Monday, 31 August 2020

“UBI” Playing With Lit Fuse Dynamite!

Baltic Dry Index. 1488 -16  Brent Crude 46.10
Spot Gold 1970

Coronavirus Cases 31/8/20 World 25,305,727
Deaths 855,131

"You don't know how to lie. If you can't lie, you'll never go anywhere."

President Richard Nixon, giving advice to a political associate.

With most of the UK on a bank holiday today, and the US markets headed for another dress up the month-end stocks and indexes unless Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida tosses a spanner in the works later today via his speech, highly unlikely, we focus today on activity in Asia and a bad, sad, development in Spain.

Look away from the still rising coronavirus cases, and the still rising gold price, or the now rising oil price. Look instead at hopium in Asia, led of all people by Warren Buffett. Is Buffett quietly diversifying out of USA risk ahead of the November election?

Asian stocks reach 29-month top, China services surprisingly strong

August 31, 2020 / 1:50 AM
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian shares notched a 29-month high on Monday as investors wagered monetary and fiscal policies globally would stay super stimulatory, while an upbeat reading on China’s service sector augured well for continued recovery there.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.5% to reach its highest since March 2018, extending a 2.8% gain last week.

Chinese blue chips .CSI300 firmed 0.7% to reach levels not seen since mid-2015. Surveys showed Chinese manufacturing activity edged back a tick to 51.0 in July, but services jumping a full point to 55.2 in a hopeful sign of reviving consumer demand.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 climbed another 0.5%, while EUROSTOXX 50 futures STXEc1 added 1%.

Tokyo's Nikkei .N225 rallied 1.9% aided by news Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) had bought more than 5% stakes in each of the five leading Japanese trading companies.

The Nikkei had dipped on Friday after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s resignation stirred doubts about future fiscal and monetary stimulus policies.

Those concerns were eased somewhat by news Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, and a close ally of Abe, would join the race to succeed his boss. A slimmed-down leadership contest is likely around Sept. 13 to 15.

Attention was now on a host of Federal Reserve officials that are set to speak this week, kicking off with Vice Chair Richard Clarida later Monday as they put more flesh on the bank’s new policy framework

Chinese investors snap up Hong Kong property as new security law deters foreigners

August 31, 2020 / 12:06 AM
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Mainland Chinese investors are scouring Hong Kong’s commercial property market for bargains after prices plunged 30%, signalling a new wave of demand following anti-government protests last year that kept a lid on investment activity.

Property agents expect the influx of Chinese capital, which has helped Hong Kong become one of the world’s most expensive property markets, can once again prop up the sector as China recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and stands ready to deploy liquidity. 

In August alone, mainland buyers snapped up at least two office towers and one hotel building worth HK$4 billion (386.74 million pounds)in total, according to agents and filings.

“A majority of recent large-value building deals were bought by Chinese investors; their number has really grown in the third quarter,” said Reeves Yan, head of capital markets at CBRE Hong Kong.

“They’re looking for bargains ... and they’re confident in Hong Kong in the long term.”

The pick-up in demand coincides with the imposition of a national security law in Hong Kong on June 30, which authorities in Beijing and the financial centre have said is necessary to ensure its stability and prosperity.

“We expect to see more mainland investors coming to buy land,” said Dennis Cheng, senior sales director at Ricacorp (C.I.R.) Properties.

---- The move by Chinese investors is in stark contrast to foreign investors, who are staying away due to growing concerns over the city’s future. Critics of the legislation say it has pushed the former British colony onto a more authoritarian path following months of sometimes violent democracy protests last year.

“Foreign investors are still absent. I spoke to two foreign funds recently who said they won’t consider Hong Kong at the moment because the political risks are relatively high now,” said Daniel Wong, CEO of Midland IC&I.

Japan factory output up but retail sales down amid fragile recovery from pandemic

August 31, 2020 / 1:21 AM
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s factory output rose in July at the fastest pace on record, driven by automobiles and car parts, signaling a gradual recovery from the blow delivered by the coronavirus pandemic.

But retail sales fell for a fifth straight month and at a somewhat faster pace, a worrying sign for private consumption, which accounts for more than half of the world’s third-largest economy. 

Monday’s data underscored the fragility of an economy that suffered a record 27.8% contraction in the April-June quarter as the pandemic took a heavy toll on both domestic and external demand.

While analysts believe the economy has bottomed out after lockdowns were lifted in late May, they say any rebound will be modest amid worries about a second wave of infections.

“The bounce-back in factory output will run its course in August and we expect a pullback in production in October-December,” said Toru Suehiro, senior market economist at Mizuho Securities.

“Factory output will fluctuate from now on to settle in at about 90% of the pre-coronavirus crisis level,” he said.

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) data showed Japan’s industrial output grew 8.0% in July from the previous month, versus economists’ median estimate of a 5.8% gain and following a 1.9% increase in June.

The growth rate was the fastest on record going back to 1978, the government said.

