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Daily Archives: July 19, 2022

Chart: Global Gold Reserve vs. Global US Treasury in June 2022

Source : Bloomberg

Humour

Video: Saudi Foreign Minister Provides Account of Crown Prince-Biden Khashoggi Discussion

Prince Faisal bin Farhan was responding to Arab News question at conclusion of Jeddah summit.

Watch video at Arab News (3:37 minutes) . . . .

Chart: Canada Federal Debt by Prime Ministers

Source : Fraser Institute

China Raises Loan-support Efforts for Developers Amid Mortgage Boycott

Chinese regulators stepped up efforts to encourage lenders to extend loans to qualified real estate projects as the beleaguered property sector faced fresh risks from a widening mortgage-payment boycott on unfinished houses.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) told the official industry newspaper on Sunday that banks should meet developers’ financing needs where reasonable.

The CBIRC expressed confidence that with concerted efforts, “all the difficulties and problems will be properly solved,” the China Banking and Insurance News reported.

The remarks come as a growing number of homebuyers across China threatened to stop making their mortgage payments for stalled property projects, aggravating a real estate crisis that has already hit the economy. read more

The latest news helped banking and property stocks recover some of their recent losses. China’s banking index, which tumbled 7% to a more than two-year low last week, bounced 1.4% on Monday. Chinese real estate stocks gained 3.1% on the mainland, and jumped 3.7% in Hong Kong.

The rebound in Chinese banking stocks was also aided by news that China will accelerate the issuance of special local government bonds to help supplement the capital of small banks, part of efforts to reduce risks in the sector.

China may also allow homeowners to temporarily halt mortgage payments on stalled property projects without incurring penalties, Bloomberg reported after the market close on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The report added that homeowner eligibility and the length of grace periods would be decided by local governments and banks, and the yet-to-be-finalised proposal from financial regulators would require approval from senior Chinese leaders.

HOPING FOR STABILITY

Official data on Friday showed output in the property sector shrank 7% in the second quarter from a year earlier, marking the fourth straight quarter of decline.

New real estate loans in June were expected at more than 150 billion yuan ($22.23 billion), compared with a contraction in May, state television CCTV reported on Monday.

“I think the Chinese government has the will and means to solve the problem, and will likely take swift actions,” said Mark Dong, Hong Kong-based co-founder and general manager of Minority Asset Management.

“The biggest risk is impairment to consumer confidence, which threatens the nascent recovery in property sales.”

Dong expects state-owned developers to step in and acquire troubled projects from heavily-indebted private peers, accelerating an industry consolidation.

The CBIRC vowed last Thursday to strengthen its coordination with other regulators to “guarantee the delivery of homes”.

Already more than 200 projects have been affected by the mortgage boycott by homebuyers across the country, and at least 80 property developers are affected so far, E-house China Research and Development Institution said in a report published on Monday.

E-house estimated stalled real estate projects across China involve 900 billion yuan worth of mortgages in the first half, or 1.7% of the total outstanding mortgage loans.

In the Sunday interview, CBIRC urged banks to “shoulder social responsibility” and actively participate in the study of plans to fill the funding gap and support acquisitions of real estate projects.

The regulator hoped these steps would help stabilise the property market by enabling the swift resumption of stalled real estate construction and delivery of homes to buyers early.


Source : Reuters

Loss of Male Sex Chromosome With Age Leads to Earlier Death for Men

Approximately 40% of men will lose their male sex chromosome in certain cells by age 70, and that can lead to deadly heart failure, a new study finds.

The loss of the male sex chromosome as many men age causes the heart muscle to scar and can lead to deadly heart failure, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine shows. The finding may help explain why men die, on average, several years younger than women.

UVA researcher Kenneth Walsh, PhD, says the new discovery suggests that men who suffer Y chromosome loss – estimated to include 40% of 70-year-olds – may particularly benefit from an existing drug that targets dangerous tissue scarring. The drug, he suspects, may help counteract the harmful effects of the chromosome loss – effects that may manifest not just in the heart but in other parts of the body as well.

On average, women live five years longer than men in the United States. The new finding, Walsh estimates, may explain nearly four of the five-year difference.

“Particularly past age 60, men die more rapidly than women. It’s as if they biologically age more quickly,” said Walsh, the director of UVA’s Hematovascular Biology Center. “There are more than 160 million males in the United States alone. The years of life lost due to the survival disadvantage of maleness is staggering. This new research provides clues as to why men have shorter lifespans than women.”

Y CHROMOSOME LOSS AND HEART HEALTH

While women have two X chromosomes, men have an X and a Y. But many men begin to lose their Y chromosome in a fraction of their cells as they age. This appears to be particularly true for smokers. The loss occurs predominantly in cells that undergo rapid turnover, such as blood cells. (Loss of the Y chromosome does not occur in male reproductive cells, so it is not inherited by the children of men who exhibit Y chromosome loss.) Scientists previously observed that men who suffer Y chromosome loss are more likely to die at a younger age and suffer age-associated maladies such as Alzheimer’s disease. Walsh’s new research, however, is believed to be the first hard evidence that the chromosome loss directly causes harmful effects on men’s health.

Walsh, of UVA’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center,and his team used cutting-edge CRISPR gene-editing technology to develop a special mouse model to better understand the effects of Y chromosome loss in the blood. They found that the loss accelerated age-related diseases, made the mice more prone to heart scarring and led to earlier death. This wasn’t the result of just inflammation, the scientists determined. Instead, the mice suffered a complex series of responses in the immune system, leading to a process called fibrosis throughout the body. This tug-of-war within the immune system, the researchers believe, may accelerate disease development.

The scientists also looked at the effects of Y chromosome loss in human men. They conducted three analyses of data compiled from the UK Biobank, a massive biomedical database, and found that Y chromosome loss was associated with cardiovascular disease and heart failure. As chromosome loss increased, the scientists found, so did the risk of death.

POTENTIAL TREATMENT

The findings suggest that targeting the effects of Y chromosome loss could help men live longer, healthier lives. Walsh notes that one potential treatment option might be a drug, pirfenidone, that has already been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a form of lung scarring. The drug is also being tested for the treatment of heart failure and chronic kidney disease, two conditions for which tissue scarring is a hallmark. Based on his research, Walsh believes that men with Y chromosome loss could respond particularly well to this drug, and other classes of antifibrotic drugs that are being developed, though more research will be needed to determine that.

At the moment, doctors have no easy way to determine which men suffer Y chromosome loss. Walsh’s collaborator Lars A. Forsberg, of Uppsala University in Sweden, has developed an inexpensive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, like those used for COVID-19 testing, that can detect Y chromosome loss, but the test is largely confined to his and Walsh’s labs. Walsh, however, can foresee that changing: “If interest in this continues and it’s shown to have utility in terms of being prognostic for men’s disease and can lead to personalized therapy, maybe this becomes a routine diagnostic test,” he said.

“The DNA of all our cells inevitably accumulate mutations as we age. This includes the loss of the entire Y chromosome within a subset of cells within men. Understanding that the body is a mosaic of acquired mutations provides clues about age-related diseases and the aging process itself,” said Walsh, a member of UVA’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. “Studies that examine Y chromosome loss and other acquired mutations have great promise for the development of personalized medicines that are tailored to these specific mutations.”

The researchers have published their findings in the journal Science.


Source: University of Virginia