Links 20 March 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing:





Leith van Onselen



    U.S. jobless claims surge to highest since September 2017 as coronavirus hits employment … Reuters / Yahoo Finance

    (Reuters) – Initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose more than expected to 281,000 in the latest week from an unrevised 211,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said on Thursday, in the first indication of the toll on employment from the coronavirus outbreak.

    Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise to 220,000.

  2. “Scott Morrison is heading down a road that may require him to do what was politically unimaginable only three weeks ago.

    Some companies may end up having to be nationalised, if even only temporarily.

    The government isn’t there just yet. But people should be under no illusion as to what might be coming down the pipeline.

    It may sound dramatic but it may be necessary and, in the end, the smart and right thing to do.

    The $105bn rescue package announce­d on Thursday may be just the first instalment in trying to avoid extended weakness that leaves a damaged economy.

    There are privately run bus ­services, even airports and airlines and basic economic infrastructure that, if they are about to fail in the hands of private enterprise, may ultimately have to be transferred into taxpayers’ hands for a time.”

    • We nationalise those businesses and then sell it back to them at a nice profit.

      All these free market sissies turn into card carrying socialists as soon as the going gets tough.

    • Ffs..these basic infrastructure should have never been privatised in the first place. The public should own this.
      I am.starting to think this virus is not a bad price to pay economically. It is reversing all the b.s. the govts have stuffed up last 30 yrs.

      • Why do you think the oligarchs won’t come out of this on top again? Even if the government nationalises a few services I can see them being gifted back to the usual suspects once the last few dollars of aid have been wrung from the public purse.
        Dutton style chasing down of those profiteering from a national crisis means hunting down the toilet paper hoarders not the millionaire crony capitalists.

        • They’ll buy even more depreciated or stranded assets for a song consolidating ownership into a few small groups with retiring politicians receiving nice little board or consulting numbers.

    • MountainGuinMEMBER

      Pretty reasonable to take equity in response to a govt bailout. Need to make sure any remaining board or CEO do not continue to get fat salaries and huge bonuses.

    • Oh the irony. A LNP government forced to act in the interests of ordinary taxpayers, even if indirectly. Gee that must hurt. If only they would decide to keep those businesses when this is all over. We could have profits from them added to government revenue.

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      Look at the contrast between the data coming out of the US and Italy right now, and China.
      The lack of transparent data out of China was criminal.

      • Italy is being open about the real infection and mortality rates. They starkly illustrate the Chinese lies.

      • Ronin8317MEMBER

        The Chinese data right now is an act of fiction, but during January and February the numbers is transparent if you add the suspected case to the total number of infected. Hubei had only 3000 test kits a day at the start, that’s why the number of cases cannot go up beyond that.

        • No different to the numbers in Australia given that people are only tested if they have been in a high risk area overseas or in contact with a person who is CoVid positive due to the shortage of test equipment. Was talking to my Dr (check up only) about this and we reckon there’d easily be ten times the reported number wondering around unaware. It’s alive and well and out of control in Australia.

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      Entirely too optimistic. And Trump hasn’t even been re-elected yet either.

  3. Arthur Schopenhauer

    According to the FDA, there is a blood test in development that will:
    – identify corona
    – flag if you have had it
    – flag if you have immunity

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      Hey bloke, get some anxiety meds, seriously! Don’t smoke cones. Maybe get some good acid.

    • Reverse Transcriptase

      That would almost certainly be true, it is just a question of timing to get it available. The basic principles of ELISA assays are well established, you just need stable probes that will resist the manufacturing and transporting etc without denaturing. It is definitely doable.

      • The ‘just’ thing is the hardest thing of all! If only we could just remove it, we’d be home and hosed all the time, every time. 😷

  4. Kouk is asking for the Government to pay everyone’s mortgages. What if you have 12 of them or 300 like Nathan Birch?

  5. Reverse Transcriptase

    Journalist with zero track record for questioning endless migration (even did a piece on v*brant women’s tapestry last year) now complaining that there are too many people trying to buy stuff at her local supermarkets.

    Australia has been importing far too many people for far too long and those of us who opposed it were called racialist. Now Australia has too many people to feed and care for. Although this specific pandemic was not foretold, the likely impact of an inevitable recession in terms of strain on health and welfare systems was foretold long, long ago.

    Unless you were on record opposing mass migration before, or unless you are prepared now to call out India on its duplicitous strategy of blocking the return of its own citizens, so that other countries are forced to feed and ventilate then, and you are prepared to support a prompt exiting of non productive temporary residents, then shut up about the crowded shops now.

    It was all fine and good for the ilk of DomainFax / Conversation etc to indulge their ideologies when the economy was (appeared to be) ticking along as the migrants poured in. It is pure hypocrisy to complain now.

