Health Care Workers Bragging About Forged Vax Cards As Fake “Passports” Hit The Street
It was inevitable.
Healthcare workers across the country are taking to social media to brag about stealing COVID-19 vaccination cards from their jobs in order to falsify their vaccination status - allowing them to falsify their vaccine status.
"I work at a pharmacy and grabbed blank ones for me and my hubby," said one TikTok user, who was identified by other users as a pharmacy tech in Illinois - and promptly reported to state healthcare authorities, according to the Daily Beast.
"Can I pay you to ship a couple to me," another TikTok user identified as a Texas nurse wrote under the original video bragging about the theft - and was also promptly reported to Texas healthcare authorities.
"I got a template if u want it," posted one TikTok user under a viral video about faking vaccination cards.
Becca Walker, one of the two users sounding the alarm, posted: "I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to steal from your job. And I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to steal blank vaccination papers for COVID-19 to falsify information and claim that you and your husband were vaccinated when in actuality you were not."
"Stop hating on me! I don’t care what any of you think. I did what is best for my husband and I," posted the Illinois pharmacy tech right before she wiped her TikTok account history - only to try and cover her tracks by posting a fake TikTok claiming to be a 16-year-old British girl doing a social media experiment for her filmmaker father.
Walker, along with user Savannah Sparks, have since posted several more TikTok videos calling out healthcare workers for allegedly forging or attempting to forge vaccine cards. They claim dozens of tips have been sent to them by other users on the platform, but which they haven't been able to verify.
If it seems surprising that vaccine resistance would exist among medical professionals, even those with a strong background in science, Schaffer said it simply highlights how many Americans are still resistant to vaccination, more than three months after the first jabs went into the arms of frontline health-care workers. In February, a survey conducted by experts from Northwestern, Northeastern, Rutgers and Harvard universities found that 21 percent of health-care workers surveyed did not want to be vaccinated. Hesitancy, which indicates skepticism towards the vaccine but not an outright unwillingness to be vaccinated, was 37 percent. -Daily Beast
Meanwhile, fake "vaccine passports" are already being sold on the street. Via Summit News:
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Fake ‘vaccine passports’ are already being sold by criminals on the streets, according to TV personality Andrew Gruel, who said he saw it happen.
Earlier this week it was revealed that the Biden administration has been working with tech companies and non-profits to create a vaccine passport that “will play a role in multiple aspects of life.”
According to a CNN report, the vaccine passports, which could be ready in weeks, will be a condition of the United States returning to “normalcy” before the end of the year.
However, it appears as though street scammers have already beaten the government to the chase.
“Had to work late last night,” tweeted TV host Andrew Gruel. “Walked through a back alley to get to my car. There were 2 shady guys selling fake vaccine passports out of the back of a Cadillac. A market is born.”
The ridiculous takeaway from the introduction of vaccine passports is that Americans may be forced to show ID to watch a baseball game while voting can still take place with no ID requirements whatsoever.
As we highlighted yesterday, the vaccine passport isn’t just a proof of vaccination system, it’s a digital ID card that will likely be linked to the facial recognition camera network.
This will then grease the skids for the full implementation of a Communist Chinese-style social credit score system where dissidents are denied basic rights and services and have to live in a de facto state of permanent lockdown.
Lockdowns Worsen The Health Crisis
Authored by Kiley Holliday and Jenin Younes via the American Institute for Economic Research,
One of the most infuriating aspects of a year replete with illogical, short-sighted public health mandates has been the utter failure of those within the public health profession to adequately address the role that poor diet and lack of exercise have played in exacerbating the coronavirus crisis. In fact, many of the decrees ostensibly issued in the name of public health have had the effect only of aggravating the underlying problem.
A recent global study found that obesity is a “driving factor in COVID-19 deaths,” and that Covid-19 death rates are an astonishing ten times higher in countries where most adults are overweight. Although advanced age is the strongest indicator of a severe outcome from a coronavirus infection, “being overweight comes a close second,” the report determined. The CEO of the World Obesity Federation went so far as to blame the “failure to address the root causes of obesity over many decades . . . for hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths.” While the study makes evident the degree to which poor underlying health is a driving force in coronavirus deaths, we have known almost since the beginning that being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of a severe outcome.
