Royal Dutch Shell September Dividend.

Today, Royal Dutch Shell pays out its quarterly dividend.

www.shell.com

it is 12.09p a share.

Shell PLC is a dual listed company

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/stock/RDSA/royal-dutch-shell-plc/company-page

and

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/stock/RDSB/royal-dutch-shell-plc/company-page

Royal Dutch Shell plc’s capital as at 31 August 2020, consists of 4,101,239,499 A shares and 3,706,183,836 B shares, each with equal voting rights. Royal Dutch Shell plc holds no ordinary shares in Treasury.

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/news-article/RDSA/voting-rights-and-capital/14671798

Thus:

4,101,239,499 A shares x 12.09p = £495,839,855.4291
+
3,706,183,836 B shares x 12.09p = £448,077,625.7724

Thus
[£495,839,855.4291]+[£448,077,625.7724]= £943,917,481.2015

That is £943million of cash

Norway’s wealth fund loses £16bn in first half of 2020 after Covid panic

www.nbim.no

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund – the world’s largest – made a £16bn loss in the first half of the year and warned that financial markets could face further volatility as the Covid pandemic was still out of control.

The £895bn fund said it suffered a 3.4% drop in returns in the first six months of 2020, equivalent to a 188bn kroner (£16bn) decline, when its investments were hit by the early-March market sell-off sparked by panic about the coronavirus outbreak.

While investor confidence had been restored by “massive” state support packages, the fund’s deputy chief executive, Trond Grande, said financial markets were not reflecting the real economic impact of the virus, which he said was not under control “in any shape or form”.

He said: “We have already seen some sort of V-shaped recovery in the financial markets. I think there is a slight disconnect between the real economy and the financial markets.”

He also warned that there could be further market volatility, particularly if there was a surge in coronavirus cases later this year.

“We could be in for some turbulence this fall as things unfold and whether or not the coronavirus pandemic recedes, or gains some force,” Grande said, and the full impact on sectors such as travel and leisure was yet to be seen.

The fund’s deputy also noted that state support for national economies may not be sustainable long-term.

A further drop in share prices would cause further pain for the sovereign wealth fund, which was founded in 1996 and invests the country’s oil revenues abroad to shield its economy from market turmoil. The fund owns nearly 1.5% of all globally listed shares, with stakes in over 9,000 companies.

The Norwegian fund’s shareholdings in oil and gas companies suffered the biggest declines in the first six months of 2020. The stocks lost 33.1% of their value as oil prices plunged amid coronavirus travel restrictions, which dramatically reduced demand.

Its bank investments also performed poorly, with financial stocks declining nearly 21% over in first six months of the year. Lender profits were hit by lower interest rates and provisions for future defaults on loans, as a number of countries plunged into economic recessions due to Covid-19. Norway’s returns were also impacted by a drop in shareholder payouts, after regulators pressure banks to either scrap or reduce dividends at the start of the year.

The worst performers in its portfolio included Royal Dutch Shell, HSBC and JP Morgan.

Amazon was one of the strongest performers, alongside Microsoft and Apple. Overall, the tech sector delivered a 14.2% return for the fund thanks to strong demand for online services around remote working, education, shopping and entertainment during the pandemic.

The UK – which accounts for the fund’s largest equity holdings at 6.9% – was the worst regional performers, after the fund’s share of London-listed stocks losing 24.3% of their value over the period.

It comes after the UK reported a 20.4% drop in gross domestic product in the second quarter, which was the worst of any G7 nation in the three months to June. It also marked the deepest recession since records began.

The Legal and General Global Technology Index Trust

The Legal and General Global Technology Index Trust is an index fund managed by Legal and General. It aims to provide growth by tracking the performance of the FTSE World-Technology Index.

Its top ten holdings are:-

Apple Inc 15.5% of the fund
Microsoft Corp 15.5% of the fund
Alphabet Cl A 4.6% of the fund
Alphabet Cl C 4.4% of the fund
Facebook 4.4% of the fund
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing 2.7% of the fund
Intel Corp 2.7% of the fund
Nvidia Corp 2.4% of the fund
Adobe Inc 2.2% of the fund
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 2.2% of the fund

It is £807.3m fund.

United States is where 80.5% of the assets are held.

Greencoat UK Wind August 2020 Dividend

Tomorrow, Greencoat UK Wind pays out is dividend.

https://www.greencoat-ukwind.com/

1.775p a share

https://otp.tools.investis.com/clients/uk/greencoat/rns/regulatory-story.aspx?cid=2184&newsid=1388994

the total voting rights figure will be 1,518,162,889

Thus:

1,518,162,889 x 0.01775 = £26,947,391.27975

That is £26million

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?csi=7013076&action=

4.8% yield.

HM Government Borrowing: July 2020

Another month, guess what, take a lucky guess, it is the same old story, HM Government, spends more money than it receives via taxes and duties.
Now we are in a Covid 19 world. UK’s HM Government needs to fund many new demands.

Another deficit month, thus to bridge the gap, needs to borrow on the bond market In March 2020 , the HM Government had to borrow money to meet the difference between tax revenues and public sector expenditure. The term for this is The PSNCR: The Public Sector Net Cash Requirement. There were “only” 19 auctions of Gilts (UK Government Bonds) by the UK Debt Management Office to raise cash for HM Treasury:-

29-Jul-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2023 £3,500.0000 Million
29-Jul-2020 1 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2028 £3,008.8750 Million
28-Jul-2020 1 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2054 £1,874.9990 Million
28-Jul-2020 1¼% Treasury Gilt 2027 £3,437.4990 Million
22-Jul-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2028 £3,000.0000 Million
22-Jul-2020 1¼% Index-linked Treasury Gilt 2032 £500.0000 Million
21-Jul-2020 0 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2050 £2,711.0000 Million
21-Jul-2020 1½% Treasury Gilt 2026 £3,749.9990 Million
15-Jul-2020 1¾% Treasury Gilt 2057 £1,500.0000 Million
15-Jul-2020 2¼% Treasury Gilt 2023 £3,250.0000 Million
14-Jul-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2026 £3,834.0950 Million
14-Jul-2020 0 3/8% Treasury Gilt 2030 £3,750.0000 Million
09-Jul-2020 0 1/8% Index-linked Treasury Gilt 2041 £1,062.8500 Million
07-Jul-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2023 £3,750.0000 Million
07-Jul-2020 1¼ % Treasury Gilt 2041 £2,812.500 Million
02-Jul-2020 0 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2025 £4,261.1950 Million
02-Jul-2020 4½% Treasury Gilt 2034 £2,329.2500 Million
01-Jul-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2028 £3,000.0000 Million
01-Jul-2020 0 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2050 £2,785.9990 Million

Add:- (£3,500.0000 + £3,008.8750 + £1,874.9990 + £3,437.4990 + £3,000.0000 + £500.0000 +£2,711.0000 +£3,749.9990 + £1,500.0000 + £3,250.0000 + £3,834.0950 + £3,750.0000 + £1,062.8500 + £3,750.0000 + £2,812.500 + £4,261.1950 + £2,329.2500 + £3,000.0000 + £2,785.9990) Million = £54,118.261 Million

£54,118.261 Million = £54.11261 Billion

On another way of looking at it, is in the 31 days in July 2020, HM Government borrowed:- £1,745.75 Billion each day for the 31 days.

We are fortunate, while the global banking and financial markets still has the confidence in HM Government to buy the Gilts (Lend money to the UK), the budget deficit keeps rising. What is also alarming, is the dates these bond mature from 2023 through to 2057. All long term borrowings, we are mortgaging our futures, but at least “We Are In It Together….

Vodafone August 2020 Dividend

On Friday 7th August 2020, Vodafone PLC paid out its August 2020 dividend.

www.vodafone.com

€0.045 a share = 4.079745p a share.

https://otp.tools.investis.com/clients/uk/vodafone4/rns/regulatory-story.aspx?cid=221&newsid=1405715

Therefore, the total number of voting rights in Vodafone is 26,824,338,960

Thus:-

26,824,338,960 x £0.04079745 = £1,094,364,627.503652

That is £1.094 Billion.

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?username=&ac=&csi=10097&record_search=1&search_phrase=vod

7% yield

The Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust PLC: August Dividend

On the 3rd of August 2020, The Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust PLC paid out its August dividend.

[ https://www.bmogam.com/fandc-investment-trust/ ]

One of the world’s oldest investment trusts, F&C Investment Trust (FCIT) is a behemoth,with almost £4bn in AUM. The company, over 150 years old.

It paid out 2.9p a share.

Therefore, the total number of voting rights in the Company is now 541,189,043

Thus:

541,189,043 x £0.029 = 15,694,482.247

That is £15m

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?csi=10192&action=

The Legal and General Future World Multi-Index 4 Fund

The Legal and General Future World Multi-Index 4 Fund, is a fund that invests in a risk-profile targeted range of index tracker funds and individual investments including property. Typically has higher exposure to bonds than to shares in companies.

North America Equity13.3%
UK Equity9.2%
Europe ex UK Equity6.9%
Japan Equity4.8%
Emerging Market Equity2.4%
Asia Pacific ex Japan Equity2.1%

TOP 10 HOLDINGS (%)

L&G Future World ESG Developed Fund 20.0% of the fund
L&G Future World Global Credit Fund 16.7% of the fund
L&G Short Dated Sterling Corporate Bond Index Fund 11.0% of the fund
L&G Global Inflation Linked Bond Index Fund 7.8% of the fund
L&G Future World ESG UK Fund 7.1% of the fund
L&G ESG EM Gov Bond USD Fund 4.9% of the fund
LGIM GBP Liquidity Fund Plus 4.9% of the fund
Europe ex UK Equity 3.5% of the fund
L&G High Income Trust 3.4% of the fund
L&G Japan Equity UCITS ETF 3.0% of the fund

https://literature-lgim.huguenots.co.uk/srp/documents/?type=FS&ISIN=GB00BJ0M3438

Britain’s Most Valuable Company: Astra Zeneca

Today, Astra Zeneca PLC is the most valuable company listed on the LondonStockExchange.

https://www.astrazeneca.com/

A world-leading pharmaceutical group, AstraZeneca was created in 1999 via the merger of Sweden’s Astra and the UK’s Zeneca, which had been demerged from chemicals group ICI in 1993.

Its low this year was £62.21 a share and is now at nearly £90 a share.

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?username=&ac=&csi=10009&record_search=1&search_phrase=az

Government Funding: National Savings and Investments.

HM Government has asked National Savings & Investments to “get more cash” into The Treasury.

https://nsandi-corporate.com/news-research/news/nsi-2020-21-net-financing-target-revised-ps35-billion-and-nsi-issues-provisional

HM Treasury has today confirmed that NS&I’s Net Financing target for 2020-21 has been revised from £6 billion (+/- £3 billion) to £35 billion (+/- £5 billion) to reflect government finance requirements arising from Covid-19.

NS&I’s Annual Report & Accounts 2019-20, published on 23 June 2020, stated that NS&I’s £6 billion Net Financing target announced in the March 2020 Budget would be subject to in-year revision. Today’s new target may be subject to further revision during the year, depending on the government finance requirement.

the jump is the £6bn to £35bn. HM Treasury looking at all avenues to raise revenue / income into the government to fund the massive budget deficit.

HM Government Borrowing: June 2020

Another month, guess what, take a lucky guess, it is the same old story, HM Government, spends more money than it receives via taxes and duties.

