite PMIs, Germany November Ifo business climate indicator, US weekly initial jobless claims, preliminary October wholesale inventories, durable goods orders, core capital goods orders, October personal income, personal spending, new home sales, final November University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, second estimate Q3 GDP Central Banks: FOMC release meeting minutes, BoE’s Tenreyro speaks Thursday November 25 Central Banks: Bank of Korea monetary policy decision, ECB release meeting minutes, ECB President Lagarde, ECB’s Villeroy, and Elderson, BoE Governor Bailey and BoE’s Haskel speak Other: US markets closed for Thanksgiving holiday Friday November 26 Data: France November consumer confidence, Euro Area October M3 money supply, Italy November consumer confidence index Central Banks: ECB President Lagarde, ECB’s Schnabel, Panetta and Lane, and BoE’s Pill speak Finally, looking at just the US, Goldman writes that the key economic data releases this week are the second Q3 GDP release, the October durable goods report, and the October core PCE report, all on Wednesday morning. The minutes from the November FOMC meeting will be released on Wednesday. There are no speaking engagements from Fed officials this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Monday, November 22 10:00 AM Existing home sales, October (GS -2.0%, consensus -1.8%, last +7.0%); We estimate that existing home sales declined by 2.0% in October after increasing by 7.0% in September. Existing home sales are an input into the brokers' commissions component of residential investment in the GDP report. Tuesday, November 23 09:45 AM Markit Flash US manufacturing PMI, November preliminary (consensus 59.1, last 58.4); Markit Flash US services PMI, November preliminary (consensus 59.0, last 58.7) 10:00 AM Richmond Fed manufacturing index, November (consensus 11, last 10) Wednesday, November 24 08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended November 20 (GS 245k, consensus 261k, last 268k); Continuing jobless claims, week ended November 13 (consensus 2,052k, last 2,080k); We estimate initial jobless claims declined to 245k in the week ended November 20. 08:30 AM Advance goods trade balance, October (GS -$98.5bn, consensus -$95.0bn, last -$96.3bn); We estimate that the goods trade deficit increased by $3.6bn to $98.5bn in October compared to the final September report, reflecting an increase in imports. 08:30 AM Wholesale inventories, November preliminary (consensus +1.1%., last -0.2%): Retail inventories, November (consensus +0.2%, last +1.4%) 08:30 AM GDP, Q3 second (GS +2.5%, consensus +2.2%, last +2.0%): Personal consumption, Q3 second (GS +2.0%, consensus +1.6%, last +1.6%): We estimate a five-tenths upward revision to Q3 GDP growth to +2.5% (qoq ar). Our forecast reflects the upward revisions to inventory data since the advance Q3 reading, as well as firmer-than-expected services consumption details in Friday’s Census QSS survey. 8:30 AM Durable goods orders, October preliminary (GS -0.5%, consensus +0.2%, last -0.3%): Durable goods orders ex-transportation, October preliminary (GS +0.7%, consensus +0.5%, last +0.5%); Core capital goods orders, October preliminary (GS +1.0%, consensus +0.5%, last +0.6%); Core capital goods shipments, October preliminary (GS +0.7%, consensus +0.5%, last +1.4%); We estimate durable goods declined 0.5% in the preliminary October report, reflecting a pullback in commercial aircraft and defense orders. However, we estimate firm gains in core capital goods orders (+1.0%) and core capital goods shipments (+0.7%), reflecting strong goods demand and higher prices. 08:30 AM Personal income, October (GS flat, consensus +0.2%, last +0.2%); Personal spending, October (GS +1.1%, consensus +1.0%, last +0.6%); PCE price index, October (GS +0.59%, consensus +0.7%, last +0.32%): Core PCE price index, October (GS +0.37%, consensus +0.4%, last +0.21%) PCE price index (yoy), October (GS +4.95%, consensus +5.1%, last +4.38%); Core PCE price index (yoy), October (GS +4.02%, consensus +4.1%, last +3.64%): Based on details in the PPI, CPI, and import price reports, we forecast that the core PCE price index rose by 0.37% month-over-month in October, corresponding to a 4.02% increase from a year earlier. Additionally, we expect that the headline PCE price index increased by 0.59% in October, corresponding to a 4.95% increase from a year earlier. We expect that personal income was flat and personal spending increased by 0.2% In October. 10:00 AM University of Michigan consumer sentiment, November Final (GS 67.1, consensus 66.8, last 66.8); We expect the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index increased by 0.3pt to 67.1 in the final November reading. 10:00 AM New home sales, October (GS flat, consensus flat, last +14.0%); We estimate that new home sales were flat in October, reflecting an increase in housing permits offset by expected mean reversion following last month’s sharp increase in sales. 02:00 PM Minutes from the November 2-3 FOMC meeting; The FOMC announced the start of tapering at its November meeting today at a $15bn per month pace. The FOMC statement noted that the Committee is “prepared to adjust the pace of purchases if warranted,” but language like this that expresses flexibility is routine, and we think the hurdle to accelerating the pace is high. Thursday, November 25 Thanksgiving holiday. NYSE closed. SIFMA recommends bond markets also close. Friday, November 26 NYSE will close early at 1:00 PM. SIFMA recommends an early 2:00 PM close to bond markets. Source: DB, Goldman, BofA Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 09:32.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

Futures Trade Near All Time High As Traders Shrug At Inflation, Covid Concerns

Futures Trade Near All Time High As Traders Shrug At Inflation, Covid Concerns US equity futures and European markets started the Thanksgiving week on an upbeat note as investors set aside fear of surging inflation and focused on a pickup in M&A activity while China signaled possible easing measures. The euphoria which lifted S&P futures up some 0.5% overnight and just shy of all time highs ended abruptly and futures reversed after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Covid situation in the country is worse than anything so far and tighter curbs are needed. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 95 points, or 0.26%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 12.25 points, or 0.26% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 58.75 points, or 0.357%. U.S. stocks trade near record levels, outpacing the rest of the world, as investors see few alternatives amid rising inflation and a persistent pandemic that undermines global recovery. Concerns about high valuations and the potential for the economy to run too hot on the back of loose monetary and fiscal policies have interrupted, but not stopped the rally. In other words, as Bloomberg puts it "bears are winning the argument, bulls are winning in the market" while Nasdaq futures hit another record high as demand for technology stocks remained strong. “Based on historical data, the Thanksgiving week is a strong week for U.S. equities,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, wrote in a note. “Black Friday sales will be closely watched. The good news is, people still have money to spend, even though they get less goods and services in exchange of what’s spent.” In premarket moves, heavyweights, including most FAANG majors, rose in premarket trade. Vonage Holdings Corp. jumped 26% in premarket trading after Ericsson agreed to buy it. Telecom Italia SpA jumped as much as 30% in Europe after KKR offered to buy it for $12 billion. Energy stocks recovered slightly from last week's losses, although anticipation of several economic readings this week kept gains in check. Bank stocks rose in premarket trading as the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield climbed for the first time in three sessions to about 1.58%. S&P 500 futures gain as much as 0.5% on Monday morning. Tesla gained 2.8% after Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted that Model S Plaid will "probably" be coming to China around March. Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) slipped 1.1% after a media report that the video game publisher's top boss, Bobby Kotick, would consider leaving if he cannot quickly fix culture problems. Travel and energy stocks, which were among the worst performers last week, also marked small gains before the open. Here is a list of the other notable premarket movers: Astra Space (ASTR US) shares surge 33% in premarket trading after the company said its rocket reached orbit. Aurora Innovation (AUR US) falls 8% in premarket, after soaring 71% last week amid a surge in popularity for self-driving technology companies among retail traders. Chinese electric-carmaker Xpeng (XPEV US) rises as much as 2.8% premarket after co. unveils a large sports-utility vehicle pitted more directly against Tesla’s Model Y and Nio’s ES series. Stocks of other EV makers are mixed. Monster Beverage (MNST US)., the maker of energy drinks, is exploring a combination with Corona brewer Constellation Brands (STZ US), according to people familiar with the matter. CASI Pharma (CASI US) jumped 17% in postmarket trading after CEO Wei-Wu He disclosed the purchase of 400,000 shares in a regulatory filing. Along with an eye on the Fed's plans for tightening policy, investors are also watching for an announcement from Joe Biden on his pick for the next Fed chair. Powell was supposed to make his decision by the weekend but has since delayed it repeatedly. Investors expect current chair Jerome Powell to stay on for another term, although Fed Governor Lael Brainard is also seen as a candidate for the position. “Bringing the most dovish of the doves wouldn’t guarantee a longer period of zero rates,” Ozkardeskaya wrote. “If the decisions are based on economic fundamentals, the economy is calling for a rate hike. And it’s calling for it quite soon.” The Stoxx 600 trimmed gains after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for tighter Covid-19 restrictions. European telecom shares surged after KKR’s offer to buy Telecom Italia for about $12 billion, which boosted sentiment about M&A in the sector. The Stoxx 600 Telecommunications Index gained as much as 1.6%, the best-performing sector gauge for the region: Telefonica +4.8%, Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane +4%, KPN +2.7%. Meanwhile, telecom equipment stock Ericsson underperforms the rest of the SXKP index, falling as much as 4.9% after a deal to buy U.S. cloud communication provider Vonage; Danske Bank says the price is “quite steep”. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell as Covid-19 resurgences in Europe triggered risk-off sentiment across markets amid weaker oil prices, a strong U.S. dollar and higher bond yields. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.3%, with India’s Sensex measure slumping the most since April as Paytm’s IPO weighed on sentiment. The country’s oil giant Reliance dragged down the Asian index after scrapping a deal with Saudi Aramco, and energy and financials were the biggest sector losers in the region. Asian markets have turned softer after capping their first weekly retreat this month, following lackluster moves from economically sensitive sectors in the U.S., while investors continue to monitor earnings reports of big Chinese technology firms this week. “Some impact from the regulatory risks and dull macroeconomic conditions have shown up in several Chinese big-tech earnings and that may put investors on the sidelines as earnings season continues,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte., wrote in a note. China’s equity gauge posted a second straight day of gains after the central bank’s quarterly report indicated a shift toward easing measures to bolster the economic recovery. South Korea led gains in the region, with the Kospi adding more than 1%, helped by chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. Asia’s chip-related shares rose after comments from Micron Technology CEO Sanjay Mehrotra added to optimism the global shortage of semiconductors is easing. Reports of Japan earmarking $6.8 billion to bolster domestic chipmaking and Samsung planning to announce the location of its new chip plant in the U.S. also aided sentiment. Japanese stocks fluctuated after U.S. shares retreated on Friday following hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve officials. The Topix index was virtually unchanged at 2,044.16 as of 2:21 p.m. Tokyo time, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.1% to 29,783.92. Out of 2,180 shares in the index, 1,107 rose and 948 fell, while 125 were unchanged. “There are uncertainties surrounding the direction of U.S. monetary policy,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute Co. “The latest comments from FRB members are spurring talk that steps to taper could accelerate.” Australian stocks sunk as banks tumbled to almost a 4-month low. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6% to close at 7,353.10, weighed down by banks and technology stocks as the measure for financial shares finished at the lowest level since July 30.  Nickel Mines was the top performer after agreeing to expand its strategic partnership with Shanghai Decent. Flight Centre fell for a second session, ending at its lowest close since Sept. 20, as the Covid-19 situation worsens in Europe. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 1% to 12,607.64. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index holds Asia’s narrow range, trading little changed on the day. AUD outperforms G-10 peers, extending Asia’s modest gains. SEK and JPY are the weakest. RUB lags in EMFX, dropping as much as 1% versus the dollar with USD/RUB on a 74-handle. According to Bloomberg, hedge funds’ bullishness toward the dollar is starting to evaporate amid speculation the U.S. currency has risen too much given the Federal Reserve remains adamant it’s in no rush to raise interest rates. Meanwhile, the euro pared modest Asia session losses to trade below $1.13, while European bond yields edged higher, led by bunds and gilts. The pound dipped after comments from Bank of England policy makers raised questions about the certainty of an interest-rate increase in December. Governor Andrew Bailey said that the risks to the U.K. economy are “two-sided” in a weekend interview. Australian dollar advanced against the kiwi on position tweaking ahead of Wednesday’s RBNZ’s rate decision, and after China’s central bank removed sticking with “normal monetary policy” from its policy outlook. Yen declines as speculation China will steer toward more accommodative policy damps the currency’s haven appeal. Hungary’s forint tumbled to a record low against the euro as back-to-back interest rate increases failed to shield it during a rapidly deteriorating pandemic and a flight to safer assets. In commodities, crude futures drifted higher. WTI rises 0.3% near $76.20, Brent regains at $79-handle. Spot gold has a quiet session trading near $1,844/oz. Base metal are mixed: LME copper, tin and zinc post small losses; lead and nickel are in the green Looking at today's calendar, we get the October Chicago Fed national activity index, existing home sales data, and the Euro Area advance November consumer confidence. Zoom is among the companies reporting earnings. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,710.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 487.45 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro little changed at $1.1283 MXAP down 0.2% to 198.88 MXAPJ down 0.2% to 647.20 Nikkei little changed at 29,774.11 Topix little changed at 2,042.82 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,951.34 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,582.08 Sensex down 2.0% to 58,450.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 7,353.08 Kospi up 1.4% to 3,013.25 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $79.22/bbl Gold spot little changed at $1,846.10 U.S. Dollar Index also little changed at 96.08 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Negotiators hammering out details of a transformative new global corporate tax regime are shaping the deal to maximize its chance of winning acceptance in the U.S., whose companies face the biggest impact from the overhaul The U.S. has shared intelligence including maps with European allies that shows a buildup of Russian troops and artillery to prepare for a rapid, large-scale push into Ukraine from multiple locations if President Vladimir Putin decided to invade, according to people familiar with the conversations. The ruble slid to the weakest since August and the hryvnia fell With investors ramping up expectations for the Federal Reserve and other developed-market central banks to tighten policy, the likes of the Brazilian real and Hungarian forint have been weighed down by inflation and political concerns even as local officials pushed up borrowing costs. The Chinese yuan, Taiwanese dollar and Russian ruble have been among the few to stand their ground An organization formed by key participants in China’s currency market urged banks to limit speculative foreign-exchange trading after the yuan climbed to a six-year high versus peers The Avalanche cryptocurrency has surged in the past several days, taking it briefly into the top 10 by market value and surpassing Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, after a deal related to improvement of U.S. disaster-relief funding A more detailed breakdown of overnight news courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following last Friday's mostly negative performance stateside, where risk appetite was dampened by concerns of a fourth COVID wave in Europe and recent hawkish Fed rhetoric. Weekend newsflow was light and the mood was tentative heading into this week's risk events including FOMC minutes and US GDP data before the Thanksgiving holiday. The ASX 200 (-0.6%) was subdued with declines led by weakness in gold miners and the energy sector. The Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was lacklustre after last week’s inflows into the JPY but with downside eventually reversed as the currency faded some of the gains and following the recent cabinet approval of the stimulus spending. The KOSPI (+1.4%) outperformed and reclaimed the 3k level with shares in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics rallying as its de facto leader tours the US which spurred hopes the Co. could deploy its USD 100bln cash pile. The Hang Seng (-0.