Links 18 March 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing:





Leith van Onselen


  1. Seems like the issue where you click page 2 on the homepage and go back in time several days/weeks has been fixed? Or maybe it was just me. If it has been fixed thanks!

  2. Sometimes when i check the headlines after losing myself in a book I wonder what kind of alternate reality I’ve wandered into. Doesn’t matter what it is; ABC, Guardian, Daily Mail, Zerohedge, beetoota advocate it’s all the same result. Just amazement and a serious case of ‘fck me’. Daily Mail and Zerohedge have the best headlines. I mean i wrapped my head around what was happening really quickly but still sometimes it just takes your breath away. No wonder so many people are I denial and just can’t grasp what is happening. I should have more sympathy fortheir inability to understand that things have changed, for their lack of imagination and intellectual flexibility and for their ignorance but it is hard. I lived nearly 2 decades in what i call the ‘desperate world’ which is different to the ‘comfortable world’ that is Australia. If your didn’t develop survival skills fast in China you’d either possibly actually die or very definitely be metaphorically eaten alive. Australians need to smarten the fck up and lean to survive (graciously though, no need to fight over tp or run down the old or infirm on their way to that bag of rice) quick smart

    • I remember during gfc the general feeling of “the end of the world as we know it”, the doom of next great depression and failure of the capitalism…
      Nothing happened at the end … the rich became richer and poor poorer
      This looks like staged overreaction to turn one more vusiness cycle
      Even if this virus kills 100 million thats not much more than 60 million who die every year anyway (large percentage of those dying from corona would die anyway soon)

      • Arthur Schopenhauer

        It’s a totally different experience when you’ve got it.

        Knowing there is a 1 in 180 chance of dying, in the next month focuses the mind.

        Because of the poor response i Oz, at some point most people on this forum will get it, and here’s the kicker, over the next month.

        There is nothing comparable in history. All previous plagues and pandemics spread very slowly. Even the Spanish flu. Global interconnectedness is virus jet fuel.

        Don’t kid yourselves. This is more serious than swine flu.

        • previous plagues and pandemics spread very slowly between communities but quickly within them, and people didn’t know it’s coming nor they understood how

          And the great fear of death in this case is pure media product. Chances of dying from corona for a large majority of population is not that much greater than normal chance of dying, the difference is that now we think about it

          e.g. a 35 year old male normally has a chance of dying at around 0.1% and with contracting this virus is likely not even double that to 0.2%. Even the worst case stats say contracting a virus will only triple chances to 0.3% – that’s still extremely low and close to normal chance of dying of someone who is 50
          it’s similar for 75 year olds who normally have 3.5% chance of dying that year and with worst case scenario with virus that doubles to 8%

          The problem is fear of death – not death itself.
          For a long time we lived in a world isolated from death and dying, large number of people never even saw a dead person by the age of 40 or even later. Overnight wake ceremonies have been reduced to a short speech before the funeral, funerals have been turned into some kind of business meeting events, none thinks about death, none is familiar with it and everyone is scared of unknown. Death is a tragedy but humanity used to be used to deal with it. Today death is the greatest taboo of the western world

          so we are not ready to cope not because chances of dying are great but because we are not psychologically prepared to deal with it

          • The Traveling Wilbur

            And I am not frightened of dying. Any time will do, I don’t mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There’s no reason for it – you’ve got to go sometime.

            Gerry O’Driscoll, Abbey Road Studios janitorial “browncoat”.

            Understandably Arthur’s views may differ slightly on this subject at the ‘mo.

            Good luck mate. Make sure you look after yourself and the family before anything else.

          • The top 3 causes of death 15-45 year age group are suicide, accidental poisoning(drug od), and traffic accidents. Death due to natural causes are much lower.

          • Arthur Schopenhauer

            Denial. Doctor said this morning that people under 35 can be asymptomatic but it is causing a great deal of damage to their lungs.

            (Papers from Italy and China.)

          • I’m not trying here to reduce real risk but rather the overblown perceived risk people have in their mind
            people are really bad in estimating personal risk – they either assume it’s zero or fatal
            for most of population getting into a car is risky and not much less risky than contracting CV, yet none will perceive it that way
            getting behind the wheel after two beers is probably more risky than CV for most of people but many people still do it, not to mention extreme sport, …

            maybe CV leaves great deal of damage to their lungs but playing sport does the same to joints and muscles yet people don’t perceive it as a great risk.

            CV may reduce life expectancy of younger people by few years but chronic stress does the same
            living few years less should not be a big deal for someone who has more than half of life left

          • Thanks DrX for putting this in perspective.
            I have no qualifications to expand on what you’ve already said except in so far as I’ve had several close friends commit Suicide and many friends dabble with drugs in the end not caring if they lived or died.
            In my opinion both of these escapes are escapes from social conditions that the individual simply can’t seem to cope with, usually the solution is available it’s just something that the person can’t deal with at that particular point in time.
            I’m mentioning this because a lot of us can deal well with social isolation (distancing) but some of the more vulnerable (especially mental health wise) can’t deal with isolation. Those that can’t deal with this imposed isolation will find solutions that are within their control, for many that means killing themselves.
            So as much as the medical profession would like to pretend that there is no cost associated with isolation for the 15 to 45 year old groups I’m not so sure we won’t see sky-rocketting suicide stats precisely in the group that would otherwise see next to no deaths.

