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Global Economy Heading For “Mother Of All” Supply Chain Shocks As China Locks Down Ports

Global Economy Heading For "Mother Of All" Supply Chain Shocks As China Locks Down Ports

Over the past month, as Wall Street turned increasingly optimistic on US growth alongside the Fed, with consensus (shaped by the Fed’s leaks and jawbonin

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Global Economy Heading For "Mother Of All" Supply Chain Shocks As China Locks Down Ports

Over the past month, as Wall Street turned increasingly optimistic on US growth alongside the Fed, with consensus (shaped by the Fed's leaks and jawboning) now virtually certain of a March rate hike, we have been repeatedly warning that after a huge policy error in 2021 when the Fed erroneously said that inflation is "transitory" (it wasn't), the central bank is on pace to make another just as big policy mistake in 2022 by hiking as many as 4 times and also running off its massive balance sheet... right into a global growth slowdown.

And, as we have also discussed in recent weeks, one place where this growth slowdown is emerging - besides the upcoming deterioration in US consumption where spending is now being funded to record rates by credit cards before it encounters a troubling air pocket - is China and its "covid-zero" policy in general, and its covid-locked down ports in particular.

But what until recently was a minority view confined to our modest website, has since expanded and as Bloomberg writes overnight, the effects of restrictions in China as the country maintains its Covid-zero policy "are starting to hit supply chains in the region." As a result of the slow movement of goods through some of the country’s busiest and most important ports means shippers are now diverting to Shanghai, causing the types of knock-on delays at the world’s biggest container port that led to massive congestion bottlnecks last summer that eventually translated into a record number of container ships waiting off the coast of California, a glut that hasn't been cleared to this day.

With sailing schedules already facing delays of about a week, freight forwarders warn of the impact on already back-logged gateways in Europe and the US and is also why HSBC economists are warning that the world economy could be headed for the “mother of all” supply chain shocks if the highly infectious omicron variant which is already swamping much of the global economy spreads across Asia, especially China, at which point disruption to manufacturing will be inevitable.

"Temporary, one would hope, but hugely disruptive all the same" in the next few months, they wrote in a research note this week first noted by Bloomberg.

For those who have forgotten last year's global shockwave when China locked down its ports for several days, a quick reminder: it led to an unprecedented hiccup in global logistics and shipping which hasn't been resolved to this day. That's because China is the world’s biggest trading nation and its ability to keep its factories humming through the pandemic has been crucial for global supply chains.

While the outbreak of omicron in China has been small compared to other nations (if one believes China's official data, which is a big if) authorities are taking no chances, especially with China's continued "zero-covid" policy. In recent weeks scattered infections of both the delta and omicron variants have already triggered shutdowns to clothing factories and gas deliveries around one of China’s biggest seaports in Ningbo, disruptions at computer chip manufacturers in the locked-down city of Xi’an, and a second city-wide lockdown in Henan province Tuesday.

Below is a brief timeline of the most recent events courtesy of Deutsche Bank:

  • China's first Omicron outbreak was detected in the city of Tianjin over the weekend. On the morning of Jan 8, two patients in Tianjin who actively sought medical treatment were confirmed as being infected with the Omicron variant. The local government immediately locked down certain districts, restricted travel, and conducted large-scale screening. A total of 41 positive cases have been reported as of the morning of Jan 11.
  • The source of the local cases in Tianjin is still unknown, and community transmission is possible, according to local disease control officials. All previous local Omicron cases in Tianjin belonged to the same transmission chain. However, the above cases cannot be confirmed to be in the same transmission chain as the sequences of the imported cases of the Omicron variant that have been found in Tianjin. The early confirmed cases do not have any travel history outside Tianjin either. The specific source of the local cases found in Tianjin is still unknown at this time.
  • More alarmingly, the same Omicron virus strain has already spread to outside Tianjin. Two positive cases were found in Anyang, Henan on Jan 8, and were later confirmed to be the same Omicron variant found in Tianjin. Through contact tracing and gene sequencing, the source was identified as a college student who returned to Anyang from Tianjin on December 28, 2021, and who did not show any symptoms. 81 cases have since been confirmed in Anyang over the past few days. This suggests that (1) the Omicron virus may have been transmitted in Tianjin for almost 2 weeks; and (2) other travelers might have already carried the Omicron virus from Tianjin to elsewhere in China.

