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E.g., 11-12-2017
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    Gavekal Research

    Towards ECB Stealth Tightening?

    As the eurozone’s economy picks up, the European Central Bank finds itself facing a dilemma. In order not to freak out financial markets and push long-dated yields sharply higher, which could threaten to trigger a new financial crisis, it has promised to continue its quantitative easing program of asset purchases until at least September 2018, and not to raise policy rates until well after the end of those purchases. Yet as inflationary...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Our 2017 Holiday Reading List

    History, far from being over, looms large in this year’s Gavekal holiday reading list. From failing empires in the Middle East to Europe’s ceaseless struggle for dominance and Asia’s inability to bury ghosts, our writers consider how the past is shaping our future. As befits a research firm, we have lots of economics with a tour of the stagnation debate and an assessment of the threats and benefits offered by artificial intelligence. We consider...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Avoiding Equity Duration Risk

    Last week, Louis argued persuasively that investors should shorten portfolio duration in response to the prospect of further central bank monetary tightening, the potential threat of rising inflation in 2018, and the stretched valuations of long-dated assets (see Have We Just Glimpsed Growth Stocks’ Achilles’ Heel?). This goes not just for fixed income investors, but equity investors too.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The End Of The Preschool Boom

    China’s busy and ambitious parents have driven a huge boom in private preschools, with the number of students roughly tripling over the past decade. But the sector is now clouded by allegations of child abuse, which will only strengthen a shift to tougher regulation and public provision of preschools. For now, the private preschool boom is over.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What the US Yield Curve Really Says

    Since 1968, the US economy has suffered seven recessions, each preceded by an inversion of the yield curve. It thus makes sense to ask if such an upending of the link between time and interest is necessary for a recession to occur. A follow-on question might be whether a recession cannot happen so long as the yield curve shape is “normal”. With the US yield curve flattening by the day Charles seeks to answer these questions.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s Triple Merit Scenario Lives

    Last week, the Bank of Korea raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in six years and other Asian central banks seem likely to follow suit. This is not especially surprising given the ongoing global expansion and tightening moves by the Federal Reserve, which have narrowed short-rate differentials for Asian currencies. The worry, as elucidated by Anatole last week, is that such an expansionary scenario threatens the delicate “not...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Turning The Page On The Eurocrisis

    You can be forgiven for having missed yesterday’s not so momentous news that Portugal’s finance minister Mario Centeno is taking over the presidency of the Eurogroup of finance ministers. Yet, look a little closer and this switch may, in fact, signify the end of the eurocrisis and a move onto the next phase of eurozone development.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Deleveraging Progress Report

    Can China manage corporate deleveraging without a credit crunch? Leverage ratios improved in 2015 and 2016, but progress has been more mixed in 2017, as companies borrowed more but raised less new equity. In 2018, Thomas expects stable or modestly deteriorating leverage ratios, with slowing growth somewhat offset by recovering equity issuance.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Positioning For US Tax Reform

    What’s not to like about tax cuts? Quite a lot as it turns out. Although the final shape of US tax reform has yet to be settled, there are enough common points between the House and Senate bills to allow Will and KX to conclude that the likely tax cuts will prove inflationary, and could prompt a more aggressive stance from the Fed. Despite some undoubtedly positive macro outcomes, the implications for investors are not exactly bullish.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: The Long Cycle Continues

    As equity markets everywhere continue to trade higher, money managers are getting increasingly nervous about how long the rally can last. In December’s Strategy Monthly, Anatole argues that we are still only half-way through a secular bull market that can last through the end of the decade. With further US rate hikes on the cards, barring any nasty surprises non-US markets are likely to outperform going forward. The only fly in the ointment is...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    From A Ferrari To A Jeep

    When I turned 70 (I am still struggling with the fact that I now have a “7” handle), the Gavekal partners had the good idea of bringing into the firm some very bright “quants” and giving them a simple mandate: quantify and qualify the various investment rules that I have been using for decades (somewhat sporadically, and often with biases that I myself sometimes struggled to acknowledge).