Given this information, the Anthony Faucis and Eric Feigl-Dings of the world should focus on alerting people to the dangers of being overweight and obese, and expending significant efforts to encourage exercise and healthy diet. Instead, they have spent the past twelve months urging people to “stay home, save lives” and to wear two masks, if not three or four, a measure not shown to have mitigated coronavirus deaths at all.
In a similar vein, governors around the country have ordered gyms closed, along with countless other businesses. In New York, gyms have been open since this past summer, but patrons must wear a mask at all times, even while exercising. Due to the extreme discomfort of exercising while masked, I (Jenin) quit my gym months ago for the first time in two decades and began relying solely on outdoor forms of exercise to stay in shape. I doubt I am the only one to have done so for similar reasons.
Thus, equally counterproductive are outdoor mask mandates in states like Massachusetts, which have the pernicious effect of discouraging outdoor as well as indoor exercise. All this, despite the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) advised against wearing a mask while exercising, pointing to research demonstrating that wearing them even during mild to moderate physical activity can “lead to significant negative cardiovascular and pulmonary effects in both healthy people and those with underlying respiratory diseases.” (Of course, these findings contradicted the religion of face-coverings that has overtaken our society, so were automatically discounted, not on the merits but because they did not fit within the dominant narrative).
Likewise, especially at the beginning of the crisis, governors around the nation closed playgrounds, national parks, and hiking trails, another policy choice that simply deprived people of the opportunity to engage in healthy outdoor activities. Mercifully, many of these orders have been reversed following significant pushback from the public, although never with an admission on the part of government officials that such measures were detrimental to public health.
While exercise is vital for overall health, significant research suggests that those who are struggling with obesity require dietary changes in order to lose weight. Predictably, the shutdown strategy, which entailed people working from home much more often or exclusively, led to a sharp increase in unhealthy eating habits. People began snacking on processed foods in much greater quantities, in large part to ease stress, giving Mondelez International — the manufacturer of Oreos — and other unhealthy, processed snacks cause to celebrate.
The exhortations of the “stay home” crowd, as well as the implementation of measures such as gym and park closures have had the expected impact, which is that 42 percent of adults in the United States reported undesired weight gain during the past year, with an average of twenty-nine pounds. Millennials as a group fared the absolute worst, with 48 percent reporting unwanted weight gain, at an average of forty-one pounds. Suffice it to say, a significant portion of adults who in March of 2020 were not at substantial risk of a severe outcome from coronavirus now can be categorized as in an elevated risk group.
The cause of this national belt-loosening is not merely staying home and moving around less, but anxiety and depression caused by social isolation, both of which have been demonstrated to cause weight gain and obesity. Society has now organized itself around the principle of depriving people of meaningful social contact with family, friends, and coworkers for the better part of a year. One need not have a degree in psychology to recognize that such an approach is bound to aggravate the obesity crisis, as indeed it has. In fact, our newly confirmed Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy has written an entire book on health effects of loneliness, arguing that it is associated with increased risk of heart disease, dementia, obesity, and sleep disorders.
Yet despite these circumstances, publications such as the New York Times have been running grossly irresponsible pieces with headlines such as Should You Worry About Your Kid’s Pandemic Weight Gain? (the answer of the author, Virginia Sole-Smith is, generally speaking, ‘no’). In typical fashion, Sole-Smith ascribes the rising incidence of childhood obesity to the pandemic itself, rather than the decision to shutter classrooms for many months. She contends that because childhood dieting can lead to adult eating disorders, parents should avoid treating their children’s weight gain as a “problem to be solved.” Parents should inquire about the mental health of their children, but also accept that the circumstances causing their depression and late-night stress eating simply cannot be changed, as though it is perfectly reasonable from a public health perspective to prioritize Covid prevention (a virus less harmful to children than the flu) above all things.
A more recent Times article, by Sandra E. Garcia dodged the issue of underlying health, and instead argued that people whose body mass index (BMI) qualified them for early vaccination should take advantage of that status. The article quoted Emma Specter of Vogue magazine saying “a metric of health that has long been called into question by fat activists and medical experts alike could stand to actively benefit fat people for the first time.”
Similarly, Garcia quoted a tweet that quipped “because my BMI permits me to get the vaccine tomorrow, and because the vaccination will enable me to protect myself and others, my thick thighs will in fact save lives.” While BMI is an imperfect measure of an individual’s health and, of course, not all thin people are healthy, the past thirty years has shown us that rising rates of obesity and chronic diseases go hand in hand.