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.6%) diverged with the mainland kept afloat after the PBoC conducted a mild liquidity injection and maintained its Loan Prime Rate for a 19th consecutive month as expected, although Hong Kong was pressured by losses in energy and cautiousness among developers, as well as the recent announcement of increased constituents in the local benchmark. Finally, 10yr JGBs eked marginal gains amid the cautious risk tone in Asia and following firmer demand at the enhanced liquidity auction for 2yr-20yr JGBs, but with upside capped as T-note futures continued to fade Friday’s early gains that were fuelled by the COVID-19 concerns in Europe before the advances were later halted by hawkish Fed rhetoric calling for a discussion on speeding up the tapering at next month’s meeting. Top Asian News China Blocks Peng Shuai News as It Seeks to Reassure World China FX Panel Urges Banks to Cap Speculation as Yuan Surges Paytm Founder Compares Himself to Musk After Historic IPO Flop China Tech Stocks Are Nearing Inflection Point, UBS GWM Says European cash bourses kicked off the new trading week with mild gains (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) following a mixed APAC handover. Some have been attributing the mild gains across Europe in the context of the different approaches of the Fed and ECB, with the latter expected to remain dovish as the former moves tighter, while COVID lockdowns will restrict economic activity. News flow in the European morning has however been sparse, as participants look ahead to FOMC Minutes, Flash PMIs and US GDP ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday (full Newsquawk Desk Schedule on the headline feed) alongside the Fed Chair update from President Biden and a speech from him on the economy. US equity futures see modestly more pronounced gains, with the more cyclically-exposed RTY (+0.6%) performing better than then NQ (+0.4%), ES (+0.4%) and YM (+0.4%). Since the European cash open, the initial mildly positive momentum has somewhat waned across European cash and futures, with the region now conforming to a more mixed picture. Spain's IBEX (+0.7%) is the clear regional outperforming, aided by index heavyweight Telefonica (+5.0%), which benefits from the sectorial boost received by a couple of major M&A updates. Firstly, Telecom Italia (+22%) gapped higher at the open after KKR presented a EUR 0.505/shr offer for Telecom Italia. The offer presents a ~45% premium on Friday's close. Second, Ericsson (-3.5%) made a bid to acquire American publicly held business cloud communications provider Vonage in a deal worth USD 6.2bln. As things stand, the Telecom sector is the clear outperformer, closely followed by banks amid a revival in yields. The other end of the spectrum sees Travel & Leisure back at the foot of the bunch as COVID fears in Europe mount. In terms of individual movers, Vestas Wind Systems (-2.0%) was hit as a cyber incident that impacted parts of its internal IT structure and data has been compromised. Looking ahead, it’s worth noting that volume will likely be more muted towards the latter half of the week on account of the Thanksgiving holiday. Top European News Scholz Closer to German Chancellery as Cabinet Takes Shape Austria Back in Lockdown Ahead of Mandatory Vaccine Policy Energy Crunch Drives Carbon to Record as Europe Burns More Coal BP Goes on Hydrogen Hiring Spree in Bid for 10% Market Share In FX, the Antipodean Dollars are outperforming at the start of the new week on specific supportive factors, like a bounce in the price of iron ore and a further re-opening from pandemic restrictions in both Australia and New Zealand, while the REINZ shadow board is ‘overwhelmingly’ behind another RBNZ rate hike this week. Aud/Usd is holding around 0.7250 and Nzd/Usd is hovering circa 0.7000 as the Aud/Nzd cross pivots 1.0350 in the run up to flash Aussie PMIs and NZ retail sales. DXY - Aussie and Kiwi strength aside, the Greenback retains a solid underlying bid on safe haven and increasingly hawkish Fed grounds after a run of recent much better than expected US data. In index terms, a base just above 96.000 provides a platform to retest last week’s peaks at 96.245 and 96.266 vs 96.223 so far, but Monday’s agenda may not give bulls much in the way of encouragement via data with only existing home sales scheduled. Instead, the Buck could derive more impetus from Treasuries given front-loaded supply ahead of Thanksgiving in the form of Usd 58 bn 2 year and Usd 59 bn 5 year notes. CHF/CAD/EUR/GBP/JPY - All narrowly mixed against their US rival, as the Franc keeps its head above 0.9300 and meanders between 1.0485-61 vs the Euro amidst some signs of official intervention from a rise in weekly Swiss sight deposits at domestic banks. Meanwhile, the Loonie has some leverage from a mild rebound in crude prices to pare declines from sub-1.2650 and should glean support into 1.2700 from 1 bn option expiries at 1.2685 on any further risk aversion or fallout in WTI. Conversely, 1 bn option expiry interest from 1.1300-05 could scupper Euro recoveries from Friday’s new y-t-d low around 1.1250 against the backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 contagion and pre-ECB speakers plus preliminary Eurozone consumer confidence. Elsewhere, the Pound is weighing up BoE tightening prospects and the impact of no breakthrough between the UK and EU on NI Protocol as Cable and Eur/Gbp straddle the 1.3435-40 zone and 0.8400 respectively, while the Yen has unwound more of its safe haven premium within a 114.27-113.91 range eyeing UST yields in relation to JGBs alongside overall risk sentiment. SCANDI/EM - The Nok is deriving some traction from Brent back over Usd 79/brl, but geopolitical concerns are preventing the Rub from benefiting and the Mxn is also on a weaker footing along with most EM currencies. However, the Try is striving to draw a line in the sand irrespective of a marked deterioration in Turkish consumer sentiment and the Cnh/Cny are holding up well regardless of a softer PBoC fix for the onshore unit as LPRs were unchanged yet again and China’s FX regulator told banks to limit Yuan spec trades. In CEE, the Pln has plunged on diplomatic strains between Poland and the EU, the Huf has depreciated to all time lows on virus fears and the Czk has been hampered by CNB’s Holub downplaying the chances of more big tightening surprises such as the aggressive hike last time. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures see some consolidation following Friday’s slide in prices. In terms of the fundamentals, the demand side of the equations continues to be threatened by the fourth wave of COVID, namely in the European nations that have not had a successful vaccine rollout. As a reminder, Austria is in a 20-day nationwide lockdown as of today, whilst Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands see tighter restrictions, with the latter two also experiencing COVID-related social unrest over the weekend. The European Commission will on Wednesday issue a set of new recommendations to its member states on non-essential travel, a senior EU diplomat said, which will be watched for activity and jet fuel demand. Over to the supply side, There were weekend reports that Japan and the US are planning a joint announcement regarding the SPR release, although a key Japanese official later noted there was no fixed plan yet on releasing reserves. Japanese PM Kishida confirmed that they are considering releasing oil reserves to curb prices. Meanwhile, Iranian nuclear talks are regaining focus as negotiations are poised to resume on the 29th of November – it is likely we’ll see officials telegraph their stances heading into the meeting. Eyes will be on whether the US offers an olive branch as Tehran stands firm. Elsewhere, the next OPEC+ meeting is also looming, but against the backdrop of lower prices, COVID risk and SPR releases, it is difficult to see a scenario where OPEC+ will be more hawkish than dovish. WTI and Brent Jan trade on either side of USD 76/bbl and USD 79/bbl respectively and within relatively narrow bands. Spot gold and silver meanwhile see a mild divergence, with the yellow metal constrained by resistance in the USD 1,850/oz area, whilst spot silver rebounded off support at USD 24.50/oz. Finally, base metals are relatively mixed with no standout performers to point out. LME copper is flat but holds onto USD 9,500+/t status. