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E.g., 22-07-2018
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Policy Headwinds For Chinese Stocks

    Chinese equities have finally had a few solid trading sessions after their steep decline in the latter half of June. But the CSI 300 index is still down -14% year-to-date, and betting on a rebound from here looks unwise. A confluence of factors has been pushing down the market—tougher financial regulation, weak data, a falling currency, and the trade conflict with the US. And none of these factors is turning positive, especially with the US...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    An Attractive But Troublesome Market

    From June 1, China’s domestically-listed A-shares will be included in the MSCI Emerging Markets index, bringing the onshore market to the attention of many global investors for the first time. In this piece, Thomas examines recent developments in the A-share market, and outlines the promises and pitfalls of investing under China’s “regulatory firestorm”.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    What Inflation Means For Margins

    As China’s producer price inflation cools and its consumer price inflation picks up, one might expect corporate margins to be fattening, as cost pressures wane and pricing power strengthens. In fact, the opposite is true: margins have been fat, and are now getting tighter. In this piece, Thomas explains how inflation really affects margins.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How Steel Survived The Battle For Blue Skies

    It’s been a wild winter for China’s steel industry, with huge swings in output and prices. The main culprit is the aggressive official campaign to reduce air pollution—and the industry’s creative responses to it. Their back-and-forth has not hurt underlying growth much, but the resulting volatility in steel prices is not going away.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Pain Of Power Producers

    The rebound in commodity prices since 2016 has been a boon for much of China’s industrial sector—but coal-burning power plants have been big losers. Coal prices cannot go much higher without causing serious financial distress. This means that policy should now be shifting to favor power producers, by ensuring coal prices do not climb further.

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    Gavekal Research

    Chinese Equities: Marching To A Different Drum

    Though onshore Chinese stocks did not escape the rout of global markets in recent weeks, the real trigger for the meltdown onshore was heightened investor anxiety over Beijing’s financial regulations. Thomas and Ernan reckon that after the dust settles, benign fundamentals and attractive valuations should set the market back on its upward track.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Mixed Consequences From The Profit Boom

    2017 was a great year for China’s industrial sector, with profits up 21%, but the gains were highly concentrated in mining, metals and materials. This pattern has a mix of important consequences, as Thomas explains in this piece: it’s good news for financial risk, less good news for households, and bad news for corporate investment.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Working-Capital Heist

    Amid the ups and downs of China's recent investment cycles, one trend has stayed constant: the slowdown in private-sector investment. In this piece, Thomas shows that a key problem is state firms routinely delaying payments to their private suppliers, forcing them to hold huge reserves of working capital that can’t be productively invested.

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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.

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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.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Unmixing The Signals Of The Industrial Cycle

    China’s business cycle indicators are sending mixed signals in 2017: PMI surveys show a steady acceleration, even though housing is cooling, while the official indicator of industrial value-added has been strangely volatile. In this piece, we clear up the confusion, and show that industry is indeed tracking the gradual slowdown in construction.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Expanding Universe Of Private Companies

    In 2017, China is on track to host a record-setting number of IPOs, mostly by private firms. Big state firms may still dominate stock market indexes, but they are no longer the only option for investors. The number of Chinese private firms large and liquid enough to be of interest to investors is ten times larger than it was just five years ago.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The New Economy Takes The Baton

    Second-quarter earnings for Chinese listed companies showed heavy industry still enjoying strong profit growth, but the more important trend is the consistent rise in profits in the “new economy.” As industrial reflation gradually cools, Thomas argues, these consumer, healthcare, and technology firms are set to outperform.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The China Inc. Annual Report 2017

    This chartbook outlines the recent core trends in China’s corporate sector. There has been a major rebound in revenues and profits, but most firms are using this to repair balance sheets rather than boost capex. So leverage is down and debt servicing ability is up. But the profit cycle is now likely at its peak, as is firms’ ability to deleverage.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Profits Heading Down But Not Out

    The profits of China’s industrial sector handily beat expectations in the first half of 2017, rising 22% YoY. In this piece, Thomas surveys the profit cycle’s path over the next 12 months, which mirrors that for the overall economy: a slowdown in the rest of 2017 and into 2018, but quite a gradual one with little risk of a profit recession.

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    Gavekal Research

    Audio & Transcript — Gavekal Research July Call

    Recent efforts to open up China's stock and bond markets have granted deeper access for foreign investors. In Tuesday's conference call Thomas Gatley outlined what MSCI's decision to include A-shares in its indexes means for investors, while Chen Long argued that the next great bond bull market may happen in China.

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    Gavekal Research

    A Slow Motion Game Changer

    After three years of teasing, MSCI has agreed to include Chinese domestically-listed stocks, or A-shares, in its main equity indexes. Yet, hopes that MSCI inclusion will quickly spur huge capital inflows and a sustained domestic bull market, are almost certainly wide of the mark.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Corporate Deleveraging Is Ending, Not Beginning

    The recent financial crackdown may give the impression that “China is finally getting serious about corporate deleveraging.” This impression is wrong: while leverage is already declining, this is likely to stop in 2017. Worries about zombie companies have also faded as rising profits and falling rates make it easier to service corporate debt.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Reflation Without Inflation

    China’s producer price index slowed slightly year-on-year in March. However, this does not signal a halt to Chinese growth, nor is it likely to cause equities to roll over argues Thomas. The momentum from last year’s big housing stimulus remains, and the level of commodity prices is high enough to keep profit margins decent, supporting corporate investment and wages.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Worst Is Over For Mass Consumer Goods

    It’s been a rough few years for Chinese consumer-goods firms: sales growth for items from soft drinks to instant noodles to sportswear has slowed dramatically since the 2000s, and price wars have slashed margins. In this piece, Thomas argues that the worst is now over: our models point to a more gradual and manageable slowdown in coming years.

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