Apparently, Garcia’s ideological commitment to the narrative of identity politics precludes any admission that being overweight, and particularly obese, is a significant predictor of a severe outcome from a coronavirus infection, and that many people can take steps to lose weight and thereby become healthier and even remove themselves from at-risk categories. Getting vaccinated will not solve the larger problem, as it can only protect one from the coronavirus and does not cure the various comorbidities resulting from poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
Under the pretense of “body positivity,” the authors of these articles are normalizing a lifestyle that leads to significant health problems. Instead of questioning the circumstances that create obesity – conditions that have only worsened during the pandemic – they propound against all reason and logic that obesity is not unhealthy, or that it is somehow unhealthier to recognize and deal with it. This effectively steers people away from drawing the all-too obvious conclusion that the decision to close schools, gyms, and workplaces and force people to shelter in place for months at a time was never in the interest of public health.
Of course, not everyone can lose weight for a variety of reasons, spanning the spectrum from metabolic disorders to inadequate access to healthy food or time to exercise. The inability of many to lead a healthy lifestyle can be directly tied to significant, systemic problems in our society and country today, and it is not within the scope of this article to address this matter. Nor do we advocate “fat-shaming,” or any cruelty directed at individuals because they are overweight or obese. Rather, we are suggesting that the government and public health authorities should not issue and support, respectively, mandates that curtail freedom to the point of fostering depression and disease in the general population. That includes not only closures of parks and gyms, but measures such as mandatory mask-wearing during exercise and stay-at-home orders, which inevitably leads to social isolation.
In stark contrast to the approach they have taken, public health authorities, and by extension politicians and the media, ought to encourage the public to maintain a healthy weight, and not just during the pandemic. In fact, it is their moral obligation to address the issue head-on, rather than putting identity politics or political correctness before public health, and to vigorously renounce measures that are creating an unhealthier nation.
We suspect that one day, the quarantining of entire societies that was carried out in response to the coronavirus pandemic, leading to vast swaths of the population becoming unhealthier overall and ironically more susceptible to severe outcomes from the virus, will be seen as the 21st century version of bloodletting. As the epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff has observed, public health is not just about one disease, but all health outcomes. Apparently, in 2020, the authorities forgot this obvious truth.
CFDs – The Dirty Little Secret Behind The Collapse Of Archegos
Stop us if you've heard this one before - Wall Street prime brokers allowed hedge funds to dance while the music was playing with ever greater leverage in off-exchange and unregulated derivatives... until the first sign of trouble and the whole house of cards comes crashing down in a potentially systemic manner.
The bloodbath in various media stocks on Friday has brought light back to one of the dark corners of the equity trading business - so-called contracts-for-differences (CFDs).
As Bloomberg reports, much of the leverage used by Hwang’s Archegos Capital was provided by banks including Nomura and Credit Suisse - who have most recently admitted huge losses - as CFDs, which are made off exchanges, allow managers like Hwang to amass stakes in publicly traded companies without having to declare their holdings (far in excess of the 5% stakes that require regulatory reporting).
Crucially, as Bloomberg notes, this means Archegos may never actually have owned most of the underlying securities - if any at all - as the CFD is akin to a privately-arranged (i.e. off exchange and bespoke) futures contract where the differences in the settlement between the open and closing trade prices are cash-settled (there is no delivery of physical goods or securities with CFDs).
What makes the situation worse is that Archegos reportedly took positions in these CFDs with various prime brokers - and because these positions are by their nature not centrally cleared or aggregated, this left prime broker X unaware of their client's exposures with prime broker Y... which in this case was huge.
The leverage Hwang was given made him look like a trading genius as the various positions he took were pumped and pumped (and helped by gamma-squeezers) but now look like a reckless gambling fool as the bets collapsed.
CFDs linked to stocks (with a gross market value of around $282 billion at end June 2020) are among bespoke derivatives that investors trade privately between themselves, or over-the-counter, instead of through public exchanges. This is exactly the kind of hidden risk that amplified the losses during the 2008 financial crisis.