Looking at the recent data, China's Covid outbreak this winter could be worse than in the previous winter - as shown in the chart below more provinces have detected Covid outbreaks this winter. Entering Q4, there are 12 provinces which have found more than 19 local cases in the past 14 days. More significantly, the total number of new cases in the past 14 days in Shann’xi has already exceeded 1500, which is a record high, except for in Hubei when Covid first occurred in early 2020, and this has happened despite China now having very high vaccination rates and strict regulations such as lockdowns. In addition, comparing the differences between months near Chinese New Year in 2021 and 2022, not only have the number of news cases been larger this year, the provinces hit by Covid outbreaks this year also tend to have higher GDP and population density.

As Bloomberg adds, Henan and Guangdong, which also has an outbreak, are centers of electronics production. If cases continue rising there, it could impact the supply of iPhones and other smartphones.

This also brings us to what Bloomberg calls the paradox of China’s aggressive “Covid-zero” strategy: while on one hand it helps contain the virus spread, to do so usually requires significant disruption or lockdowns as authorities limit the movement of people. The repeated mandatory testing of whole cities interrupts businessess and production, although nothing to the extent seen in places like the US, where the omicron wave caused an estimated 5 million people to stay home sick last week, leading to further economic slowdown (as discussed in "A March Rate Hike? Not So Fast")

That risk of disruption for factories is already prompting companies to spread their risk by ensuring they have alternative production facilities, Stephanie Krishnan, a supply chain expert at IDC in Singapore, told Bloomberg.

“We are starting to see companies mitigating risk, seeing where they can increase capabilities for production of different products in different factories so they can shift that around,” she said.

Echoing what we said last night in "New Year Brings New All-Time High For Shipping's Epic Traffic Jam", Krishnan doesn’t see an end to the global supply crunch anytime soon and cautions it could take several years for the snarls to unwind. It’s a sobering outlook to start a year that many had hoped would mark the beginning of the end of the Big Crunch which dogged producers and consumers through much of last year.

Clearly what happens next is critical, and how China’s control of the virus plays out will ultimately be crucial, said Deborah Elms, executive director of the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre. Those companies whose supply chains are fully located inside China may be insulated by the country’s mitigation strategy. But that won’t apply to everyone, she said.

“Lots of products in supply chains come from outside China,” Elms said. “Given challenges elsewhere, even zero Covid doesn’t solve all the issues of disruption.”

* * *

In its assessment of next steps, Deutsche Bank expects the government will try to contain the Omicron outbreak with more lockdowns and quarantines rather than taking a "live with Covid" approach. This will pose downside risks to near-term growth. The impact on consumption could be significant, although probably not as large as what happened in 2020.

While Omicron is far less deadly than other Covid variants, it is still deadly enough to cause healthcare service shortages in China, at least in some regions. Vaccination has proven to be ineffective in preventing Omicron from spreading, and while it offers protection against hospitalization, China still has some 20% of the population who are not vaccinated and will face serious health risks if Omicron becomes widespread. As such, DB says that a containment approach is still the government's optimal choice for this winter regardless of how fast Omicron spreads in the next few weeks. It will be good news if travel restrictions, lockdowns and large-scale testing and contact tracing work in containing the outbreak. Even if outbreaks cannot be contained in some regions, these measures will still be considered necessary in flattening the curve and preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed nationwide.

What is much more important for the US, global capital markets and the Fed's monetary policy - which has assumed much stronger growth in 2022 - is that China's Omicron outbreaks are significant downside risks for near-term consumption demand. Restrictions will likely be imposed nationwide to reduce travel before the Chinese New Year and encourage people to stay where they are. Cities where new cases were found will reimpose lockdowns and social distancing measures. The impact in each city will depend on local authorities. Experience from the past 2 years was that while some cities (such as Shenzhen and Shanghai) can manage outbreaks in a less disruptive way, other cities (such as Xi'an) have resorted to stricter and larger scale lockdowns, causing severe disruptions to consumption and service sector activities. Businesses such as restaurants, as well as those linked to travel, and leisure & entertainment will suffer from sharp revenue reductions or even temporary shutdowns. This may also cause temporary job and income losses and negatively impact consumer goods purchases. Retail sales growth dropped by 3ppt in Jan-Feb 2021 (in 2-year average terms). Retail sales might weaken again in Jan-Feb 2022, though the YoY growth rate might not drop much owing to the low base in 2021.