    • If that comment is in support of efforts to ensure the CCP is defeated in it’s goal to cast doubt on the Chinese origin of the virus, sure I support that 100%. But I think Wuhan Virus is more accurate. Place not people, so it’s name is like the Spanish Flu.

  6. Fishing72MEMBER

    It’s worth noting , now that the situation regarding the virus is more established, just how keen the Chinese government was on exporting the virus worldwide back when it was only themselves who had a proper idea of what it entailed.

    Remember the public accusations by the Chinese consulate that the ( insufficient ) border controls with China were racially motivated and a harsh overreaction ? Direct appeals to government , with consequences threatened, if we didn’t allow the Chinese infected onto our shores ?

    They KNEW what they were doing. Hard not to assume malicious intent in hindsight.

  7. Bank guarantee and the Big Four – aside from the $250k guarantee, for temporary safe haven and unrestricted access to shift money around, are they equal or are some more equal than others? Which one(s) stink less?

    • just buy gold and silver. why would you lend your money to a bank that needs government intervention to remain solvent?

  8. haroldusMEMBER

    On to more important things. ermo’s wank ratio.

    I have been frantically crunching the numbers, and that’s not a euphonium.

    I see where I made my mistake. Got my numerator and denominator mixed up.

    I was doing days per wank rather than wank per day.

    100 days, 50 wanks = 100/50 = 2 days per wank. Less wanks than days.

    100 wanks, 50 days = 100/50 = 2 wanks per day.

    Therefore 27010 wanks divided by 37 years * 365 days is 27010/37*365

    Which is 2 wanks a day!

    Well done ermo.

    Don’t get harry to jet a choke.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      You know Harry that 2 per day is just an estimated average over the last 37 years.
      Now im approaching 50, and with a family of my own, Im haveing trouble maintaining Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy’s recommendation for good prostate health of one crank per day.
      I fear, with age, I am rapidly approaching your initially incorrect calculation of 0.5 per day average.
      That 2 per day figure takes into account the highly active and healthy teenage years where on some days, usually when home sick from school, attempts would be made to break daily maximum records.
      Like you correctly pointed out yesterday I/we didn’t really take into account,…Leap years.


    Federal ‘Fair Housing’ Policy Set for a Major Overhaul … Christian Britschgi … Reason
    … h/t PM …

    The new rule would ask localities receiving federal funding to report on their housing market outcomes and propose concrete steps for improving affordability.

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sent a major rewrite of federal fair housing regulation to Congress in late December.

    The proposed rule would ask localities receiving federal housing funding to report on their housing market outcomes and then to propose concrete steps for improving housing affordability. Localities that either have affordable housing or see housing become more affordable over a five-year period could be rewarded with additional grant money and other incentives. The department told Congress it would “focus remedial resources and potential regulatory enforcement actions” against the lowest-performing jurisdictions. … read more via hyperlink above …
    A useful guide identifying local jurisdictions that need to lift their game … or face severe financial penalties …

    2020 16th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey

  10. CORONAVIRUS … learning from Singapore and Germany …

    Why Singapore’s coronavirus response worked – and what we can all learn … Dale Fisher … National University Singapore / Stuff New Zealand–and-what-we-can-all-learn

    Singapore’s response to the coronavirus has been held up by many around the world as a model. As of this week, the country has had 266 total cases (with zero deaths), and its infection rate is much slower than the rest of the world.

    The first thing that helped with its response was it was ready before the outbreak even occurred because of the Sars outbreak of 2002-03. … read more via hyperlink above …

    … and Germany …

    Why does Germany have such a low coronavirus death rate? … Justin Huggler … UK Telegraph (behind paywall)

    • Germany has 4-5 times more ventilators per capita than Australia. These things cost just $25k and we only have 2000 odd in Australia.

      • $25k each? 2,000 units?!

        That is wasteful government spending. Those things sit unused most of the time, and the taxpayer has to pay for them.

        Then, because it’s so damn expensive to waste all this money on medical doodads that nobody really used much, dirty labor tries to remove franking credit refunds and negative gearing from people who worked hard and paid tax all their lives.

        Cut the waste!

        To recoup some losses, we might be able to sell 1,000 of these things at $50,000 a pop – demand is high these days. $50m that will be useful for the government to buy water rights back from Angus Taylor’s cayman company. After all, we can’t live without water. Oh and FHOG boost – we can’t live without houses, either.

        • You have a point. We save $25k plus much more for each pensioner that cannot get access to one.

          Perhaps hospital triage will involve questions like:
          Do you have a job?
          Do you have a mortgage?
          How much tax did you pay last year?
          Are you a self-funded retiree?