As Bloomberg notes, regulators have begun clamping down on CFDs in recent years because they’re concerned the derivatives are too complex and too risky for retail investors, with the European Securities and Markets Authority in 2018 restricting the distribution to individuals and capping leverage. In the U.S., CFDs are largely banned for amateur traders... but not for hedge fund managers who are "sophisticated"?
But, banks still favor them because they can make a large profit without needing to set aside as much capital versus trading actual securities (driven to this opaque market as an unintended consequence of heavy regulation following the 2008 financial crisis).
In the case of Archegos, there is very little transparency about Hwang’s trades, but market participants suggest his assets had grown to anywhere from $5 billion to $10 billion in recent years with total exposure topping $50 billion. And bear in mind, this is not 'leverage' in the old-fashioned sense (i.e. banks allow you buy X-times the amount of stocks relative to your capital); this is purely synthetic - the firm has no actual underlying asset to fall back on, but is linearly exposed to losses (and gains) on a margined basis.
And as we noted at the beginning, this has the potential to be much more systemic as the losses created by Archegos' margin calls trigger more margin calls and more potential losses for the prime brokers. Think we are exaggerating, then explain why the costs of counterparty risk hedging for Credit Suisse for example, has exploded in the last few days...
Mohammed El-Erian told CNBC this morning that "It seems to be a one-off ... for now, it looks contained. And that's a good thing." But added "what we don't want is a pile-up."
We look forward to the Congressional hearings on this.
Objective:Health: Ivermectin: The Suppressed Miracle Drug for Covid-19
As if it were a replay of the fiasco that went on with hydroxychloroquine, the establishment media, social media and governments have been collectively censoring information about a drug shown to be highly effective against Covid-19: Ivermectin.
The studies on the drug are nothing short of astounding - more effective than any drug or intervention previously studied. Yet YouTube felt justified in banning videos of congress testimony about the drug, Twitter has blocked links to a peer-reviewed medical journal that had the audacity to publish a study on the drug and the corporate media have been full of articles about the 'dangers' of this drug - despite the fact that it's been approved by the FDA (unlike Covid vaccines) and has been used safely for the last 5 decades.
Join us on this episode of Objective:Health where we give you the low-down on a truly amazing drug that 'THEY' don't want you to know about: Ivermectin.
For other health-related news and more, you can find us on:
And you can check out all of our previous shows (pre YouTube) here:
Running Time: 00:31:09
Download: MP3 — 28.5 MB
UN Decries “Mass Murder” After 114 Single-Day Protester Deaths In Myanmar
Authored by Kenny Stancil via CommonDreams.org,
While Myanmar's military celebrated Armed Forces Day on Saturday with a parade through the capital, the ruling junta's security forces killed more than 100 people elsewhere throughout the country in the deadliest crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protesters since last month's coup.
According to Myanmar Now, soldiers and police had killed at least 114 people, including children, nationwide as of 9:30 pm on Saturday in Myanmar. "The military celebrated Armed Forces Day by committing mass murder against the people it should be defending," said Tom Andrews, the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. "The Civil Disobedience Movement is responding with powerful weapons of peace."
"It's past time," Andrews added, "for the world to respond in kind with and for the people of Myanmar." Saturday's brutal massacre, which came just one day after a regional human rights group reported that the total death toll since the military regime seized power on February 1 had climbed to 328, was widely condemned by diplomats around the world. "This bloodshed is horrifying," said US Ambassador Thomas Vajda. "Myanmar's people have spoken clearly: they do not want to live under military rule."
The European Union's delegation to Myanmar tweeted: "This 76th Myanmar Armed Forces Day will stay engraved as a day of terror and dishonor. The killing of unarmed civilians, including children, are indefensible acts." British foreign secretary Dominic Raab said that "today's killing of unarmed civilians, including children, marks a new low. We will work with our international partners to end this senseless violence, hold those responsible to account, and secure a path back to democracy."
In a statement issued Thursday, Andrews had warned that "conditions in Myanmar are deteriorating, but they will likely get much worse without an immediate robust, international response in support of those under siege."
"It is imperative that the international community heed the recent call of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres for a 'firm, unified international response,'" Andrews said. "To date, however, the limited sanctions imposed by member states do not cut the junta's access to revenue that help sustain its illegal activities, and the slow pace of diplomacy is out of step with the scale of the crisis." Andrews noted that "the incremental approach to sanctions has left the most lucrative business assets of the junta unscathed. It needs to be replaced by robust action that includes a diplomatic offensive designed to meet the moment."
