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Key Events In The “Massive Week Ahead”

Key Events In The "Massive Week Ahead"

After a relatively quiet start to the year on the economic event front, if not in markets where last week’s FOMC Minutes sparked the worst bond rout since 2020 triggering the worst first week for the…

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Key Events In The "Massive Week Ahead"

After a relatively quiet start to the year on the economic event front, if not in markets where last week's FOMC Minutes sparked the worst bond rout since 2020 triggering the worst first week for the Nasdaq since the dot com bubble burst...

... we have a "simply a massive week ahead for markets" according to Nomura's Charlie McElligott, with Powell testimony and bunches of Fed speakers, along with US economic releases headlined by the market’s most important datapoint in the CPI release Wednesday, in addition to PPI, Retail Sales and Consumer Sentiment over the course of the week, plus two Duration-heavy auctions ($36B of 10Y and $22B 30Y, on top of tomorrow’s $52B 3Y) and finally, US corporate earnings season kickoff (highlighted by JPM, C and WFC this upcoming Friday)

Picking up the weekly preview baton, Rabobank writes that there will be little opportunity not to think about the Fed in the week ahead.  The Bloomberg market consensus for Wednesday’s US December CPI inflation release stands at an astounding 7% y/y.  This blows out of the water the 5.6% y/y cyclical high recorded in July 2008, and would be just a hair below the 7.1% y/y high of June 1982. The Fed goes into pre-FOMC blackout at the weekend and all this week’s Fedspeak will therefore be very closely watched as the committee are moving very rapidly at the moment towards an ever tightening bias in their commentary. Even the doves are coming over to the other side.

US December PPI inflation data due on Thursday will likely turn the inflation thermostat up another notch or two.   Later in the week, the University of Michigan inflation expectations survey will be watched closely and used to judge to what degree to Fed may have fallen behind the curve.  That said, US retail sales data are expected to soften in December on the back of supply shortages and possibly as a result of Omicron.  Several G10 central banks have suggested that the impact of this variant of Covid is unlikely to throw their respective economic recoveries off-course.  However, it remains a threat and, in the US, fears about the impact of the fiscal cliff are also in the background. In addition to a slew of data releases, the coming week will bring another new earnings season and a rich line up of Fed speakers. Among them will be Mester, George and Bullard; all hawks and all voting members of the FOMC this year.  The Senate confirmation hearings for Fed Chair Powell and Vice-Chair Brainard will enhance the focus on the Fed this week.  

Eurozone CPI inflation unexpectedly hit 5% y/y in December last week.  ECB Chief economist Lane issued fresh reassurances on Friday that this current level of prices is part of the pandemic inflation cycle and that inflation will come down this year.  Friday also saw the Bundesbank formally appointing Nagel as its new head.  According to Germany’s Finance Minister Lindner, Nagel will ensure “continuity”.  This suggests that it may not be long before Nagel issues a few hawkish remarks in an attempt to reconcile Germany’s historic fear of price pressures with the ECB’s continued dovish stance.  Eurozone economic data releases this week include November industrial production and trade.  Given the subsequent wave of Omicron both may be little outdated to provide much market fresh impetus.

Better news on Omicron continues to come from the UK.  As the number of new cases continues to slip, Education Minister Zahawi has suggested that the UK could set an example of how to move from a pandemic to an endemic by cutting the isolation period to five days to ease pressures in the workforce.  Given signs that the symptoms of Omicron may be less deadly than those of Delta, PM Johnson may have got away with his light touch restrictions for England over the holiday period.  That said, his appeasement of his backbenchers may not have gone far enough.  Yesterday, the PM was urged by MP Harper, Chair of the lockdown-sceptic Tory Recovery Group, to end all Covid related restrictions by the end of this month, or face a massive revolt within the party and the prospect of a leadership challenge later this year.

UK PM Johnson’s insistence that Brexit is ‘done’ has always been controversial.  UK officials continue to grapple to put together new free trade deals and the full impact of Brexit is unlikely to be known for a generation.  For Northern Ireland in particular Brexit appears to be far from ‘done’.  Following the shock resignation last month of former Brexit Secretary Frost, Foreign Secretary Truss has taken over the role of negotiator with Brussels.  Ahead of her first meeting with the EU’s Sefcovic, Truss has reignited the threat that the UK would be prepared to trigger Article 16 and find a unilateral solution for Northern Ireland if a negotiated compromise cannot be found.   Northern Ireland’s membership of the EU’s single market has made trade difficult between the region and the British mainland.  2022 is a key election year for Northern Ireland with polls showing unionist parties on course to lose their majority for the first time since the partition of the island.  By triggering Article 16, the UK could find itself on a path towards a trade war with the EU.  UK economic data releases this week include November monthly GDP and production figures.