Buffett’s Berkshire Wagers $6 Billion on Japan Trading Firms

By Katherine Chiglinsky and Stephen Stapczynski
Updated on August 31, 2020, 5:20 AM GMT+1
Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsui jump after Berkshire discloses stakes
·         Buffett says ‘delighted’ to participate in the future of Japan

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. bought stakes in five of Japan’s biggest trading companies, adding to the billionaire investor’s wager on the commodities sector and marking one of his largest-ever forays into Asia’s second-largest economy.

Berkshire acquired the stakes of about 5% in Itochu Corp., Marubeni Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co. and Sumitomo Corp. over the past twelve months, the U.S. conglomerate said in a statement. The investments were valued at more than $6 billion combined after shares of all five companies jumped at least 5% in Tokyo trading on Monday.

While Buffett has stayed relatively cautious with his record cash hoard since Covid-19 rippled through the global economy, Berkshire has been adding to its commodities exposure with deals including a $4 billion agreement to purchase most of Dominion Energy Inc.’s natural gas pipeline and storage assets in July.

Valuations in the sector have trailed the broader stock market in recent years, dragged down by falling commodities prices and an investor rotation toward technology stocks that has accelerated during the pandemic. Most of the Japanese companies targeted by Berkshire are major players in the nation’s energy and raw-materials industries, trade at less than book value and offer higher dividend yields than the benchmark Topix index.

“These trading companies generate strong cash flow, they pay out a lot of dividends and they have businesses that can’t be easily replicated,” said Thanh Ha Pham, an analyst at Jefferies Japan Ltd.

Buffett’s wager could help bolster sentiment toward both commodity plays and Japan. The $5 trillion economy is not only grappling with a persistent coronavirus outbreak and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, it’s also going through a leadership transition after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation for health reasons last week. Japan’s benchmark Topix index climbed as much as 1.9% on Monday, pacing regional gains and snapping three days of losses.

Finally, the reality of “universal basic income” for all, well some at least. Is there a free lunch for the few but not the many?

Looks that way in Spain, and headed for the USA under Democrat Socialists Biden-Harris. I can just guess who gets UBI and who doesn’t in a polarised Democrat Socialist run USA.

I can also guess who gets to pay the Democrat Socialist  “wealth taxes,” aka theft taxes, too.

The “no billionaire left behind” central banksters are playing with dynamite with a lit fuse.

Spain struggles to put in place basic income scheme

30 Aug 2020 04:31PM (Updated: 30 Aug 2020 04:40PM)
MADRID: Three months after Spain rushed to launch a minimum basic income scheme to fight a spike in poverty due to the coronavirus pandemic, the programme is at a dead-end because of an avalanche of applications.

The measure was a pledge made by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's left-wing coalition government, which took office in January, bringing together his Socialist party with far-left Podemos as the junior partner.

The scheme - approved in late May - aims to guarantee an income of €462 (US$546) per month for an adult living alone, while for families, there would be an additional €139 per person, whether adult or child, up to a monthly maximum of €1,015 per home. It is expected to cost state coffers €3 billion euros a year.

The government decided to bring forward the launch of the programme because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit Spain hard and devastated its economy, causing queues at food banks to swell.

Of the 750,000 applications which were filed since Jun 15 when the government started accepting requests, 143,000 - or 19 per cent - have been analysed and 80,000 were approved, according to a social security statement issued on Aug 20.


But Spain's main civil servants' union, CSIF, paints a darker picture.

"Nearly 99 per cent of requests have not been processed," a union spokesman, Jose Manuel Molina, told AFP.

The social security ministry has only really analysed 6,000 applications while 74,000 households that already receive financial aid were awarded the basic income automatically, he added.

For hundreds of thousands of other households, the wait is stressful.

"I was not lying. I said things that later on seemed to be untrue."

President Richard Nixon, reflecting on the Watergate scandal in 1978

Covid-19 Corner                       

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

U.S. Cases Near 6 Million; India Sets Daily Record: Virus Update

Bloomberg News
Updated on August 31, 2020, 3:21 AM GMT+1
Covid-19 infections worldwide surpassed 25 million, as India set a global record for daily cases and the U.S. tally approached the 6 million mark amid outbreaks on college campuses.

Indonesia saw infections spike over the weekend, while an outbreak in South Korea showed signs of easing. The U.K. added the most cases since early June amid slumping approval ratings for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.

New Zealand’s largest city exited lockdown after the government said the outbreak there has been brought under control. Hong Kong has embarked on the world’s biggest experiment in voluntary testing, with more than 300,000 people already signed up for the free tests.

Key Developments:


U.S. Cases Rise as Global Count Tops 25 Million: Virus Update

Bloomberg News
August 30, 2020, 1:23 AM GMT+1 Updated on August 30, 2020, 3:45 PM GMT+1

The global count of coronavirus infections passed the 25-million mark, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, as the U.S. added almost 47,000 new cases and India recorded its biggest daily spike.