"Without a focused, diplomatic solution, including the hosting of an emergency summit that brings together Myanmar's neighbors and those countries with great influence in the region, I fear the situation of human rights in Myanmar will further deteriorate as the junta increases the rate of murders, enforced disappearances, and torture," he said.
Andrews' fears were realized Saturday as the military escalated its use of lethal violence against anti-coup demonstrators and other civilians. "They are killing us like birds or chickens, even in our homes," resident Thu Ya Zaw told Reuters in the central town of Myingyan. "We will keep protesting regardless... We must fight until the junta falls."
The resolve of pro-democracy protesters is evident. According to Al Jazeera, citizens defied a "military warning that they could be shot 'in the head and back'" in order to take to "the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns." Kyaw Win, the director of the Burma Human Rights Network in the United Kingdom, told BBC News that the military had shown it had "no limits, no principles." Win added, "It's a massacre, it's not a crackdown anymore."
In his statement released prior to Saturday's wholesale killing, Andrews emphasized that "it is critical that the people of Myanmar... the duly elected illegally deposed parliamentarians who make up the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, and opposition leaders and activists see that the international community is working towards a diplomatic solution in support of the peaceful Civil Disobedience Movement."
"This combined course of action—domestic peaceful resistance, sustained pressure, and international diplomatic momentum—will have a greater chance for success than taking up arms," Andrews continued, "and will save untold numbers of lives."
"Member states have an opportunity to demonstrate this alternative, but the window in which this can be achieved is closing rapidly," he said, adding: "I fear that the international community has only a short time remaining to act." That warning has become even more urgent since it was first shared.
WARNING – Stupidity pandemic, take action to protect life and property
Medical Doctor Exposes Mass Eugenics Extermination Called ‘Covid-19 Vaccine’
Suez Canal Megaship “Partially Refloated” Ahead Of US Navy Assessment
Here's today's overview of the continued logjam at the Suez Canal:
Ever Given Partially Refloated At Stern
At Least 20 Vessels Carrying Livestock Stuck At Canal
IKEA Warns Containers Filled With Goods Blocked By Suez Crisis
Vessels Already Diverting Course from Suez Canal To Cape Of Good Hope
US Navy Arrives Saturday To Assess Ever Given
300 Vessels Waiting To Traverse Canal
Tanker Rates For Suezmax Vessels climb to $17k Per Day
Suez Blockage Results In Rising Container Prices From China To Europe
Tugboats And Dredging Ships Were Unsuccessful In Refloating Ever Given
Bloomberg Report Process To Refloat Ever Given Could Take Until Next Wednesday
Shoei Kisen, The Japanese Owner Of Ever Given, Aims To Dislodge Vessel From Canal Bank By Saturday
- Suez Canal Authority (SCA) To Cooperate With US To Refloat Ever Given
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Update (1654): So just how stuck is Ever Given?
The Suez Canal's engineering documents show a cross-sectional diagram of the channel where the container ship is stuck.
An overlay of the container ship and the channel's cross-sectional piece suggests the vessel is more stuck than what meets the eye via ground-based footage and satellite imagery.
If the vessel cannot be refloated entirely, then unloading the ship with a tower crane could be the next bet. But that comes at risk since the load mechanics will drastically change and may have disastrous effects as the balance could shift. As JPMorgan's Marko Kolanovic noted earlier today, "another interesting development of this week was the blocking of the Suez Canal. While we believe and hope the situation will get resolved shortly, there are some risks of the ship breaking."
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Update (1631): Ever Given, the vessel stuck in the Suez Canal, was partially refloated, Bloomberg reports, citing Inchcape Shipping Services, a maritime services provider.
Inchcape said the salvage team could refloated Ever Given's "stern/aft" and released the rudder at around 9 pm local time.
There will be another attempt to refloat the entire vessel once the high tide is observed.
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Update (1553ET): We reported earlier today that 300 vessels are caught in a logjam at the Suez Canal. At least 20 of those vessels are carrying livestock, according to marine tracking data. Here are more details about the ships carrying livestock via The Guardian:
Georgios Hatzimanolis, a spokesperson for the tracking website Marine Traffic, said while some livestock ships were waiting to enter the canal, three – the Omega Star, the Unimar and the Sea Star – "all appear to be stuck at various points in the canal.” Marine Traffic data showed 11 delayed livestock ships, while an NGO has identified others, bringing the total identified so far to 20.