US and Russian officials are set to meet today for talks aimed as de-escalating tensions around Ukraine.  Secretary of State Blinken commented over the weekend that he does not expect any breakthroughs this week but is hoping to find grounds for moving forward.
On Sunday evening Kazak officials retracted a statement alleging that more than 164 people had died during the recent wave of violence and instead confirmed ‘only’ 22 deaths.  Blinken criticised President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s shoot-to-kill order remarking that it  “is wrong and should be rescinded."  The violence was triggered by  the removal of a price cap that resulted in a surge in fuel prices.  However, the uprising comes against the backdrop of general discontent with how the country is governed.  As such global financial markets may be eying the developments in Kazakhstan as many other countries, notably also in the developing world, are currently grappling with rising energy and food prices, which have the potential to trigger unrest across the globe.

Elsewhere we start US earnings season, albeit slowly and late in the week with some important financials reporting: the highlights include Delta Air Lines on Thursday, before we hear from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and BlackRock on Friday.

Here is a quick look at key evens this week:

Monday January 10

  • Data: Euro Area November unemployment rate, Italy November unemployment rate

Tuesday January 11

  • Data: Japan preliminary November leading index, Italy November retail sales, US December NFIB small business optimism index
  • Central Banks: Nomination hearing for Fed Chair Powell’s second term at Senate Banking Committee, Fed’s Mester, George and Bullard speak

Wednesday January 12

  • Data: China December CPI, PPI, Euro Area November industrial production, US December CPI, monthly budget statement
  • Central Banks: Federal Reserve releases Beige Book, BoJ Governor Kuroda speaks

Thursday January 13

  • Data: Japan preliminary December machine tool orders, Italy November industrial production, US December PPI, weekly initial jobless claims, Japan December PPI (23:50 UK time)
  • Central Banks: Nomination hearing for Governor Brainard as Fed Vice Chair at Senate Banking Committee, Fed’s Barkin and Evans speak
  • Earnings: Delta Air Lines

Friday January 14

  • Data: China December trade balance, UK November GDP, US December retail sales, capacity utilisation, industrial production, preliminary January University of Michigan consumer sentiment index
  • Central Banks: Bank of Korea monetary policy decision, Fed’s Williams speaks
  • Earnings: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, BlackRock

* * *

Finally, courtesy of Goldman, here is a look at just the US, where the key economic data releases this week are the CPI report on Wednesday and the retail sales report on Friday. There are several speaking engagements from Fed officials this week, including Chair Powell and Governor Brainard’s confirmation hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Monday, January 10

  • 10:00 AM Wholesale inventories, November final (consensus +1.2%, last +1.2%)

Tuesday, January 11

  • 06:00 AM NFIB small business optimism, December (consensus 98.5, last 98.4)
  • 09:12 AM Cleveland Fed President Mester (FOMC voter) speaks: Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will speak in an interview on Bloomberg Television. In her last public appearance, on December 1st, President Mester emphasized her view that “with the inflation data the way it is and with the job market as strong as it is”, the Fed should be in a position to “raise rates a couple of times next year.” Since President Mester’s remarks, labor market data has pointed to further tightening in the labor market, and inflation data has surprised to the upside.
  • 09:30 AM Kansas City Fed President George (FOMC voter) speaks: Kansas City Fed President Esther George will discuss her outlook for the economy and monetary policy. Audience Q&A is expected. President George has not made public remarks since November 5th, when she stressed that “the argument for patience in the face of these inflation pressures has diminished.”
  • 10:00 AM Fed Chair Powell’s confirmation hearing (FOMC voter): Fed Chair Jerome Powell will appear before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs for his confirmation hearing for his re-nomination to the role of Chair. Chair Powell’s re-appointment will preserve continuity at the Fed. As inflationary pressures continue and the labor market continues to tighten, we will be looking for indications of incremental changes to Chair Powell’s outlook in his testimony.
  • 04:00 PM St. Louis Fed President Bullard (FOMC voter) speaks: St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will discuss the economy and monetary policy in a virtual event with the Mid-Sized Bank Coalition of America. President Bullard made public remarks earlier this week, in which he argued that the FOMC “could begin increasing the policy rate as early as the March meeting in order to be in a better position to control inflation” and start balance sheet runoff “shortly after lifting off the policy rate.”

