Daily Digest 3/24 – India Discovers First “Double-Mutant” COVID Strain As New Cases Surge, How California Set Off a Backyard Apartment Boom

Daily Digest 3/24 – India Discovers First “Double-Mutant”
COVID Strain As New Cases Surge, How California Set Off a Backyard
Apartment Boom 1


India Discovers First “Double-Mutant” COVID Strain As New Cases Surge

Following a series of reports warning about mutated COVID strains first identified in Brazil, the US and elsewhere spreading across Latin America, the US and Europe, scientists in India are one-upping them by identifying what they described as “a double-mutant” strain of the ubiquitous virus.

The ‘double-mutant’ was identified, along with 770 other strains, gleaned from samples collected across 18 Indian states. Of the 10,787 samples collected, 736 tested positive for the UK variant, 34 for the South African variant and one for the Brazilian variant. The report comes as COVID cases in India are climbing once again after the nation managed to bring numbers close to zero. The country has reported a total of 11.7MM cases, and 160.4K deaths.

Massive Container Ship Runs Aground In Suez Canal, Halting Traffic

A waterway crucial to global trade is currently blocked by a massive container ship, causing a traffic jam that could last days.

The Ever Given, sailing under a Panamanian flag bound for The Netherlands from China, ran aground Tuesday morning. The ship was traveling northward through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean from the Red Sea when it ran aground in high winds and a dust storm.

“Crisis Mode” – Auto Plants Worldwide Idled As Chip Shortage Worsens 

The global semiconductor shortage appears to be reaching a new ‘crisis point’ as automakers worldwide are shuttering production facilities due to the lack of chips. Even though global manufacturing is humming along, fueled by new demand, unprecedented fiscal and monetary support continues to exacerbate shortages.

The shortage initially began in early 2020 because of the virus-related downturn in the economy. Chip demand was diverted away from autos to household electronics due to heavy demand from people working at home during lockdowns. Further, winter storms in the US last month, plus a fire last week at Renesas Electronics Corp., one of the biggest makers of auto chips, had been compounding factors in the worsening shortage for car companies.

How California Set Off a Backyard Apartment Boom

Now that they’re fully legal, backyard homes are big business in California.

For years, permitting figures languished for granny flats, garage apartments and other types of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, thanks to local restrictions that forced homeowners to submit to cumbersome discretionary approvals before local boards. Back in 2016, California passed a state law that required cities to ease these regulations and grant permits by set standards. Two more bills that followed in 2017 relaxed the rules around ADU construction. That’s when backyard apartments took off.

Fidelity Continues Retail Bitcoin Push With New ETF

Less than two weeks ago, we suggested the first US Bitcoin ETF was imminent. Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF research for CFRA Research, told Bloomberg:

“The race to launch the first Bitcoin ETF is heating up. It’s more of a question on when the SEC will approve a Bitcoin ETF, not if.”

“First-mover advantage in the ETF space is tremendous, particularly when the underlying assets overlap. Whichever comes out of the gate first will have a leg up”, he continued.

And today, with $4.9 trillion under management, Fidelity Investments has become by far the largest firm to file with the SEC to list a new Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Some big-name economists argue that the economy will soon overheat because of the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief and other spending measures.

They worry that the economy is being flooded with too much money, a fear only heightened by news that the administration will seek $3 trillion more to build infrastructure, cut carbon emissions and reduce inequality.

Pandemic Puts Saudi-Kuwaiti Oil Plans On Ice

The market shock from the pandemic and the resulting crash in oil prices expectedly dragged down the net profit of the world’s biggest oil company and largest oil exporter, Saudi Aramco.

The 2020 year of COVID also upended the development plans of the Saudi state oil giant at the oilfields it co-owns with other countries in the Gulf.

Gold & Silver

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