    • Tell us about this desperate world you experienced Popcod. Aspects on the differences. What they value, how they deal with each other on business/personal life etc. How they view the world…… their daily lives…..
      Someone who’s lived it has more value than any journalist writing from a 2 week tour perspective.


    ASB: Heat has evaporated from housing market … Susan Edmunds … Stuff New Zealand

    Expect house prices to fall for the next six months, ASB says – and another economist says its prediction may be too light. … read more via hyperlink above …
    … New Zealand’s housing is the most overpriced in the English – speaking world … with its larger metros at 7.0 times gross annual household incomes / median multiple …

    2020 16th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey

  4. Important Imperial College London report on the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-
    19 mortality and healthcare demand:

    “Perhaps our most significant conclusion is that mitigation is unlikely to be feasible without emergency surge capacity limits of the UK and US healthcare systems being exceeded many times over. In the most effective mitigation strategy examined, which leads to a single, relatively short epidemic (case isolation, household quarantine and social distancing of the elderly), the surge limits for both general ward and ICU beds would be exceeded by at least 8-fold under the more optimistic scenario for critical care requirements that we examined. In addition, even if all patients were able to be treated, we predict there would still be in the order of 250,000 deaths in GB, and 1.1-1.2 million in the US.

    In the UK, this conclusion has only been reached in the last few days, with the refinement of estimates of likely ICU demand due to COVID-19 based on experience in Italy and the UK (previous planning estimates assumed half the demand now estimated) and with the NHS providing increasing certainty around the limits of hospital surge capacity.

    We therefore conclude that epidemic suppression is the only viable strategy at the current time. The social and economic effects of the measures which are needed to achieve this policy goal will be profound. Many countries have adopted such measures already, but even those countries at an earlier
    stage of their epidemic (such as the UK) will need to do so imminently.

    Our analysis informs the evaluation of both the nature of the measures required to suppress COVID19 and the likely duration that these measures will need to be in place. Results in this paper have informed policymaking in the UK and other countries in the last weeks. However, we emphasise that
    is not at all certain that suppression will succeed long term; no public health intervention with such disruptive effects on society has been previously attempted for such a long duration of time. How populations and societies will respond remains unclear.”

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      They had to take extreme measures two weeks ago. A Cabinet of Cowards with no care or immagination.

    • An interesting comment on that article:

      “It’s time to close our borders to all but citizens and existing permanent residents, the way Canada has done. With our hospitals and health system facing the very likely possibility of being overwhelmed in the coming weeks and months, every new migrant, working holidaymaker and tourist admitted to the country is another potential user of the hospital system. And with so many Australians set to lose their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis and the economy on the way to a major recession or even depression, it is obscene to keep bringing in new permanent and temporary migrants and backpackers with working rights.

      At the moment people from all but a few countries can come to Australia, self-isolate for two weeks and then move freely in the community. This must be stopped. And we have a right to know this in advance: If they are overwhelmed, how will hospitals triage patients? Will the elderly and people with other serious medical conditions be placed last, like has been reported to have happened in Italy? Does citizenship take priority over non-citizenship? Will an 80 year old Australian citizen who has paid tax all his/her working life be given more, less or the same priority as a tourist or temporary worker? The overwhelming of the hospital system is a real possibility and the government should make the triage rules well known in advance.”

    • it turns out almost nowhere in the western big cities society or community exists

      even on this website we were told that home mobility is good and should be supported by government to improve employment and stimulate economy – changing composition of a neighbourhood every 7 years doesn’t create a community it destroys it (that the average time between two sales of a house in Australia)
      should be get rid of stamp duty so people buy, sell, move more frequently

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        No, I’m pretty sure what we are “told” is that people shouldn’t face significant financial burden for wanting or needing to move house.

    • In the northern rivers there is – little communities having woodfired pizza nights at town halls and little groups etc etc

      Exception rather than rule though

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      They will be spreading the virus to the regional towns with their selfish action. Total travel ban will be inevitable.

    • There’s still some community where I live but community is why I want to move somewhere really rural eventually (away from the influence of a big city, so at least a 5 hr driveaway on the mainland). I’m kinda flexible, I can change some of the surface values and culture I have to fit in

    • Should be taken of the bus and shot with their haul either returned to the shops or distributed to charities.

      • Yes once you start hanging them from street lights it soon stops nice big wack across the snout your dealing with morale bankrupt turds imported for profit making in other words farm animals cheap labour no grey matter to think clearly under pressure

    • Our local supermarket has security from today, no local ID no shop. Locals are pissed, know many of the staff personally. Us and them has started. Shopping this morning had some of the younger brawn fired up for enforcement. Upside is that the older dears are getting called on and people are organising within the community. Neighbours starting to chat, albeit at a distance with one another.

