Top 5: Financial Incentives For Vaccination, Hunting For Billions Of Tether, High DTI And More


This Top 5 comes from Gareth Vaughan from

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1) Financial incentives can increase COVID-19 vaccinations.

Earlier this month I wrote an article suggesting that the government pay people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 like a carrot to try to increase vaccination rates. A study in Sweden suggests that it works.

An article on the study was published in the Science journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The trial, between May and July of this year, included 8,286 participants aged 18 to 49. Here is a flavor.

Governments and organizations around the world have started using incentives to encourage vaccination, ranging from $ 5 payments in Vancouver and lotteries in Ohio to € 150 payments in Greece. Many others are now considering introducing payments for vaccinations. Notably, US President Biden recently urged “[…] state, territorial and local governments to provide payments of $ 100 for each newly immunized American, as an added incentive to increase immunization rates, protect communities and save lives ”. Yet governments and organizations are limited in their ability to properly assess the impact of monetary incentives because they lack control groups that are not exposed to the incentives. Causal evidence examining the effectiveness of introducing payments for COVID-19 vaccinations is lacking.

Here we report the results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) studying the impact of guaranteed monetary incentives on COVID-19 vaccination. We paid the participants, drawn from a general sample of the Swedish population, 200 SEK (about $ 24) on condition that they were vaccinated. The Swedish framework offers a unique opportunity to link individual-level survey data from the RCT to comprehensive Swedish population-level administrative records for actual vaccinations collected by public health authorities. We find that monetary incentives have increased vaccination rates by 4.2 percentage points. This is an increase from a base rate of 71.6%, which is a similar rate to other EU countries, indicating that incentives may increase vaccination even in countries with high vaccination rates.

2) The mystery of Tether.

In an illuminating and disturbing article, Bloomberg Zeke Faux has gone in search of billions of Tether. As he notes, if the trolls are right and Tether is a Ponzi scheme, it would be more important than Bernie Madoff’s. First up, here’s Faux’s explanation of what Tether is, for those who don’t know.

Tether is what financial circles call a stable, stable coin because a Tether is supposed to be backed by a dollar. But it’s actually more like a bank. The company that issues the currency, Tether Holdings Ltd., receives dollars from people who wish to trade cryptocurrencies [currency] and credits their digital wallets with an equal amount of Tethers in return. Once they have Tethers, people can send them to cryptocurrency exchanges and use them to bet on the price of Bitcoin, Ether, or any of the thousands of other coins. And at least in theory, Tether Holdings is keeping the dollars so they can return them to anyone who wants to send their tokens and get their money back. The convoluted mechanism became popular because real banks did not want to do business with crypto companies, especially foreign ones.

False has followed the trail of silver from Taiwan to Puerto Rico, the French Riviera, China and the Bahamas. He notes that Tether did not disclose where he kept his money, and the only financial institution he found willing to say it worked with Tether Holdings was Deltec Bank & Trust of the Bahamas.

After I returned to the United States, I obtained a document showing a detailed account of Tether Holdings’ reserves. He said they included billions of dollars in short-term loans to large Chinese companies, which money market funds avoid. And that was before one of the country’s biggest real estate developers, China Evergrande Group, began to collapse. I also learned that Tether had made billions of dollars in loans to other crypto companies, with Bitcoin as collateral. One of them is Celsius Network Ltd., a giant quasi-bank for cryptocurrency investors, its founder Alex Mashinsky told me. He said he pays an interest rate of 5% to 6% on loans of around 1 billion Tethers. Tether has denied holding any debt from Evergrande, but [Stuart ] Hoegner, Tether’s lawyer, declined to say whether Tether had other Chinese business papers. He said the vast majority of his commercial papers had high ratings from credit rating agencies and his secured loans were low risk as borrowers have to put up Bitcoins that are worth more than what they pay for. they borrow. “All Tether tokens are fully guaranteed, as we have always demonstrated,” the company said in a statement posted on its website after the story was released.

3) “The definition of high DTI loans should start more than five times.”