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Equities, The Yen And The BoJ’s Exit

    Last month Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda participated in an ECB panel on the importance of communications as a tool of monetary policy. He seems to have taken the message to heart. In the couple of weeks since, scarcely a day has gone by without Kuroda or one of his colleagues on the BoJ’s policy board talking publicly about the “reversal rate”, hinting heavily that the central bank is looking to dial back its ultra-accommodative stance.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Goldilocks And The Ten Grizzly Bears

    Over the last fortnight, Anatole has written lengthy pieces on why he remains structurally bullish and how investors should play this trend. Today, he takes a realistic look at factors that could disrupt his generally upbeat assessment of the global economy and markets. This piece is a journey into Anatole’s darker side.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Rental Housing Solution

    China’s government has a new priority for the housing market: boost the quantity and quality of rental housing. As more middle-class Chinese are priced out of top-tier cities, promoting rentals is a new attempt to address housing affordability. In this piece, Rosealea explains the latest policy push and how it will affect property developers.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Have We Just Glimpsed Growth Stocks’ Achilles’ Heel?

    The best scene in HBO’s hit show “Silicon Valley” had brash billionaire Russ Hanneman explain to start-up CEO Richard Hendricks that the first goal of his tech firm should be to avoid booking sales: “If you show revenue, people will ask ‘how much?’ and it will never be enough” (see clip). This scene crystallizes the observation that in recent years investors have been rewarded in spades for loading up on “long-dated assets”. And it has been a...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Behind Eurozone Credit Growth

    The eurozone credit cycle is accelerating. Data released yesterday showed loans to non-financial companies grew at 2.9% YoY in October, the fastest rate since June 2009, while loans to households were up 2.7% YoY for the third month running. The pick-up in lending to private businesses bodes well for eurozone growth and markets next year, with respondents to the European Central Bank’s bank lending survey indicating that investment and...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: The Pain Before The Gain

    India reports its third quarter GDP tomorrow and in this chartbook Udith and Tom offer their assessment of the economy. They expect the official numbers to show a pick-up in growth due to firms restocking after the rollout of the new Goods & Services Tax and think this trajectory will continue through to next year. They advise investors to stick with richly-valued equities, treat bonds cautiously and not worry too much about a currency...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Pain Before The Gain

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What Retail Apocalypse?

    With so much US retail activity going online, a CNN headline over the weekend asked if this “Black Friday” might be the last. That is good news for the newly-minted US$100bn man at Amazon and bad news for old-style chains like JC Penney, Sears, and Kmart, which face constant downsizing pressure. But what about more broadly for the economy?

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Regime Change For Oil?

    Every US or global recession in the past 50 years has been preceded by a doubling or more of oil prices, but not every doubling of oil prices has been followed by recession. While even US$70/bbl probably does not pose a serious risk to the world economy, any rise above US$70 could spark a combination of inflationary pressure and reduced demand that proves lethal to global financial conditions and growth.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Chinese Consumer: Outlook & Trends 2017

    In our annual review of the Chinese consumer, Ernan outlines the short-term outlook and longer-term trends in household spending. This chartbook explains why consumption growth has been a bit disappointing in 2017, why the outlook for 2018 is better, what are the drivers of consumption upgrading, and how the transition to online is playing out.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Bull Market And The Yield Curve

    Keeping up with a runaway bull is no easy task. Which may explain why so many investors remain unenthusiastic participants: the market is old and increasingly unattractive, but holding back could cost them their careers. Yet, the upward march of global equity markets continues relentlessly (for reasons reviewed in recent articles. Today, some 84% of markets around the world are up over the past 12 months in local currency terms. Historically,...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Not All Bank Recaps Are Created Equal

    A month ago, India outlined a US$32bn plan to fix its publicly-controlled banks’ bad debt problem, sparking a more than 30% rally in their share prices. The plan remains under wraps, but the “round tripping” approach will see deposits lent to the government as recapitalization bonds and then injected back into banks as fresh capital. The question is whether India’s effort is credible enough for banks to both write off debt and have enough...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Don’t Panic Over Chinese Equities

    The A-share equity market suffered its biggest one-day sell-off this year yesterday. But Chen Long argues that conditions in fact still remain benign for Chinese equity investors. The earnings outlook is favorable, the market is cheap by global standards, and international investors are beginning to trim their longstanding underweight.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Fake Brexit? Or No Brexit?