    • I’m told of busloads of Locusts cleaning Goulburn out on a near daily basis….. It’s not like they don’t stand out there. Locals are starting to get Antsy…..!

  5. last night in a local supermarket I saw many people loading trolleys full of milk and than later people with little kids missed out.
    It appears that kids are not in the focus of our government whatsoever, actually the plan is to use them as scapegoats

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      Our government hates kids. Any society that forces two parents to work to pay a mortgage hates kids.

      A crisis like this reveals the character of a nation.

      • that is true
        neoliberal thinking is” why spend money of kids under 18 when you can import full fee paying foreign students

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      Most of the milk will be pour down the drain and wasted. It is panic buying without a purpose.

  6. Arthur Schopenhauer

    US; $2000- cash grant for all workers.
    UK: 3 month mortgage holiday.

    Our government is so flatfooted. Our citizens are so ill prepared. Very few people have a clue, thanks to exceptionally poor communication and underplaying the severity.

      • for some people yes and that’s what welfare should fix

        but general problem in the economy is not lack of the demand, neither is supply issue – simply people are not allowed to do any activity
        and that’s where economists are failing – a third options is not in any of the books or models

      • Arthur Schopenhauer

        Not sure what you are saying Peachy.

        If people have to stay home, they either need outgoings minimized, or income increased. Especially the 25% of casuals.

        The UK strategy would be more effective here.

        And the $2000- was a typo. It’s $1000-.

        • At the end of the day people need shelter, basic services, foodstuffs and other basic supplies.

          Which is different to money. Or income or outgoings. Refer doctorx above.

          • Arthur Schopenhauer

            Gotcha. I’m not really with it ATM. More Id than Ego.

            Yeah. Weekly food ration and shelter cost amnesty look important.

        • Unfortunately our banks have over 60% of their loan books in residential mortgages, compared to 15% in normal countries. Could be done in the short term to get through the worst of the shutdown. However, not paying mortgages will then lead to bank bailouts sooner rather than later (when property collapses).

          I wonder how long until many workers need emergency access to their super to get by, leading to more selling of shares.

  7. Reverse Transcriptase

    India today further extended its ban on arriving international passengers and said that it would not provide entry to even Indian passport holders residing in the United Kingdom, Turkey and whole of Europe till the end of March.

    So much for massive exits of New Australians. Good thing we have a ‘world class’ medical system with tons of spare ICU capacity …

    • How racialist of them. We demand our hordes of Australian residents are allowed in to study University there.

  8. Arthur Schopenhauer

    Daily Corona Symptom Checkin
    Day 7
    Retreating symptoms. Body ache fading. Chest is tighter. I definitely couldn’t run 50m. No cough. No muscle pain. No spiking temp. No face flushing or itchy eyes. Appetite has returned. (That’s got to be a good sign.) Still feel fatigued.

    Its generally improving. Tends to get worse mid-afternoon and evening.

    It would be great to sleep mid afternoon but there is a 5 year shutin that needs looking after.

    The best thing is sleep. It was hard over the weekend as I was waking in the night, hot and generally uncomfortable.

    5 year old is a bundle of energy during the day (whocoukdanode?) and then goes to bed early.

    Wife has had it worse, and seems to be improving as of this morning. She is a few years younger than me.

    We have a washing and cleaning regime to minimize viral load in house. Particularly bathroom and bedrooms.

  9. Reverse Transcriptase

    I am on the verge of openly advising the New Australians stripping the shelves bare in my local area that now would be a good time for them to go back to their own country for the duration …

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      Yep. One more rate cut and every thing will be fix!

      On a related note: where are my mortgage rate cut/s t0ssers? *shakes fist at the big four*.

  10. Reverse Transcriptase

    Morrison’s address to the nation: completing ignoring the disharmony flowing from the failed mass migration social experiment he and the scum who came before him on both sides thrust upon the country and suggesting ‘we are all in this together’, stop hoarding and if you see bad behaviour ‘call it out’.

    FFS: try telling that to a ‘New Australian’ round Merrylands / Auburn and see how long you survive.

    Ditto to his ridiculous notion of trying to stay 1.5m away from the next person in public. Let’s try that in the migrant stuffed areas like Green Square where the population density approaches that of Mumbai.

  11. ITALY …

    Italy’s coronavirus death toll surges past 2,500 – Live updates … ALJAZEERA

    Italy reported 345 new coronavirus deaths in the country over the last 24 hours taking its total death toll to 2,503 – an increase of 16 percent.

    The total number of cases in Italy rose to 31,506 from a previous 27,980, up 12.6 percent – the slowest rate of increase since the contagion came to light on February 21. Italy is the European country hardest hit by coronavirus.
    ‘This is like a war’: view from Italy’s coronavirus frontline … The Guardian