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has released its latest Financial Stability Review Friday. Morgan Stanley banking analyst Richard Wiles and colleagues made some interesting points about debt-to-income ratios (DTIs) of mortgage borrowers in the Review. In particular, they note that the proportion of borrowers reporting mortgage stress doubles from 3.5% to 7% when the DTI goes above five times.

The RBA’s Financial Stability Review has now found that: (1) about a third of investors borrowed from a DTI> 6x and ~ 5% of all borrowers had a DTI> 8x; (2) the proportion of borrowers reporting mortgage stress doubles from ~ 3.5% to ~ 7% when DTI moves> 5x and is similar for those with DTI> 6x (~ 7%), suggesting that the definition of “high” DTI loans should start at> 5x; and (3)> 50% of borrowers with a DTI> 6x also have a liquidity buffer of

On Friday, I reported that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) had deferred consultation on how he could apply long-coveted DTI ratio restrictions on bank lenders until at least November due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the Auckland community.

The latest quarterly figures from the RBNZ showed that over 70% of recent first-time buyers in Auckland have borrowed at a DTI ratio of more than five. The RBNZ previously described a DTI greater than five like quite high.

The graphics below are from the RBA.

4) Singapore’s travel partners – where are they?

As Singapore prepares to resuscitate non-quarantine travel, The times of the straits provides a useful overview of the situation in partner countries. It’s also a handy wrapper for us in New Zealand, to see where a range of countries are with Covid-19.

There are still plenty of Covids out there, but most places seem more confident in their ability to deal with them now. Below are some details about Italy, for example, which was one of the hardest hit countries at the start of the pandemic.

One of the first countries in Europe to be affected by Covid-19 last year, Italy has the second-worst death toll on the continent behind Britain.

Italy had a target of vaccinating 80% of its population by last month, and although it missed that target, enough progress has been made in eradicating the infections.

With an average of less than 3,000 new daily cases this week, infections represent less than half of the counts reported during its recent increase in August. Deaths have also remained low in double digits since June.

Population: 60.4 million

Case (7-day average): 2,845

Death to date: 131,274

Vaccination rate: 69 percent fully vaccinated

Current border controls: All travelers to Italy should complete an online passenger locator form to make it easier to find contacts in the country.

Those who are vaccinated from certain non-European Union countries, including Singapore, will be required to show a negative viral test result from a pre-departure PCR test or ART performed 72 hours before arriving in Italy , in addition to proof of vaccination, to avoid a five-day quarantine.

Current security measures related to Covid-19: Most restrictions on places of entertainment in Italy will be lifted on October 11 for holders of a “Green Pass” that shows proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result. The pass is required to attend cultural events, as well as to dine at indoor restaurants.

Sports stadiums will operate at higher capacities, as will nightclubs and discos, which have been closed for over 18 months.

Mask mandates are limited to indoor settings or when a safety distance of 1m cannot be maintained.

5) Eric and the anti-vaccines.

Write for Rolling stone, David Browne details legendary guitarist Eric Clapton’s financial support for a British anti-vaccination and anti-containment group of musicians called Jam for Freedom. Apparently, this follows a bad experience Clapton had with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. The article also looks at racist rants from Clapton’s past and his support for controversial British anti-immigration politician Enoch Powell.

According to Michael Knowles, whom Browne describes as “a young conservative expert,” Clapton’s position is sort of very rock n ‘roll.

At 31, Knowles is younger than most Clapton fans and believes the guitarist’s stance against the medical establishment remains true to his rock roots. “It’s great,” Knowles said. “There is something really authentic about a rock star who speaks out against authority. That’s what rock & roll stood for. And as he got older, he simply conformed to the established mainstream views of society. . . . Eric Clapton trusts his audience to make their own medical decisions. And we were doing that more generally in this country. We don’t seem to do that much anymore.

McLaughlin of Jam for Freedom sees the situation the same way, and his conversation with Clapton confirmed it. “He said we were basically doing what he and his contemporaries did in the ’60s, which is embrace freedom, get out of government control and out of control of society,” McLaughlin said. “He told us time and time again, ‘This is like what we did.’ “


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