Nevertheless, consumption will likely recover rapidly once lockdowns are lifted. Similar to what happened before, such negative shocks will likely be transitory and will be followed by strong recovery once lockdowns are lifted and businesses reopen.

Still, the notorious bull-whip effect will emerge once again, as supply chains once again become stretched, and like in 2021 the question will be how the trade off between rising costs - as goods in transit end up stuck on a ship far longer than expected - and slowing growth will impact the Fed's view on what the optimal policy response is. While the Fed's prerogative for now is clearly to contain inflation, the reality is that much of the inflation experienced today is on the supply side, something which Brainard told the Senate in her confirmation hearing the Fed is powerless to address. Meanwhile, if we see a "surprise" drop in growth in the coming months, the Fed will have no choice but to delay or at least stagger its tightening as the last thing the Fed can afford to do is hike into another recession, which will then quickly be followed with even more easing. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 13:06

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Spread & Containment

Don’t believe the claim that only 17,371 people have died from COVID in England and Wales

A freedom of information request is only useful if you know how to read the data.

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There is no doubt that the pandemic has led to many deaths; however, in the past week, new claims have emerged that the true number of people who have died from COVID in England and Wales is much lower than previously thought. These claims have been widely shared on social media and even amplified by a senior MP. Can it really be true that new data shows that COVID has killed far fewer people than we previously thought?

To arrive at an answer, we first need to delve into the various ways that COVID deaths are counted in England and Wales. There are two main sources of this data: the first, published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and featured prominently on the government’s coronavirus dashboard, is a simple count of all deaths that occur within 28 days of a positive COVID test.

The second, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is based on death certificates that list COVID as a cause of death. Being based on a medical assessment of the circumstances of each individual death, the ONS figures represent the gold standard.

The UKHSA figures will include some deaths that are clearly unrelated to COVID – for example, somebody who has a mild case of COVID and is involved in a car accident three weeks later – and exclude some COVID deaths where someone is in hospital for more than 28 days. The UKHSA data gives us a picture of what is happening now – albeit an imperfect one – while the ONS data takes several weeks to process.

We also need to understand how death certificates work in England and Wales. When somebody passes away, a medical professional completes a death certificate. This includes a field for the “disease or condition directly leading to death” – often called the “underlying cause”. It also includes the option to list one or two diseases or conditions that were not the underlying cause, but which contributed to the death (“contributory causes”).

The data that the ONS publishes shows that, in 2020 and 2021 combined, 157,889 deaths were registered where COVID was mentioned on the death certificate. Of these, 139,839 listed COVID as the underlying cause. In almost 90% of cases where COVID was a factor in somebody’s death, it was considered by medical professionals to be the primary reason they died. So where does the figure of 17,371 COVID deaths come from?

Freedom of information request

This figure originates from a freedom of information request to the Office for National Statistics that asked for the number of deaths where COVID was the only cause of death recorded. This is complicated by the fact that often COVID itself can cause complications, such as severe respiratory difficulties or organ failure, which will then be listed alongside COVID on the death certificate.

To exclude these deaths, the ONS responded by giving the number of deaths where no “pre-existing conditions” were listed on the death certificate. Which comes to 17,371 for the period up to the end of September 2021. But what is a “pre-existing condition”?

Pre-existing conditions and their International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes

Office for National Statistics

This list is extensive, including high blood pressure, asthma, COPD, diabetes and a wide range of other common conditions. The argument being made by some is that 17,371 is the true number of COVID deaths, because people with these pre-existing conditions, who make up the vast majority of deaths that list COVID on the death certificate, were already sick. But even a cursory glance at the list makes it clear that this will be incorrect for a great many people.

