Archive for April 3rd, 2020

Why Bhutan is an outlier in the fight to Covid19?

April 3, 2020

Sayan Dey and Malati Sunar in this piece point to reasons for Bhutan’s low Covid19 numbers: Low Population, Diverse Geography, environmental consciousness and mass  consciousness towards personal hygiene.

Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness ways have been appreciated but not implemented.  Perhaps the COvid19 virus pandemic will change all this and some countries might begin their transition closer to Bhutan model (even if a long haul).

Masks, meals and Skype: self-isolating in Sicily – a photo essay

April 3, 2020

World Press Photo-winning Italian journalist Alessio Mamo talks about his experience of living in isolation in Sicily with his partner Marta, who tested positive for coronavirus.

Touching and frustrating..

Central bank swaps then and now: swaps and dollar liquidity in the 1960s

April 3, 2020

Interesting BIS paper by Robert N McCauley and Catherine R Schenk:

This paper explores the record of central bank swaps to draw out four themes.

First, this recent device of central bank cooperation had a sustained pre-history from 1962-1998, surviving the transition from fixed to floating exchange rates.

Second, Federal Reserve swap facilities have generally formed a part of a wider network of central bank swap lines.

Third, we take issue with the view of swaps as previously used only to manage exchange rates and only more recently to manage offshore funding liquidity and yields.

In particular, we spotlight how in the 1960s the Federal Reserve, working in conjunction with the BIS and European central banks, repeatedly used swaps to manage eurodollar funding liquidity and Libor yields. BIS, Bank of England and Swiss National Bank archives show an intention to offset seasonal disturbances to funding liquidity in order to prevent eurodollar yield spikes. Fourth, this earlier cooperation underscores the Federal Reserve’s use of swaps to prevent eurodollar shortages from interfering with the transmission of its domestic monetary policy. The US interest in the eurodollar market, and thus its self interest in central bank cooperation, is unlikely to end even when Libor is replaced as the benchmark for US floating-rate loans and mortgages.


Why populists love pandemics?

April 3, 2020

Sławomir Sierakowski, (Director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw) in this Proj Synd piece:

….wall-to-wall coverage of the pandemic leaves no attention to spare for political opposition parties and movements. Hence, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee to challenge US President Donald Trump in November’s election, has essentially disappeared overnight from public view.

Americans are instead furnished with daily, live coverage of Trump’s press conferences cum political rallies, in which he trots out government experts who somehow must try to correct his lies and misinformation about the pandemic while standing right next to him. Similarly, in Israel, Benny Gantz, the leading opposition politician, has decided to join a new government led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, citing the extenuating circumstances of the pandemic.

In Central and Eastern Europe, populist governments are exploiting the suspension of normal life to implement long-held plans. With the international media focused completely on the pandemic, few people will notice what is happening in Hungary or Poland. Reporting on Poland’s de facto leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán seems to have disappeared even from the pages of media outlets that have reliably covered them for years.

Whereas the Hungarian opposition is protesting against Orbán’s imposed “state of emergency,” the Polish opposition is demanding one. The West, even if it wanted to protest, could easily get lost in this quagmire and not know what to demand.

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