Wednesday, January 12

  • 08:30 AM CPI (mom), December (GS +0.53%, consensus +0.4%, last +0.8%); Core CPI (mom), December (GS +0.58%, consensus +0.5%, last +0.5%); CPI (yoy), December (GS +7.12%, consensus +7.0%, last +6.8%); Core CPI (yoy), December (GS +5.49%, consensus +5.4%, last +4.9%): We estimate a 0.58% increase in December core CPI (mom sa), which would boost the year-on-year rate by 0.6pp to 5.5%. Our forecast reflects a further rise in used car auction prices and related upward pressure on new car prices. We also assume upward pressure on other core goods categories due to supply chain bottlenecks and low promotionality during the holiday season. While Omicron likely weighed on travel prices late in the month, we expect a more visible impact in the January report. We estimate rent +0.43% and OER +0.40% in December, reflecting the strength in our shelter tracker but an OER drag from imputed utilities. Health insurance prices also likely rose again, reflecting the gradual flow-through of the annual source data. We estimate a 0.53% increase in headline CPI (mom sa), reflecting rising food costs but a pullback in energy prices.
  • 01:00 PM Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari will speak on interest rates, labor force participation, and bringing the labor market back to pre-pandemic strength at a St. Paul Area Chamber townhall event. Audience Q&A is expected. Earlier this week, President Kashkari argued that “using core inflation to indicate when we have reached maximum employment may be simpler than the more judgmental estimations of short-run vs. long-run maximum employment,” and that, while he believed inflationary pressures would eventually subside, “the costs of ending up in the high-inflation regime are likely larger than the costs of ending up back in the low-inflation regime.”
  • 02:00 PM Beige Book: The Fed’s Beige Book is a summary of regional economic anecdotes from the 12 Federal Reserve districts. In this Beige Book, we look for anecdotes related to wage growth, price inflation, and supply chain disruptions. Earlier this week, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari noted that business contacts in his region continued to warn of labor shortages. Since President Kashkari’s comments, Friday’s employment report surprised to the upside on average hourly earnings and to the downside on payrolls.

Thursday, January 13

  • 08:30 AM PPI final demand, December (GS +0.4%, consensus +0.4%, last +0.8%); PPI ex-food and energy, December (GS +0.5%, consensus +0.5%, last +0.7%); PPI ex-food, energy, and trade, December (GS +0.5%, consensus +0.5%, last +0.7%): We estimate a 0.5% increase for PPI ex-food and energy and PPI ex-food, energy and trade services, which would bring the year-on-year rates to +9.4% and +7.0% respectively. Our forecast reflects a continued boost from supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages, and commodity prices. We estimate that headline PPI increased by 0.4% in December, which would bring the year-on-year rate to +9.8%, reflecting firm core inflation but a sequential decline in energy prices. Continued increases in input costs, along with strong profit margins, are one reason why we expect price pressures to remain elevated through the first half of 2022.
  • 08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended January 8 (GS 195k, consensus 200k, last 207k); Continuing jobless claims, week ended January 1 (consensus 1,760k, last 1,754k): We estimate initial jobless claims declined to 195k in the week ended January 8.
  • 10:00 AM Fed Governor Brainard’s confirmation hearing (FOMC voter): Fed Governor Lael Brainard will appear before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs for her confirmation hearing for her nomination to the role of Vice Chair. Governor Brainard, one of the more dovish members on the FOMC, has not given a public speech since October 13th, so in her confirmation hearing we will be looking for further insight into her current stance and expectations for policy normalization.
  • 12:00 PM Richmond Fed President Barkin (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin will discuss the economic outlook at an event hosted by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. In his last public appearance, on December 2nd, President Barkin said he expected “the readings for inflation over the next year … to be messy,” and that he supported normalizing monetary policy as the FOMC was doing.
  • 01:00 PM Chicago Fed President Evans (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Chicago Fed President Charles Evans will discuss the economy and monetary policy at an event hosted by the Milwaukee Business Journal. Audience and moderated Q&A are expected. President Evans noted on November 18th that he still thought “the relative price increases coming from supply shocks will be diminishing, and … that the inflation data by the end of 2022 is going to be a lot closer to 2% than so many people think.”
  • 06:00 PM Dallas Fed holds townhall on search for next President: The Dallas Fed will host a virtual townhall discussion on the ongoing search to choose its next President.

