Skip to main content

Ebola -- a public heath crisis

Several years ago, at the bookshop in Hong Kong I bought the Hot Zone.  To say that the book freaked me out would be an understatement.  It is a compelling look at the risk of contagion (and the movie with the similar name was scary enough) by one of the world's deadliest diseases.  Thankfully, Ebola is not airborne (yet anyway) apparently ebola is a very sloppy virus that has a tendency to mutate -- already there are two or three variants.

The CDC, Medecins sans frontier, and others have raised the alarm.  So far America (today) is the only country that has raised a hand -- with 3,000 personel.  Not Russia, not China and nor Europe.  How is it that America is always seen as the policemen or the doctor of the world.

If Europe and China were to look seriously at the security of the middle east (the oil zone) it may be of comfort that is America that is providing all the security in the straight of Hormuz, and yet 99% of the oil produced in the region goes to China or Europe -- who assume no cost for their energy security!

Back to Ebola, there is a sense that this is a disease of Africa, and that it will be contained.  Maybe, but Lagos is a big, big town and to think that international air travel -- or illegal immigration out of North Africa is not a problem would be to seriously misunderstand the scope of the problem that the world is facing.  The Ebola crisis is still (only just manageable), but Ebola is considered an R1 or R2 communicable disease -- that means that every sick person will infect 1 or 2 individuals -- this is very high (in the movie Contagion they were talking of an R0 -- maybe an R1).  The case of the American missionary who fled a hospital to return home (eventually died in Lagos) infected between 12 and 20 people.

We are finally meeting our deadliest foe -- and he a virus!


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trucker shortage? No a plan to allow driverless rigs

There are still articles on how America is running out of truckers -- and that its a huge problem, except its not a problem, if it was a problem salaries would rise to so that demand would clear. Trucking is one of those industry where the vast majority of participants are owner/operators and therefore free agents.

Salaries and cost are extremely well know, "industry" complains that there are not enough truckers, yet wages continue to fall... Therefore there are still too many truckers around, for if there was a shortage of supply prices would rise, and they don't.

What there is though is something different; there is a push to allow automatic rigs to "operate across the US", so to encourage the various authorities to allow self driving rigs you talk shortage and hope that politicians decided that "Well if people don't want to work, lets get robots to do the work" or words to that effect.

This has nothing to do with shortage of drivers, but every…

Every punter says oil prices are on the rise: Oil hits $48/bbl -- lowest since September 2016

What the hell?

How could this be, punters, advisors, investment bankers all agreed commodity prices  in general and oil prices in particular are on the rise...its a brave new era for producers and exporters -- finally the world is back and demand is going through the roof, except not so much!

What happened?  Well energy is complicated, the world operates in a balance -- 30 days of physical reserves is about all we've got (seriously) this is a just in time business.  So the long term trend always gets hit by short term variations.

Global production over the past 12 months has risen by somewhat less than 1.5% per annum.  As the world market changes production becomes less energy intensive (maybe), but the reality is that the world is growing more slowly -- America Q4 GDP growth was around 1.9% (annualized) Europe is going nowhere fast (the GDP growth in Germany is overshadowed by the lack of growth in France, Italy, Spain (lets say 27 Euro members generated a total GDP growth of 1.2…

Paying for research

This morning I was reading that CLSA -- since 2013 proudly owned by CITIC -- was shutting down its American equity research department -- 90 people will be affected!

Now the value of a lot of research is limited, that is not to say that all research is bad. In fact, I remember that GS's Asia Aerospace research was considered the bible for the sector.  Granted, there was little you could do with the research since the "buy" was for Chinese airlines...that were state owned.  Still it was a vey valuable tool in understanding the local dynamics.  It seems that the US has introduced new legislation that forces brokers to "sell" their research services!  Figures of $10,000 an hour have been mentioned...

Now, research can be sold many times; if GS has 5000/6000 clients they may sell the same research 300x or 400x (I exaggerate) but this is the key -- Those who buy the research are, I presume, prohibited from giving it away or selling it, at the same time the same rese…