Wuhan virus: Indonesia is known unknown

Extracts from a very long Guardian report (link below) showing why there is good reason to be worried about the reported absence of the Wuhan virus in Indonesia.

A Harvard academic has defended research suggesting a possible underreporting of coronavirus cases in Indonesia, following fierce criticism from the health minister in the world’s fourth most populous country, which insists it has no cases.

Professor Marc Lipsitch analysed air traffic out of the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak in China and suggested in a report last week that Indonesia might have missed cases. On Tuesday the Indonesian health minister Terawan Agus Putranto called the report “insulting” and said the country had proper testing equipment.

On Thursday, health officials in Indonesia, which has a population of 272 million and is a popular destination for Chinese tourists, said they were retracing the movements of a Chinese tourist who was diagnosed with coronavirus upon his return from Bali. No-one in Bali has yet been found with symptoms.

Note there were no test kits until early Feb

A leading hypothesis for the lack of reported cases in Indonesia is that imported cases were missed, said Lipsitch, who pointed to a Sydney Morning Herald report that the country had no test kits until 5 February in support of the theory.

“If cases have been introduced into Indonesia, then there is a good chance that more cases are circulating via transmission from those cases. If so, they may go undetected for some weeks as the individuals may not seek care or may not be suspected and tested for coronavirus, especially if there is no direct link to China.”

Samples only tested in Jakarta

Currently, the policy in Yogyakarta is to ship all samples from potentially affected patients to testing facilities in Jakarta

Insufficient training to detect virus

Dr Riris Andono Ahmad, director of the Center for Tropical Medicine at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, said facilities had been set up to handle potential cases but health practitioners have not received sufficient training. “We need to be much more alert,” Ahmad said.

Insufficient public knowledge

“Public awareness of effective prevention measures is not high,” he said. “For instance, there was a lot of panic-buying of masks, but masks only work with people who are already sick. Whereas something that actually works, like washing hands more frequently – I don’t know how many people are really doing it yet.”

And finally, Indonesian officials are BS artists One senior former diplomat in the country, who did not want to to be named, said he did not believe official assertions that no cases had been found. “There’s a tendency to hide or gloss over serious problems in the top levels of the government,” he said. “I’m a bit concerned.”.

S$ in intensive care

The u/m currencies the fragile, vulnerable Wuhan flu currencies.

Related posts:

S$ tanks as GDP forecasts slashed

China sneezes, S’pore in intensive care with Thailand, HK, M’sia and Korea dying. Why has M$ strengthened against S$?

Emerging mkts to look at

Look elsewhere, not Asia.

Emerging Europe generally, including Bulgaria and Serbia, may benefit from European companies looking to bring supply chains closer to home.

And Mexico will benefit from US cos looking to bring supply chains closer to home.

Then there is Ukraine Its doing well, partly thanks to ambitious reforms and disciplined fiscal policy, even if its president was a comedian.

Egypt, which completed an IMF programme last year, is seen as a potential outperformer.

Wuhan virus: Look on the bright side

So DBS, our biggest bank, has lowered its 2020 GDP growth forecast for Singapore by 28% from 1.4% previously to 0.9% because of a drop of 1m tourist arrivals for every three months Singapore’s travel ban on Chinese passport holders continues. (Related post: S$ tanks as GDP forecasts slashed)

Wuhan virus: Why investors are not panicking

——————————————————————

Time to look on the bright side.

Electricity tariffs will drop because oil prices have fallen from around US$65 to below US$55. China is not buying oil. Related post: Why MSM no kanna POFMA for spreading fake news?

Less crowds when going to supermarkets. The anti-PAP cybernut hoarders got to eat up their stocks of rice, instant noodles and toilet paper. They also have no spare money to spend on other groceries after spending hundreds if not thousands of $ on rice, instant noodles and toilet paper.

Sure to have sales for luxury goods because tourists are not coming.

I’m seeing ads offering discounts for fine dining and stuff like suckling pig.

Sure got more comedy shows as Goh Meng Seng and Tan Kin Lian attack PAP govt: Clowns of Singapore.

No GST rise this yr: Double confirm: No GST rise this yr.

More goodies even if it’s more of Ownself pay ownself: it’s our money PAP govt is using to bribe lessen the pain of a slowing economy in an election yr. Anti-PAP types should be cheering as if the economy suffers badly, more people will vote against the PAP: Anti-PAP activists loi hei wish.