Another deficit month, thus to bridge the gap, needs to borrow on the bond market In June 2020 , the HM Government had to borrow money to meet the difference between tax revenues and public sector expenditure and deal with the economic damage from Covid19. The term for this is The PSNCR: The Public Sector Net Cash Requirement. There were “only” 16 auctions of Gilts (UK Government Bonds) by the UK Debt Management Office to raise cash for HM Treasury:-

25-Jun-2020 0 1/8% Index-linked Treasury Gilt 2029 3 months £1,229.5760
24-Jun-2020 1 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2054 £1,768.2500 Million
24-Jun-2020 2¾% Treasury Gilt 2024 £3,250.0000 Million
23-Jun-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2026 £3,250.0000 Million
23-Jun-2020 0 3/8% Treasury Gilt 2030 £3,628.7500 Million
17-Jun-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2023 £4,260.7490 Million
17-Jun-2020 1¼ % Treasury Gilt 2041 £2,812.5000 Million
16-Jun-2020 1½% Treasury Gilt 2026 £3,716.2500 Million
16-Jun-2020 4¾% Treasury Gilt 2030 £2,000.0000 Million
11-Jun-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2028 £4,036.6240 Million
11-Jun-2020 1% Treasury Gilt 2024 £3,250.0000 Million
10-Jun-2020 0 1/8% Index-linked Treasury Gilt 2036 £900.0000 Million
03-Jun-2020 1 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2054 £1,500.0000 Million
03-Jun-2020 2¼% Treasury Gilt 2023 £3,941.2490 Million
02-Jun-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2026 £3,328.7500 Million
02-Jun-2020 0 3/8% Treasury Gilt 2030 £3,749.9990 Million

When you add the cash raised:-

1,229.58 Million + 1,768.25 Million + 3,250.00 Million + 3,250.00 Million + 3,628.75 Million + 4,260.75 Million + 2,812.50 Million + 3,716.25 Million + 2,000.00 Million + 4,036.62 Million + 3,250.00 Million + 900.00 Million + 1,500.00 Million + 3,941.25 Million + 3,328.75 Million + 3,750.00 = £46,622.697 Million

£46,622.697 Million = £46.622 Billion

On another way of looking at it, is in the 30 days in June 2020, HM Government borrowed:- £1,554.0899 Million each day for the 30 days.

We are fortunate, while the global banking and financial markets still has the confidence in HM Government to buy the Gilts (Lend money to the UK), the budget deficit keeps rising. What is also alarming, is the dates these bond mature from 2024 through to 2057. All long term borrowings, we are mortgaging our futures, but at least “We Are In It Together….

The Renewables Infrastructure Group.

On Tuesday 30th June, The Renewables Infrastructure Group paid its shareholders its June 2020 dividend.

https://www.trig-ltd.com/

1.69p a share

The total issued share capital with voting rights is 1,637,453,267.

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/news-article/TRIG/total-voting-rights/14485497

Thus:

1,637,453,267 x £0.0169 = 27,672,960.2123

That is £27.672million

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?csi=11834937&action=

5.3% yield

HICL Infrastructure

On Tuesday 30th June, HICL Infrastructure paid to its shareholders its June 2020 dividend

https://www.hicl.com/

£0.0207 a share.

he total issued share capital with voting rights is 1,863,642,769

https://otp.tools.investis.com/clients/uk/hicl/rns/regulatory-story.aspx?cid=1239&newsid=1362209

Thus:

1,863,642,769 x £0.0207 = 38,577,405.3183

That is £38.577 Million

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?csi=185903&action=

4.7% yield

The Shell June 2020 Dividend.

Royal Dutch Shell, paid out Mon 22nd June its reduced June quarterly dividend.

www.shell.com

RDSA Royal Dutch Shell A FTSE 100 $0.16 (12.68p) 22-Jun
RDSB Royal Dutch Shell B FTSE 100 $0.16 (12.68p) 22-Jun

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/news-article/RDSA/voting-rights-and-capital/14558429

Royal Dutch Shell plc’s capital as at 29 May 2020, consists of 4,101,239,499 A shares and 3,706,183,836 B shares, each with equal voting rights. Royal Dutch Shell plc holds no ordinary shares in Treasury. The total number of A shares and B shares in issue as at 29 May 2020 is 7,807,423,335

Thus

4,101,239,499 A shares x 12.68p = £520,037,168.4732
3,706,183,836 B shares x 12.68p = £469,944,110.4048

(£520,037,168.4732)+(£469,944,110.4048) = £989,981,278.878

That is £989million of cash

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?csi=133655
Shell A 11% yield

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?csi=133755
Shell B 11% yield.

HM Government May 2020 Borrowings

Another month, guess what, take a lucky guess, it is the same old story, HM Government, spends more money than it receives via taxes and duties.

Another deficit month, thus to bridge the gap, needs to borrow on the bond market In May 2020 , the HM Government had to borrow money to meet the difference between tax revenues and public sector expenditure and deal with the economic damage from Covid19. The term for this is The PSNCR: The Public Sector Net Cash Requirement. There were “only” 14 auctions of Gilts (UK Government Bonds) by the UK Debt Management Office to raise cash for HM Treasury:-

28-May-2020 1¼% Treasury Gilt 2027 2,927.5000 Million
28-May-2020 1¾% Treasury Gilt 2049 2,357.7500 Million
27-May-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2023 3,750.0000 Million
27-May-2020 1¾% Treasury Gilt 2057 1,785.4990 Million
21-May-2020 0 1/8% Index-linked Treasury Gilt 2028 3 months 1,562.4990 Million
21-May-2020 4¼% Treasury Stock 2032 2,500.0000 Million
20-May-2020 0¾% Treasury Gilt 2023 3,869.6240 Million
14-May-2020 0 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2025 3,250.0000 Million
14-May-2020 1¼ % Treasury Gilt 2041 2,250.0000 Million
13-May-2020 0 1/8% Index-linked Treasury Gilt 2048 3 months 745.8500 Million
06-May-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2023 3,897.9580 Million
06-May-2020 1 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2054 1,750.0000 Million
05-May-2020 1 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2028 3,000.0000 Million
05-May-2020 2% Treasury Gilt 2025 4,062.4990 Million

When you add the cash raised:-

£2,927.5000 Million + £2,357.7500 Million + £3,750.0000 Million + £1,785.4990 Million + £1,562.4990 Million + £2,500.0000 Million + £3,869.6240 Million + £3,250.0000 Million + £2,250.0000 Million + £745.8500 Million + £3,897.9580 Million + £1,750.0000 Million + £3,000.0000 Million + £4,062.4990 Million
= £37709.18 Million = £37.70918 Billion

On another way of looking at it, is in the 31 days in May 2020, HM Government borrowed:- £1,216.425129 Million each day for the 31 days.

We are fortunate, while the global banking and financial markets still has the confidence in HM Government to buy the Gilts (Lend money to the UK), the budget deficit keeps rising. What is also alarming, is the dates these bond mature from 2023 through to 2054. All long term borrowings, we are mortgaging our futures, but at least “We Are In It Together….”

BP’s June 2020 Dividend.

Today, BP one of the world’s largest oil company, pays out its quarterly dividend.

www.bp.com

$0.105 (8.3421p) a share

The total number of voting rights in BP p.l.c. is 20,265,294,069

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/news-article/BP./total-voting-rights/14559000

Thus:

20,265,294,069 x £0.083421 = £1,690,551,096.530049

That is £1.690 Billion

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?csi=10022&action=

9.4% yield.

The Gresham House Energy Storage Fund

On Friday 12th June, GRID [Gresham House Energy Storage Fund] paid out its June dividend.

1.75p a share

The total number of voting rights of the Company is 234,270,650

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/news-article/GRID/total-voting-rights/14483969

Thus:

234,270,650 x £0.0175 = 4,099,736.375‬

That is £4m of cash

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?username=&ac=&csi=54738562&record_search=1&search_phrase=GRID

4.1% yield

Unilever PLC June Dividend.

On Thursday 4th June, Unilever PLC paid out its June dividend.

https://www.unilever.com/

36.14p a share.

https://otp.tools.investis.com/clients/uk/unilever/rns1/regulatory-story.aspx?cid=129&newsid=1259667

Unilever PLC’s issued share capital as at 30 April 2019 consisted of 1,168,530,650 ordinary shares of 3 1/9p each. Unilever PLC does not hold any ordinary shares of 3 1/9p each as treasury shares. Accordingly, there are 1,168,530,650 shares with voting rights.

Thus:

1,168,530,650 x £0.3614 = £422,306,976.91‬

That is £422 million

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?csi=10094&action=

4.8% yield.

Legal and General June 2020 Dividend

Tomorrow, the UK’s largest money manager pays out is full year dividend.

www.legalandgeneralgroup.com

12.64p a share

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/LGEN/14526159.html

The total number of voting rights in the Company is 5,965,563,767:-

Thus:-

5,965,563,767 x 12.64p = £754,047,260.1488

That is £754 million

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?csi=10055&action=

That is a 9.1% yield.

Greencoat UK Wind: May 2020 Dividend

Today, Greencoat UK Wind pays out its May 2020 Dividend.

https://www.greencoat-ukwind.com/

The dividend is 1.775p a share:

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/UKW/14525219.html

The total voting rights figure will be 1,518,162,889

Thus:-

1,518,162,889 x 1.775p = £26,947,391.27975

That is £26m.

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?csi=7013076&action=

5.1% yield.

UK Gilt Auction: Negative Rates.

The UK Government, HM Treasury is borrowing money to fund its day to day operations as tax revenues (income) are lower than government expenditure. Now with the Covid19 pandemic, HM Government is tapping the bond market to borrow money by issuing Gilts.

The British Government sold a government bond with a negative yield for the first time.

On Wed 20th May 2020, the British Government borrowed £3,869.6240 Million (£3.869624 Billion).

The Yield at Auction Price was -0.003%

That means at the end of the 12 months, the Gilt owner would have had their oringial capital reduced by 0.003%.

It is a 3 year gilt.

Thus:-

£3,869.6240 Million on the 20th May 2020:

Capital reduced by 0.003% after year 1 = £3869.507911 Million
Capital reduced by 0.003% after year 2 = £3869.391826 Million
Capital reduced by 0.003% after year 3 = £3869.275744 Million

So after 3 years years the initial capital of £3,869.6240 Million becomes £3869.275744 Million.

A capital reduction of 0.348256 Million = £348,256.

In effect, negative yield effectively means investors have to pay to lend money to fund the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In searching for a safe haven for their money they bought gilts knowing they would get back less than they paid for them when the bonds mature in three years’ time, because it Trusts the UK Government

Ten reasons why a ‘Greater Depression’ for the 2020s is inevitable:- Nouriel Roubini

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/29/ten-reasons-why-greater-depression-for-the-2020s-is-inevitable-covid

Ominous and risky trends were around long before Covid-19, making an L-shaped depression very likely.

After the 2007-09 financial crisis, the imbalances and risks pervading the global economy were exacerbated by policy mistakes. So, rather than address the structural problems that the financial collapse and ensuing recession revealed, governments mostly kicked the can down the road, creating major downside risks that made another crisis inevitable. And now that it has arrived, the risks are growing even more acute. Unfortunately, even if the Greater Recession leads to a lacklustre U-shaped recovery this year, an L-shaped “Greater Depression” will follow later in this decade, owing to 10 ominous and risky trends.

The first trend concerns deficits and their corollary risks: debts and defaults. The policy response to the Covid-19 crisis entails a massive increase in fiscal deficits – on the order of 10% of GDP or more – at a time when public debt levels in many countries were already high, if not unsustainable.

Worse, the loss of income for many households and firms means that private-sector debt levels will become unsustainable, too, potentially leading to mass defaults and bankruptcies. Together with soaring levels of public debt, this all but ensures a more anaemic recovery than the one that followed the Great Recession a decade ago.

A second factor is the demographic timebomb in advanced economies. The Covid-19 crisis shows that much more public spending must be allocated to health systems, and that universal healthcare and other relevant public goods are necessities, not luxuries. Yet, because most developed countries have ageing societies, funding such outlays in the future will make the implicit debts from today’s unfunded healthcare and social security systems even larger.

A third issue is the growing risk of deflation. In addition to causing a deep recession, the crisis is also creating a massive slack in goods (unused machines and capacity) and labour markets (mass unemployment), as well as driving a price collapse in commodities such as oil and industrial metals. That makes debt deflation likely, increasing the risk of insolvency.

A fourth (related) factor will be currency debasement. As central banks try to fight deflation and head off the risk of surging interest rates (following from the massive debt build-up), monetary policies will become even more unconventional and far-reaching. In the short run, governments will need to run monetised fiscal deficits to avoid depression and deflation. Yet, over time, the permanent negative supply shocks from accelerated de-globalisation and renewed protectionism will make stagflation all but inevitable.