    The British economy since the Brexit referendum is often likened to the suicide jumper who leaps off a 20-storey building, shouting “so far, so good” as he falls past the 10th floor. This comparison is unfair to suicides. The real message about economic performance from the government’s annual budget statement yesterday was “so far, so bad”. While a minority of economists and investors—plus a large majority of Conservative politicians—share...

    10
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    Gavekal Research

    New York Seminar — November 2017

    At Gavekal's November seminar in New York Louis Gave, Arthur Kroeber, Cedric Gemehl and Anatole Kaletsky presented their macro outlooks and investment recommendations.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Mixed Report From Steel Country

    This winter's anti-pollution campaign in north China is for real, but it will have a mixed impact on the steel industry. But the pollution campaign also involves a suspension of many construction projects, which will reduce demand. Rosealea's recent field trip to the steel hub of Tangshan suggests that both the supply and demand cuts are beginning to bite.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Investing For Constrained Insurers

    At Gavekal we have a sizable number of European Union insurance companies among our clients. Over the last three months, I have visited more than a few of them to outline my current investment recommendations, for example that investors should buy the Japanese stock market. Typically in these meetings, the investors have listened carefully and then regretfully shaken their heads, saying: “I’m afraid we can’t do it—for regulatory reasons”.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Towards A Single Asset Management Regime

    For the first time, China is to bring its highly heterogeneous RMB100trn asset management industry under a single regulatory umbrella. New rules published last week promise to increase transparency, curtail leverage and reduce complexity and hidden risks, especially in the booming business in so-called “wealth management products”. However, writes Chen Long, the draft regulations contain a number of omissions, ambiguities and loopholes which, if...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Dodging Late-Cycle Refinancing Risk

    By most generally accepted metrics, the US economy is in the late stages of its cycle and any further overheating raises the chances of a recession. The issue is really one of timing. Will Denyer’s Wicksellian model and my US business cycle indicator are both flashing orange rather than red, suggesting that the US is edging towards the recession frontier, but not yet at it. We have both advised investors to dial back on US risk, but are not much...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Who Needs A Government?

    What would it take to make you put more risk on the table in the final month of a year that has generally produced decent investment returns? It helps to have a synchronized global economic recovery that relies on multiple engines of growth and a US-tested monetary policy framework that seems to work as advertised. Yet the potential for disappointment, starting with US tax reform, appears to be growing. Add to that list an outbreak of political...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    How Much Slack In The Eurozone?

    It is a core contention of the bullish view on Europe espoused by Anatole and Cedric that the eurozone’s recovery is running four or five years behind the US economic cycle and that there is still plenty of slack left in the eurozone economy. But is there really as much as the bulls believe?

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    A Turkish Vortex

    For a country that relies on the kindness of strangers to fund its economy, Turkey, under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been going out of its way to alienate allies and capital providers. Its relationship with the US has been on a downward trajectory for months and things are not much better with the European Union. This matters because the pieces are in place for a classic balance of payments and financial crisis in Turkey. This much is clear from...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Asset Allocation For The Global Bull Market

    On Monday Anatole outlined his fundamental reasons to believe that the world is enjoying a global bull market that still has years to run. Today he reviews the investment recommendations that flow from his thesis, and examines how investors can best play the unprecedented divergence of the US business cycle from the cycles in Europe and the emerging markets.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Living With A Nuclear North Korea

    A special envoy of Chinese president Xi Jinping will head to North Korea in what is being billed as a gesture of solidarity and friendship between the two countries’ communist parties. Coming just days after Donald Trump’s visit to the region, the move appears to give the lie to Trump’s assertion that he successfully convinced Xi to “use his great economic influence” to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Decent Growth Risky For Bond Yields

    China’s economic data for October confirms that the moderate slowdown in growth is continuing as the housing cycle fades and government spending weakens, even as corporate earnings benefit from higher-than-expected inflation. Chen Long now sees an increasing risk for domestic bond yields in this combination, though it is bullish for equities.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Too Much Forward Guidance?