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Oct. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.10, prior -0.13 10am: Oct. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -1.8%, prior 7.0% 10am: Oct. Home Resales with Condos, est. 6.18m, prior 6.29m DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap This morning we’ve just published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. 2021 has been one of the lowest vol years for credit on record but we think this is unlikely to last and spreads will sell-off at some point in H1 when markets reappraise how far behind the curve the Fed is. Even with covid restrictions mounting again in Europe as we go to print, we think it’s more likely that we’ll be in a “growthflationary” environment for 2022 and think overheating risks are more acute than the stagflation risk, especially in the US. Strong growth and high liquidity should mean that full year 2022 is a reasonable year for credit overall but if we’re correct there’ll be regular pockets of inflationary/interest rate concerns in the market, which we think is more likely to happen in H1. At the H1 wides, we could see spreads widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY which is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. However, with the potential for a shift in the narrative to potential late-cycle dynamics, we think spreads will close 2022 slightly wider than they are today. We will be watching the yield curve closely through the year for clues as to how the cycle will evolve into 2023. This has the ability to move our YE 22 forecasts in both directions as the year progresses. This week will be heavily compressed given Thanksgiving on Thursday. The highlight though will be a likely choice of Fed governor before this, assuming the timetable doesn’t slip again. Overnight it’s been announced that Biden will give a speech to the American people tomorrow on the economy and prices. It’s possible the Fed Chair gets announced here and perhaps plans to release oil from the strategic reserve. We will see. Following that, Wednesday is especially busy as a pre-holiday US data dump descends upon us. We’ll see the minutes of the November 3rd FOMC meeting and earlier that day the core PCE deflator (the Fed's preferred inflation metric), Durable Goods, the UoM sentiment index (including latest inflation expectations), new home sales and jobless claims amongst a few other releases. More internationally, covid will be focus, especially in Europe as Austria enters lockdown today after the shock announcement on Friday. Germany is probably the swing factor here for sentiment in Europe so case numbers will be watched closely. Staying with Germany, there’s anticipation that a coalition agreement could be reached in Germany between the SPD, Greens and the FDP, almost two months after their federal election. Otherwise, the flash PMIs for November will be in focus, with the ECB following the Fed and releasing the minutes from their recent meeting on Thursday. As discussed at the top the most important market event this week is likely to be on the future leadership of the Federal Reserve, as it’s been widely reported that President Biden is expected to announce his choice on who’ll be the next Fed Chair by Thanksgiving on Thursday. Previous deadlines have slipped on this announcement, but time is becoming increasingly limited given the need for Senate confirmation ahead of Chair Powell’s current four-year term expiring in early February. The two names that are quite obviously in the frame are incumbent Chair Powell and Governor Brainard, but there are also a number of other positions to fill at the Fed in the coming months, with Vice Chair Clarida’s term as an FOMC governor expiring in January, Randal Quarles set to leave the Board by the end of this year, and another vacant post still unfilled. So a significant opportunity for the Biden administration to reshape the top positions at the Fed. In spite of all the speculation over the position of the Fed Chair, our US economists write in their latest Fed update (link here), that the decision is unlikely to have a material impact on the broad policy trajectory. Inflation in 2022 is likely to remain at levels that make most Fed officials uncomfortable, whilst the regional Fed presidents rotating as voters lean more hawkish next year, so there’ll be constraints to how policy could shift in a dovish direction, even if an incoming chair wanted to move things that way. Another unconfirmed but much anticipated announcement this week could come from Germany, where there’s hope that the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP will finally reach a coalition agreement. The general secretaries of all three parties have recently said that they hope next week will be when a deal is reached, and a deal would pave the way for the SPD’s Olaf Scholz to become chancellor at the head of a 3-party coalition. Nevertheless, there are still some hurdles to clear before then, since an agreement would mark the start of internal party approval processes. The FDP and the SPD are set to hold a party convention, whilst the Greens have announced that their members will vote on the agreement. On the virus, there is no doubt things are getting worse in Europe but it’s worth putting some of the vaccine numbers in some context. Austria (64% of total population) has a double vaccination rate that is somewhat lower than the likes of Spain (79%), Italy (74%), France (69%), the UK (69%) and Germany (68%). The UK for all its pandemic fighting faults is probably as well placed as any due to it being more advanced on the booster campaign due to an earlier vaccine start date and also due to higher natural infections. It was also a conscious decision back in the summer in the UK to flatten the peak to take load off the winter wave. So this is an area where scientists and the government may have made a calculated decision that pays off. Europe is a bit behind on boosters versus the UK but perhaps these will accelerate as more people get 6 months from their second jab, albeit a bit too late to stop some kind of winter wave. There may also be notable divergence within Europe. Countries like Italy and Spain (and to a slightly lesser extent France) that were hit hard in the initial waves have a high vaccination rate so it seems less likely they will suffer the dramatic escalation that Austria has seen. Germany is in the balance as they have had lower infection rates which unfortunately may have encouraged slightly lower vaccination rates. The irony here is that there is some correlation between early success/lower infections and lower subsequent vaccination rates. The opposite is also true - i.e. early bad outcomes but high vaccination rates. The US is another contradiction as it’s vaccination rate of 58% is very low in the developed world but it has had high levels of natural infections and has a higher intolerance for lockdowns. So tough to model all the above. Overall given that last winter we had no vaccines and this year we have very high levels of protection it seems unfathomable that we’ll have an outcome anywhere near as bad. Yes there will be selected countries where the virus will have a more severe impact but most developed countries will likely get by without lockdowns in my opinion even if the headlines aren’t always going to be pleasant. Famous last words but those are my thoughts. In light of the rising caseloads, the November flash PMIs should provide some context for how the global economy has performed into the month. We’ve already seen a deceleration in the composite PMIs for the Euro Area since the summer, so it’ll be interesting to see if that’s maintained. If anything the US data has reaccelerated in Q4 with the Atlanta Fed GDPNow series at 8.2% for the quarter after what will likely be a revised 2.2% print on Wednesday for Q3. Time will tell if Covid temporarily dampens this again. Elsewhere datawise, we’ll also get the Ifo’s latest business climate indicator for Germany on Wednesday, which has experienced a similar deceleration to other European data since the summer. The rest of the week ahead appears as usual in the day-by-day calendar at the end. Overnight in Asia stocks are mixed with the KOSPI (+1.31%) leading the pack followed by the Shanghai Composite (+0.65%) and CSI (+0.53%), while the Nikkei (-0.18%) and Hang Seng (-0.35%) are lower. Stocks in China are being boosted by optimism that the PBOC would be easing its policy stance after its quarterly monetary policy report on Friday dropped a few hints to that effect. Futures are pointing towards a positive start in the US and Europe with S&P 500 futures (+0.31%) and