A fifth issue is the broader digital disruption of the economy. With millions of people losing their jobs or working and earning less, the income and wealth gaps of the 21st-century economy will widen further. To guard against future supply-chain shocks, companies in advanced economies will re-shore production from low-cost regions to higher-cost domestic markets. But rather than helping workers at home, this trend will accelerate the pace of automation, putting downward pressure on wages and further fanning the flames of populism, nationalism, and xenophobia.

This points to the sixth major factor: deglobalisation. The pandemic is accelerating trends toward balkanisation and fragmentation that were already well underway. The US and China will decouple faster, and most countries will respond by adopting still more protectionist policies to shield domestic firms and workers from global disruptions. The post-pandemic world will be marked by tighter restrictions on the movement of goods, services, capital, labour, technology, data, and information. This is already happening in the pharmaceutical, medical-equipment, and food sectors, where governments are imposing export restrictions and other protectionist measures in response to the crisis.

The backlash against democracy will reinforce this trend. Populist leaders often benefit from economic weakness, mass unemployment, and rising inequality. Under conditions of heightened economic insecurity, there will be a strong impulse to scapegoat foreigners for the crisis. Blue-collar workers and broad cohorts of the middle class will become more susceptible to populist rhetoric, particularly proposals to restrict migration and trade.

This points to an eighth factor: the geostrategic standoff between the US and China. With the Trump administration making every effort to blame China for the pandemic, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s regime will double down on its claim that the US is conspiring to prevent China’s peaceful rise. The Sino-American decoupling in trade, technology, investment, data, and monetary arrangements will intensify.

Worse, this diplomatic breakup will set the stage for a new cold war between the US and its rivals – not just China, but also Russia, Iran, and North Korea. With a US presidential election approaching, there is every reason to expect an upsurge in clandestine cyber warfare, potentially leading even to conventional military clashes. And because technology is the key weapon in the fight for control of the industries of the future and in combating pandemics, the US private tech sector will become increasingly integrated into the national-security-industrial complex.

Internet Investment: Vint Cerf-Our Internet is working. Thank these Cold War-era pioneers who designed it to handle almost anything.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/04/06/your-internet-is-working-thank-these-cold-war-era-pioneers-who-designed-it-handle-almost-anything/

Coronavirus may have forced people to stay at home, but the Internet these scientists envisioned long ago is keeping the world connected

Coronavirus knocked down — at least for a time — Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf, who offers this reflection on the experience: “I don’t recommend it … It’s very debilitating.”

Cerf, 76 and now recovering in his Northern Virginia home, has better news to report about the computer network he and others spent much of their lives creating. Despite some problems, the Internet overall is handling unprecedented surges of demand as it keeps a fractured world connected at a time of global catastrophe.

“This basic architecture is 50 years old, and everyone is online,” Cerf noted in a video interview over Google Hangouts, with a mix of triumph and wonder in his voice. “And the thing is not collapsing.”

The Internet, born as a Pentagon project during the chillier years of the Cold War, has taken such a central role in 21st Century civilian society, culture and business that few pause any longer to appreciate its wonders — except perhaps, as in the past few weeks, when it becomes even more central to our lives.

Many facets of human life — work, school, banking, shopping, flirting, live music, government services, chats with friends, calls to aging parents — have moved online in this era of social distancing, all without breaking the network. It has groaned here and there, as anyone who has struggled through a glitchy video conference knows, but it has not failed.

“Resiliency and redundancy are very much a part of the Internet design,” explained Cerf, whose passion for touting the wonders of computer networking prompted Google in 2005 to name him its “Chief Internet Evangelist,” a title he still holds.

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Comcast, the nation’s largest source of residential Internet, serving more than 26 million homes, reports peak traffic was up by nearly one third in March, with some areas reaching as high as 60 percent above normal. Demand for online voice, video and VPN connections — all staples of remote work — have surged, and peak usage hours have shifted from evenings, when people typically stream video for entertainment, to daytime work hours.

Concerns about shifting demands prompted European officials to request downgrades in video streaming quality from major services such as Netflix and YouTube, and there have been localized Internet outages and other problems, including the breakage of a key transmission cable running down the West coast of Africa — an incident with no connection to the coronavirus pandemic. Heavier use of home WiFi also has revealed frustrating limits to those networks.

But so far Internet industry officials report they’ve managed the shifting loads and surges. To a substantial extent, the network has managed them automatically because its underlying protocols adapt to shifting conditions, working around trouble spots to find more efficient routes for data transmissions and managing glitches in a way that doesn’t break connections entirely.

Net of Insecurity Part 2: The long life of a quick fix

Some credit goes to Comcast, Google and the other giant, well-resourced corporations essential to the Internet’s operation today. But perhaps even more goes to the seminal engineers and scientists like Cerf, who for decades worked to create a particular kind of global network — open, efficient, resilient and highly interoperable so anyone could join and nobody needed to be in charge.

“They’re deservedly taking a bit of a moment for a high five right now,” said Jason Livingood, a Comcast vice president who has briefed some members of the Internet’s founding generation about how the company has been handling increased demands.

Cerf, along with fellow computer scientist Robert E. Kahn, was a driving force in developing key Internet protocols in the 1970s for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which provided early research funding but ultimately relinquished control of the network it spawned. Cerf also was among a gang of self-described “Netheads” who led an insurgency against the dominant forces in telecommunications at the time, dubbed the “Bellheads” for their loyalty to the Bell Telephone Company and its legacy technologies.

Bell, which dominated U.S. telephone service until it was broken up in the 1980s, and similar monopolies in other countries wanted to connect computers through a system much like their lucrative telephone systems, with fixed networks of connections run by central entities that could make all of the major technological decisions, control access and charge whatever the market — or government regulators — would allow.

The vision of the Netheads was comparatively anarchic, relying on technological insights and a lot of faith in collaboration. The result was a network — or really, a network of networks — with no chief executive, no police, no taxman and no laws.

In their place were technical protocols, arrived at through a process for developing expert consensus, that offered anyone access to the digital world from any properly configured device. Their numbers, once measured in the dozens, now rank in the tens of billions, including phones, televisions, cars, dams, drones, satellites, thermometers, garbage cans, refrigerators, watches and so much more.

This Netheads’ idea of a globe-spanning network that no single company or government controlled goes a long way toward explaining why an Indonesian shopkeeper with a phone made in China can log on to an American social network to chat — face to face and almost instantaneously — with her friend in Nigeria. That capability still exists, even as much of the world has banned or restricted international travel.

“You’re seeing a success story right now,” said David D. Clark, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer scientist who worked on early Internet protocols, speaking by the videoconferencing service Zoom. “If we didn’t have the Internet, we’d be in an incredibly different place right now. What if this had happened in the 1980s?”

Such a system carries a notable cost in terms of security and privacy, a fact the world rediscovers every time there’s a major data breach, ransomware attack or controversy over the amount of information governments and private companies collect about anyone who’s online — a category that includes more than half of the world’s almost 8 billion people.

Thousands of Zoom video calls left exposed on open Web

But the lack of a central authority is key to why the Internet works as well as it does, especially at times of unforeseen demands.

Some of the early Internet architects — Cerf among them, from his position at the Pentagon — were determined to design a system that could continue operating through almost anything, including a nuclear attack from the Soviets.

That’s one reason the system doesn’t have any preferred path from Point A to Point B. It continuously calculates and recalculates the best route, and if something in the middle fails, the computers that calculate transmission paths find new routes — without having to ask anyone’s permission to do so.

Steve Crocker, a networking pioneer like Cerf, compared this quality to that of a sponge, an organism whose functions are so widely distributed that breaking one part does not typically cause the entire organism to die.

“You can do damage to a portion of it, and the rest of it just lumbers forward,” Crocker said, also speaking by Zoom.

Even more elementally, the Netheads believed in an innovation called “packet-switching,” which broke from the telephone company’s traditional model, called “circuit switching,” that dedicated a line to a single conversation and left it open until the participants hung up.

The Netheads considered that terribly wasteful given that any conversation includes pauses or gaps that could be used to transmit data. Instead, they embraced a model in which all communications were broken into chunks, called packets, that continuously shuttled back and forth over shared lines, without pauses.

The computers at either end of these connections reassembled the packets into whatever they started as — emails, photos, articles or video — but the network itself didn’t know or care what it was carrying. It just moved the packets around and let the recipient devices figure out what to do.

That simplicity, almost an intentional brainlessness at the Internet’s most fundamental level, is a key to its adaptability. As many others have said, it’s a web of highways everyone can use for almost any purpose they desire.

Many of the Internet’s founding generation have memories of trying to convince various Bellheads packet-switching was the inevitable future of telecommunications — cheaper, faster, easier to scale and vastly more efficient and adaptable.

Those anecdotes all end the same way, with the telephone company titans of the day essentially treating the Netheads as precocious but fundamentally misguided children who, some day, might understand how telecommunications technology really worked. Several acknowledged they celebrated just a bit when the telephone companies gradually abandoned old-fashioned circuit-switching for what was called “Voice Over IP” or VoIP. It was essentially transmitting voice calls over the Internet — using the same technical protocols that Cerf and others had developed decades earlier.

Leonard Kleinrock, one of three scientists credited with inventing the concept of packet switching in the 1960s, also was present for the first transmission on the rudimentary network that would, years later, become the Internet.

That was Oct. 29, 1969, and Kleinrock was a computer scientist at the University of California at Los Angeles. A student programmer tried to send the message “login” to a computer more than 300 miles away, at the Stanford Research Institute, but got only as far as the first two letters — “L” and “O” — before the connection crashed.

Retelling the story by phone, over a line using the Internet’s packet-switching technology instead of the one long preferred by the “Bellheads,” he recalled his own experience in trying to convince some phone company executives that he had discovered a technology that would change the world.

“They said, ‘Little boy, go away,’” Kleinrock said. “So we went away.”

And now Kleinrock, 85 and staying home to minimize the risk of catching the coronavirus, is enjoying that his home Internet connection is 2,000 times faster than the phone-booth sized communications device that Internet pioneers used in 1969.

“The network,” he said, “has been able to adapt in a beautiful way.”

HM Government Borrowing, April 2020

Another month, guess what, take a lucky guess, it is the same old story, HM Government, spends more money than it receives via taxes and duties.
Now we are in a Covid 19 world. UK’s HM Government needs to fund many new demands.

Another deficit month, thus to bridge the gap, needs to borrow on the bond market In March 2020 , the HM Government had to borrow money to meet the difference between tax revenues and public sector expenditure. The term for this is The PSNCR: The Public Sector Net Cash Requirement. There were “only” 17 auctions of Gilts (UK Government Bonds) by the UK Debt Management Office to raise cash for HM Treasury:-

29-Apr-2020 1¾% Treasury Gilt 2049 £2,152.5000 Million
29-Apr-2020 2¾% Treasury Gilt 2024 £3,616.3750 Million
28-Apr-2020 0 1/8% Index-linked Treasury Gilt 2028 3 months £1,499.9990 Million
28-Apr-2020 0 7/8% Treasury Gilt 2029 £3,749.9990 Million
22-Apr-2020 1% Treasury Gilt 2024 £3,671.4760 Million
22-Apr-2020 1¼% Treasury Gilt 2027 £3,141.0000 Million
21-Apr-2020 0 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2025 £4,062.4990 Million
21-Apr-2020 1 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2054 £1,874.9990 Million
16-Apr-2020 1½% Treasury Gilt 2026 £3,648.7500 Million
16-Apr-2020 1¾% Treasury Gilt 2049 £2,499.9980 Million
15-Apr-2020 0 7/8% Treasury Gilt 2029 £3,676.2490 Million
15-Apr-2020 1¾% Treasury Gilt 2037 £2,313.7490 Million
08-Apr-2020 2% Treasury Gilt 2025 £2,750.0000 Million
08-Apr-2020 4¾% Treasury Gilt 2030 £2,092.5000 Million
07-Apr-2020 0 1/8% Treasury Gilt 2023 £4,062.5000 Million
07-Apr-2020 1¾% Treasury Gilt 2057 £1,562.4990 Million
02-Apr-2020 1¼ % Treasury Gilt 2041 £2,299.9970 Million

When you add the cash raised:-

£2,152.50 Million
£3,616.38 Million
£1,500.00 Million
£3,750.00 Million
£3,671.48 Million
£3,141.00 Million
£4,062.50 Million
£1,875.00 Million
£3,648.75 Million
£2,500.00 Million
£3,676.25 Million
£2,313.75 Million
£2,750.00 Million
£2,092.50 Million
£4,062.50 Million
£1,562.50 Million
£2,300.00 Million

Total: £48,675.09 Million = £48.67509 Billion

On another way of looking at it, is in the 30 days in April 2020, HM Government borrowed:- £1622.502967 Million each day for the 30 days.
That is £1.622 Billion A DAY.
We are fortunate, while the global banking and financial markets still has the confidence in HM Government to buy the Gilts (Lend money to the UK), the budget deficit keeps rising. What is also alarming, is the dates these bond mature 2024-2057. All long term borrowings, we are mortgaging our futures, but at least “We Are In It Together….”