Wuhan virus: Why investors are not panicking

Unlike the anti-PAP cybernuts who rushed to hoard rice and instant noodles investors are not panicking Because

We estimate that even in a scenario where the rate of new infections did not peak until the second quarter, the negative hit to global economic growth would be about 0.3 percentage points. That means the expansion would still be 3.1 per cent — in line with last year’s pace.

Goldman Sachs Japan vice chair talking about the global economy

Current investor sentiment seem to suggest an economic recovery from 2018 lows remains on track, albeit with a delay.

JPMorgan’s Asia equity strategy team notes the prevalence of three types of investors at the moment:

“The largest group of investors have chosen to ride out the whole episode with an assumption that market reactions to the developments would be transitory and difficult to time. Much of this camp has recently been adding to existing holdings as they have corrected.”

It says, one gauge of this, which also dovetails with the Nasdaq 100 up 9.4% this year to a record high, is how the China A-shares tech sector is the best performing sector, says JPM.

A more KS group of investors believes “the situation is about to significantly deteriorate, calling cycle views into question”, notes JPM.

The bank’s strategists say “there are risks from unexpected supply disruptions (through bottleneck inputs or processes) or a resurgence of new cases as factories reopen or the virus mutates”. That scenario entails a drop of 6% in the MSCI Asia Share index excluding Japan, and further pain should the cycle falter from here.

The final group includes the buyers of the dip or what JPM term “a similar minority of investors are tactically raising risk exposure” and anticipating a lot more easing from China that offsets any damage to consumer sentiment.

JPM points out:

“In a somewhat cyclical argument, it is important for the market to hold up as, contrary to popular belief, we find price action shaping narratives and sentiment as much as (if not more than) the other way around.” In simple English it’s saying “This view requires a degree of optimism”.

S$ tanks as GDP forecasts slashed

Because: China sneezes, S’pore in intensive care.

As an example of the slashing of forecasts, MayBank lowered S’pore’s GDP forecast by 38%.

MayBank’s highly respected local economist lowered his 2020 GDP growth forecast for S’pore from 1.8% to 1.1%. He said the virus outbreak and travel restrictions would hurt tourism and retail, while disruptions to China’s supply chain would have knock-on effects for manufacturers. Other economists also saying the same thing.

Meanwhile there was continued selling of the S$. It was down 0.6% against the US dollar by Wednesday afternoon in London according to the FT. It fell 0.9% earlier: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/singapore-says-monetary-policy-unchanged-022532822.html

It’s the third worst-performing currency in region this year, down 2.3%, according to Bloomberg. The Thai baht is the worst-performing currency in the region this year, according to Bloomberg, down 3% against the US dollar. Rupiah is the second worst-performing.

Think PAP govt dares raise GST this yr? Double confirm: No GST rise this year.

Hard Truth about Old Guard’s insight on home ownership

It’s a myth that LKY and Dr Goh etc were geniuses for their insight into the importance of home ownership in building a nation and their public housing building programnes.

They were juz good in copying and pasting best practice of ang mosh. From the PAP’s bible*:

After the second world war … Governments across the rich world decided that they had to do more to care for their citizens—both as a thank-you for the sacrifices and to ward off the communist threat.

To this end, they vowed to boost home-ownership. A country of owner-occupiers, the thinking went, would be financially stable. People could draw down on equity in their house when they hit retirement or if they found themselves in difficulty. In the late 1940s and the 1950s manifestos of Western political parties became more likely to identify home ownership as a policy goal, according to research by Sebastian Kohl of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies. Over time, the notion that owner occupation was superior to renting became common, even apparently self-evident.

Policies to promote owner-occupation proliferated. In America the Veterans Administration made mortgages with no down-payment available to veterans in the mid-1940s. Canada established the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation for returning war veterans. In 1950 the Japanese government established the Government Housing Loan Corporation to provide low-interest, fixed-rate mortgages. Changes to international financial regulations also encouraged banks to issue mortgages.

Related post:If LKY were alive, PAP govt wouldn’t publicly admit that HDB leases end worth nothing

—————————————–

*PAP’s bible

I’ve blogged before that the PAP doesn’t need that many smart people as it follows most of the Economist’s prescriptions (except on hanging, drug legalisation, free media and a liberal democracy). It has been an Economist mantra that market pricing is “betterest” because it uncovers the “correct” price. It is also a PAP Hard Truth.