DAX futures (+0.14%) both in the green. Turning to last week now, rising Covid cases prompted renewed lockdown measures to varying degrees and hit risk sentiment. Countries across Europe implemented new lockdown measures and vaccine requirements to combat the latest rise in Covid cases. The standouts included Austria and Germany. Austria will start a nationwide lockdown starting today and will implement a compulsory Covid vaccine mandate from February. Germany will restrict leisure activities and access to public transportation for unvaccinated citizens and announced a plan to improve vaccination efforts. DM ten-year yields decreased following the headline. Treasury, bund, and gilt yields declined -3.8bps, -6.7bps, and -4.6bps on Friday, respectively, bringing the weekly totals to -1.3bps, -8.3bps, and -3.5bps, respectively. The broad dollar appreciated +0.54% Friday, and +0.98% over the week. Brent and WTI futures declined -2.89% and -3.68% on Friday following global demand fears, after drifting -4.27% and -5.79% lower throughout the week as headlines circulated that the US and allies were weighing whether to release strategic reserves. European equity indices declined late in the week as the renewed lockdown measures were publicized. The Stoxx 600, DAX, and CAC 40 declined -0.33%, -0.38%, and -0.42%, respectively on Friday, bringing their weekly totals to -0.14%, +0.41%, and +0.29%. The S&P 500 index was also hit ending the week +0.32% higher after declining -0.14% Friday, though weekly gains were concentrated in big technology and consumer discretionary stocks. U.S. risk markets were likely supported by the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Biden Administration’s climate and social spending bill. The bill will proceed to the Senate, where its fate lays with a few key moderate Democrats. This follows President Biden signing a physical infrastructure bill into law on Monday. On the Fed, communications from officials took a decidedly more hawkish turn on inflation dynamics, especially from dovish members. Whether the Fed decides to accelerate its asset purchase taper at the December FOMC will likely be the key focus in markets heading into the meeting. Ending the weekly wrap up with some positive Covid news: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Pfizer and Moderna booster shots for all adults. Additionally, the US will order 10 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid pill. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

Unrest and protests are ripping across Europe as anger mounts over new COVID-19 winter restrictions

People gathered in cities including Rotterdam, Rome, Vienna, and Zagreb as many countries ask for vaccination or negative test proof. Demonstrators carry flags as they gather to protest against COVID-19 measures, in Zagreb, Croatia November 20, 2021.REUTERS/Antonio Bronic New coronavirus protests are have taken place across Europe as winter restrictions loom. Some countries are bringing in new restrictions, and many require vaccination or negative test proof. People gathered in cities like Vienna and Rome, with some protests turning violent. New coronavirus protests are taking place across Europe in response to winter restrictions.Major cities across Europe have seen demonstrations against new rules and requirements to prove vaccinations, with some leading to violence and arrests or turning into riots.Coronavirus protests are not new in Europe. People demonstrated against lockdowns and restrictions in 2020, and protests have continued into this year, as many European countries require proof of vaccination to access certain places.But protesters are now taking aim at the new restrictions coming in at the onset of winter, as many governments say steps are needed to mitigate a winter surge and strained health systems.'An orgy of violence'Hundreds of people rioted in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on Friday, Reuters reported, with three people hospitalized after police fired bullets.Fifty-one people were arrested, Reuters reported, citing local authorities. They were demonstrating against government proposals that would mean people have to show proof they've been vaccinated, have recently recovered from COVID-19, or have a negative test, Reuters reported.Ahmed Aboutaleb, Rotterdam's mayor, said the protest became "an orgy of violence," according to Reuters.Fresh violence erupted in another Dutch city, The Hague, on Saturday, as protesters hurled fireworks at and set bicycles on fire and baton-wielding police used horses and dogs to control the unrest, the BBC reported. At least seven people were also arrested.In Vienna, Austria, tens of thousands of people protested against new restrictions and government plans to make vaccines mandatory in February next year, according to Reuters. The government said the steps were necessary as the country doesn't have a high enough vaccination rate.Thousands of people protested in Zagreb, Croatia, against plans to make vaccines mandatory for public sector employees, according to the BBC.In Italy, thousands of people gathered in Milan and thousands more gathered in Rome, Il Messaggero reported. They were protesting the country's "green pass" — a certificate that proves someone has been vaccinated, tested negative, or recovered from COVID-19.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 21st, 2021

Coronavirus links: hygiene theater

A coronavirus-focused linkfest is a weekly feature here at Abnormal Returns. Please stay safe, get a booster and at a vaccination site... PfizerWhy Pfizer ($PFE) is against lifting vaccine IP restrictions. (bloomberg.com)Pfizer ($PFE) has asked the FDA to authorize its new antiviral pill. (biopharmadive.com)Pfizer ($PFE) is licensing its antiviral treatment to more countries. (washingtonpost.com)BoostersThe CDC expanded booster eligibility to all adult Americans. (statnews.com)Even prior to the CDC's move, a lot of states and localities had already expanded access to boosters. (wsj.com)Germany is recommending boosters for all adults. (reuters.com)Why you should get boosted. (theatlantic.com)Vaccine mandatesWhy vaccine mandates work - the psychology of regret. (washingtonpost.com)Disney ($DIS) is mandating vaccines for children for its cruises. (fortune.com)The AMA, and others, are urging businesses to mandate vaccinations. (washingtonpost.com)A short history of school vaccine mandates. (npr.org)AntiviralsIt's not clear that antivirals will be as effective in the vaccinated population. (ft.com)Eight unanswered questions about the two new antiviral pills including 'Would they work better in combination?' (statnews.com)TestingHow universities have used vaccine mandates and testing to get back to some semblance of normal. (businessinsider.com)Startup Sherlock Biosciences has a CRISPR-derived Covid test. (fastcompany.com)ChildrenWhy pro-vaccine parents are sometimes reluctant to get their children vaccinated. (slate.com)Schools are turning to testing as a substitute for quarantine. (nytimes.com)Why getting a child vaccinated is such a relief. (esquire.com)TreatmentsCovid patients on SSRIs are less likely to die. (sciencedaily.com)Dexamethasone does not seem to be nearly as effective in treating women with severe Covid-19. (fastcompany.com)ResearchMask-wearing is the single most effective public health measure at tackling Covid. (theguardian.com)We really don't know about the extent of co-infection, i.e. Covid and influenza. (theatlantic.com)Who produces the most respiratory aerosols? (sciencedaily.com)Why some people resist Covid-19 infections. (scientificamerican.com)Covid-19 increases the risk of stillbirth. (news.yahoo.com)GlobalAustria has become the first Western country to announce it will make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory. (fortune.com)Not all countries are moving forward with vaccines for children. (wsj.com)France and Austria are taking two very different approaches. (theatlantic.com)Public healthThe countries best adapting to the coronavirus have high societal trust. (bloomberg.com)Some politicians want to restrict all vaccine mandates, not just for Covid. (statnews.com)The prior administration was interfering early, and often, with the CDC. (politico.com)A vaccinated police officer on why other officers are not getting vaccinated. (washingtonpost.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsCoronavirus links: other respiratory illnesses (abnormalreturns.com)There's only one way through the pandemic tunnel. (abnormalreturns.com)Why we are eventually going to need digital health passes, i.e. vaccine passports. (abnormalreturns.com)The 'Swiss cheese model' and the importance of avoiding single points of failure in pandemic and life. (abnormalreturns.com)On the challenge of holding two competing thoughts on the pandemic in your head a the same time. (abnormalreturns.com)SocietyDespite all the happy talk, the pandemic isn't over yet. (marketwatch.com)It's clear a lot of Americans are done with Covid, even though Covid isn't done with us. (citizen-times.com)Covid misinformation is alive and well on talk radio and podcasts. (nytimes.com)Mixed mediaThree big unknowns about the pandemic including just how much immunity we have. (theatlantic.com)The world's reaction to Covid-19 doesn't bode well for counteracting climate change. (thedailybeast.com)Why you can't blame any individual if you end up with Covid-19. (nymag.com).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsNov 20th, 2021