Words of Investment on Covid 19

Do not obsess about the loss in value of your investments. Do not pontificate that you saw it coming. There is the important difference between wealth and income; stock and flow. The wealth you accumulated over a lifetime in investments has eroded in value as the markets have crashed. But what matters currently is the income, the flow. Do you have a job that offers salary even during the shutdown? Are you confident you will keep the job through and after this period? You are fortunate. Evaluate the reality of the situation………

HM Government Borrowing, March 2020

Another month, guess what, take a lucky guess, it is the same old story, HM Government, spends more money than it receives via taxes and duties.

Another deficit month, thus to bridge the gap, needs to borrow on the bond market In March 2020 , the HM Government had to borrow money to meet the difference between tax revenues and public sector expenditure. The term for this is The PSNCR: The Public Sector Net Cash Requirement. There were “only” 4 auctions of Gilts (UK Government Bonds) by the UK Debt Management Office to raise cash for HM Treasury:-

19-Mar-2020 0 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2025 £3,250.0000 Million
17-Mar-2020 1¾% Treasury Gilt 2049 £2,299.9990 Million
10-Mar-2020 4¾% Treasury Gilt 2030 £2,587.4880 Million
05-Mar-2020 0 1/8% Index-linked Treasury Gilt 2028 3 months £1,244.2380 Million
04-Mar-2020 0 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2025 £3,500.0000 Million

When you add the cash raised:-

£3,250.0000 Million + £2,299.9990 Million+ £2,587.4880 Million + £1,244.2380 Million + £3,500.0000 Million = £12,764.406‬ Million

£12,881.725‬ Million = £12.881725 Billion

On another way of looking at it, is in the 31 days in March 2020, HM Government borrowed:- £415.5395161290323 Million each day for the 31 days.

We are fortunate, while the global banking and financial markets still has the confidence in HM Government to buy the Gilts (Lend money to the UK), the budget deficit keeps rising. What is also alarming, is the dates these bond mature 2025, 2028, 2030 and 2049. All long term borrowings, we are mortgaging our futures, but at least “We Are In It Together….

Newsnight: Emily is superb

“The disease is not a great leveller, the consequences of which everyone – rich or poor – suffers the same,” the 49-year-old said.

“This is a myth which needs debunking. Those on the front line right now – bus drivers and shelf stackers, nurses, care home workers, hospital staff and shop keepers – are disproportionately the lowest paid members of our workforce. They are more likely to catch the disease because they are more exposed.”

And she added: “Those who live in tower blocks and small flats will find the lockdown a lot tougher. Those who work in manual jobs will be unable to work from home.

Covid 19: The University of Liverpool: Funding for Research

Hello.

The University of Liverpool has a world famous School of Tropical Medicine.

https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/coronavirus/support-us/

They are asking for money to help research into Covid 19 (see the link at the bottom)

It was my first University, and I have made a donation to Liverpool’s world leading research.

If you can help, it would be wonderful.

Thanks

Asad

Copper Destroys Viruses and Bacteria. Why Isn’t It Everywhere?

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xgqkyw/copper-destroys-viruses-and-bacteria-why-isnt-it-everywhere

It could destroy norovirus, MRSA, virulent strains of E. coli, and coronaviruses—including the novel strain currently causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 1852, physician Victor Burq visited a copper smelter in Paris’s 3rd arrondissement, where they used heat and chemicals to extract the reddish-brown metal. It was a dirty and dangerous job. Burq found the facility to be “in poor condition,” along with the housing and the hygiene of the smelters. Normally, their mortality rates were “pitiful,” he observed.

Yet, the 200 employees who worked there had all been spared from cholera outbreaks that hit the city in 1832, 1849, and 1852. When Burq learned that 400 to 500 copper workers on the same street had also mysteriously dodged cholera, he concluded that something about their professions—and copper—had made them immune to the highly infectious disease. He launched a detailed investigation into other people who worked with copper, in Paris and cities around the world.

In the 1854 to 1855 cholera epidemic, Burq could not find any deaths of jewellers, goldsmiths, or boilermakers—all those who worked with copper. In people in the army, he found that musicians who played brass instruments (brass is partly copper) were also protected.

In the 1865 Paris epidemic, 6,176 people died of cholera, out of a population of 1,677,000 people—that’s 3.7 people out of every 1,000. But of the 30,000 who worked in different copper industries, only 45 died—an average of around 0.5 per 1,000.

After visiting 400 different businesses and factories in Paris, all of which used copper, and collecting reports from England, Sweden, and Russia on more than 200,000 people, he concluded to the French Academies of Science and Medicine in 1867 that “copper or its alloys, brass and bronze, applied literally and pregnantly to the skin in the cholera epidemic are effective means of prevention which should not be neglected.”

Today, we have insight into why a person handling copper day in and day out would have protection from a bacterial threat: Copper is antimicrobial. It kills bacteria and viruses, sometimes within minutes. In the 19th century, exposure to copper would have been an early version of constantly sanitizing one’s hands.

Since then, studies have shown that copper is able to destroy the microbes that most threaten our lives. It has been shown to kill a long list of microbes, including norovirus, MRSA, a staph bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics, virulent strains of E. coli that cause food-borne illness, and coronaviruses—possibly including the novel strain currently causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

If copper were more frequently used in hospitals, where 1 in 31 people get healthcare-acquired infections (HAI), or in high-traffic areas, where many people touch surfaces teeming with microbial life—it could play an invaluable role in public health, said Michael Schmidt, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, who studies copper. And yet, it is woefully absent from our public spaces, healthcare settings, and homes.

“What happened is our own arrogance and our love of plastic and other materials took over,” Schmidt said of the cheaper products more frequently used. “We moved away from copper beds, copper railings, and copper door knobs to stainless steel, plastic, and aluminum.”

Many of the microbes that make us sick can live on hard surfaces for up to four or five days. When we touch those surfaces, the microbes can make it into our bodies through our nose, mouth, or eyes, and infect us.

On copper surfaces, bacteria and viruses die. When a microbe lands on a copper surface, the copper releases ions, which are electrically charged particles. Those copper ions blast through the outer membranes and destroy the whole cell, including the DNA or RNA inside. Because their DNA and RNA are destroyed, it also means a bacteria or virus can’t mutate and become resistant to the copper, or pass on genes (like for antibiotic resistance) to other microbes.

Before people even knew what bacteria and viruses were, they knew that copper could—somehow—ward off infection. The first recorded medical use of copper is from one of the oldest-known books, the Smith Papyrus, written between 2600 and 2200 B.C. It said that copper was used to sterilize chest wounds and drinking water. Egyptian and Babylonian soldiers would similarly put the shavings from their bronze swords (made from copper and tin) into their open wounds to reduce infections. A more contemporary use of copper: In New York City’s Grand Central Station, the grand staircase is flanked by copper handrails. “Those are actually anti-microbial,” Schmidt said.

The copper smelters were, ostensibly, exposed to less of the cholera bacterium because their surroundings included a lot of copper that bacteria couldn’t live on. That and they potentially were covered in copper particles. If metallurgy doesn’t call to you, there are now some products that are advertised as “copper hand sanitizers,” but they work only if you can expose every surface of your hands to the copper for at least a full minute—essentially transferring any microbes to the copper surface to be killed. It could be difficult to get to every part of your skin’s surface, so having copper surfaces in your environment paired with handwashing would be the ideal combination.

Schmidt said that using copper along with standard hygiene protocols has been shown to reduce bacteria in health care settings by 90 percent. A study from 1983 found that hospital door knobs made of brass, which is part copper, barely had any E. coli growth on them, compared to stainless steel knobs which were “heavily colonized.” This is significant because of how rampant healthcare-acquired infections are: In the U.S. alone, there are about 1.7 million infections and 99,000 deaths linked to HAIs per year, which cost between $35.7 and $45 billion annually, from the extra treatments people need when they get infected.

Microbes that live on surfaces in patient rooms and common spaces in hospitals play a role in getting a HAI—and this is where copper could help. And during this pandemic, when there is serious concern about the spread of the novel coronavirus via contaminated surfaces, a virus-killing substance seems worthwhile indeed.

A study from 2015 found that a different coronavirus, human coronavirus 229E, which causes respiratory tract infections, could still infect a human lung cell after five days of being on materials like teflon, ceramic, glass, silicone rubber, and stainless steel. But on copper alloys, the coronavirus was “rapidly inactivated.”

In a new preprint on SARS-CoV2, the strain that causes COVID-19, researchers at the National Institutes of Health virology laboratory in Montana sprayed the virus onto seven different common materials, reported MIT Technology Review. They found that it survived the longest—up to three days—on plastic and stainless steel, suggesting that surfaces in hospitals or steel poles on public transit could be places where people pick up the illness. Just a single droplet from a cough or sneeze can carry an infectious dose of a virus.

Bill Keevil, a professor of environmental healthcare at the University of Southampton in England who has previously received funding from the Copper Development Association, said that if copper surfaces were put in communal areas where many people gather, it could help reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses, like coronavirus 229E and also SARS-CoV2. Other than hospitals, he thinks the ideal locations for copper are public transportation systems, like buses, airports, subways. But he doesn’t stop there: He would also like to see copper used in sports equipment in gyms, like weights, along with other everyday objects, including shared office supplies, like pens.

In the preprint, SARS-CoV2 “liked copper least,” Antonio Regalado wrote in MIT Technology Review. “The virus was gone after just four hours.”

In 2012, Schmidt and his colleagues ran a clinical trial in three hospitals, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, and Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center, also in Charleston.

First, they figured out which items closest to a patient were the most contaminated with microbes—those were the bed rails, the nurse call button, the arm of the visitor chair, the tray tables, and the IV pole. Enveloping these items in copper reduced the presence of microbes by 83 percent. As a result, HAIs were reduced by 58 percent, even though the researchers had introduced copper to less than 10 percent of the surface area of the room.

We have other methods of killing bacteria and viruses to mitigate HAIs, including ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide gas. But both require a hospital room to be empty, and once sick people re-enter rooms, surfaces can easily be contaminated again. “Copper is continuously working 24/7 without supervision, without any need to intervene, and it never runs out,” Schmidt said. “As long as the metal’s there, it’s good to go.”

So given how well it could work, for hospital infections and for health more generally, why isn’t copper everywhere? Why isn’t every door knob, every subway rail, every ICU room, made of copper? Why can we easily buy stainless steel water bottles, but not copper? Where are the copper iPhone cases?

It doesn’t seem like we’ll run out of copper in the near future, according to the World Copper Factbook from 2019. Copper is one of the most recycled of all metals—nearly all copper can be recycled and not lose any of its properties.

Doctors and healthcare workers might not be aware of its properties, as Keevil wrote in The Conversation: “When doctors are asked to name an antimicrobial metal used in healthcare, the most common reply is silver—but little do they know that silver does not work as an antimicrobial surface when dry—moisture needs to be present.”

There might also be a perception that copper is too expensive, Schmidt said, despite the fact that the numbers indicate it would ultimately save money. One of Keevil and Schmidt’s studies from 2015 did the math: The cost of treating an HAI ranges from $28,400 to $33,800 per patient. Installing copper on 10 percent of surfaces cost $52,000 and prevented 14 infections over the course of the 338-day study. If you take the lower end of the HAI treatment cost ($28,400), then those 14 prevented infections saved a total of $397,600, or $1,176 a day.