Friday, January 14

  • 08:30 AM Retail sales, December (GS -0.5%, consensus -0.1%, last +0.3%); Retail sales ex-auto, December (GS -0.3%, consensus +0.2%, last +0.3%); Retail sales ex-auto & gas, December (GS -0.3%, consensus -0.1%, last +0.2%); Core retail sales, December (GS -0.2%, consensus +0.1%, last -0.1%): We estimate a 0.2% decline in core retail sales (ex-autos, gasoline, and building materials) in December (mom sa). While brick and mortar shopping activity picked up in the final weeks of the holiday season, we estimate a sequential decline in the nonstore category (mom sa). Relatedly, the elevated level of retail sales implies a high hurdle for incremental growth during the holiday season. We estimate a 0.5% decline in headline retail sales, reflecting the decline in auto sales.
  • 08:30 AM Import price index, December (consensus +0.2%, last +0.7%): Export price index, December (consensus +0.3%, last +1.0%)
  • 09:15 AM Industrial production, December (GS -1.0%, consensus +0.2%, last +0.5%); Manufacturing production, December (GS +0.5%, consensus +0.4%, last +0.7%); Capacity utilization, December (GS 76.0%, consensus 77.0%, last 76.8%): We estimate industrial production declined by 1.0% in December, reflecting declines in utilities and oil and gas extraction. We estimate capacity utilization declined by 0.8pp to 76.0%. We estimate a modest seasonally-adjusted increase in motor vehicle production in December, but expect production to remain well below its pre-pandemic level, reflecting continued supply-chain disruptions that may be further exacerbated by the Omicron wave in coming months.
  • 10:00 AM University of Michigan consumer sentiment, January preliminary (GS 68.6, consensus 70.0, last 70.6): We expect the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index declined by 2.0pt to 68.6 in the preliminary January reading, reflecting declines in other confidence measures and increase spread of the Omicron variant.
  • 10:00 AM Business inventories, November (consensus +1.2%, last +1.2%)
  • 11:00 AM New York Fed President Williams (FOMC voter) speaks: New York Fed President John Williams will give a virtual speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. Text, and audience and moderated Q&A are expected. On December 17th, President Williams emphasized that inflation expectations were “a little higher in our projections now, especially for next year,” and noted that “raising interest rates would be a sign of a positive development in terms of where we are in the economic cycle.”

Source: Nomura, Rabobank, BofA, DB, Goldman

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/10/2022 - 09:24

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Spread & Containment

Monkeypox: demand for vaccines is outstripping supply – this is what’s causing the shortages

Chronic weaknesses in our global vaccine manufacturing and distribution systems may broadly be to blame.

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The smallpox vaccine is currently being used to protect against monkeypox. PhotobyTawat/ Shutterstock

Over 30,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in more than 80 countries worldwide in 2022. Most are in countries that have never previously reported monkeypox. While monkeypox is not as transmissible as many respiratory infections (such as COVID-19), it’s still important to curb the spread.

One way to control spread is by vaccinating vulnerable people. Fortunately, we already have vaccines which are very effective at preventing monkeypox. But as case numbers continue to rise, reports are emerging that demand for vaccines is outstripping supply in many parts of the world currently seeing an outbreak, including the US, UK and Europe.

Vaccine supply

There are a number of reasons why we are seeing shortages of the vaccine used to protect against monkeypox. Broadly, it’s due to chronic weaknesses in our global vaccine manufacturing and distribution systems, which make it especially difficult to supply the vaccines needed to protect against new infections and outbreaks.

The vaccine currently being used to protect against monkeypox is the smallpox vaccine, which works because the monkeypox virus is so closely related to smallpox.

Until now, the smallpox vaccine has been a niche product because it’s not been needed since smallpox was eradicated in 1980. Pharmaceutical companies can’t afford to manufacture vast numbers of doses just in case, and few governments can justify buying a vaccine that isn’t used. This means the vaccines currently being administered are from emergency stockpiles that were created to respond to an accidental (or deliberate) release of smallpox.