Austria Re-Imposes Full Lockdown, Vow "Penalties" For Those Who Resist

Austria Re-Imposes Full Lockdown, Vow "Penalties" For Those Who Resist Austria will become the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full COVID-19 lockdown starting Monday, November 22, it said on Friday as neighboring Germany warned it may follow suit, sending shivers through financial markets worried about the economic fallout of yet another round of lockdowns, even if some were cynical enough to ask if the whole point of this latest escalation is to greenlight even more stimmies. Is this next lockdown going to result in more stimmies? — zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 18, 2021 Austria also said it would require the whole population to be vaccinated as of February 1. Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg made the announcements at a press conference on Friday, Roughly two-thirds of Austria's population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and yet its infections are among the highest on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 991 per 100,000 people. Following the previously announced lockdown of the unvaccinated, which failed to put a halt to soaring case numbers, the entire country will now be placed under a full lockdown lasting at least 10 days. Also, starting From February 1st, everyone will also be legally required to have been vaccinated. Austrian authorities also said they would make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, vowing “penalties” for those who continue to resist. “We haven’t been able to convince enough people to vaccinate. For too long, I and others have assumed that you can convince people to get vaccinated,” said Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg. "It hurts that such measures still have to be taken." He also vowed to impose “penalties” on those who still refuse to get vaccinated, although these weren’t specified. What are the main rules of the lockdown? From Monday, November 22nd, Austria will go into a three-week lockdown, which will end on December 12th. Shops and restaurants will be forced to close. Working from home will be mandatory in any job where it is possible to do so. FFP2 masks are mandatory in all enclosed rooms. Schools will not be officially closed but will remain open for “those who need them”, although face-to-face lessons will not take place. This mirrors rules from lockdowns in 2020, where schools moved to distance learning but still provided care for students whose parents were unable to do so, for example young children of parents working essential jobs or those with extra learning needs. The government called on parents to return to home-learning if at all possible. The suite of measures will be evaluated after ten days. It’s likely that Austria will follow the United States in attempting to make vaccination compulsory for having a job, even though much of the Austrian public is highly sceptical about vaccines. It is planning a protest against coronavirus restrictions on Saturday. Meanwhile, a fourth wave of infections has plunged Germany, Europe's largest economy, into a national emergency, Health Minister Jens Spahn said. He urged people to reduce their social contacts, warning that vaccinations alone would not reduce case numbers. Asked if Germany could rule out an Austrian-style full lockdown, Spahn said: "We are now in a situation - even if this produces a news alert - where we can't rule anything out. "We are in a national emergency," he told a news conference. Numerous other countries, including Germany, Italy, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, are all about to implement new restrictions in an effort to combat a “fourth wave” of the virus. Europe is currently experiencing its highest ever COVID surge, with 310,000 cases being registered across the continent over the last 24 hours. Ireland is also on a “war footing” and could be about to introduce a new lockdown despite having a 94% vaxxed population, mandatory mask mandates, and a vaccine passport scheme already in place. One country which is coping noticeably better than the rest of Europe is Sweden, which never imposed any strict mask mandates or legal lockdown. European stocks retreated from record highs, while government bond yields, oil prices and the euro tumbled as the spectre of a fresh COVID-linked lockdown in Germany and other parts of Europe cast a fresh shadow over the global economy. read more As cases rises again across Europe, a number of governments have started to reimpose limits on activity, ranging from Austria's full lockdown, to a partial lockdown in the Netherlands, to restrictions on the unvaccinated in parts of Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Hungary reported 11,289 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, its highest daily tally, and will make booster shots mandatory for all healthcare workers and require mask wearing in most indoor places from Saturday. While the new measures across Europe are not seen hitting the economy as much as the all-out lockdowns of last year, analysts say they could weigh on the recovery in the last quarter of the year, especially if they hit the retail and hospitality sectors. A full lockdown in Germany would be more serious, however. "A total lockdown for Germany would be extremely bad news for the economic recovery," said Ludovic Colin, a senior portfolio manager at Swiss asset manager Vontobel. "It's exactly what we saw in July, August of this year in parts of the world where the delta (variant) was big, it (COVID-19) came back and it slows down the recovery again," he added. The pressure on intensive care units in Germany had not yet reached its peak, Spahn said, urging people to reduce contacts to help break the wave. "How Christmas will turn out, I dare not say. I can only say it's up to us," he added. Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday Germany will limit large parts of public life in areas where hospitals are becoming dangerously full of COVID-19 patients to those who have either been vaccinated or have recovered from the illness. Merkel said on Thursday the federal government would consider a request from regions for legislation allowing them to require that care and hospital workers be vaccinated. Saxony, the region hardest hit by Germany's fourth wave, is considering shutting theatres, concert halls and soccer stadiums, Bild newspaper reported. The eastern state has Germany's lowest vaccination rate. New daily infections have risen 14-fold in the past month in Saxony, a stronghold of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which harbours many vaccine sceptics and anti-lockdown protesters. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/19/2021 - 08:55.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 19th, 2021

Austria Re-Imposes Full Lockdown, Vow "Penalties" For Those Who Resist; Germany May Follow

Austria Re-Imposes Full Lockdown, Vow "Penalties" For Those Who Resist; Germany May Follow Austria will become the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full COVID-19 lockdown starting Monday, November 22, it said on Friday as neighboring Germany warned it may follow suit, sending shivers through financial markets worried about the economic fallout of yet another round of lockdowns, even if some were cynical enough to ask if the whole point of this latest escalation is to greenlight even more stimmies. Is this next lockdown going to result in more stimmies? — zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 18, 2021 Austria also said it would require the whole population to be vaccinated as of February 1. Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg made the announcements at a press conference on Friday, Roughly two-thirds of Austria's population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and yet its infections are among the highest on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 991 per 100,000 people. Following the previously announced lockdown of the unvaccinated, which failed to put a halt to soaring case numbers, the entire country will now be placed under a full lockdown lasting at least 10 days. Also, starting From February 1st, everyone will also be legally required to have been vaccinated. Austrian authorities also said they would make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, vowing “penalties” for those who continue to resist. “We haven’t been able to convince enough people to vaccinate. For too long, I and others have assumed that you can convince people to get vaccinated,” said Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg. "It hurts that such measures still have to be taken." He also vowed to impose “penalties” on those who still refuse to get vaccinated, although these weren’t specified. What are the main rules of the lockdown? From Monday, November 22nd, Austria will go into a three-week lockdown, which will end on December 12th. Shops and restaurants will be forced to close. Working from home will be mandatory in any job where it is possible to do so. FFP2 masks are mandatory in all enclosed rooms. Schools will not be officially closed but will remain open for “those who need them”, although face-to-face lessons will not take place. This mirrors rules from lockdowns in 2020, where schools moved to distance learning but still provided care for students whose parents were unable to do so, for example young children of parents working essential jobs or those with extra learning needs. The government called on parents to return to home-learning if at all possible. The suite of measures will be evaluated after ten days. It’s likely that Austria will follow the United States in attempting to make vaccination compulsory for having a job, even though much of the Austrian public is highly sceptical about vaccines. It is planning a protest against coronavirus restrictions on Saturday. Meanwhile, a fourth wave of infections has plunged Germany, Europe's largest economy, into a national emergency, Health Minister Jens Spahn said. He urged people to reduce their social contacts, warning that vaccinations alone would not reduce case numbers. Asked if Germany could rule out an Austrian-style full lockdown, Spahn said: "We are now in a situation - even if this produces a news alert - where we can't rule anything out. "We are in a national emergency," he told a news conference. Numerous other countries, including Germany, Italy, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, are all about to implement new restrictions in an effort to combat a “fourth wave” of the virus. Europe is currently experiencing its highest ever COVID surge, with 310,000 cases being registered across the continent over the last 24 hours. Ireland is also on a “war footing” and could be about to introduce a new lockdown despite having a 94% vaxxed population, mandatory mask mandates, and a vaccine passport scheme already in place. One country which is coping noticeably better than the rest of Europe is Sweden, which never imposed any strict mask mandates or legal lockdown. European stocks retreated from record highs, while government bond yields, oil prices and the euro tumbled as the spectre of a fresh COVID-linked lockdown in Germany and other parts of Europe cast a fresh shadow over the global economy. read more As cases rises again across Europe, a number of governments have started to reimpose limits on activity, ranging from Austria's full lockdown, to a partial lockdown in the Netherlands, to restrictions on the unvaccinated in parts of Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Hungary reported 11,289 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, its highest daily tally, and will make booster shots mandatory for all healthcare workers and require mask wearing in most indoor places from Saturday. While the new measures across Europe are not seen hitting the economy as much as the all-out lockdowns of last year, analysts say they could weigh on the recovery in the last quarter of the year, especially if they hit the retail and hospitality sectors. A full lockdown in Germany would be more serious, however. "A total lockdown for Germany would be extremely bad news for the economic recovery," said Ludovic Colin, a senior portfolio manager at Swiss asset manager Vontobel. "It's exactly what we saw in July, August of this year in parts of the world where the delta (variant) was big, it (COVID-19) came back and it slows down the recovery again," he added. The pressure on intensive care units in Germany had not yet reached its peak, Spahn said, urging people to reduce contacts to help break the wave. "How Christmas will turn out, I dare not say. I can only say it's up to us," he added. Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday Germany will limit large parts of public life in areas where hospitals are becoming dangerously full of COVID-19 patients to those who have either been vaccinated or have recovered from the illness. Merkel said on Thursday the federal government would consider a request from regions for legislation allowing them to require that care and hospital workers be vaccinated. Saxony, the region hardest hit by Germany's fourth wave, is considering shutting theatres, concert halls and soccer stadiums, Bild newspaper reported. The eastern state has Germany's lowest vaccination rate. New daily infections have risen 14-fold in the past month in Saxony, a stronghold of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which harbours many vaccine sceptics and anti-lockdown protesters. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/19/2021 - 07:17.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 19th, 2021

Why Is The Media Suddenly No Longer Interested In Blaming COVID Waves On Red States

Why Is The Media Suddenly No Longer Interested In Blaming COVID Waves On Red States Authored by 'IM' via 'Unmasked' Substack, By now, it’s become a truth universally acknowledged that the media must continually be in search of a governor and specific political ideology to blame when COVID cases rise. Well, I’m old enough to remember when it was a truth universally acknowledged. But that was way back in the summer, when cases were rising in the Southern states, mostly run by Republican governors who refused to acquiesce to demands from the media to mandate masks and vaccine passports. The seasons have changed, however, and case trends along with it. The Midwest and the Northeast are now the epicenter of the latest COVID surge. [ZH: We thought these two charts may also help explain the lack of media malificence] And just like that, inexplicably, the media’s no longer interested in blaming local officials or the political beliefs of residents for the dramatic increase in COVID cases. Imagine that! After scores of hysterical articles on Florida were written, despite the fact that the inevitable crash of cases and hospitalizations in the state almost immediately proved them wrong, interestingly the mass panic and hyperbole is noticeably absent of late. There are a few possible explanations for this confusing lack of interest, and after reviewing the data from each state, some interesting conclusions can be drawn. Most of the states have several things in common that seem to insulate them from the levels of severe criticism reserved for governors like Ron #DeathSantis. Let’s see the lessons that can be learned from the COVID situation across the country. Michigan How many of you knew that Michigan now leads the country in recent case rates? Probably not many! Just for the sake of comparison, I Google searched “Florida leads the country in new covid cases” and here are a few of the top results: I then searched “Michigan leads the country in new covid cases November” and these were a few of the top results: Well that’s certainly different, isn’t it?! Here’s how the curve of new cases looks in Michigan though: Not great, huh? In fact, Michigan is rapidly approaching the same heights it reached in April, when the CDC director said they needed to again implement lockdown measures to control the surge. Yet I searched for Vanity Fair articles labeling Governor Gretchen Whitmer the “Angel of Death,” as they did with Ron DeSantis and came up with a big fat blank. I’m not kidding. They literally called DeSantis the “Angel of Death” and said he was a “super-spreader event:” I also checked those keywords to see if Bess wrote a similar article on Gretchen Whitmer: Very strange, isn’t it? It’s also strange that DeSantis has been accused of courting “anti-vaxxers” and not doing enough to encourage and promote vaccinations, while Florida has significantly higher vaccination rates in every single category. As of today, here’s the key vaccination states for both states: Michigan TOTAL POPULATION AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 60%/54% 12 AND UP AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 69%/63% 65 AND UP AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 92%/85% Florida TOTAL POPULATION AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 70%/61% 12 AND UP AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 81%/70% 65 AND UP AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - >99%/87% Literally in every single category, Florida’s had higher vaccine uptake. Yet only DeSantis has been accused of being “anti-vaxx,” because he…promoted a life-saving treatment that cuts hospitalizations and deaths by 78% in high risk populations. Really odd, huh? Minnesota Minnesota currently ranks second in the U.S. in recent case rate, reporting an average of 700 cases per million residents over the past seven days, which has nearly doubled in just the past few weeks. Minnesota also has a higher than average vaccination rate, with 67% of the entire population at least partially vaccinated, 78% of everyone 12 and up, 80% of the over 18 population and 99% of the 65+ population. Has anyone seen an article accusing Governor Tim Walz of being the “Angel of Death?” What’s even more impressive about Minnesota’s recent surge is that they’ve essentially equaled Texas’s recent summer peak: It’s fair to ask at this point, but did a major online media outlet say that Greg Abbot was running a “death cult?” The answer, as always, is yes. Yes of course they did. You’ll undoubtedly be shocked to learn that I searched for “Tim Walz death cult” and didn’t get any results, even though Minnesota has reported more cumulative COVID cases than Texas after adjusting for population. Bewildering. New Mexico & Oregon The state with the third highest recent case rate is New Mexico, who you might remember from the glowing article published in September 2020 in Scientific American, extolling their virtues for “controlling” the spread of COVID. Infamously, that article was written before cases immediately went up 2,450%. But back to this year. As True Believers in The Science™, New Mexico is one of the few states remaining to have a statewide mask mandate for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, which has been in place for nearly three months. Shockingly, cases have nearly doubled since: And naturally, as a result of this dramatic success, they extended the mandate just a few days ago. Confusingly, New Mexico’s currently reporting higher case numbers than neighboring Colorado and Utah, states that have followed nearly identical curves for twenty months now: New Mexico’s vaccination rates are the highest of the three as well: New Mexico TOTAL POPULATION AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 74%/63% 12 AND UP AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 86%/74% 65 AND UP AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - >99%/89% Colorado TOTAL POPULATION AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 69%/62% 12 AND UP AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 80%/73% 65 AND UP AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 95%/87% Utah TOTAL POPULATION AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 62%/55% 12 AND UP AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 77%/67% 65 AND UP AT LEAST ONE DOSE/FULLY VACCINATED - 98%/88% I’ll admit I didn’t check, but I have significant doubts that Michelle Lujan Grisham has been accused of running a death cult or being a dangerous “anti-vaxxer.” Meanwhile, Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown has seen deaths skyrocket to the highest levels of the pandemic, currently ranking in the top 10 in the country despite an active mask mandate and above average vaccination rate: Nothing to see here either! Vermont One of the more remarkable surges is happening in Vermont, which currently ranks fifth in the country in population adjusted case rate. Cases in Vermont peaked last winter at 277 per million in January of this year. Their recent case rate peak this month is 591 cases per million. Remember, this is after world famous expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that getting just 50% of adults vaccinated would make surges a thing of the past: Vermont has 93% of adults with some level of vaccination. Cases are double what they were last winter. And while Governor Phil Scott is a Republican, 66.1% of state residents voted for Joe Biden. Somehow I doubt Salon will be updating their story on “unvaccinated Trumpers spreading Delta” given what’s happened in Vermont: Hard to blame “unvaccinated Trumpers” in a state where only 30% of people voted for Trump and 93% of adults are vaccinated, so you won’t be seeing any stories from the media placing the blame for COVID on Vermont’s political ideology. Sure does poke some holes in the obscene push for vaccine passports as well, doesn't it? *  *  * So what are the lessons we can learn from this? Well, if you belong to the proper ideology, you can avoid being accused of running a death cult, being the Angel of Death or courting anti-vaxxers by promoting monoclonal antibodies. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have mask mandates or have lower than average vaccination rates, you can avoid most media criticism. Four of the top five states in current case rates are either run by Democratic governors or where the populace overwhelmingly voted for Joe Biden. All are also seeing hospitalizations rising significantly too. It’s remarkable how it works, isn’t it? When cases are rising in areas where the incorrect set of political beliefs is dominant, it’s a moral failing that would be easily preventable if masks were mandated or vaccination rates improved. When cases rise in areas with the correct set of media approved political beliefs, no matter what the vaccination rates are or mask wearing rules, it’s an unfortunate barrier to be overcome and an unavoidable increase likely due to seasonal effects and infinitesimal percentages of unvaccinated Trumpers. Or unmasked kids. This was an entirely predictable sequence of events, and exactly the same pattern we saw last year. Cases rose in the South during the summer, leading to mass criticism of free-dumb loving Covidiots, only for colder climates to take off a few months later to deafening silence. The media never learns. Purposefully never learns. They’re unable to accept that the spread of a highly infectious respiratory virus is not a moral examination to be passed or that there’s essentially no correlation with government intervention and better COVID outcomes. Remember, Sweden ranks 54th in the world in COVID deaths per million: Is it any wonder why we never hear about them anymore? Tyler Durden Thu, 11/18/2021 - 21:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 18th, 2021

Brits Will Need 3 Jabs To Be Considered "Fully Vaccinated": UK PM Johnson

Brits Will Need 3 Jabs To Be Considered "Fully Vaccinated": UK PM Johnson Authored by Alexander Zhang via The Epoch Times, People will need to have COVID-19 booster shots on top of the original two doses to be considered “fully vaccinated” in the UK, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday. At a Downing Street press briefing, Johnson said the concept of what constitutes “full vaccination” will need to be adjusted. “On boosters, it’s very clear that getting three jabs—getting your booster—will become an important fact and it will make life easier for you in all sorts of ways, and we will have to adjust our concept of what constitutes a full vaccination to take account of that,” he said. “As we can see from what’s happening, the two jabs sadly do start to wane, so we’ve got to be responsible and we’ve got to reflect that fact in the way we measure what constitutes full vaccination.” Johnson said the government will be making plans to add the booster to the digital COVID-19 passport issued by the National Health Service. The prime minister urged people to get the booster jab as soon as they are eligible. “It would be an utter tragedy if, after everything we have been through, people who had done the right thing by getting double vaccinated ended up becoming seriously ill or even losing their lives because they allowed their immunity to wane,” he said. Earlier on Monday, the UK government accepted the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to extend the booster vaccine programme to include people aged 40 to 49. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We know immunity to COVID-19 begins to wane after six months and new data published today shows a third dose boosts protection against symptomatic infection to more than 90 percent—this highlights just how important it is that everyone eligible gets their top-up jabs as soon as possible.” Johnson told the Downing Street press conference there were “storm clouds” gathering over parts of Europe with a “new wave” of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus sweeping through central Europe and now affecting Western Europe. “We don’t yet know the extent to which this new wave will sweep up on our shores but history shows that we cannot afford to be complacent,” he said. But Johnson said there was nothing in the data to suggest the country needed to move to the so-called Plan B, a backup strategy that involves measures such as vaccine passports and mandatory face coverings in public places. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/16/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 16th, 2021