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Daily Archives: August 4, 2022

Charts: The Best and Worst Performing Assets in July and YTD

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See large image . . . . . .

Source : Deutsche Bank, Bloomberg, Markit

Music Video: Livin’ On A Prayer

Chemicals Produced in the Gut after Eating Red Meat May Contribute to Heart Disease Risk

Chemicals produced by microbes in the digestive tract may be partly responsible for the increased heart disease risk associated with higher consumption of red meats such as beef and pork, a new study suggests.

Cardiovascular disease – which includes heart attacks and strokes – is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and around the world. As people age, their cardiovascular disease risk increases.

But risks can be lowered by eating a diet emphasizing fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, lean protein and fish, staying physically active, getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking and properly managing blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

“Most of the focus on red meat intake and health has been around dietary saturated fat and blood cholesterol levels,” study co-author Meng Wang said in a news release. Wang is a postdoctoral fellow at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.

“Based on our findings, novel interventions may be helpful to target the interactions between red meat and the gut microbiome to help us find ways to reduce cardiovascular risk,” she said.

The study was published Monday in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Prior research has shown some chemical byproducts of food digestion, called metabolites, are associated with a higher cardiovascular disease risk. Trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO, is a metabolite produced by gut bacteria to help digest red meat. High blood levels of TMAO may be associated with higher risk for cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and Type 2 diabetes.

In the new study, researchers measured metabolites in the blood samples of nearly 4,000 people in the Cardiovascular Health Study, which investigated risk factors for cardiovascular disease in adults age 65 and older.

Study participants, who were an average 73 years old at the study’s onset, were recruited from Sacramento, California; Hagerstown, Maryland; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Pittsburgh. They were followed for an average of 12.5 years and in some cases up to 26 years.

Participants answered questionnaires about their dietary habits, including how often they ate foods such as red meat, processed meat, fish, poultry and eggs.

Eating more meat – especially red meat and processed meat – was associated with a higher risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The risk was 22% higher for about every daily serving.

The increase in TMAO and related metabolites associated with eating red meat was responsible for one-tenth of the higher cardiovascular risk, according to the study.

Researchers also found evidence that blood sugar levels and inflammation may play a more important role in linking red meat consumption to cardiovascular risk than blood cholesterol or blood pressure.

The findings suggest a need for more research into the different chemicals that may play a role in red meat consumption, the authors said.

“Research efforts are needed to better understand the potential health effects,” Wang said.

Source: American Heart Association

Infographics: The World’s Largest Container Shipping Companies

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Source : Visual Capitalist

China’s Property Market Slump and Weak Demand Highlight Fragile Economic Recovery

Orange Wang wrote . . . . . . . . .

An unexpected contraction in China’s factory activity in July has highlighted the stubborn headwinds facing the world’s No 2 economy, a situation that may demand more active fiscal measures and support for the ailing property sector, according to analysts.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) slid from 50.2 in June to 49 last month, well below the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis. A private survey also declined more sharply than analysts expected.

“The fastest period of recovery after the economic reopening is close to an end, with insufficient demand becoming a major constraint,” China Minsheng Bank said in a note on Sunday.

The private bank said the economy faced twin threats: weak demand overseas, with developed economies slipping into recession; while consumption and the real estate market were sluggish at home.

Simply relying on infrastructure investment was not enough to bolster the economy and more policy support was needed, the bank said.

Wary of fuelling the type of inflation ravaging Western economies, Beijing has ruled out large-scale stimulus, although it has made repeated calls for local authorities to help stabilise the economy ahead of a leadership reshuffle later this year. However, the increasingly precarious economic environment may mean authorities need to do more – and fast.

Liu Siliang, senior researcher at the Rushi Advanced Institute of Finance, said the property downturn was weighing on the whole economy, as the real estate sector and related industries accounted for about one third of gross domestic product (GDP).

China’s property sector has taken a sharp downwards turn over the past two years, due primarily to a regulatory crackdown on lending and the impact of the pandemic.

Output from the sector shrank by 7.0 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the worst reading among all Chinese industries, according to government data. Among China’s top 100 developers, there was also a year-on-year drop of 39.7 per cent in contract sales in July, market data showed.

In the past month, mortgage-payment boycotts have erupted in a number of provinces.

“Although the government [worked] quickly to stop the spread of risks, it will take a long time for real estate to stabilise and recover, and residents’ expectations to change,” Liu said in a note on Monday.

At its half-year meeting on Monday, the People’s Bank of China said it would keep real estate credit, bonds and other financing channels stable, and explore new development models for the sector.

Ding Shuang, chief economist for Greater China and North Asia at Standard Chartered Bank, said the real estate market would be “the most important downside risk” for the Chinese economy this year.

The Politburo meeting last Thursday suggested that authorities might move to ensure cash-strapped developers had credit, he said, noting it also stressed the responsibilities of local governments in delivery of commodity housing units.

“That is supposed to be a positive signal,” he said.

The meeting mentioned stabilising the property market ahead of an oft-repeated line about curbing housing speculation. It also ordered local governments to ensure delivery of commodity housing units and make full use of policy tool kits.

“That is of great significance to stabilise market confidence, especially the sales market,” said Tao Chuan, chief macro analyst at Soochow Securities.

“But the direct effect on stabilising property investment is still limited,” he added in a note on Friday, expecting more measures by local governments in the second half of the year.

Ding said Chinese authorities are likely to issue an additional 1.5 trillion yuan (US$221.8 billion) of local special-purpose bonds in the second half of the year to boost the economy.

The Politburo sent a clear message that “expanding demand” should stand at the core of China’s fiscal and monetary policies. But it skipped any mention of the annual economic growth target of “around 5.5 per cent”, vowing instead to “strive for the best outcome” and maintain dynamic zero-Covid control as a priority.

The statement added to expectations that Beijing would not release another fiscal support package after unveiling a 33-point plan to stabilise growth in May.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in late July, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made it clear that Beijing will not flood the economy with stimulus.

“Under current circumstances, there is room in fiscal and monetary policies to achieve a fairly high growth rate in the second half of the year. But we cannot compromise future interests, and we need to both stabilise growth and avert inflation,” he said.

At a State Council meeting on Friday, Li said the third quarter was crucial for China’s economic rebound as it is the peak season for construction.

Projects receiving central government budgetary investment will be accelerated and local governments have been urged to expedite the use of special-purpose bonds, according to the meeting.

Source : SCMP

Chart: The Countries With the Most Active Volcanoes

Source : Statista