Five of the ships identified had loaded animals in Spain, and nine had loaded in Romania earlier this month, according to the NGO Animals International.
Gerit Weidinger, EU coordinator for Animals International, said data from marine tracking websites indicated the Unimar left Spain on 15 March bound for Jeddah. The Omega Star left Spain, she said, on 16 March bound for Port Said.
There were no immediate welfare concerns for the animals, but if the Ever Given has to be lightened to make it easier to dislodge, using cranes to remove enough containers could take weeks and the surrounding ships would need to leave and find longer alternative routes.
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Update (1540ET): With billions of dollars in goods unable to transit the Suez Canal. Reports state consumer goods destined for Western countries are stuck on board container ships.
CNN's Ana Cabrera said, "containers filled with IKEA products on board ships blocked at the Suez Canal."
An IKEA spokesperson told Cabrera that the blockage could "create constraints on our supply chain," if delays persist.
More Western importers could inevitably signal delays of products due to the Suez crisis in the coming days.
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Update (1300ET): Vessels headed to the Suez Canal are already changing course as it could take days to refloat Ever Given.
Refinitiv data shows LNG tanker Pan Americas deviated from its route in the Atlantic Ocean on Mar. 24, likely due to Suez's developments. The tanker appears to be headed around the Cape of Good Hope.
Here's Bloomberg's take on vessels deviating course.
We noted earlier that a sail around the Cape of Good Hope instead of the Suez Canal could add an extra ten days, plus additional fuel costs.
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Update (1221): CNN's Barbara Starr reports the US Navy will send an "assessment team of dredging experts to Suez Canal as soon as Saturday to advise authorities on options to try to free the stuck tanker Ever Given." Starr said the report was confirmed by two US Department of Defense officials.
BREAKING: CNN has learned @USNavy expects to send assessment team of dredging experts to Suez Canal as soon as Saturday to advise authorities on options to try to free the stuck tanker Ever Given, according to two DOD officials. Comes after Egypt accepted @USEmbassyCairo offer.
— Barbara Starr (@barbarastarrcnn) March 26, 2021
This comes as multiple attempts to refloat the massive container ship have failed.
Sports betting website MyBookie is now offering bets on when the container ship will be "declared unstuck" from the canal.
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Update (1111ET): Maxar Technologies' satellite imagery shows the dredging attempt around the front hull of Ever Given.
Here's another view of the dredging.
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Update (1039ET): Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the technical manager of Ever Given, said Friday an attempt to refloat the stranded container ship in the Suez Canal "was not successful."
AFP reports, "tugboats and dredgers were working on Friday to free the giant container ship which is blocking Egypt's Egypt's Suez Canal for a fourth day, forcing companies to reroute services from the vital shipping lane around Africa."
AFP published pictures of a giant dredging boat around the front hull of Ever Given.
Earlier, we noted more than 300 vessels are waiting to traverse the canal.
A video from a few days back shows a line of vessels (note this was a few days back, the situation is much worse).
Some vessels are being rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope as the Suez crisis might continue through the weekend.
... and what might have to happen if refloating attempts continue to fail is to partially unload the container ship.
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The world got another wake-up call this week about the overreliance on complex, just-(not)-in-time global supply chains. As of Friday, the massive container ship, "Ever Given," remains stuck in the canal, unable to be refloated, paralyzing the world's most important shipping lane. Ever Given is one of the world's largest container ships, with approximately 20,000 shipping containers of goods, and it has paralyzed one of the world's most important shipping lanes - a vital linkage between Asian factories and customers in Europe and the US.
Reuters reports the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) is looking forward to cooperating with the US to refloat the stranded container ship that has blocked the canal since Tuesday.
"The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) values the offer of the United States of America to contribute to these efforts, and looks forward to cooperating with the US in this regard," it said in a statement.
Shoei Kisen, the Japanese owner of the ship blocking the Suez Canal, aims to dislodge the vessel from the canal bank by Saturday. But as Bloomberg reports, the process to refloat the ship could "take until at least next Wednesday."
Peter Berdowski, CEO of Dutch company Boskalis who has been tasked with dislodging the vessel, warned Ever Given "could be stuck in the canal for weeks."
