Links 30 March 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing:





Leith van Onselen


  1. The self-isolation blues.
    i decided that today. is bring your hooman to work day. we stared out the window for hours. and they helped me spot the cars. scratched up dirt it was magical. We earned our afternoon nap, after placing cucumber behind cat.

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      Martenson’s stuff is very good.

      Perhaps, Scotty from Marketing, the CMO, every one of his deputy CMOs, and all the state and territory premiers/chiefs and their respective CHOs would benefit from viewing this half-hour video?

  2. Scott Morrison is, predictably, doing everything required to prevent forced property sales and therefore keep house prices from crashing.

    This is what the eviction moratorium is all about. Additionally, landlords/specufestors will be bailed out (indirectly through money thrown at their renters).

    But something is telling me that this deferred mortgage repayment scheme will backfire. Surely once it has stopped (after 6 months?) monthly mortgage repayments are going to balloon. A hell of a lot of these specufestors were already drowning with barely being able to make the required repayments. Increased loan repayments, very high unemployment (it’s not going simply return to 5% after the virus goes away) should cause forced sales.

    But, unfortunately, with the Australian property market there’s always something that will save it. Probably after the deferred period ends (which could well be extended out to a year or even longer) banks will be forced to keep repayments at their original levels but simply increase the loan term out.

    No doubt immigration levels will be increased. New types of “investment” visas, entrepreneur visas, first home buyers grants, more favourable conditions for foreigners to buy real estate, etc. etc. The moron specufestors will be saved yet.

    • forced property sales are not needed to crash house prices, they come as a consequence of price crash
      why would anyone go through a foreclosure while they can still sell for more or as much as they owe to the bank
      forced sales (foreclosures) come only after prices fall enough for people to get into “negative equity”

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      Yep – the immigration/property ponzi PM will whatever it takes, to save property specufestors, assuming he hasn’t got the boot in the next few months?

    • The immigration lever is done. No jobs, falling property, etc no reason for the economic migrants to come over. Plus massively politically unpalatable. Sure they might try but it wont work.

      The sugar is off the table so the ants have left.

  3. “As of Thursday evening, Switzerland had 10,714 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 161 deaths. On a per capita basis, it is the worst-hit state in Europe, reflecting its proximity to Lombardy, northern Italy, the source of the European outbreak.

    But even in the face of a Swiss government lockdown, supply chain disruption has been at a minimum.

    With between three and six months’ worth of essential foodstuffs and goods kept in storage within the country’s borders, Switzerland maintains one of the largest strategic stockpiles in the world.”

    Having large national stockpiles of essential goods doesn’t seem so silly now, does it?

  4. what is the state of the world today?

    billions of people put into arbitrary detention without a trial, denied basic human rights, including right to work and education, freedom of movement, peaceful assembly, participation in public affairs and elections,arbitrary detention of unknown length. Their businesses have been destroyed, their property devalued or destroyed, their careers hit, loved ones separated, social life destroyed, normal childhood development interrupted, …

    All in the name of an humanitarian cause (as always) and based on poor data (about infectiveness, mortality, ), even poorer understanding (of pathogenesis – transmission, tropism, virulence and disease mechanisms, host factors and host defense, of ) and questionable theories (about mathematical models, pandemic behaviour, control management, effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions) of one quite ordinary and by historic standards mild pandemics.

    This is the darkest moment of human history since WWII, and not because of pandemic but because completely unreasonable and illegal response to it. So called democratic governments overreached their powers and sailed into a space where the most dictatorial post WWII government where shy to go.

    And it’s a lie that there had no options, they could have go with inversed voluntary lockout – those who feel threatened could self-isolate while government is providing basic care (would have costed a tiny fraction), other options include better contact tracing and isolating infected individuals (paying 10k security people to provide 24h monitoring of infected or suspected cases and providing free 14 day quarantine for all incoming travelers would have costed even less), providing PPE (masks) to general population and making it mandatory (but even 3 months after the outbreak governments are still incapable to provide enough of these super-cheap and simple things that immensely help reduce the spread)

    Should I mention fear and panic, spread by media and totally irresponsible governments, that spread false and incomplete information, trying to shape public opinion (on of the best example of this is later attempt of government officials and media to inflate the risk for younger people to get them behave in a certain way).

    (Un)intended consequences of all of this (forced mass detentions, limitations of personals rights and freedoms, spread of fear, panic, …) are going to be great. Economic pain is going to be extreme and long lasting (for some generations permanent), mental health issues huge (leading to large number of permanent disability cases and deaths), trust in government permanently destroyed, democracy crippled for a long period, social fabric destroyed

    Will the price paid be adequate for what may be achieved? Would the things be much different otherwise?
    is this the price majority is willing to pay to provide some elderly couple extra years of life expectancy? Did anyone asked elderly are they willing to accept this “gift” knowing it will hurt their kids and grand-kids this much? who made this decisions for the people and based on what?