    It should be an ideal environment for equity investors. Europe yesterday published stronger than expected growth figures for the third quarter, with German GDP expanding 2.8% YoY, and even laggard Italy growing 1.8%. That performance raises the possibility of faster earnings growth even as the European Central Bank is proposing to stretch out its stimulative asset purchases through the third quarter of next year and keep interest rates in...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Consequences Of Saudi Arabia

    Our new monthly Loser Report aims to identify things that investors should avoid, whether countries, sectors, themes or asset classes. In this second instalment Louis looks at the tumult affecting Saudi Arabia and assesses the ricochet effect across the Middle East and beyond. He wonders whether regional currency pegs could be set to topple and whether a major industry centered in Europe and the US could be a major victim of the shakeout.

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    Brexit, The Pound And UK Stocks

    When it comes to Brexit, I suspect that one of the few things about which Anatole and I agree is that the negotiations between London and Brussels have so far bordered on the farcical, and that the internal squabbling within the UK’s governing Conservative Party has hardly been conducive to raising the tone. Beyond that we part company. Anatole believes the Brexit talks are approaching a critical juncture for investors in UK assets—a view he...

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Three Retail Takeaways From 11.11

    It was a busy weekend for China’s online retailers, who reported huge sales numbers for their November 11 promotional events. Alibaba’s aggressive strategy is helping uphold its dominance even as market growth slows, and online retail integrates with offline. In this piece, Ernan cuts through the wave of publicity with three simple points.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Reading China’s Financial Opening

    Over the next five years Beijing says it will progressively relax—and eventually scrap—the restrictions it currently imposes on foreign ownership of Chinese financial institutions. In practical terms, this is unlikely to prove a great game-changer for the industry, but it is still a significant move with positive implications for Chinese equities.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    This Is (Still) Not A Peak: It’s A Global Bull Market

    It was almost five years ago that Anatole started to shout loudly that the US equity market had achieved a clear breakout from its more than decade long bear market trading range. His advice has been to stick with the trend. In light of this year’s near across-the-board upward moves in risk assets globally, it would be tempting to back away from this positioning. However, in this piece he argues that the bull market is now going global and so it...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Escaping The Indian Funk

    Udith presented on India during Gavekal's Hong Kong seminar in November. This video also includes relevant excerpts from the question and answer session.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Selling India’s Housing Dream — Part II

    When Indians visit China for the first time, it often comes as a shock: China is more materially developed than they could ever have imagined. And when Chinese visit India for the first time, it too comes as a shock: India is even more chaotic, dirty and materially backward than they had been told!

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Audio & Transcript — Gavekal Research November Call

    In our monthly research conference call yesterday, Will Denyer outlined his case that demographic factors explain much of the decline in interest rates over the last 30 or so years. His point is that we are nearing a turning point in the global demand-supply relationship for loanable funds and the overall direction of interest rates should be higher.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Contradictory Signals On US Corporate Credit Risk

    US high-yield spreads have widened by 39bp over the last three weeks. Nevertheless, by long term historical standards, they remain exceptionally tight, indicating that the bond market is pricing in remarkably little US corporate credit risk. That message is at odds with the tale being told by the US equity market, which is signaling that corporate credit risk is on the rise. Only one of them can be correct. There are good reasons to think it may...

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    From Tianjin, Affordable Luxuries

    The surging population of affluent Chinese households is a key global market for all kinds of luxury goods. Foreign brands have done well in this boom, but the market is getting more competitive as local firms up their game. Thomas and Ernan report from Tianjin on two very different companies that are both succeeding in high-end niche markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Truth About Euro-Dollar

    At the time of writing, a five-year zero coupon treasury bond is priced at about 90 while a comparable German zero sells for 101.9. This absurdity reflects the fact that for all the talk of incipient European inflation, German five-year yields are still negative. Hence a fellow buying-to-hold such a German bond today is guaranteed to lose money, at least in euro terms.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Saudi Arabia’s Shifting Sands

    For the last three years the dominant narrative in the oil market has concentrated on the fundamentals of supply and demand. Geopolitical risk has been a minor—and transient—sideshow. All that changed at the weekend, when Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MbS as he is known, exercised his authority as the head of the kingdom’s newly-established anti-corruption commission to take down a broad swathe of the Saudi...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    A Brave New, New World?

    The traffic has been one-way. Since mid-August, the Philly semiconductors index is up 23%, the Nikkei 225 by 18%, the S&P energy index by 14% and the S&P materials index by 10%. In other words, all “deep-cyclicals” and “price monetizers” are ripping higher. So what to make of this?

    2
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