Read more: Monkeypox Q&A: how do you catch it and what are the risks? An expert explains


As such, there are limited stocks and production capacity globally, so demand is rapidly outstripping supply. Even the US, with one of the largest smallpox vaccine stockpiles, recently ordered 2.5 million additional doses in response to the monkeypox outbreak. But there are reports that the factory in Denmark which makes the world’s only smallpox vaccine approved for monkeypox is temporarily closed, which may further impact the world’s ability to source more vaccine doses. And unfortunately, transferring production to other facilities is not straightforward.

One particular problem for vaccine manufacturers is that it’s hard to predict when or where big outbreaks of infections may happen. Of course, there are some infections that we know consistently require a regular supply of vaccines – such as the influenza virus. But while 1 billion influenza vaccines are produced globally each year, it still takes approximately six months from picking the most important new strains to manufacturing and rolling out jabs.

So even with vaccines in high demand, it isn’t simple to manufacture more doses. This is why we are still striving to innovate ways to rapidly produce new vaccines affordably and at a very large scale.

Vaccines are inherently complicated to make. Because they are made from relatively fragile and complex biological materials (such as a virus), the product has to be exactly right every time. If the formula changes even slightly, it might not work as well – or even increase the risk of side-effects.

Adding to this challenge is the fact that different vaccine products may be manufactured by different methods. For example, the equipment needed to produce a viral vaccine (such as the smallpox vaccine used against monkeypox) will be very different to that used to make COVID-19 RNA vaccines. It’s also slow and expensive to test any necessary modifications or improvements that may be needed to make a vaccine safer and more effective.

Glass vials arranged in a row move through a conveyer belt, where they are filled with the vaccine.
It isn’t just as easy as making more vaccines to meet demand. wacomka/ Shutterstock

Surprisingly, even some simple processes common to all vaccines and other medicines – such as filling doses into vials for distribution to patients – still have a mismatch of capacity. Vaccines are usually manufactured in different locations to packaging facilities, raising logistical hurdles (such as strictly controlled refrigeration requirements) that can further delay distribution. These facilities are used for many different medicines and are usually fully booked years in advance; schedules that are still recovering from COVID-19 disruptions may now be experiencing urgent changes to package the smallpox vaccine from stockpiles.

It also isn’t just a case of developing new monkeypox vaccines that are easier to manufacture. Even with major recent scientific progress, it would take many months to develop a safe and effective new vaccine. For monkeypox, it’s far quicker and simpler to use the existing smallpox vaccine.

What can be done?

Smallpox vaccine production is likely to be increased to meet demand. But until this happens, many countries will have to make best use of what supplies they can access, and rely on other strategies to help curb the virus’s spread.

The most effective way to prevent monkeypox causing further harm is by using an integrated, locally led public health response – vaccines are just one part of this. Testing and contact tracing is vital. If enough infected people in a region can be identified and supported to isolate while they’re infectious, transmission can be blocked.

Given the vaccine shortages, we expect that people don’t need two vaccine doses to be protected against monkeypox. This is why vaccinating the most at-risk groups with one dose now, paired with other public health measures, is the most effective strategy for curbing the spread of monkeypox – especially while vaccine supplies are limited. Second doses can be administered to maximise immunity when supplies do become available.

The current monkeypox outbreak is yet another reminder of the importance of investing in global health, and ensuring there’s more equal access to vaccines and other medical interventions that can help prevent the spread of harmful diseases.

Alexander Edwards 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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Government

Ivana Trump’s Money Lessons for Older Americans.

Ivana Trump, the first wife of Donald Trump, was recently found dead in her Manhattan residence. She was 73.

Known throughout her life as a dynamo socialite…

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Ivana Trump, the first wife of Donald Trump, was recently found dead in her Manhattan residence. She was 73.

Known throughout her life as a dynamo socialite and dealmaker in heels, her death from a blunt trauma from a fall down the stairs in her multi-story townhome, was a shock to residents who perceived her as vibrant and full of life. So, her passing got me thinking about Ivana Trump’s money lessons for older Americans.

Listen, it’s tough to age, but don’t let the process get you down. It’s too hard to get back up! Get it?

Seriously, a great challenge is an acceptance of growing older. Aging can be a tough pill to swallow. Especially for those who are known for the travails of their younger days. I have friends who explain as they age, they ‘disappear.’ I hate to hear this.

Personally, I’m living my best self and wouldn’t change a thing. However, Ageism is a real societal challenge. Based on numerous surveys, white papers, and reports from health organizations, those who are 60 and older are subject to negative stereotyping and discrimination in the workplace. Also, to younger generations, they do disappear in a manner of speaking.