So actual timelines on when the vessel will be unstuck are unclear. The blockage is wreaking havoc across global supply chains, and crude prices were higher on Friday morning on mounting fears the container ship will be stuck for much longer than initially anticipated. Since the container ship got stuck on Tuesday, crude prices have been chopping around 57-handle to 61-handle.
On Friday, tugboats and suction dredger crews worked around the vessel's front hull to remove sediment. The task to refloat the 200,000-ton ship may involve removing containers to lessen the vessel's weight.
Since Tuesday, tugs and diggers have been unsuccessful in attempting to refloat the stranded vessel. As hundreds of ships pile up on either end of the canal entrances - A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S and Hapag-Lloyd AG have instructed their vessels to take alternative routes to avoid the canal. Vessels have been instructed to reroute around the Cape of Good Hope.
The canal is one of the world's most important shipping lanes, with 12% of global trade and 8% of liquefied natgas traverse the canal and nearly two million oil barrels each day. Every day the canal is blocked, it halts about $9.6 billion of trade.
"The number of ships loaded with billions of dollars worth of goods waiting to traverse the canal has risen to more than 300," according to Bloomberg data.
Reeling from the blockage, marine freight rates are surging this week as companies race to find alternative shipping lanes.
According to Bloomberg, the cost to ship a 40-ft. container from China to Europe has risen to $8,000, up 4x year-over-year. Suezmax vessels, which carry about 1 million barrels of crude, are now chartering for approximately $17,000 per day, the most since summer 2020.
Reuters notes the Black Sea to Mediterranean fuel shipping rates rose this week as traders attempt to bypass the blocked Suez canal.
On top of an already stretched global supply chain, manufacturers in Asia are already preparing for extended shipping delays due to the blockage. To get an idea of some of the goods that flow through the canal from the East to West, cargo aboard an HMM Co. vessel moored outside the canal is carrying frozen beef, paper, beer, auto components, chocolate, furniture, frozen pork, and other goods.
Other reports include Caterpillar Inc. is facing shipping delays because of the canal blockage and is considering air freight for certain parts.
Mark Ma, the owner of Seabay International Freight Forwarding Ltd., a company that handles Chinese goods including toys, pillows, and mattresses sold on Amazon, has 20 to 30 containers stuck in the canal.
"If it can't be resumed in a week, it will be horrible," said Ma. "We will see freight fares spike again. The products are delayed, containers can't return to China and we can't deliver more goods."
More reports indicate at least 10 LNG vessels from the Middle East with end destinations in Europe have been delayed.
"Even if the route is liberated within one week, there is a large queue of cargoes lining up to cross the canal," said Carlos Torres Diaz, Rystad's head of gas and power markets. "The return to normal flow will take some time."
The knock-on effects of the blockage are rippling through the global supply chain and is the "worst-case scenario" for global trade.
Own The Nasdaq 100 With An 11%+ Yield
- QYLD provides investors with exposure to what is essentially QQQ, but with a massive yield.
- Covered calls can generate huge income, particularly during volatile market periods.
- This is in exchange for upside potential, but for income investors, it can be worth giving up the upside.
Investors in tech and growth stocks have been whipsawed in recent weeks as the sudden rise of long-term interest rates has taken its toll on valuations of certain groups of stocks. That has caused some very sharp moves in both directions in high flyers, but overall direction for these stocks has been down since February.
The big one is obviously the Nasdaq 100 ETF (QQQ), a $150 billion behemoth that has been pummeled since it hit new highs a little over a month ago. I won’t pretend to have a crystal ball on interest rates or anything else that will move the price of growth and tech stocks, so I cannot tell you with certainty where QQQ will go next. However, for a market that is jittery, and may end up going sideways or down some more before it rises again, I believe there is a good solution.
Enter the Global X Funds - Global X NASDAQ 100 Covered Call ETF (QYLD). This is a fund that owns the stocks in the Nasdaq 100 – the same as the QQQ – but follows a covered call strategy, rather than owning the stocks outright. This is sometimes also referred to as a “buy-write” strategy but essentially, the fund buys shares of the companies in the index, and then sells calls against those positions as a hedge, and to generate income. The stated objective of the fund is to provide results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the CBOE Nasdaq-100 BuyWrite V2 Index.