    If this same thing happened 30 years ago (before all of this DNA testing) it would be just declared a bad flu season (1957 Asian flu had similar 0.5% mortality mostly among elderly) with governments doing very little. The world would just continue as it did so many times before

    • Oh doc, I know you really want to off the olds, but this ain’t the 1950s – we’re too refined, preened and genteel for that sort of messy business.

      • yeah we are sophisticated enough to be manipulated into a submission of Stalin style dictatorship just because we are afraid of dying
        like we’ll never die, like those over 80 will live much longer anyway? Like it’s good and desirable to spend last years of life in sickness, disability and pain left alone in some dodgy aged care facility

        • Hey, don’t blame me. I’m just explaining the…. je ne sais quoi ….zeitgeist, perhaps?

      • you are confusing case fatality rate (number of deaths with confirmed infection divided by number of confirmed cases) with mortality rate (total number of deaths divided by total number of infections) – in your defense you are not the only one (even some doctors do)
        after it’s all finished total number of deaths is likely to be slightly lower than the number of deaths with confirmed infection because not everyone dying tested positive died from the corona caused illness but possibly from pre-existing diseases
        total number of infections is likely to be much much higher than number of confirmed cases because people with no symptoms or mild symptoms are not being tested at all (estimates go from 50% to 97% of such asymptomatic, mild and not tested cases which will make this number higher by factor between 2 and 30)
        serum tests will tell us at the end the real mortality rate which even in case of Italy can be as low as 0.5%

          • Look into Iceland’s data
            they did the most tests (as percentage of population) so far and by far and their fatality rate is 0.2% and with 1.8% cases serious or critical (requiring hospitalisation).
            It’s very unlikely to be higher than 0.5% but possibly lower than 0.2% at the end

            also other serious countries that did large number of tests like Germany, Norway, Austria, Israel … or even Australia have much lower fatality rates (well below 1% some even below 0.5%)

          • There you go cherrypicking random countries. I thought from the Italy serum test you had better data than that.

          • cherry picking?
            in your post below you asked for for reliable countries with large number of cases, not some poor and disorganised societies.

            How about you provide some reliable country data instead?

            large numbers of serum tests are not being done yet anywhere

          • only 5 developed countries have rate above 5%, they are mostly large countries and none of them did a great job with testing (number of tests as % of population or relative to number of deaths)
            on the other hand there are dozens of developed countries who did well on testing and have much lower fatality rates (around 1% or lower)

            who is cherry-picking?

        • You still haven’t addressed why ICUs and medical resources in multiple countries are overwhelmed. This doesn’t happen every year.

          • It hapens every 10 years especially in countries where everything is run efficiently and many elderly live

    • We’ll know in a few weeks.
      The land of the free seems determined to follow your suggestions.
      Not looking very good for NY at the moment though. If/when the US gets absolutely swamped with deaths, would you be willing to concede you may have been wrong?
      I notice USN has deployed hospital ships to the 2 current hotspots. GIven they don;t have any more to deploy, this could be bit problematic for the next few hotspots that appear,

      • “doctor”X seems to be some sort of virus denialist so I’m pretty sure he’ll still be spruiking the 0.5% death rate of whichever random country managed it as representing the virus.

        Probably some third-world country where you have to be a member of the ruling class to get tested and everyone else is recorded as a viral pneumonia death or not treated at all.

        • finally we got labels arriving, putting everyone who thinks differently into denialists
          it took longer than I thought

          • bolstroodMEMBER

            Speaking of lables, your moniker doctorX, does that signify a medical background ?
            Serious Q, since you are expressing counter opinions to other medical experts.

      • it’s thru that NY is going through a rough period but the percentage of population infected could be in tens at the moment

        so indeed time will only tell but some outcomes are more likely than the others

    • Lol, you think entitled Boomers would actually forgo their fun if they saw youngins out and about. Nup! So far only south Korea has been flatening their curve long enough to aproximate fatality rate and its sitting at 1.5% without their hospitals being overwhelmed. They have testest everone with a hint of contact or symptoms. Their doctors estimate 10% asymptomatic. Most asymptomatic cases are actually presymptomatic.

  5. India living up to its obligations, not. Happy to leave its nationals for Australia to take care of.

    A group of almost 200 people have appealed to the Indian High Commission to help them return to India amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A loss of income and concerns over health care has prompted the move.


    Ram Tiwari lost his job three weeks ago.

    “I am not able to pay my rent. I am using the bond money to pay the rent for some time. But how long will that go? I have no source of income. My savings are going away too.”