But I have news for you. I think that’s about to change for you ‘seasoned’ folks.

During the pandemic, the Labor Force Participation Rate collapsed and has yet to recover. For those who need a reminder, the LFPR represents the people age 16 and older employed or seeking employment. Older Americans decided to accelerate retirement. Younger cohorts decided to go out on their own or sit back – satiated by government stimulus.

I think many older Americans will seek to unravel their retirement decision and return to the workforce. Also, I believe they’ll be welcomed with open arms by employers eager for a generation that is timely, responsible, and willing to work!

Let’s kick Ageism where it hurts. Right in the work ethic!

One money lesson I’ve learned from Ivana Trump about older Americans is that the entire world is wrinkling.

According to Peter Zeihan in his latest book – The End of The World is just the Beginning, population, and spending shrinkages are realities the entire globe must embrace. Demographics outline that mass-consumption-driven economies have already peaked.

By 2030, the world will be populated with twice as many retirees. Therefore, we all better internalize the fact that we’re getting older and financially and emotionally prepare accordingly. Long-term, poor demographics are deflationary.

In my opinion, Ivana Trump refused to accept aging. Thus, I consider Ivana Trump’s money lessons for older Americans applicable to all of us. 

Regardless of her immense wealth, she must have encountered anguish when it comes to getting older. Sure having money doesn’t hurt. Suffering in luxury isn’t bad. However, aging doesn’t care about a net worth statement.

Denial of aging is real and one of Ivana Trump’s best money lessons for older Americans.

Who needs comprehensive studies to understand that denial of getting older is a reality? I see it in myself as I dramatically changed my diet and amped up my physical workouts years ago to fight or slow the inevitable.

Frankly, my graying hairline stresses me out. 

I engage with people regularly who aren’t ready to deal with how someday they may move slower, forget things often and work through periodic illness or injury. Older clients and their adult children have a tough time facing that mom and dad are grayer, smaller, and frailer than they used to be.

Per a July 2022 analysis from the Center for Retirement Research, older Americans and retirees poorly assess the risks they face in retirement. Health and longevity risks (the risk of living longer than expected and exhausting financial resources) are underestimated.

Per the study: Perceived longevity risk and health risk rank lower because retirees are pessimistic about their survival probabilities and often underestimate their health costs in late life.

I cannot tell you how many clients inform me how sure they are about dying early. How do they know? So, I always ask the following question –

“What if you don’t?”

Ivana Trump’s friends were concerned about her home’s beautiful but dangerous staircase. They were worried about her falling. She had an elevator and rarely used it. The stairs at her home were steep, the carpet was worn. Although she had trouble walking, she regularly took the stairs. She had the money to remove or replace the carpet; the elevator would have been perfect, but she rarely used it.

Why?

In her halcyon days, Ivana was New York royalty. Young, vibrant. She could accomplish anything. How can someone like that stare into the mirror and face vincibility? How can you? Can I? Acceptance is the first step to a rich life as we age, to feel comfortable in different but richer skins.

That acceptance opens the door to preparation – eating right, exercising regularly, and preparing for the risks of aging through comprehensive planning and open communication with family and friends.

If I deny aging, then I’ll force everyone around me to deny it too. Or, at the least, family members and friends will discuss issues concerning me behind my back. Who wants that? Older Americans must be open to listening.

This leads to my next financial lesson for older Americans from Ivana Trump.

Communication. Another one of the money lessons Ivana Trump has for older Americans.

I wonder how many times Ivana was advised (perhaps delicately) by Ivanka and the other kids to update her place for aging, move to a one-story, or take the damn elevator. Whatever it is, would Ivana listen or just carry on like it was the 1980s? In her mind, it may have been decades ago, but her aging body lived in the here and now.

There’s a nuance and empathy to communicating with older loved ones.

Remember, they were young like you once. Listen to your special older Americans. Never be condescending. A good idea may be to bring in an objective third party such as your financial advisor to assist with the discussions. I’ve witnessed adult children infantilize their parents, and that never works. Imagine approaching Ivana with that tone! Not good!

Remember, even mild cognitive impairment can drive a communication wedge between you, and your aging loved one. However, don’t give up sparking conversation. I work with clients who consistently need to nuance their speech with their parents. They get their points across eventually. Impaired older relatives eventually take action, but the process is like chipping away at an iceberg with a butter knife.