Source: Fund website
Why would somebody want to do this? QYLD has some important advantages over simply owning shares of the companies in the index, which is what QQQ does. The main advantage of the fund is that it generates extremely high levels of income, which we’ll come onto in just a bit. But for investors executing some version of the covered call strategy, income is usually high on the list of priorities.
The fund produces income by selling call positions against underlying shares, so the fund receives the premium from the call buyer. For a more detailed explanation of what a covered call strategy is, see here.
This generates income, but of course, it limits upside because if the underlying shares move past the call strike price, shares are called away, or the fund must buy back the call at a loss. Either way, it caps upside potential in exchange for the hedging and income properties of selling the call.
Another advantage of QYLD is that it generates monthly income, which isn’t all that common in the world of ETFs, even among other covered call funds. For investors looking to generate income to live off of, this is a big advantage.
Finally, QYLD allows investors to take the guess work out of executing a covered call strategy, and the fund does it for them. In addition, with QYLD, you get a diversified basket of stocks, rather than picking 10 or 20 to execute on your own.
QYLD sounds like a dream come true for many investors, and it might be. But before you rush out and YOLO your live savings on QYLD, let’s take a look at the downside.
Here’s a two-year weekly chart of QYLD, and you can see that it looks much the same as any other major index chart; there’s a steady rise into the COVID crisis, a very sharp decline, and then a massive recovery rally. In this way, QYLD isn’t necessarily that different at first glance. However, the chart below may shed some additional light on a very important way QYLD is different to QQQ.
This is the same chart, but with QYLD against QQQ. A price that is moving up means QYLD is outperforming QQQ, but that is not what we see. Periods of downturns see QYLD very briefly outperform, but during the bull stages, QQQ is the clear winner.
This makes sense given covered calls take away potential upside, as I explained above. That’s what you’re giving up by generating income with covered calls. During raging bull markets, you give up the upside QQQ is going to have. However, during sideways or down periods, QYLD outperforms.
Indeed, this set of examples below shows how QYLD is favorable to QQQ during down periods.
Source: Fund website
The data here is old but the principal is exactly the same; during periods of turmoil, QYLD will decline less than QQQ. Of course, the recovery rally will see QQQ leave QYLD in the proverbial dust, but for investors looking for lower volatility and high levels of income, QQQ simply won’t do; you need QYLD.
About that yield…
I keep mentioning the yield as a huge draw, and I’m not kidding; QYLD’s distributions are huge.
Source: Seeking Alpha
The amount you receive can differ each month depending upon a variety of factors, not the least of which is volatility in the underlying names of the index. When volatility is high, option premiums rise, and QYLD can generate more income. The opposite is true when volatility is low.
Even so, QYLD has consistently generated monthly distributions of 20 cents or more for the past year, so its yield is massive.
Source: Seeking Alpha
This is a one-year chart of the yield, and while it has moved around, it’s always in the double-digits. You typically have to go to the riskier parts of the REIT or BDC worlds to generate yields this high, but QYLD allows you to do so with 100 of the largest tech-oriented names in the market. For this reason, I see QYLD as a superior income vehicle.
The main draw of QYLD is obviously the enormous distributions one receives from the fund, and on a monthly basis to boot. However, it provides other benefits, such as a measure of downside protection, and upside relative to QQQ during sideways market periods.
Of course, you trade upside potential for these benefits, but given the QQQ has had such a massive run and is quite choppy these days, maybe that’s more appealing than it would have been a year ago.
Another consideration is that QYLD’s tax policy is complicated, and may not be for everyone. I won’t go into it because every investor’s tax situation is different, and if you’re worried about it, hold QYLD in a tax-advantaged account like an IRA. Everything you need to know is in the link.
Expense ratio is just 60bps, so while you can certainly find index funds for less than that, QYLD has to pay for the active management of its covered calls; you won’t find a covered call fund with an expense ratio of 7bps or something like that, which you get with pure index funds. The 60bps does detract from the yield's attractiveness, but only very slightly given how large the yield is.
QYLD has paid $2.56 in distributions in the past twelve months by my count, good for a yield of 11.4% over the past twelve months. You’ll struggle to find another income fund with that kind of consistent, monthly yield, and for that reason, I think QYLD is a great option for income investors, and particularly those that can hold QYLD in a tax-advantaged account.