Over a quarter of adults have high blood pressure, 4 million people in England have diabetes and a similar number have asthma. Having one of these conditions is neither a death sentence nor a sign of being in poor health. You almost certainly know several people with one or more of them, or are living with one yourself.

The idea that people with a pre-existing condition are at death’s door is simply untrue. Over half of people aged 50 and over have at least one long-term health condition. But if someone with one of these conditions is unlucky enough to catch COVID and subsequently die, all it takes is for the condition to have some impact for it to end up being listed as a contributory cause on the death certificate.

Let’s take asthma as an example. COVID frequently attacks victims’ lungs, leading them to require ventilation. As a respiratory condition, asthma may well exacerbate these difficulties and will therefore be listed on the death certificate if the person dies. It would be bizarre to claim that the person died of asthma on this basis. Perhaps they would not have died if they didn’t have asthma, but they certainly wouldn’t have died if they hadn’t got COVID.

The vast majority of people who get seriously ill with COVID were living full, independent lives before they were hospitalised. And reasonable estimates suggest that the average number of years of life lost per COVID death is around ten. The idea that people who died from COVID are all extremely ill and would have died soon anyway is not borne out by the facts.

To argue that the deaths from COVID of people with pre-existing conditions don’t count as true COVID deaths is to say that people with pre-existing conditions don’t matter; that their lives are expendable and shouldn’t be considered when assessing the impact of the pandemic. Over 140,000 people with pre-existing conditions have died of COVID in the last two years. We should be mourning this tragic loss of life, not minimising it.

Colin Angus does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Spread & Containment

As Omicron-specific boosters are in the news, BioNTech to expand German site workforce by 200 employees

BioNTech has added about 200 jobs to its Marburg, Germany manufacturing site since it took it over from Novartis in 2020. This year, it will add another 250, as demand for Covid-19 boosters has led to calls for an omicron-specific vaccine in adults.
Curre

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BioNTech has added about 200 jobs to its Marburg, Germany manufacturing site since it took it over from Novartis in 2020. This year, it will add another 250, as demand for Covid-19 boosters has led to calls for an omicron-specific vaccine in adults.

Currently, there are around 500 employees at the site, which is north of Frankfurt. The boost is expected to cost around €50 million, or $56.5 million, and will include the addition of office spaces in anticipation of future growth, the company said. The Marburg site has supplied 1.2 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses to the world so far, and a total of 4 billion doses are expected to be doled out by the end of this year.

The news came out of an interview with Bloomberg, a spokesperson for the company confirmed. The $56 million expansion is planned for just the Marburg site alone, the spokesperson confirmed. Before the sale to BioNTech, Novartis invested in the site heavily since 2016, equipping it with capabilities for cell and gene therapy, recombinant proteins, cell culture and viral vector production. In the future, once the need for Covid-19 boosters dies down, BioNTech has said it will other mRNA vaccines, antibody and C&G therapy candidates, as well as its cancer and infectious disease pipeline.

Testing for the vaccine tailored to the pesky variant — which has been deemed more transmissible with less severe symptoms for those that are vaccinated — began this week, BioNTech said along with Pfizer. The trial will test 1,420 healthy adults under the age of 55. Three groups of people, representing different levels of immunity,

In March 2021, Marburg began producing Covid-19 vaccines. It started with the production of mRNA, the active pharmaceutical ingredient for the vaccine. The first batch of doses shipped out in April.

Uğur Şahin

The site has become an example for further growth. BioNTech made waves in the summer of 2021 when it announced plans to collaborate with the African Union to manufacture doses for the continent amid a severe shortage, and in October, the company said that its Rwandan site, which construction is set to begin in the middle of this year, will be modeled after Marburg. Capacity for that one will start at 50 million doses a year, then increase with added manufacturing lines and sites as the project progresses.

CEO Uğur Şahin has already said that the Rwandan site will spin its production into malaria and tuberculosis vaccines once there is a less desperate need for Covid-19 manufacturing.

