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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Equity Is The New Debt

    China’s free-spending local governments have a new way to get money. Raising equity, not just debt, is how many localities are financing the current wave of infrastructure and industrial projects. In this piece, we explain how a new model of government-led funds began as a replacement for local borrowing, but ending up only adding to liabilities.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The State Of The State Sector

    After forty years of market reforms, state-owned enterprises retain an exceptionally large role in China’s economy. Though their financial performance is deteriorating and their debts are growing, SOEs’ share of the economy is rising rather than falling. In this chartbook, Andrew pulls together the data to show the true state of China’s SOEs.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Ghost Of A Communist Past

    Despite what Beijing thinks, political liberalization wasn’t what brought down the USSR. The economy did. Andrew Batson reviews Chris Miller's The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ: Healthcare—Crisis Or Opportunity?

    China’s growing economy has brought its people longer lives, but also a new set of health problems. Though the government is trying to improve coverage, change is happening slowly. So there is a growing opportunity for private companies to fill the gap. This issue of China Economic Quarterly investigates the nation’s health problems, and solutions.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Fiscal Stimulus? What Fiscal Stimulus?

    China’s latest budget report reinforces its recent shift toward marginally dialing back economic stimulus. In 2016, the finance ministry raised the deficit to 3% of GDP from 2.4% in 2015; for 2017, it is standing pat, targeting a 3% deficit again. Less publicized but more relevant is the fact that off-budget public works spending is also slowing.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Is China Ready For A Trade Shock From Trump?

    China reported an acceleration in its economic growth on Friday, just hours before Donald Trump was sworn in as US president. But growth could take a hit if Trump makes radical changes to tax and trade policy. And while China has plenty of weapons to fight a trade war, those measures are unlikely to completely offset a sudden shock to its exports.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Five Macro Questions For 2017

    For our first China research piece of the new year, we offer a guide to the economic outlook in the form of short answers to some big questions: Will China be as boring as consensus forecast imply? Will the central bank hike interest rates? Will the housing market correct sharply? Will it be a good year for Chinese equities? Will the labor market hold up?

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Risk Avoidance Strategy

    China’s economy has turned in another slate of decent growth data for October. The three drivers of loose credit, recovering construction, and rising commodity prices that have supported the economy are still holding firm. But Andrew cautions that the government’s objective is not exactly growth at all costs, but rather avoiding downside risks.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Andrew Batson: What Next For Chinese Growth?

    Chinese policymakers are set on maintaining economic stability ahead of a crucial Communist Party meeting next year—but while that means stabilizing growth it also means pushing back against a property bubble. In this video interview, Andrew assesses the tactical trade-offs that must be made in support of the strategy of stability.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Three Pillars Of Stability

    China has now delivered real GDP growth of 6.7% three quarters in a row—a stability that is uncanny even by its standards. Such stability is even more prized than usual by the government, now preoccupied with next year’s Communist Party Congress. In this piece Andrew assesses how much longer the three pillars supporting this stability can hold up.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Equality Engine Is Stalling

    For all its leaders’ talk of a “new normal,” China has not weaned itself off the “old normal” of housing and investment-led growth. That model was in fact a powerful engine for reducing regional inequality, so it has much political support. The engine has now stalled—but rather than swap in a new one, the government keeps revving the old one.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Is Internet Growth Really Slowing Down?

    Often overlooked in the hype around China’s internet boom is the downturn in some key indicators: growth in internet users and in online retail has slowed. How to reconcile this with an apparently thriving internet economy—can the internet’s growth really be slowing down? The answer is yes, and no; it’s how the internet is growing that’s changing.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Holding Pattern

    Market worries about China have gone very quiet lately—and this is no accident. In this presentation, Andrew argues that China is in a holding pattern of steady growth and cautious policy ahead of the 2017 Party Congress. While China probably won’t be forced out of the holding pattern, financial stress and structural problems continue to build.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What Happens When Growth Disappoints Again?

    The panic over China’s currency in early 2016 feels like ancient history. Since then, worries about the economy have largely receded from market concerns. But China’s business cycle peaked in the first half of the year, is now clearly slowing and will likely fail to reach its growth target in early 2017. How will the world react when this happens?

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Gavekal Monthly: How Long Can The Rally Last?

    Investors enjoyed a surprisingly upbeat summer with the World MSCI close to an all-time high and emerging markets continuing to benefit disproportionately. Yet with the Federal Reserve sounding increasingly hawkish, earnings looking soft and political uncertainty remaining the order of the day, this Gavekal Monthly focuses on threats to the current benign market mood.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Better Indicator Of Investment

    Growth in fixed-asset investment is now the lowest it has been in the 12-year history of the data. But FAI is a very messy indicator, and increasingly inconsistent with the national accounts. Out of frustration, I have built a simple model to track investment growth in national-accounts terms—gross fixed capital formation—on a monthly basis.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Growth Trade-Off Gets Harder

    China’s better-than-expected economic data for the second quarter underscore just how effective a jolt of stimulus to housing and construction can be. But housing is already cooling, and the rest of the economy will soon follow suit. The froth in housing prices will continue to limit the government’s ability to pump up growth to meet its targets.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Household Savings: A Permanently High Plateau?

    China’s famously high household savings rate is still stuck in the stratosphere: it has hovered around 37-38% of income since 2008. So have the drivers of savings not changed at all in recent years? Far from it. High savings were mainly caused by China’s massive housing boom, and now that the boom is over, savings rates will be grinding lower.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ: The State Sector’s New Clothes

    In this issue of the CEQ, we take a close look at state-owned enterprises, which lie at the heart of Xi Jinping's strategy for restoring China to greatness. The goal of Xi’s recent policies is clear: to strengthen SOEs and make them more effective instruments of macro management at home, and more powerful agents of national interests abroad.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Villains Or Victims? The Role Of SOEs In China’s Economy

    State-owned enterprises are often blamed for China’s excess capacity, but private firms are the bigger culprits. The real problem is that the government now forces SOEs to act as economic stabilizers, at high cost. This makes them an ever-growing liability to the state.

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