Don’t give up!

Genworth, a leader in long-term care insurance and research, maintains an impactful Conversation Starters page with helpful tips about what to talk about and how to maintain a dialogue. Check it out.

Use your financial plan to motivate others.

How can you discuss long-term care issues with loved ones if you’re personally in denial about aging? A risk mitigation plan as part of a comprehensive financial strategy validates your commitment to preparation. Actions forge your conversations with credibility.

According to AARP’s most recent Home and Community Preference Survey, 77% of adults 50 and older want to remain in their homes or age in place. The number has been consistent for over a decade. Aging in place requires planning – whether it’s to eventually downsize to a one-story home, renovate kitchen and baths or install easy access ramps for items of mobility such as wheelchairs. It would be worth practicing financial openness and sharing this information with aging parents. In other words, if you’re preparing for these expenses, they should be too.

Don’t forget long-term care insurance as one of Ivana Trump’s money lessons for older Americans.

Ivana didn’t need long-term care insurance. You probably need to consider it.

Unfortunately, nearly half of individuals who apply for traditional long-term care insurance after age 70 have their applications declined by an insurer, according to Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. However, loved ones in good health in their 50s and 60s can still consider long-term care insurance. The sweet spot for looking into long-term care coverage is generally between ages 55 and 65, per Jesse Slome.

Three out of every five financial plans I create reflect deficiencies in meeting long-term care expenses. Medical insurance like Medicare does not cover long-term care expenses – a common misperception. Nearly 60% of people surveyed in various studies falsely believe that Medicare covers long-term care expenses.

The Genworth Cost of Care Survey has been tracking long-term care costs across 440 regions across the United States since 2004.

Genworth’s results assume an annual 3% inflation rate. In today’s dollars, a home-health aide who assists with cleaning, cooking, and other responsibilities for those who seek to age in place or require temporary assistance with daily living activities can cost over $54,912 a year in the Houston area. We use a 4.25-4.5% inflation rate for financial planning purposes to reflect recent median annual costs for assisted living and nursing home care. Candidly, I fear that I’ll need to increase this inflation rate in 2023.

As I examine long-term care policies issued recently vs. those 10 years or later, it’s glaringly obvious that coverage isn’t as comprehensive, and costs are more prohibitive.

One option is to consider a reverse mortgage, specifically a home equity conversion mortgage. The horror stories about these products are overblown. The most astute planners and academics understand how incorporating the equity from a primary residence in a retirement income strategy can help with the burden of long-term care costs. Those who talk down these products are speaking out of lack of knowledge and falling easily for pervasive false narratives.

Reverse mortgages have several layers of costs (nothing like they were in the past), and it pays for consumers to shop around for the best deals. Also, to qualify for a reverse mortgage, the homeowner must be 62, the home must be a primary residence, and the debt limited to mortgage debt. There are several ways to receive payouts.

One of the smartest strategies is to establish a reverse mortgage line of credit at age 62, leave it untapped, and allow it to grow along with the home’s value. 

The line may be tapped for long-term care expenses if needed or to mitigate the sequence of poor return risk in portfolios. Simply, in years where portfolios are down, the reverse mortgage line is used for income while portfolios recover. Once assets recover, rebalancing proceeds or gains may be used to repay the reverse mortgage loan, restoring the line of credit.

RIA’s approach to helping older Americans age comfortably in place.

Our planning software allows our team to consider a reverse mortgage in the analysis. Those plans have a high probability of success. We explain that income is as necessary as water regarding retirement. For many retirees, converting the glacier of a home into the water of income using a reverse mortgage will be required for retirement survival and especially long-term care expenses.

Ivana Trump’s money lessons for older Americans are lessons for us all, regardless of age.

Planning to age gracefully and healthfully will lead to a prosperous retirement attitude.

As George Burns said: You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.

The longer I live, the more I realize how true that quote is.

The post Ivana Trump’s Money Lessons for Older Americans. appeared first on RIA.

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COVID-19 genomic recombination is uncommon but disproportionately occurs in spike protein region

An analysis of millions of SARS-CoV-2 genomes finds that recombination of the virus is uncommon, but when it occurs, it is most often in the spike protein…

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An analysis of millions of SARS-CoV-2 genomes finds that recombination of the virus is uncommon, but when it occurs, it is most often in the spike protein region, the area which allows the virus to attach to and infect host cells. 