    Mr Tiwari, from the state of Maharashtra in India, arrived in Australia in September last year on a 482 work visa.

    “I am on a work visa. I need a sponsor for my visa. Now that I don’t have a job, I am stranded. The market is down, and there is little chance of me getting a job,” he said.

    Hundreds of students are also in a similar position. Anushka Singh is on a student visa. She had a casual job at a retail store.

    • Ahaha hahahahaha. So it’s and Armageddon pandemic with half of the businesses shut and STILL only 200 v!brant students want to go home to bumfvckistan?!

      Well, colour me surprised!

      • “Heh SBS only reported on 200 therefore this one report confirms my cringey snark contrarianism.”

        Yeh nah. It’s going to be far higher than that. Most of them can’t leave because there’s no available flights and India is closed for the time being. Just take the L and move on.

          • With razor sharp retorts like that, you clearly should be doing stand up instead of cheap risk free snark on internet forums.

            Home Affairs departure numbers in the next few months will speak for themselves. You lost. No one cares.

          • Hado – ok… what sort of numbers will you consider “winning”. Post ‘em up here, so we can check back in a few months.


      • Doesn’t support your view that they won’t go home if they don’t have jobs does it?

        • Well, , if it’s just 200 dudes that want to go hole in response to what is being touted as the worst conflagration since WW2, the I would say it actually does support my view.

          I am open to being wrong. But these 200 people don’t make me wrong.

          • What makes you confident that these 200 are all there are? I think they are just the tip of a very big iceberg of people with the same issue/view.

          • Well, the 200 are what’s been reported. If they report more, I will take note of more.


    As the rest of Europe lives under lockdown, Sweden keeps calm and carries on
    While every other country in Europe has been ordered into ever more stringent coronavirus lockdown, Sweden has remained the exception. Schools, kindergartens, bars, restaurants, ski resorts, sports clubs, hairdressers: all remain open, weeks after everything closed down in next door Denmark and Norway.

    Compare Sweden with similar countries around, most notably Denmark and Finland
    Sweden registered first case a month before Denmark (Jan 30 vs Feb 26 and same as Finland)
    Sweden has no lock-down, Denmark since 11/03 and Finland since 27/030 in Helsinki only
    Sweden has 366 cases per million, Denmark 413 and Finland 224
    Sweden had 8% new cases last day, Denmark 8% and Finland 6%
    Sweden has fatality rate of 2.97%, Denmark 3.01% and Finland 0.9%
    Sweden doubled number of cases in last 8 days, Denmark in 9 days, Finland in 9

    same climate, same mentality, same social/health care systems, …doesn’t look like lock-downs do much at all

    • You are being disingenuous here. Sweden has not gone laizssez faire regarding the virus but rather has adopted a policy of personal responsibility. The result is that they do have a defacto lock-down. The leadership make announcements about what they recommend people do to protect themselves and the community and almost to a person the Swedes follow those recommendations. Sweden can afford to adopt this policy because the Swedes have exceptionally high trust in their leaders and are willing to take personal responsibility for carrying out those recommendations.

      As was seen on Bondi Beach and throughout Australia too many Australians are happy and willing to flaunt the guidelines and it is only by bringing in fines and further restrictions that some here will fall into line.

      • is what you are describing about Sweden any different in Denmark or Finland?
        swedes go out, go to work, they meet others, even in pubs and restaurants … Danes and Finns don’t but there is almost no difference in virus spread

        none told Swedes not to go out and spend time with friends so far

        • high schools and universities shut, public gatherings limited to 50. Standing at bars not allowed.

        • It takes two weeks minimum before you see cases drop, and there is a huge amount of catch up testing to distort figures. I would’nt expect to see much divergence for a month, which could see a 100 fold increase in cases, although pop density isn’t quite as high.

    • it will come as a complete surprise when Sweden locks down.
      *gasp* why are they locking down?

      virus denialist. its a good label, own it.

      • Sweden will lock down because their politicians will not be able to resist pressure …
        That still doesn’t deny the fact that for weeks lack of lockdown made no difference in comparison with very similar countries that had early lockdowns

  7. innocent bystanderMEMBER

    Seems accepted that USA has a lot of obese, diabetes 2, high blood pressure.
    Maybe a lot of aussies not far behind?
    anyone else thinking comorbidities here?

  8. Clearly we need an antibody test & soon, to settle the argument Covid infection is more widespread than detected by swabs.
    The existence of hotspots in several countries – Wuhan, Lombardy/Milan, Madrid, New York/New Jersey – would argue in favour of lockdown. Main reason China got on top of Covid (yes, am in the believer camp) is they locked down Wuhan & Hubei. Also evidence from Lombardy that towns which locked down have lower infections (ABC Foreign Correspondent).
    Singapore managing Covid well thru mass fever testing, contact tracing & strict quarantine. Would not work here.
    Success of alternative measures (versus lockdown) dependent on widespread civil obedience which is missing in most liberal western democracies.
    Until we have more info on Covid transmission etc better to err on the side of caution. So lockdown.