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Commodities

Metallum Resources to Present at the Sequire Metals & Mining Conference on January 27, 2022

(TheNewswire) January 26, 2022 TheNewswire – Vancouver, British Columbia – Metallum Resources Inc. (TSXV:MZN) ("Metallum" or the Company") is pleased to announce that it will be presenting virtually at the upcoming Sequire Metals & Mining Conference.

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(TheNewswire)



January 26, 2022 TheNewswire - Vancouver, British Columbia - Metallum Resources Inc. (TSXV:MZN) ("Metallum" or the Company") is pleased to announce that it will be presenting virtually at the upcoming Sequire Metals & Mining Conference on Thursday, January 27th, at 10:30 AM EST (Track 4).  Kerem Usenmez, President and CEO of Metallum Resources, will be giving the presentation and taking 1x1 meetings.

" I am excited to present at the Sequire Metals and Mining Conference as our first event of the year!  I look forward to telling our story and updating our plans for 2022 as we move forward toward developing the Superior Lake Project and taking steps to re-open the mine.  Zinc and Copper prices have been going up, and Metallum is very well positioned to fast track towards production to supply high quality Zinc and Copper concentrate," stated Metallum's President and CEO, Kerem Usenmez.

Event: Metallum Resources Presentation at the Sequire Metals & Mining Conference

Date: Thursday, January 27th, 2022

Time: 10:30 AM EST

Register to watch the presentation HERE . Investors can also request 1x1 meetings with Metallum Resources CEO on the event website.

Summary of Sequire Metals & Mining Conference

With a massive uptick in the mining industry and electric vehicles on the rise, Sequire is spending the entire day with public mining companies and industry experts exploring possibilities, opportunities, and the latest news.

Qualified Person

The technical information in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Andrew Tims, P.Geo., Exploration Manager of the Company, and a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101.

About Metallum

Metallum Resources (TSXV:MZN) is developing its Superior Lake Zinc and Copper Project located in Ontario, Canada.  Superior Lake Project is one of the highest grade zinc Projects in North America (2.35Mt at 17.9% Zn, 0.9% Cu, 0.4 g/t Au and 34 g/t Ag – Equivalent to 1Moz of 13 g/t Au), with a 9 year mine life and After Tax NVP 8% of $253M and IRR at 35% (Zn at US$1.55, Cu at $3.31) .  Metallum is a member of the Gold Group of companies, led by Simon Ridgway.

For further details about the Company and the Superior Lake Project, please visit the Company's website at metallumzinc.com .

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD

Kerem Usenmez,

President & Chief Executive Officer

Metallum Resources Inc.

Symbol: TSXV-MZN

For further information, contact:

Kerem Usenmez, President & CEO

Tel: 604-688-5288;  Fax: 604-682-1514

Email: info@metallumzinc.com

Website: metallumzinc.com

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this news release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. All statements included herein, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements and include, without limitation, statements about the Company's corporate property exploration and development activities. Often, but not always, these forward looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "estimate", "estimates", "estimated", "potential", "open", "future", "assumed", "projected", "used", "detailed", "has been", "gain", "upgraded", "offset", "limited", "contained", "reflecting", "containing", "remaining", "to be", "periodically", or statements that events, "could" or "should" occur or be achieved and similar expressions, including negative variations.

Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by forward-looking statements. Such uncertainties and factors include, among others, whether exploration and development of the Company's properties will proceed as planned; changes in general economic conditions and financial markets; the Company or any joint venture partner not having the financial ability to meet its exploration and development goals; risks associated with the results of exploration and development activities, estimation of mineral resources and the geology, grade and continuity of mineral deposits; unanticipated costs and expenses; risks associated with COVID-19 including adverse impacts on the world economy, exploration efforts and the availability of personnel; and such other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's quarterly and annual filings with securities regulators and available under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results to differ from those anticipated, estimated or intended.

Forward-looking statements contained herein are based on the assumptions, beliefs, expectations and opinions of management, including but not limited to: that the Company's stated goals and planned exploration and development activities will be achieved; that there will be no material adverse change affecting the Company or its properties; and such other assumptions as set out herein. Forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and the Company disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise, except as required by law. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

Copyright (c) 2022 TheNewswire - All rights reserved.

News Provided by TheNewsWire via QuoteMedia

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