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Protection

An analysis of millions of SARS-CoV-2 genomes finds that recombination of the virus is uncommon, but when it occurs, it is most often in the spike protein region, the area which allows the virus to attach to and infect host cells. 

The study, led by scientists at UC Santa Cruz, was published August 11 in the journal Nature. It details a new software created by the researchers to search the COVID-19 phylogenetic tree, a diagram of the virus’s evolutionary history, for instances of recombination. This software is open source, allowing public health officials to use it to track instances of recombination within their communities. 

Recombination occurs when two genetically distinct forms of the virus hybridize. This study focused on detectable recombination, when the hybridization results in a sequence that is genetically new, and not on instances where two sequences combine to form a sequence identical to an already existing one. 

“It’s really important for reconstructing the virus’s evolutionary history,” said Russell Corbett-Detig, senior author on the study and an associate professor of biomolecular engineering at the Baskin School of Engineering. “When there’s recombination it’s not one tree, it’s many trees, and being able to trace that accurately is really crucial for understanding evolution of the virus.”

Findings on recombination  

The researchers analyzed 1.6 million samples of COVID-19 and found 589 recombination events, which indicates that only about 2.7% of sequenced genomes result from recombination. These sequences were sourced from the UC Santa Cruz SARS-CoV-2 Browser, a repository for COVID-19 genomic data, which is now the largest collection of genomic sequences of a single species ever assembled, currently at nearly 12 million sequences.

While results show that recombination occurs more frequently in the spike protein region, it is not yet known why this is. This could potentially be the result of a mechanistic bias, indicating it is the natural tendency of all coronaviruses to recombine toward the three-prime region of the viral genome, which contains the spike protein, or that positive natural selection for COVID-19 is favoring recombinants that occur in this region.

While recombination does occur, there is no evidence that the resulting strains are more likely to be epidemiologically important. In fact, most recombinant variants die out, as do most of the thousands of mutated variants of COVID-19.

 A new software, written primarily by UC San Diego Assistant Professor Yatish Turakhia during his postdoctoral training in Corbett-Detig’s lab, enabled the computational feat required for the analysis of millions of genomes. The software, called Recombination Inference using Phylogenetic PLacEmentS (RIPPLES), can efficiently search a massive phylogenetic tree of COVID-19 genomes to find instances where a new sequence appears to be a combination of two distinct sections of the tree. The COVID-19 phylogenetic tree, called UShER, was created by UCSC researchers and is the primary tool used by health officials worldwide to track the spread of variants in their community.

The researchers found recombination most often shows up on the COVID-19 phylogenetic tree in the form of “long branches,” making it appear that several mutations happened sequentially, which is quite rare. 

“In a tree of millions of sequences, you find these long branches, which reduce the possible instances of detectable recombination down to only about 10’s of thousands of branches,” Turakhia said. “These long branches make recombination much easier to spot on the tree, which enables the efficient performance of the new software.” 

Turakhia and his team aim to continue to improve RIPPLES’ speed and performance and to create visual tools to make it more accessible for a wider audience. 

Use for public health

Knowing when recombination occurs is crucial for understanding the evolutionary lineage of a sequence of the virus. Recombination can complicate the process of tracing back the phylogenetic tree of a particular sequence because its genetic material is a result of two joining areas of the overall COVID-19 family tree. 

This can help public officials understand when a lineage of COVID-19 which appears to be novel is truly an independent mutation introduced for the first time, or rather just a combination of two lineages that already existed in the community. Understanding when recombination occurs is also important from a public health perspective as it can potentially make the virus more adept at evading immunity.

Furthermore, the RIPPLES software’s availability and ease of use has positive implications for genomics experts and public health officials alike, who can efficiently search a set of COVID-19 genomic samples for recombination in just minutes.

This reflects a larger theme of the work of scalable translation of pathogen genomics data at Corbett-Detig’s lab and the UCSC Genomics Institute. Researchers are focused on creating tools that enable public health officials to automate and translate the questions they want to ask, and receive answers that are easy to act on and dependable. 

“A big part of the success of our work has been that the software is extremely accessible and computationally cheap in the grand scheme of things,” Corbett-Detig said. “Anybody could take their hundred new SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences and figure out if there were potentially recombinant samples in just minutes on a basic laptop. Global public health needs to be democratized, to the point that anyone can do it, even if they’re not a super wealthy lab with giant servers.”


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