Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Covid-19 virus update, 10 March

My spreadsheet, from figures at Worldometer 
Seems like: a couple of good days of declining new cases, then…another spike. Yesterday 4,374 new cases, a record since I’ve been doing daily updates. However, China had only 19 new cases. “Continued decline”.

Discovery Bay bubble update: things fine here. No cases so far on our island of Lantau, cross fingers stays. No panic buying. Fine weather, 20-some degrees, people out about, mostly maskless.

Dow Jones collapse: ‘amplified panic’. Hong Kong market opens slightly higher (09:30).
Packed restaurants and handshakes in HK: complacency. Our health experts urge government to “get tougher
New study says safe distance: five metres
10:00 am. Carrie Lam, C-E, is giving her weekly presser. Not much to report so far. “Need to keep vigilant, wash your hands”, etc, etc… Oh, and some flights from high risk areas like northern Italy, Korea and Iran are now banned. So I guess that’s “tougher”.
Some journos at the presser are obsessing over a policeman who allegedly hit someone with a shoe. Obsessed.
There are still “thousands” of Hongkongers in Wuhan. I did not know that.
Wuhan: ‘Gratitude education’. Pathetic.

And I wonder: is the glass half full or glass half empty? Half full = it’s over by May/June and the world goes into a V-shaped recovery. Half empty = Charybdis, the fearsome whirlpool, knock-on effects of so much damage suck us down the plug hole.
Things changing daily so it’s too hard to tell, though I continue to lean on half full. Still, there’s many many people, in the millions likely, who are suffering not from the virus, but from the economic effects of the battle against the virus. The most obvious: travel, tourism and hospitality.
If I were a pundit, I’d say it’s “fifty-fifty”. Which I’ve always thought is just not any prediction at all. It’s a cop out. Because whichever way it goes you can say you were right.
But I’m not a pundit. So I’ll go out on a limb and say the chances are that the glass is half full and we’ll have a V-shaped recovery when Covid-19 is brought under control. Let’s say… June-ish.
(In fact, we show our faith in that guess by continuing to Hold our equity portfolio.  We do have skin in the game, and would only realise our paper losses if we actually sold. So we Hold. Bring on that lovely Vee).
ADDED: (11:15): there’s a guy on CNBC, Mark Matthews, making a couple of ballsy calls. He’d be buying Oil.  He says you can buy a barrel of oil for the price of two glasses of beer (it’d have to be two premium glasses of Craft Beer, what with oil at $30 per bbl). He’d buy via an Oil ETF. He’d also be a buyer of China, now the virus is contained. China, Korea and Italy show that tough measures can work. The dilemma for other countries is: (a) take tough measures against the virus and harm the economy; or (b) don’t be tough and overwhelm the health-care system. At the end of the day, people care more for their grandmothers than their 401k, says Matthews. Good call.
His prediction; it’s over in a month. I recall my original prediction was: it’s over by end of February. Jing generously says, I’m right! About China, anyway, where it started and now appears to be on rapid decline. Cross fingers. Now for the rest of the world.