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E.g., 23-09-2017
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Feeling Insecure — Japan’s Food Problem

    Japan’s late conversion to the cause of free trade owes a lot to the recognition that continued trade protection is no longer sustainable in what historically has been one of Japan’s most rigorously defended domestic sectors: agriculture. Demographics and changing diets mean Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate has fallen to 38%, the lowest among developed economies.

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    Gavekal Research

    Behind Japan’s Free Trade Drive

    When in January Donald Trump’s administration announced that the US was withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, pundits around the world lost no time in declaring Barack Obama’s flagship trade agreement dead in the water. They were premature. In a 180 degree policy U-turn, Japan stepped forward to provide leadership by stressing the attractiveness of access to its own home market.

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    Gavekal Research

    Finding Outperformance In Japan

    On Monday, the cabinet office in Tokyo is expected to announce that Japan’s economy grew at an annualized rate of around 2.5% in the second quarter. If it does, it will mark Japan’s sixth consecutive quarter of economic expansion, the longest period of uninterrupted growth since the mid-2000s, when prime minister Junichiro Koizumi was in power.

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    Gavekal Research

    Stimulus Gets More Direct In Japan

    Fresh reflation ideas are back on the agenda in Japan as inflation shows no sign of rising despite record stimulus and a tight labor market. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is focused on hard-pressed 30-somethings who continue to save furiously in part as they must fund their children's higher education. His idea is to ease the burden and hopefully spur a step change in consumption spending.

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    Gavekal Research

    The BoJ’s Tantrumless Taper

    When the Bank of Japan’s board meets on Wednesday and Thursday this week, at least one member will be calling for a retreat from the central bank’s policy of negative interest rates coupled with quantitative easing “with yield curve control”. In a speech last month Takahide Kiuchi called on the BoJ to taper its purchases of Japanese government bonds from ¥80trn annually to ¥45trn. The chance that the central bank will announce any such change in...

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    Gavekal Research

    A Win-Win Deal For Abe And Trump?

    This Friday Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe will touch down in Washington for his second meeting with Donald Trump since the November 8 US election. The auspices hardly appear propitious. In the run-up to the meeting, the new US president has pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade deal built largely around the US-Japan economic axis. He has railed against Japan for deliberately undervaluing the yen. He has bemoaned...

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    Gavekal Research

    Japanese Equities: More Where That Came From

    Japan is the top performer among developed world equity markets over the last six months, with the Nikkei 225 up 28% in local currency terms. Even in US dollar terms, the Japanese market has gained a robust 14%, enough to outperform an S&P 500 lent wings by the Trump trade. That strength is set to continue into 2017, with the Tokyo market remaining well bid on the back of a monetary policy stance that the Bank of Japan will find it hard—even...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Japan Reflation Trade

    About a month ago, Japanese investors learnt that a man who wants to rip up their prime minister’s prized free trade deal and potentially jettison Japan’s key security guarantees would soon be US president. After an initial wobble, they spent most of the last four weeks buying equities with such gusto that the Nikkei 225 is up almost 14%.

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    Gavekal Research

    A New Tech Cycle?

    Weak Japanese exports for October were not a big surprise given that the yen has been strong and global trade remains lackluster. Yet buried within recent (dreary) trade releases is evidence pointing to a new semiconductor investment cycle. The first signal, from official data at least, came in Japan’s 3Q16 GDP report which showed growth at 0.5%, versus an expected 0.2%, with the difference explained by exports of electronic components and...

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    Gavekal Research

    Japan Does An Apple

    The Bank of Japan and the Japanese government have done their best to stop a grinding appreciation of the yen, but to no great avail. The unit is up 14% this year against the US dollar, which has seemingly delivered a body blow for the monetary easing “arrow” in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s 2012 revival quiver. This is certainly the view of foreign investors who this year have pulled money out of Japan at the fastest rate since 1987. And yet a...