Even when factoring in how much the copper cost initially, you’d make that money back in savings within two months, Schmidt said. And considering that the copper never loses its microbial killing abilities—hospitals would quickly be saving money (and lives).

“Your payback is literally in less than two [prevented] infections,” he said. “I really struggle with this. Since 2013, I have been literally begging, groveling, pleading, with any and all concerned to make a completely copper encapsulated

[hospital]

bed.”

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He recently did convince a company to invest, and said they’re in the process of testing it to show that it could reduce infections even further than 58 percent.

Another reason copper may have been passed over for steel, plastic, or glass is that it can easily tarnish and requires a lot of cleaning to remain shiny. “But copper is antimicrobial regardless of how grody it looks, if it turns green on you, it still has the ability to kill bacteria and viruses and fungi,” he said.

Some places around the world have started to use copper. In Chile, a theme park called Fantasilandia, replaced a lot of its commonly touched surfaces with copper. At the Atlanta airport, 50 water bottle filling stations are now made with copper. But Schmidt believes it should be more widespread.

He said that one of the reasons scientists are worried about the current coronavirus is how infectious it is, and a major way people might be getting it is from touching contaminated surfaces. He thinks it’s possible that the pandemic could raise awareness for copper—if it motivates anyone to start using it. Imagine, he said, if our hospitals and public spaces already had copper in place—it’s impossible to say for sure, but it’s likely that transmission would have been affected.

“I have great confidence that it would work because bacteria or viruses are the ones causing the infection,” hesaid. “If their numbers go down, common sense would tell you: you should have fewer infections.”

Tip of the iceberg’: is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/18/tip-of-the-iceberg-is-our-destruction-of-nature-responsible-for-covid-19-aoe

As habitat and biodiversity loss increase globally, the coronavirus outbreak may be just the beginning of mass pandemics

Mayibout 2 is not a healthy place. The 150 or so people who live in the village, which sits on the south bank of the Ivindo River, deep in the great Minkebe Forest in northern Gabon, are used to occasional bouts of diseases such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever and sleeping sickness. Mostly they shrug them off.

But in January 1996, Ebola, a deadly virus then barely known to humans, unexpectedly spilled out of the forest in a wave of small epidemics. The disease killed 21 of 37 villagers who were reported to have been infected, including a number who had carried, skinned, chopped or eaten a chimpanzee from the nearby forest.

I travelled to Mayibout 2 in 2004 to investigate why deadly diseases new to humans were emerging from biodiversity “hotspots” such as tropical rainforests and bushmeat markets in African and Asian cities.

It took a day by canoe and then many hours along degraded forest logging roads, passing Baka villages and a small goldmine, to reach the village. There, I found traumatised people still fearful that the deadly virus, which kills up to 90% of the people it infects, would return.

Villagers told me how children had gone into the forest with dogs that had killed the chimp. They said that everyone who cooked or ate it got a terrible fever within a few hours. Some died immediately, while others were taken down the river to hospital. A few, like Nesto Bematsick, recovered. “We used to love the forest, now we fear it,” he told me. Many of Bematsick’s family members died.

Only a decade or two ago it was widely thought that tropical forests and intact natural environments teeming with exotic wildlife threatened humans by harbouring the viruses and pathogens that lead to new diseases in humans such as Ebola, HIV and dengue.

But a number of researchers today think that it is actually humanity’s destruction of biodiversity that creates the conditions for new viruses and diseases such as Covid-19, the viral disease that emerged in China in December 2019, to arise – with profound health and economic impacts in rich and poor countries alike. In fact, a new discipline, planetary health, is emerging that focuses on the increasingly visible connections between the wellbeing of humans, other living things and entire ecosystems.

Is it possible, then, that it was human activity, such as road building, mining, hunting and logging, that triggered the Ebola epidemics in Mayibout 2 and elsewhere in the 1990s and that is unleashing new terrors today?

“We invade tropical forests and other wild landscapes, which harbour so many species of animals and plants – and within those creatures, so many unknown viruses,” David Quammen, author of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Pandemic, recently wrote in the New York Times. “We cut the trees; we kill the animals or cage them and send them to markets. We disrupt ecosystems, and we shake viruses loose from their natural hosts. When that happens, they need a new host. Often, we are it.”

Increasing threat
Research suggests that outbreaks of animal-borne and other infectious diseases such as Ebola, Sars, bird flu and now Covid-19, caused by a novel coronavirus, are on the rise. Pathogens are crossing from animals to humans, and many are able to spread quickly to new places. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that three-quarters of new or emerging diseases that infect humans originate in animals.

Some, like rabies and plague, crossed from animals centuries ago. Others, such as Marburg, which is thought to be transmitted by bats, are still rare. A few, like Covid-19, which emerged last year in Wuhan, China, and Mers, which is linked to camels in the Middle East, are new to humans and spreading globally.

Other diseases that have crossed into humans include Lassa fever, which was first identified in 1969 in Nigeria; Nipah from Malaysia; and Sars from China, which killed more than 700 people and travelled to 30 countries in 2002–03. Some, like Zika and West Nile virus, which emerged in Africa, have mutated and become established on other continents.

Kate Jones, chair of ecology and biodiversity at UCL, calls emerging animal-borne infectious diseases an “increasing and very significant threat to global health, security and economies”.

Amplification effect
In 2008, Jones and a team of researchers identified 335 diseases that emerged between 1960 and 2004, at least 60% of which came from animals.

Increasingly, says Jones, these zoonotic diseases are linked to environmental change and human behaviour. The disruption of pristine forests driven by logging, mining, road building through remote places, rapid urbanisation and population growth is bringing people into closer contact with animal species they may never have been near before, she says.

The resulting transmission of disease from wildlife to humans, she says, is now “a hidden cost of human economic development. There are just so many more of us, in every environment. We are going into largely undisturbed places and being exposed more and more. We are creating habitats where viruses are transmitted more easily, and then we are surprised that we have new ones.”

ones studies how changes in land use contribute to the risk. “We are researching how species in degraded habitats are likely to carry more viruses which can infect humans,” she says. “Simpler systems get an amplification effect. Destroy landscapes, and the species you are left with are the ones humans get the diseases from.”

“There are countless pathogens out there continuing to evolve which at some point could pose a threat to humans,” says Eric Fevre, chair of veterinary infectious diseases at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health. “The risk [of pathogens jumping from animals to humans] has always been there.”

The difference between now and a few decades ago, Fevre says, is that diseases are likely to spring up in both urban and natural environments. “We have created densely packed populations where alongside us are bats and rodents and birds, pets and other living things. That creates intense interaction and opportunities for things to move from species to species,” he says.

Tip of the iceberg
“Pathogens do not respect species boundaries,” says disease ecologist Thomas Gillespie, an associate professor in Emory University’s department of environmental sciences, who studies how shrinking natural habitats and changing behaviour add to the risk of diseases spilling over from animals to humans.

“I am not at all surprised about the coronavirus outbreak,” he says. “The majority of pathogens are still to be discovered. We are at the very tip of the iceberg.”

Humans, says Gillespie, are creating the conditions for the spread of diseases by reducing the natural barriers between host animals – in which the virus is naturally circulating – and themselves. “We fully expect the arrival of pandemic influenza; we can expect large-scale human mortalities; we can expect other pathogens with other impacts. A disease like Ebola is not easily spread. But something with a mortality rate of Ebola spread by something like measles would be catastrophic,” Gillespie says.

Wildlife everywhere is being put under more stress, he says. “Major landscape changes are causing animals to lose habitats, which means species become crowded together and also come into greater contact with humans. Species that survive change are now moving and mixing with different animals and with humans.”

Gillespie sees this in the US, where suburbs fragment forests and raise the risk of humans contracting Lyme disease. “Altering the ecosystem affects the complex cycle of the Lyme pathogen. People living close by are more likely to get bitten by a tick carrying Lyme bacteria,” he says.

Yet human health research seldom considers the surrounding natural ecosystems, says Richard Ostfeld, distinguished senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. He and others are developing the emerging discipline of planetary health, which looks at the links between human and ecosystem health.

“There’s misapprehension among scientists and the public that natural ecosystems are the source of threats to ourselves. It’s a mistake. Nature poses threats, it is true, but it’s human activities that do the real damage. The health risks in a natural environment can be made much worse when we interfere with it,” he says.

Ostfeld points to rats and bats, which are strongly linked with the direct and indirect spread of zoonotic diseases. “Rodents and some bats thrive when we disrupt natural habitats. They are the most likely to promote transmissions [of pathogens]. The more we disturb the forests and habitats the more danger we are in,” he says.

Felicia Keesing, professor of biology at Bard College, New York, studies how environmental changes influence the probability that humans will be exposed to infectious diseases. “When we erode biodiversity, we see a proliferation of the species most likely to transmit new diseases to us, but there’s also good evidence that those same species are the best hosts for existing diseases,” she wrote in an email to Ensia, the nonprofit media outlet that reports on our changing planet.

The market connection

Disease ecologists argue that viruses and other pathogens are also likely to move from animals to humans in the many informal markets that have sprung up to provide fresh meat to fast-growing urban populations around the world. Here, animals are slaughtered, cut up and sold on the spot.

The “wet market” (one that sells fresh produce and meat) in Wuhan, thought by the Chinese government to be the starting point of the current Covid-19 pandemic, was known to sell numerous wild animals, including live wolf pups, salamanders, crocodiles, scorpions, rats, squirrels, foxes, civets and turtles.

Equally, urban markets in west and central Africa sell monkeys, bats, rats, and dozens of species of bird, mammal, insect and rodent slaughtered and sold close to open refuse dumps and with no drainage.

“Wet markets make a perfect storm for cross-species transmission of pathogens,” says Gillespie. “Whenever you have novel interactions with a range of species in one place, whether that is in a natural environment like a forest or a wet market, you can have a spillover event.”

The Wuhan market, along with others that sell live animals, has been shut by the Chinese authorities, and last month Beijing outlawed the trading and eating of wild animals except for fish and seafood. But bans on live animals being sold in urban areas or informal markets are not the answer, say some scientists.

“The wet market in Lagos is notorious. It’s like a nuclear bomb waiting to happen. But it’s not fair to demonise places which do not have fridges. These traditional markets provide much of the food for Africa and Asia,” says Jones.

“These markets are essential sources of food for hundreds of millions of poor people, and getting rid of them is impossible,” says Delia Grace, a senior epidemiologist and veterinarian with the International Livestock Research Institute, which is based in Nairobi, Kenya. She argues that bans force traders underground, where they may pay less attention to hygiene.

evre and colleague Cecilia Tacoli, principal researcher in the human settlements research group at the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED), argue in a blog post that rather than pointing the finger at wet markets, we should look at the burgeoning trade in wild animals.

“It is wild animals rather than farmed animals that are the natural hosts of many viruses,” they write. “Wet markets are considered part of the informal food trade that is often blamed for contributing to spreading disease. But … evidence shows the link between informal markets and disease is not always so clear cut.”

Changing behaviour
So what, if anything, can we do about all of this?

Jones says that change must come from both rich and poor societies. Demand for wood, minerals and resources from the global north leads to the degraded landscapes and ecological disruption that drives disease, she says. “We must think about global biosecurity, find the weak points and bolster the provision of health care in developing countries. Otherwise we can expect more of the same,” she adds.

“The risks are greater now. They were always present and have been there for generations. It is our interactions with that risk which must be changed,” says Brian Bird, a research virologist at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine One Health Institute, where he leads Ebola-related surveillance activities in Sierra Leone and elsewhere.

“We are in an era now of chronic emergency,” Bird says. “Diseases are more likely to travel further and faster than before, which means we must be faster in our responses. It needs investments, change in human behaviour, and it means we must listen to people at community levels.”

Getting the message about pathogens and disease to hunters, loggers, market traders and consumers is key, Bird says. “These spillovers start with one or two people. The solutions start with education and awareness. We must make people aware things are different now. I have learned from working in Sierra Leone with Ebola-affected people that local communities have the hunger and desire to have information,” he says. “They want to know what to do. They want to learn.”