New cases in Iran, one of the worst-affected countries during the initial phase of the pandemic, dropped to a three-month low. Turkey continued to increase taxes, this time on imported cars, to prop up the economy as the pandemic impacts tourism and exports to the

Missouri reports record number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day Saturday

By Ian Cummings  August 30, 2020 11:23 AM ,
Missouri reported its largest number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day Saturday, with 32 counted in a 24-hour period, according to the state public health agency.

Previously the largest number of deaths recorded in a single day had been 30, on April 24.

During the same 24-hour period Saturday, the state reported 1,198 new infections.

The latest figures from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services brought the total number of coronavirus deaths in the state to 1,496. The total number of cases was 82,190, with a seven-day positivity rate of 12.2%.

The number of hospitalizations from the virus in Missouri reached 976.

Before the 32 new deaths Saturday, the state recorded 14 deaths Friday. For several days this month the state had seen smaller numbers of deaths each day after 14 were reported Aug. 5.

Of all the coronavirus deaths reported so far in Missouri, the largest number, 749, have been among people 80 years old or older.

The virus has also killed 97 people aged 50-59, 30 people aged 40-49, 11 people aged 30-39 and 8 people in their 20s.

Missouri has been regularly reporting more than 1,000 new infections on a daily basis during the month of August.

US Covid-19 cases surpass 6 million as Midwest, schools report outbreaks

Issued on:
U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus surpassed 6 million on Sunday as many states in the Midwest reported increasing infections, according to a Reuters tally.

Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota have recently reported record one-day increases in new cases while Montana and Idaho are seeing record numbers of currently hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

Nationally, metrics on new cases, deaths, hospitalisations and the positivity rates of tests are all declining, but there are emerging hotspots in the Midwest.

Many of the new cases in Iowa are in the counties that are home to the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, which are holding some in-person classes. Colleges and universities around the country have seen outbreaks after students returned to campus, forcing some to switch to online-only learning.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said his state was sending a "SWAT team" to a State University of New York (SUNY) campus in Oneonta in upstate New York to contain a Covid-19 outbreak. Fall classes, which started last week at the college, were suspended for two weeks after more than 100 people tested positive for the virus, about 3% of the total student and faculty population, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said.

We have had reports of several large parties of our students at Oneonta last week, and unfortunately because of those larger gatherings, there were several students who were symptomatic of Covid," Malatras said.

Across the Midwest, infections have also risen after an annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota drew more than 365,000 people from across the country from Aug. 7 to 16. The South Dakota health department said 88 cases have been traced to the rally.

Some useful Covid links.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus resource centre

Rt Covid-19

"I would not like to be a Russian leader. They never know when they're being taped."

President Richard Nixon

Technology Update.
With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards.

An improved wearable, stretchable gas sensor using nanocomposites

Date: August 28, 2020

Source: Penn State

Summary: A stretchable, wearable gas sensor for environmental sensing has been developed and tested.

A stretchable, wearable gas sensor for environmental sensing has been developed and tested by researchers at Penn State, Northeastern University and five universities in China.

The sensor combines a newly developed laser-induced graphene foam material with a unique form of molybdenum disulfide and reduced-graphene oxide nanocomposites. The researchers were interested in seeing how different morphologies, or shapes, of the gas-sensitive nanocomposites affect the sensitivity of the material to detecting nitrogen dioxide molecules at very low concentration. To change the morphology, they packed a container with very finely ground salt crystals.

Nitrogen dioxide is a noxious gas emitted by vehicles that can irritate the lungs at low concentrations and lead to disease and death at high concentrations.

When the researchers added molybdenum disulfide and reduced graphene oxide precursors to the canister, the nanocomposites formed structures in the small spaces between the salt crystals. They tried this with a variety of different salt sizes and tested the sensitivity on conventional interdigitated electrodes, as well as the newly developed laser-induced graphene platform. When the salt was removed by dissolving in water, the researchers determined that the smallest salt crystals enabled the most sensitive sensor.

"We have done the testing to 1 part per million and lower concentrations, which could be 10 times better than conventional design," says Huanyu Larry Cheng, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics and materials science and engineering. "This is a rather modest complexity compared to the best conventional technology which requires high-resolution lithography in a cleanroom."

Ning Yi and Han Li, doctoral students at Penn State and co-authors on the paper in Materials Today Physics, added, "The paper investigated the sensing performance of the reduced graphene oxide/moly disulfide composite. More importantly, we find a way to enhance the sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio of the gas sensor by controlling the morphology of the composite material and the configuration of the sensor-testing platform. We think the stretchable nitrogen dioxide gas sensor may find applications in real-time environmental monitoring or the healthcare industry."

US Politics Betting Odds

The Monthly Coppock Indicators finished July

DJIA: 26,428 -1 Up. NASDAQ: 10,745 +243 Up. SP500: 3,271 +89 Up.

The NASDAQ has remained up. The DJIA and SP500 have turned up. With stock mania running fueled by trillions of central bankster new fiat money programs, I would not rely on the indicators.