Category Archives: pandemic

9/5/21: COVID19: BRIICS

 Updating data for BRIICS for Covid19 pandemic through Week 17 of 2021 (current week):


Almost half of all cumulated cases within the BRIICS (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa) group are now in India (above) and almost half of all deaths are in Brazil (below).


The pandemic dynamics have turned decisively in recent weeks: in terms of new cases, India dominates the trend up, with all other BRIICS showing amelioration in the pandemic:


Similarly, for we weekly death counts:

China data remains utterly unbelievable and hard to trust.

Summary table of recent developments:


India's pandemic dynamics are shocking, horrific and show no signs of abating. This is a humanitarian disaster that requires help from the rest of the world - help that has been coming in too-little and too-late.


9/5/21: COVID19: Europe and EU27

 

Updating graphs for Europe and EU27 pandemic data through week 17 of 2021:


Some good news with a shade of a reality check:
  • New cases are off their Wave 3 highs, solidly so
  • Current case counts are still above Wave 2 trough and well ahead of where they were at the end of Summer 2020.
Similar, but a bit more benign trend in weekly death counts:


Good news 'part 3': mortality rates are declining, again:


While the progress on vaccinations across Europe has been less impressive than desired, it now appears that two factors are driving the end of the Wave 3 of this pandemic:

  1. Vaccinations roll-outs, and
  2. Cumulated effects of recent (and in some countries still ongoing) restrictions.
Let's hope these trends remain persistent in weeks ahead and the new variants do not show up with resistance to vaccinations. 

8/5/21: COVID19: Most impacted countries

 Covering data through this week (week 17) of 2021 for world's most impacted countries.

First: most impacted countries by the rate of infections and by mortality:



There is only one large country (population > 100 million) that is listed in both tables: the U.S. 

Now, a table of countries with more than 1 million cases:

The U.S. ranks 8th worst performer in the group of 28 countries with more than 1 million cases, when measured across all three metrics: infections per 1 million of population, deaths per 1 million of population and deaths per 1,000 of diagnosed cases. 

Looking at major countries groups in the context of the above table:

Finally, looking at the most impacted countries from the point of their relative contributions to global totals for cases and deaths:



8/5/21: COVID19: Worldwide Data

 Updating worldwide data for the Covid19 pandemic through week 17 of 2021 (current week):



We exited Wave 3 that started Week 34, 2020, peaked in Week 1, 2021, and bottomed out in Week 7 of 2021.

Since Week 8 of 2021, we are seeing growth of a new wave, Wave 4

The latest levels of new infections are now the highest in the history of the pandemic and in the last two weeks of the data, world case counts are in excess of the Wave 3 peak levels.



Starting with Week 8 of 2021 we are witnessing a new, Wave 4, of the pandemic emerging. The latest weekly death counts as of Weeks 14, 16 and 17, 2021, rank as 7th, 6th and 5th highest in the history of the pandemic.


Good news: Recent decreases in mortality rate are most likely attributable to three key drivers: (1) earlier detection of cases due to improved testing; (2) younger demographics of those with confirmed infections; and (3) improved treatments in the earlier stages of the disease.

The slight increase in mortality through week 12 of 2021 appears to have stabilized and reversed in the most recent 5 weeks.



Summary table above shows significant improvement in the pandemic dynamics in the U.S. and more modest, but still sizable improvements in the EU27. BRIICS and Asia are showing worsening pandemic dynamics, and worldwide data broadly reflects this development.

While U.S. and EU27 numbers are encouraging, overall picture of the pandemic remains extremely worrying: worldwide, contagion is still raging unabated and those countries showing strong improvements in vaccinations and reducing contagion spread remain vulnerable to spillovers of new variants and new infections from the rest of the world. 


26/4/21: What Low Corporate Insolvencies Figures Aren’t Telling Us

 

One of the key features of the Covid19 pandemic to-date has been a relatively low level of corporate insolvencies. In fact, if anything, we are witnessing virtually dissipation of the insolvencies proceedings in the advanced economies, and a simultaneous investment boom in the IPOs markets. 

The problem, of course, is that official statistics - in this case - lie. And they lie to the tune of at least 50 percent. Consider two charts:

And


The chart from the IMF is pretty scary. 18 percent of companies are expected to experience liquidity-related financial distress and 16 percent are expected to experience insolvency risk. The data covers Europe and Asia-Pacific. Which omits a wide range of economies, including those with more heavily leveraged corporate sectors, and cheaper insolvency procedures e.g. the U.S. The estimates also assume that companies that run into financial distress in 2020 will exit the markets in 2020-2021. In other words, the 16 percentage insolvency risk estimate is not covering firms that run into liquidity problems in 2021. Presumably, they will go to the wall in 2022. 

The second chart puts into perspective the IPO investment boom. Vast majority of IPOs in 2020-2021 have been SPACs (aka, vehicles for swapping ownership of prior investments, as opposed to generating new investments). The remainder of IPOs include DPOs (Direct Public Offerings, e.g. Coinbase) which (1) do not raise any new investment capital and (2) swap founders and insiders equity out and retail investors' equity in. 

The data above isn't giving me a lot of hope, to be honest of a genuine investment boom. 

We are living through the period of fully financialized economy: the U.S. government monetary and fiscal injections in 2020 totaled some $12.3 trillion. That is more than 1/2 of the entire annual GDP. Since then, we've added another $2.2 trillion. Much of these money went either directly (monetary policy) or indirectly (Robinhooders' effect) into the Wall Street and the Crypto Alley. In other words, little of it went to sustain real investment in productive capital. Fewer dollars went to sustain skills upgrading or new development. Less still went to support basic or fundamental research. 

In this environment, it is hard to see how global recovery can support higher productivity growth to bring us back to pre-pandemic growth path. What the recovery will support is and accelerated transfer of wealth:

  • From lower income households that saved - so far  - their stimulus cash, and are now eager to throw it at pandemic-deferred consumption; 
  • To Wall Street (via corporate earnings and inflation) and the State (via inflation-linked taxes).
In the short run, there will be headlines screaming 'recovery boom'. In the long run, there will be more structural unemployment, less jobs creation and greater financial polarization in the society. Low - to-date - corporate insolvencies figures and booming financial markets are masking all of this in the fog of the pandemic-induced confusion.