Fevre and Tacoli advocate rethinking urban infrastructure, particularly within low-income and informal settlements. “Short-term efforts are focused on containing the spread of infection,” they write. “The longer term – given that new infectious diseases will likely continue to spread rapidly into and within cities – calls for an overhaul of current approaches to urban planning and development.”

The bottom line, Bird says, is to be prepared. “We can’t predict where the next pandemic will come from, so we need mitigation plans to take into account the worst possible scenarios,” he says. “The only certain thing is that the next one will certainly come.”

This piece is jointly published with Ensia

HM Government Borrowing, February 2020

Another month, guess what, take a lucky guess, it is the same old story, HM Government, spends more money than it receives via taxes and duties.

Another deficit month, thus to bridge the gap, needs to borrow on the bond market In Feb 2020 , the HM Government had to borrow money to meet the difference between tax revenues and public sector expenditure. The term for this is The PSNCR: The Public Sector Net Cash Requirement. There were “only” 3 auctions of Gilts (UK Government Bonds) by the UK Debt Management Office to raise cash for HM Treasury:-

04-Feb-2020 0 1/8% Index-linked Treasury Gilt 2036 3 months £800.0000 Million
20-Feb-2020 1½% Treasury Gilt 2026 £3,269.8750 Million
25-Feb-2020 0 7/8% Treasury Gilt 2029 £3,441.9750 Million

When you add the cash raised:-

£800.0000 Million + £3,269.8750 Million + £3,441.9750 Million = £7,511.85‬ Million

£7,511.85‬ Million = £7.51185 Billion

On another way of looking at it, is in the 29 days in Feb 2020, HM Government borrowed:- £259.0293103448276‬ Million each day for the 29 days.

We are fortunate, while the global banking and financial markets still has the confidence in HM Government to buy the Gilts (Lend money to the UK), the budget deficit keeps rising. What is also alarming, is the dates these bond mature 2026, 2029 and 2036. All long term borrowings, we are mortgaging our futures, but at least “We Are In It Together….”

About Covid19

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.09.20033217v2.full.pdf

Key points:-

HCoV-19…

– remained viable in aerosols throughout the duration of [the] experiment
(3 hours).

– was most stable on plastic and stainless steel and viable virus could
be detected up to 72 hours post application.

– No viable virus could be measured after 4 hours on copper or after
24 hours on cardboard.

So it *does* appear to hang around in the air, and can last up to 3
days on plastic surfaces. I was surprised with the cardboard result.

None of this is to say that these are the main methods of current
transmission, but they are interesting nevertheless

Bank of England response to Covid19

£200bn

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/markets/market-notices/2020/apf-asset-purchases-and-tfsme-march-2020

Over recent days, and in common with a number of other advanced economy bond markets, conditions in the UK gilt market have deteriorated as investors have sought shorter-dated instruments that are closer substitutes for highly liquid central bank reserves.  As a consequence, UK and global financial conditions have tightened.

At its special meeting on 19 March, the MPC judged that a further package of measures was warranted to meet its statutory objectives.  It therefore voted unanimously to increase the Bank of England’s holdings of UK government bonds and sterling non-financial investment-grade corporate bonds by £200 billion to a total of £645 billion, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves; and to reduce Bank Rate by 15 basis points to 0.1%.  The Committee also voted unanimously that the Bank of England should enlarge the Term Funding Scheme with additional incentives for SMEs (TFSME).

This Market Notice sets out operational details for additional asset purchases and the change of terms relating to the TFSME. Other than as amended by this Market Notice, previous Market Notices relating to the Bank’s gilt purchases, purchases of corporate bonds and TFSME will apply

The US Federal Reserve Response to Covid19

$700bn

https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary20200323b.htm

  • Support for critical market functioning. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will purchase Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities in the amounts needed to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions and the economy. The FOMC had previously announced it would purchase at least $500 billion of Treasury securities and at least $200 billion of mortgage-backed securities. In addition, the FOMC will include purchases of agency commercial mortgage-backed securities in its agency mortgage-backed security purchases.
  • Supporting the flow of credit to employers, consumers, and businesses by establishing new programs that, taken together, will provide up to $300 billion in new financing. The Department of the Treasury, using the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF), will provide $30 billion in equity to these facilities.
  • Establishment of two facilities to support credit to large employers – the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility (PMCCF) for new bond and loan issuance and the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF) to provide liquidity for outstanding corporate bonds.
  • Establishment of a third facility, the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), to support the flow of credit to consumers and businesses. The TALF will enable the issuance of asset-backed securities (ABS) backed by student loans, auto loans, credit card loans, loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA), and certain other assets.
  • Facilitating the flow of credit to municipalities by expanding the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (MMLF) to include a wider range of securities, including municipal variable rate demand notes (VRDNs) and bank certificates of deposit.
  • Facilitating the flow of credit to municipalities by expanding the Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF) to include high-quality, tax-exempt commercial paper as eligible securities. In addition, the pricing of the facility has been reduced.

Royal Dutch Shell March 2020 Dividend.

Today, Royal Dutch Shell pays out this quarterly dividend.

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/RDSA/14451966.html

£0.364 a share.

Now the share capital of Royal Dutch Shell is made up of Shell A and Shell B

Royal Dutch Shell plc’s capital as at 28 February 2020, consists of 4,117,374,078 A shares and 3,723,888,604 B shares, each with equal voting rights. Royal Dutch Shell plc holds no ordinary shares in Treasury.

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/RDSA/14442753.html

Thus:

(4,117,374,078 A shares) x £0.364 a share + (3,723,888,604 B shares) x £0.364 a share = 7, 841,262,682 x £0.364 = £2,854,219,616.248

That is £2.854219616.248 Billion

The Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust.

The Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust is the oldest investment trust in the UK.

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/prices-and-markets/stocks/summary/company-summary/GB0003466074GBGBXSTMM.html?lang=en

Its top hold 20 holdings are:

PE Investment Holdings 2018 LP 2.3% of the fund
Amazon 1.9% of the fund
Microsoft 1.6% of the fund
Alphabet 1.5% of the fund
Facebook 1.5% of the fund
Apple 1.1% of the fund
UnitedHealth 0.9% of the fund
Inflexion Strategic Partners LP 0.9% of the fund
Alibaba 0.9% of the fund
JPMorgan Chase 0.8% of the fund
Dollar General 0.8% of the fund
Visa 0.8% of the fund
Mastercard 0.8% of the fund
Comcast 0.7% of the fund
Chevron 0.7% of the fund
Broadcom 0.7% of the fund
Novo Nordisk 0.7% of the fund
AstraZeneca 0.7% of the fund
Anthem 0.7% of the fund
Utilico Emerging Markets 0.6% of the fund

Asset Allocation Is:-

UK equity 7.9% of the fund
Europe ex UK equity 16.2% of the fund
North America equity 54.0% of the fund
Japan equity 8.6% of the fund
Pacific ex Japan equity 1.7% of the fund
Emerging markets equity 11.0% of the fund
Liquidity 0.6% of the fund

Total 100.0% of the fund

£160,000 for each of Norway’s 5.3 million people

www.nbim.no

That is Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund gains £140bn in one year – £26,400 for every citizen

Its total value is now equivalent to £160,000 for each of Norway’s 5.3 million people

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund earned a record £140bn, meaning an extra £26,400 for every citizen of the oil-rich nation.

A bumper year saw 19.9 per cent rise in the value of investments held by the fund, taking its total value to more that 10 trillion Norwegian Crowns.

Norway’s fund, set up in 1990 to preserve the nation’s oil and gas wealth for future generations, is the biggest sovereign fund in the world, owning around 1.5 per cent of all shares in listed companies.

The fund helps pay for generous welfare provision and its total value is now equivalent to £160,000 for each of Norway’s 5.3 million people. It hit the 10 trillion-krone landmark in 2019, exactly 50 years since fossil fuels were first discovered beneath Norwegian waters, dramatically altering the nation’s trajectory.

The fund pledged this year to sell its stake in oil and gas exploration firms, although some campaigners say the move does not go far enough. It maintains stakes in Shell, BP and other oil majors.

Montanaro UK Smaller Companies IT Trust PLC

The Montanaro UK Smaller Companies Investment Trust PLC is a London Listed investment company

http://www.montanaro.co.uk/our-trusts/uk-smaller-companies-investment-trust/overview

The Trust aims to achieve capital appreciation through investing in small quoted companies listed on the London Stock Exchange or traded on the Alternative Investment Market (“AIM”) and to achieve relative outperformance of its benchmark, the Numis Smaller Companies Index (excluding investment companies) (“NSCI”).

Top 10 Holdings:-

Integrafin 4% of the fund
Information Ratio 3.9% of the fund
4Imprint Group 3.6% of the fund
Ideagen 3.3% of the fund
Hilton Food Group 3.2% of the fund
Marshalls 3.6% of the fund
XP Power 3.6% of the fund
Discoverie Group 2.9% of the fund
Porvair 2.8% of the fund
Polypipe Group 2.7% of the fund

Total: 32.9% of the fund.

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/prices-and-markets/stocks/summary/company-summary/GB00BZ1H9L86GBGBXSSMM.html?lang=en

The largest shareholders are:-

1607 Capital Partners LLC 10.0% of voting rights
Border to Coast Pensions Partnership 8.9% of voting rights
Derbyshire County Council 7.9% of voting rights
Brooks Macdonald Group plc 5.4% of voting rights
Montanaro Asset Management Limited 5.0% of voting rights
Quilter Cheviot Limited 5.0% of voting rights
Newton Investment Management Limited 5.0% of voting rights
Jupiter Asset Management Limited 4.7% of voting rights
Royal London Asset Management Limited 4.0% of voting rights
City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council 3.7% of voting rights

The Schroder Oriental Income Fund

The The Schroder Oriental Income Fund, has the investment objective of the Company is to provide a total return for investors primarily through investments in equities and equity related investments, of companies which are based in, or which derive a significant proportion of their revenues from, the Asia Pacific region and which offer attractive yields.

Its top ten holdings are:

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd 8.1% of the fund
2 Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 5.9% of the fund
3 Swire Pacific Ltd 3.6% of the fund
4 FORTUNE REIT NPV (HK LISTING) 3.5% of the fund
5 Sands China Ltd 3.5% of the fund
6 BOC Hong Kong Holdings Ltd 2.8% of the fund
7 Kerry Properties Ltd 2.5% of the fund
8 Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd 2.5% of the fund
9 BHP Group PLC 2.5% of the fund
10 Singapore Telecommunications Ltd 2.5% of the fund

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/prices-and-markets/stocks/summary/company-summary/GB00B0CRWN59GBGBXSTMM.html?lang=en

HM Government Borrowing, January 2020

Another month, guess what, take a lucky guess, it is the same old story, HM Government, spends more money than it receives via taxes and duties.

Another deficit month, thus to bridge the gap, needs to borrow on the bond market In January 2020 , the HM Government had to borrow money to meet the difference between tax revenues and public sector expenditure. The term for this is The PSNCR: The Public Sector Net Cash Requirement. There were “only” 4 auctions of Gilts (UK Government Bonds) by the UK Debt Management Office to raise cash for HM Treasury:-

28-Jan-2020 0 7/8% Treasury Gilt 2029 2,750.000 Million
21-Jan-2020 1¼ % Treasury Gilt 2041 2,545.8720 Million
14-Jan-2020 0 5/8% Treasury Gilt 2025 3,250.0000 Million
09-Jan-2020 0 1/8% Index-linked Treasury Gilt 2028 1,056.0370 Million
07-Jan-2020 0 7/8% Treasury Gilt 2029 3,162.4970 Million

When you add the cash raised:-

£2,750.000Million + £2,545.8720Million + 3,250.0000Million + £1,056.0370Million + £3,162.4970Million = £12,764.406‬ Million

£12,764.406‬ Million = £12.764406Billion

On another way of looking at it, is in the 31 days in Jan 2020, HM Government borrowed:- £411.7550322580645Million each day for the 31 days.

We are fortunate, while the global banking and financial markets still has the confidence in HM Government to buy the Gilts (Lend money to the UK), the budget deficit keeps rising. What is also alarming, is the dates these bond mature 2025, 2028, 2029 and 2041. All long term borrowings, we are mortgaging our futures, but at least “We Are In It Together….”