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    Gavekal Research

    Neil Newman: BoJ Policy Meeting In A Nutshell

    After the Bank of Japan’s announcement earlier today of quantitative easing “with yield curve control”, Neil delivers a quick-fire video assessment of the new policy slant, and what it will mean for markets and the broader Japanese economy.

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    Gavekal Research

    Don’t Misread The BoJ’s Signals

    The monetary policy committees of both the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan meet tomorrow. But whereas the Fed faces a simple binary call—either raise rates or don’t—the decision confronting the Bank of Japan is more complex.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Death Throes Of The JGB Market

    While the Japanese government was rolling out its latest stimulus package yesterday—with a headline value of ¥28trn, but only ¥4.6trn of additional fiscal spending this year—investor attention was fixated on the spasms in the JGB market. Having touched a record low of -0.3% last Wednesday, the yield on 10-year JGBs leapt 28bp in just five trading days to hit a four and a half month high of -0.02% yesterday morning. On one level the spike in...

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    Gavekal Research

    The JGB Endgame Approaches

    Over the last couple of weeks, the world’s attention has been focused by turns on British politics, Italy’s banking crisis, the US presidential race and most recently, last night’s ghastly events in Nice. It is little surprise then, that a series of three stories from Japan (or perhaps just two and a half) has passed largely under the radar. Taken together, however, these developments bear heavily on the future of the Japanese government bond...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Japan As Safe Haven

    Global markets are in a risk-off mood as investors scramble to find a sure thing in an uncertain world. The populist surge in Europe and the US is ending long held “certainties” about the developed democracies, while next week’s Brexit vote could set in train the European Union’s break-up. Ironically, as investors scramble for stable ground, Japan is proving an island of calm, at least for those with an eye to capital preservation. The yen has...

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    Gavekal Research

    A New Marginal Buyer Of Japanese Equities

    Thanks in part to erratic monetary policy moves, Japan has slid back to being an irrelevance for global investors. Perhaps that does not matter, as foreigners only account for about 30% of the market while Japan has a vibrant domestic equity scene. Yet, the fact remains that it generally takes fickle gaijin to get excited about Japanese equities for the market to break out—that was the story in 2012-15 as a 50% yen devaluation supercharged...

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    Gavekal Research

    Worth Buying This Japanese Dip

    Those with an active interest in Asian markets had much to process in early trading with shorts cheered by the hardly surprising news that Iran and Saudi Arabia could not agree on an oil production freeze, while longs could point to China whose 1Q15 GDP report on Friday seemed to confirm that the authorities will do whatever it takes to defend their near-term growth targets. But perhaps the bigger factor unnerving investors has been the fallout...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Bright Spot Amid Japan’s Gloom

    The new narrative about Japan is straightforward: Japanese government bond yields will fall even further, the yen will strengthen, corporate earnings will collapse, stock prices will sink, and Mrs Watanabe will withdraw all her savings from the bank and stash them under her tatami. Over the last couple of months, international investors have positioned themselves accordingly. Yet anything more than a cursory visit to Japan quickly emphasizes...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Beef In Japan’s Budget Bowl

    At ¥97trn, the 2016/17 budget passed by the Japanese parliament on Tuesday was the country’s biggest ever, with accelerating spending increases for welfare, pensions, healthcare, and defense. Yet no one expects Tuesday’s budget to be the end of this year’s fiscal story. Greater than expected increases in tax revenues both from corporations and individuals mean the budget’s reliance on funding from Japanese government bond issuance fell to 35.6...

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    Gavekal Research

    Japan’s Sustainable Bull Market

    Plenty of old hands who thrived in Japan’s 1980s bubble era spent the next 25 years watching a structural bear market unfold and are starting to opine that history may repeat itself. With due respect to this grizzled breed, we are skeptical about historical comparisons and reckon that the combined drivers of the modern Japanese market offer a rare opportunity. Ironically, one of the biggest factors supporting Japanese equity values is that...

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