    • Civil obedience is going to be zero after such draconian measures western governments imposed onto their citizens.
      Trust is not something government can enforce. Years of neoliberal destruction of commons of any kind just produced this
      Regardless, government job is not to babysit its people. If someone feels threaten by the virus they should pay attention and government should help them get through (income support, essential deliveries…), but to put everyone in detention because some may die is NOT justifiable and just ridicilous.
      What’s next? Lockdowns to prevent crime because people may die? Ban cars because people may die in traffic?

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Much like passive smoking and vaccines, the problems are that a) excluding yourself is practically near impossible and b) other people’s actions endanger you.

        How many does “some” need to be before widespread intervention *is* justifiable ?

        • some kind of government interventions should be off the book even if it comes to saving everybody else, some human rights are inalienable (like freedom of movement – freedom from arbitrary detention or right to work) unless directly causing harm to others

          For other limitations of rights burden of proof is on the side that is changing/imposing the limitations. So far there is no proof either theoretical or evidential that extreme measures like closing shops, schools, restaurants are making much or any difference. There is evidence that situation can be almost the same in countries that do impose those draconian measures and those that don’t (e.g. Sweden vs Denmark).
          There is even less evidence that some other measures that require less restriction of rights or cost less would be less or equally beneficial to achieve the aimed goals.

          Now back to dangers of the virus. It’s a common lie that COVID19 is risky for younger people. Simply there is much or any evidence so far that the risk for people under 50 or 40 is significantly greater than otherwise or greater than deciding to do some other things that are not perceived as risky (e.g. drinking, smoking, eating habits, long sitting, … ). It’s done to make people practice social distancing but is it OK for government to lie and misinform its citizens to make them behave in a certain way government thinks it’s a right way?
          back to numbers, so far based on countries that did large testing samples (relative to number of confirmed cases) show that case fatality of coronavirus is not nearly as high as initially thought high (less than 1%). It’s high only in countries where large percentage of tests returned positive (large being over 5% or 10%) which means that the denominator in those cases is heavily underestimated.
          So the question comes back to reliability of the data. Is it ok to put everyone in prison for 3 months to save 0.1%, 1% or 10 of population? If it’s OK than why that same rule is not being followed in similar cases when similar percentage is under a threat?

          Countries are easily willing to send 1% or 5% of population (mostly young) to war to die to prevent abolition of hard fought rights and yet are willing to scarify same rights to save 0.1% or 0.5% of population?

      • “Civil obedience is going to be zero”

        Yeah nah. Laws generally only get broken when people believe they can get away with it, or with minor punishment. Something resembling Martial Law could very easily be implemented. If everyone knew they would definitely be caught and cop a major fine or imprisonment they would become very obedient.

        • there are two instances when people disobey the law, one is when price is low to pay (can get away with it) and when price of obeying is too expensive, more than price of disobeying

          will 80% of median wage for 6 months be enough to compensate people who invested decades of their lives in building business or careers?

          people are going broke and they are prevented from working and making for a living

  9. Over the weekend I was questioning the assertion that “smaller doses” of the virus results in better outcomes. Apparently, it is a thing. The smaller the dose gives the body extra time to mount a defence. i.e. the virus replication time to take it from a small dose to what would have been a larger dose.

    Chris Martenson discusses:

    • giving everyone masks and ordering people to wear them was the simplest, cheapest and logically the most effective way to deal with this pandemic, yet governments around the world that had almost three months to get mask supply sorted failed to do so

      governments were busy deciding how to put entire population into a detention and destroy the economy

      • I agree with you on that one. The fact Wuhan was a key supplier of medical masks left everone with their pants down. No wonder china suppressed news of the outbreak then sent their locusts out to strip everone elses supply.

    • innocent bystanderMEMBER

      thanks for posting that, will watch later. so many long videos, transcripts are faster 🤔
      quite a while back there was some discussion around viral load, think maybe from subscriber popcd?
      made sense in regard to health workers falling ill.

    • 2hrs! I got about 5mins in
      He sees massive inflation on everything, cos of money printing, I assume, eventhough its the opposite at the moment, I wonder if he knows how money is destroyed, of which there will likely be a fair bit of

    • In previous videos Nathan mentioned that all his properties were positively geared. I was thinking he was clearly not as highly geared and at risk as what others seemed to think.

      In this video he mentions his properties are all in Blue Collar areas. He won’t be positively geared for long and may be forced to start selling at the worst possible time.