The system is broken’: the billionaire investor Ray Dalio who fears a return to the 1930s.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/feb/09/ray-dalio-billionaire-hedge-fund-capitalism

Ray Dalio, who has a near $19bn fortune, is one of a handful of the 0.01% to go public with concerns about the system that created that wealth
Ray Dalio, the billionaire investor, has just released his first children’s book. It’s a bedtime story he hopes will inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs and leaders. There are other stories that keep Dalio awake at night.

Stock markets have soared in recent years, employers are struggling to find workers, inflation is under control. And yet: “This period is very similar to that of the 1930s,” he says. “We’re at each other’s throats when these are the best of times. I worry about the bad times.”
Dalio, the founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, and a man with a personal fortune that tops $18.7bn, is one of a handful of the 0.01% who have gone public with their worries about the system that created that wealth.
“The world has gone mad, and the system is broken,” he wrote in a series of viral posts on the issues he sees in the modern economy last year.

The gap between rich and poor has grown too wide, and most people have not seen real income growth in decades, he wrote. The economy is stacked against those at the bottom. Education, healthcare, the tax system, the prison system and political deadlock have created a situation that presents an “existential risk” to the US and the rest of the world. It was a searing indictment of the status quo, not least because it came from someone who had benefited from it the most.
While on the surface the financial numbers of the world economy look good, it is clear that the Great Recession has left a pool of seething resentment in its wake. Nationalism is sweeping the world and the political order is being overturned. As Eric Hoffer pointed out in The True Believer, his book on mass movements, the French and Russian revolutions came not at economic and social nadirs, but as living conditions were improving.

Dalio hopes, in part, that his latest book can help people at an individual level to address the dilemmas they now face and will always face – no matter what the political or economic headwinds. An illustrated distillation of his bestselling book Principles for Success, the book offers the life lessons Dalio says helped him not only amass one of the world’s largest fortunes but live a successful life.
In the book, an unnamed hero in a backpack and Pharrell Williams hat negotiates a series of problems, a dark wood, a mountaintop and the loss of said hat, as he chases a blue diamond. While it’s not really clear what the diamond represents (maybe $18.7bn?), it’s really about the journey. Over 157 pages, Dalio shares his insights, a five-point system for assessing our weaknesses and overcoming problems, and somewhat hokey aphoristic formulae like Dreams + Reality + Determination = A Successful Life and Pain + Reflection = Progress.
The Hungry Caterpillar it ain’t.

He says he wrote the book because friends said they wanted it for their kids. It’s hard to see pajama-clad children clamoring for Principles (“Daddy, is there a follow-up on compound interest?”) but the original Principles has sold over a million copies and been downloaded 3 million times, so who knows? Kids these days!
“I think everybody would benefit from writing down their principles, not in an abstract way,” says Dalio. “It serves a purpose of bringing clarity to your thinking. It’s a joy. I think these principles apply to anybody, whatever their circumstances are.” He is hoping some of his peers will follow suit.
But while he is hopeful that his principles can be a practical benefit at the individual level, Dalio is worried about the future of society those individuals live in. “I think the capitalism system needs to be reformed, because first of all it’s not fair. And secondly, it’s not optimally productive.”
The system that Dalio grew up in, he says, is very different to the one we have today. Born in 1949 the son of a jazz musician, Dalio grew up in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of New York City’s Queens. He had loving parents, attended a good public school and entered “a job market that offered me equal opportunity”.
He began trading at the age of 12 and opened Bridgewater in 1981. By 2005, it had become the largest hedge fund in the world, betting on “macro” world-shaping economic events. He made investors a fortune correctly predicting the last recession when others bet it would be business as usual.

To have these things and use them to build a great life is what was meant by living the American Dream,” he wrote last year. Now, Dalio argues, capitalism has broken that promise. The relentless pursuit of profit over people has created a structural flaw that threatens to bring the whole system down. “All systems should evolve. We all need to evolve. We need to be reformed constantly,” says Dalio.

He is, of course, not alone in thinking this. Democratic presidential candidates including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would be entirely in agreement if they weren’t so against him. The problem for Dalio is whether anyone can hear this message from the mouth of a billionaire. Sanders has said billionaires should not exist. Warren is selling mugs stamped “Billionaire Tears” as she pushes plans for a huge hike in taxes on the super wealthy.
Dalio won’t talk politics in the specifics, but he says he has a strong aversion to any kind of prejudice, and worries about the vitriol being leveled at him and his Croeseus-like cohorts.
“When we get into an environment of demonizing people or stereotyping people. It’s like if you call a leader, a billionaire, evil … it’s almost like saying you’re a poor person, then that’s evil or you’re a Jew or a black person, and that’s evil. I think demonizing a category of people is a very bad thing,” he says.
If we are to find a way out of this mess, he says, it’ll be “with the collective involvement of people who bring not only different perspectives, but different skills to bear” on the problems.
“This engineering exercise has got to be done with skill so that there’s a redistribution of opportunity and a redistribution so that productivity is increased,” he says. “Generally speaking, the capitalists focus on increasing the size of the pie, but not on dividing it well. Socialists focus more on dividing it well, not on how to increase its size.

“I think that we have to work together and this all has to be done in a bipartisan or not partisan way, because I think that right now you’re producing such anger and division and that is our greatest risk,” he says.
It’s a belief that many of his plutocratic peers share, says Dalio. The reaction to his capitalist critique from fellow billionaires has been “overwhelmingly agreement, although not open agreement,” he says.
“I’ll tell you what the fear is. It’s not that they will be taxed more. That’s interesting, because I think most people think that that’s their main fear. The main fear is that the system of making productivity work will be hurt,” he says.
Just like corporations, billionaires are people too. Dalio is not alone in believing he has an answer to the problem that created him. Donald Trump rode into office on a wave of populist economics. Mike Bloomberg (net worth $60bn) and Tom Steyer ($1.6bn) want to replace him.
Theirs is that old, radically conservative, message: everything must change so that everything can stay the same. The question now is whether the system that produced Dalio, his principles and peers can survive the world they created. And if not, what comes after?

Bernie Ebbers = WorldCON

Bernie Ebbers is dead.

Bernie Ebbers, who has died at the age of 78, was a big man in every sense of the word.
The bearded former nightclub bouncer officially stood at 6 foot 4 inches but, typically dressed in a Stetson and cowboy boots, looked even bigger.
The company he built, WorldCom, briefly became one of the world’s biggest telecoms businesses and Mr Ebbers one of America’s richest people.
However, unfortunately for Mr Ebbers, he is more likely to be remembered for his role in what remains one of the world’s biggest accounting frauds.
His rise was one of the great rags-to-riches stories that America loves
Born in 1941 in Edmonton, Canada, Mr Ebbers was the son of a travelling salesman who relocated his family first to California and then to New Mexico, where he attended school on a Navajo reservation.
After college, Mr Ebbers returned to Canada, where he worked initially as a nightclub bouncer and as a milkman.
He later recalled: “Delivering milk day to day in 30-below-zero weather isn’t a real interesting thing to do for the rest of your life.”
He went on to work as a basketball coach, before working in a clothing warehouse and then buying a motel in Mississippi, which he went on to build into a small chain.
In 1984, the opportunity to do something bigger came along.
The Reagan administration, as with the Thatcher government in Britain at that time, was opening up America’s telecoms sector to competition.
AT&T’s effective monopoly was taken away from it as the government sought to encourage others to enter the sector. The deeply religious Mr Ebbers was invited by David Singleton, one of the partners at his local prayer group, to meet two entrepreneurs, Murray Waldron and Bill Fields, who were keen on setting up such a business.
The four met at a diner in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to thrash out a plan that involved reselling long-distance lines to small and medium-sized businesses. The enterprise was, at the suggestion of a waitress, named Long Distance Discount Service. The company was to trade under that moniker until, in 1995, it changed its name to WorldCom.
By then, it was one of America’s biggest telecoms players, having acquired dozens of smaller players worth billions of dollars in total.
The company first burst onto the City’s consciousness in a big way when, in late 1997, it gate-crashed what would have been the biggest deal in British corporate history.
BT had announced plans in November 1996 to buy MCI, a US telecoms rival, in a cash-and-shares deal valuing the latter at a then-massive £15bn. The combined business would have been second only to AT&T, the US giant, in the global telecoms market.
Over subsequent months, as MCI’s financial performance worsened, BT sought to reduce the price it was paying. Then, to its dismay, WorldCom emerged with a higher offer.
With typical bravado, Mr Ebbers told reporters: “We are able to make a superior offer for MCI because we can realise far greater synergies and savings than BT can. They just don’t live here.”
The enlarged MCI-WorldCom was, by then, a major force in what was then the emerging internet market. Mr Ebbers had realised, early on, that there was more money to be made by owning fibre-optic lines down which data could be sent than there could from re-selling space on long-distance phone lines.
All the while, despite resembling a swaggering cowboy, he was carefully cultivating the image of a simple ‘aw shucks’ Southern Baptist who had little understanding of the products his company sold. For many years he did not use a mobile phone and claimed he only sent his first email in 1999.
That was the year in which WorldCom’s stock price peaked and it achieved a stock market valuation of $160bn.
It was also the year in which the company embarked on what Mr Ebbers hoped would be its biggest deal yet – a $116bn cash-and-share offer for rival Sprint in what would have been a combination of America’s second and third-largest telecoms companies.
But the deal was blocked by competition regulators in both the United States and the EU and, as the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, WorldCom’s shares started to fall and worries about its debts began to rise.
Mr Ebbers quit in April 2002 amid revelations that he had borrowed nearly $400m from the company.
By then, its stock market value had shrivelled to $7bn and the Securities & Exchange Commission, America’s top financial regulator, was sniffing around.
Three months later, WorldCom was forced to file for bankruptcy protection, while by the end of the year it emerged that the company had fraudulently exaggerated its earnings by $11bn. Investors in the company lost billions.
Despite all this, Mr Ebbers remained popular in Mississippi, where he had given hundreds of millions of dollars to local charities.
On the Sunday after he was ousted, in 2002, Mr Ebbers walked to the front of his church at the end of the service to tell the congregation: “I just want you to know you aren’t going to church with a crook.”

The SEC begged to differ and, in 2005, a federal jury in Manhattan found him guilty of fraud, conspiracy and giving securities regulators false documents.
His argument that he had been too high up the corporate food chain in WorldCom to know about the accounting fraud was undermined when the company’s former chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, testified against him.
Me Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in prison and was among a number of 1990s US corporate chieftains, including Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco, Jeffrey Skilling of Enron, John Rigas of Adelphia Communications and Martha Stewart of Martha Stewart Living, who were jailed in the 2000s for various misdemeanours.
He was released just before Christmas on account of his failing health and died on Sunday evening.
His passing marks the end of a remarkable story which came to be a byword for corporate fraud. WorldCom’s collapse remained the biggest on record until Lehman Brothers failed in 2008.

HM Government Borrowing, December 2019

Another month, guess what, take a lucky guess, it is the same old story, HM Government, spends more money than it receives via taxes and duties.

Another deficit month, thus to bridge the gap, needs to borrow on the bond market In December 2019 , the HM Government had to borrow money to meet the difference between tax revenues and public sector expenditure. The term for this is The PSNCR: The Public Sector Net Cash Requirement. There were “only” 4 auctions of Gilts (UK Government Bonds) by the UK Debt Management Office to raise cash for HM Treasury:-

17-Dec-2019 2% Treasury Gilt 2025 3,162.4960 Million
11-Dec-2019 0 1/8% Index-linked Treasury Gilt 2048 500.0000 Million
05-Dec-2019 1¾% Treasury Gilt 2049 2,082.4500 Million
03-Dec-2019 0 7/8% Treasury Gilt 2029 3,162.4980 Million

When you add the cash raised:-

£3,162.4960Million + £500.0000Million + 2,082.4500Million + 3,162.4980Million = £8907.444 Million

£8907.444 Million = £8.907444 Billion

On another way of looking at it, is in the 31 days in December, HM Government borrowed:- £287.3369032258065Million each day for the 31 days.

We are fortunate, while the global banking and financial markets still has the confidence in HM Government to buy the Gilts (Lend money to the UK), the budget deficit keeps rising. What is also alarming, is the dates these bond mature 2025, 2029, 2029, 2048 and 2049. All long term borrowings, we are mortgaging our futures, but at least “We Are In It Together….”

Ashoka India Equity Investment Trust PLC

The Ashoka India Equity Investment Trust PLC is a London listed investment trust. The investment objective of the Company is to achieve long-term capital appreciation, mainly through investment in securities listed in India and listed securities of companies with a significant presence in India.

It’s top ten holdings are:-

Bajaj Finance, Financials, 7.2% of the fund
Bajaj Finserve, Financials, 7.1% of the fund
HDFC Bank, Financials, 4.9% of the fund
HDFC Asset Management Co, Financials, 4.7% of the fund
Asian Paints, Materials, 4.2% of the fund
Titan Co, Consumer Discretionary, 3.7% of the fund
NIIT Technologies, Information Technology, 3.5% of the fund
L&T Technology Services, Industrials, 3.5% of the fund
Navin Fluorine International, Materials, 3.4% of the fund
Maruti Suzuki India, Consumer Discretionary, 3.2% of the fund

Total Portfolio 45.2%

tps://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/prices-and-markets/stocks/summary/company-summary/GB00BF50VS41GBGBXSSQ3.html

3i Infrastructure Dividend.

3i Infrastructure paid out its Jan 2020 dividend on Monday 13th Jan 2020.

4.6p a share.

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/3IN/14288784.html

3i Infrastructure plc has 891,434,010 issued ordinary shares with voting rights admitted to trading on a regulated and prescribed market.

Thus:-

891,434,010 x £0.046 = £41,005,964.46

That is £41m

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/prices/stocks/summary/fundamentals.html?fourWayKey=JE00BF5FX167JEGBXSTMM

A yield of 4.37%

Dr Alan Rogers

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it

BMO Managed Portfolio Trust PLC

The BMO Managed Portfolio Trust PLC is a funds of funds.

https://www.bmogam.com/managed-portfolio-trust/

The Managed Portfolio Trust is a ‘multi-manager’ portfolio, investing in trusts managed by different investment providers. The diversification – The multi-manager approach ensures a broad mix of holdings, including ‘alternative’ assets.

Its top ten holdings are:-

Monks Investment Trust. 4.3% of the fund

Allianz Technology Trust 3.5% of the fund

HgCapital Trust 3.3% of the fund

Polar Capital Technology Trust 3.1% of the fund

Worldwide Healthcare Trust 3.1% of the fund

RIT Capital Partners 3.0% of the fund

Mid Wynd International Investment Trust 2.9% of the fund

BH Macro 2.9% of the fund

Impax Environmental Markets 2.9% of the fund

TR Property Investment Trust 2.8% of the fund

Geographic Breakdown:-

UK 26.0% of the fund

North America 24.0% of the fund

Europe 15.0% of the fund

Cash 12.0% of the fund

Far East & Pacific 9.0% of the fund

Japan 5.0% of the fund

Fixed Interest 3.0% of the fund

China 3.0% of the fund

South America 1.0% of the fund

Africa 1.0% of the fund

Other 1.0

The M&G property fund

M&G, the UK investment house, is in the press at the moment regarding its property fund. M&G temporarily suspended dealings in its property portfolio. It said Brexit-related political uncertainty and structural shifts in the UK retail sector had made it difficult to sell commercial property to meet demand from investors to have their cash returned M&G’s top holdings at the end of October 2019 were:-

1 New Square, Bedfont Lakes office park – 7.09% of the fund (Office development in Heathrow)

2 Wales Designer Outlet, Bridgend – 5.07% (Tenants include Marks & Spencer, Gap and Next)

3 Parc Trostre retail park, Llanelli, Wales – 4.5% (Tenants include M&S, Debenhams, New Look, Primark, River Island and Next)

4 Fremlin Walk shopping centre, Maidstone – 3.47% (Tenants include House of Fraser, Laura Ashley, HMV, Paperchase, River Island, Superdry, Topshop and Zara)

5 Iron Mountain distribution warehouse, Belvedere, Kent – 3.41%

6 Riverside retail park, Chelmsford – 3.39% (Tenants include Sports Direct, Matalan, Home Bargains, Poundstretcher, Smyths Toys)

7 Aurora, 120 Bothwell Street, Glasgow – 3.21% (Office building)

8 Gracechurch Centre, Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham – 2.82% (Tenants include House of Fraser, New Look, Sports Direct, Topshop, River Island and JD Sports)

9 Enterprises House, Uxbridge – 2.47% (UK and European headquarters for Coca-Cola)

10 Lindis retail park, Lincoln – 2.42% (Tenants include Sainsbury’s, Matalan, Bargain Buys and Domino’s)

Rolls Royce Jan 2020 Dividend.

Yesterday, Rolls Royce PLC paid out its Jan 2020 Dividend.

www.rollsroyce.com

4.6p a share.

The total number of voting rights in the Company is 1,930,995,313 https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/RR./14366975.html

Thus:-

1,930,995,313 x 0.046 = £88,825,784.398

That is £88m

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?username=&ac=&csi=10072&record_search=1&search_phrase=RR

1.7% yield

IBM Market Capitalisation

Yesterday (Tue 10th December), IBM paid out this dividend of $1.62 a share.

Reading the annual report:

https://www.ibm.com/annualreport/assets/downloads/IBM_Annual_Report_2018.pdf

We discover that The authorized capital stock of IBM consists of 4,687,500,000 shares of common stock with a $.20 per share par value, of which 892,479,411 shares were outstanding at December 31, 2018 and 150,000,000 shares of preferred stock with a $.01 per share par value, none of which were outstanding at December 31, 2018

Thus:

892,479,411 x current share price of $132 = $117,807,282,252

That is $117bn.

Now the dividend of $1.62 a share will cost IBM:-

$1.62 a share x 892,479,411 = $1,445,816,645.82

That is $1.445 Billon.

The Debt of Amazon.

Amazon.com, the Ecommerce giant, has huge sales.

Total in 2018 was $ 141,366 Million.

The company carries debt.

https://ir.aboutamazon.com/static-files/0f9e36b1-7e1e-4b52-be17-145dc9d8b5ec

As of December 31, 2018, Amazon had $24.3 billion of unsecured senior notes outstanding.

2.60% Notes due on December 5, 2019 $1,000million

1.90% Notes due on August 21, 2020 $1,000million

3.30% Notes due on December 5, 2021 $1,000million

2.50% Notes due on November 29, 2022 $1,250million

2.40% Notes due on February 22, 2023 $1,000million

2.80% Notes due on August 22, 2024 $2,000million

3.80% Notes due on December 5, 2024 $1,250million

5.20% Notes due on December 3, 2025 $1,000million

3.15% Notes due on August 22, 2027 $3,500million

4.80% Notes due on December 5, 2034 $1,250million

3.875% Notes due on August 22, 2037 $2,750million

4.950% Notes due on December 5, 2044 $1,500million

4.050% Notes due on August 22, 2047 $3,500million

4.250% Notes due on August 22, 2057 $2,250million

Credit Facility $594million.

Other long-term debt $100million.

Total debt $24,942 million

Gresham House Energy Storage Fund: December 2019 Dividend.

The Gresham House Energy Storage Fund paid on the 20th December is quarterly dividend.

https://greshamhouse.com/real-assets/new-energy/gresham-house-energy-storage-fund-plc/

1p a share:-

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/GRID/14288697.html

The total number of voting rights of the Company is 204,270,650

Thus:- 204,270,650 x £0.01 = £2,042,706.50

That is £2m

Royal Dutch Shell: December 2019 Dividend.

Yesterday, Royal Dutch Shell paid out its quarterly dividend a share.

www.shell.com

Royal Dutch Shell is dual listed, Shell A and Shell B class of shares:-

[1] Royal Dutch Shell A FTSE 100 $0.47 (35.73p)

&

[2] Royal Dutch Shell B FTSE 100 $0.47 (35.73p)

Royal Dutch Shell plc´s capital as at 25 November 2019 consists of 4,191,452,034 A shares and 3,733,998,448 B shares, each with equal voting rights. Royal Dutch Shell plc holds no ordinary shares in Treasury

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/RDSA/14322111.html

Thus:

4,191,452,034 A shares x 35.73p = £1,497,605,811.7482

3,733,998,448 B shares x 35.73p = £1,334,157,645.4704

£1,497,605,811.7482 + £1,334,157,645.4704 = £2,831,763,457.2186

That is £2,831 Million = £2.831 Billion.

Delicious.

The Debt of Netflix.

The world of television and films has changed with companies like Amazon Prime, Netflix who stream content to subscribers.

www.netflix.com is a pioneer in this arena.

Reading its annual report we can discover its level of debt.

https://s22.q4cdn.com/959853165/files/doc_financials/annual_reports/2018/Form-10K_Q418_Filed.pdf

$10,449 Million of Long Term debt, that has been accumulated through various bond isssues:

5.375% Senior Notes $500million issued in February 2013 matures in February 2021

5.50% Senior Notes $700million issued in February 2015 matures in February 2022

5.750% Senior Notes $400million issued in February 2014 matures in March 2024

5.875% Senior Notes $800million issued in February 2015 matures in February 2025

4.375% Senior Notes $1,000million issued in October 2016 matures in November 2026

3.625% Senior Notes $1,489million issued in May 2017 matures in May 2027

4.875% Senior Notes $1,600million issued in October 2017 matures in April 2028

5.875% Senior Notes $1,900million issued in April 2018 matures in November 2028

4.625% Senior Notes $1,260million issued in October matures in 2018

6.375% Senior Notes $800million issued in October 2018 matures in May 2029

Total $10,449 Million = $10.449 Billion

Look at the interest rates, in a climate of near zero rates, they are paying a high cost of capital.

A Tribute to Paul Volcker

Paul Volcker, the former head of the US central bank who was known for fighting inflation, has died at the age of 92. Appointed chair of the Federal Reserve in 1979, Mr Volcker dramatically raised interest rates to combat inflation. The move drove the US into recession, but was credited with creating the conditions for long-term growth. It also helped to burnish the bank’s reputation for independence. Mr Volcker’s tenure at the top of the Fed ended in 1987. More recently he had advised former US President Barack Obama on bank regulation following the financial crisis, overseen the return of money to Holocaust victims, and investigated a United Nations oil-for-food programme.

https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/other20191209a.htm

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Paul Volcker. He believed there was no higher calling than public service. His life exemplified the highest ideals–integrity, courage, and a commitment to do what was best for all Americans. His contributions to the nation left a lasting legacy. My colleagues and I at the Federal Reserve mourn this loss and send our condolences to his family”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTxECVof1GY

BlackRock Greater Europe Investment Trust plc

The BlackRock Greater Europe Investment Trust plc is a London listed investment trust.

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/prices-and-markets/stocks/summary/company-summary/GB00B01RDH75GBGBXSSMM.html?lang=en

The Company aims to provide capital growth, primarily through investment in a focused portfolio constructed from a combination of the securities of large, mid and small capitalisation European companies, together with some investment in the developing markets of Europe Its top ten holdings are:-

SAP Germany 7.0% of the fund

Safran France 6.8% of the fund

Adidas Germany 5.8% of the fund

Sika Switzerland 5.8% of the fund

Novo Nordisk Denmark 5.7% of the fund

Royal Unibrew Denmark 5.3% of the fund

Lonza Group Switzerland 4.6% of the fund

ASML Netherlands 4.6% of the fund

DSV Denmark 4.4% of the fund

RELX United Kingdom 4.4% of the fund

http://www.shareshop.hsbc.co.uk/shareshop/security.cgi?csi=104481&action=

1.5% yield

Norges Bank: Vodafone PLC

Norges Bank, the central bank of Norway, is one of the largest investment managers in the world.

www.nbim.no

It is due to Norges Bank is the investment manager to the Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (the petroleum fund of Norway). Norges Bank Investment Management, has taken a 3% stake in Vodafone.

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/VOD/14322109.html