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    Gavekal Research

    Equities And The Euro

    It is likely that 2015 will be remembered as a strong year for eurozone equities. With only a few weeks of normal trading activity remaining, the MSCI EMU has delivered a solid 17% total return in local currency terms (the benchmark small and mid-cap index is up 24%). Still, we doubt that many investors will be celebrating a bumper year. The standard view was that the European Central Bank’s huge asset purchase program, which started in March,...

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    Gavekal Research

    Osborne’s Masterful Tack

    “Since 2010, no economy in the G7 has grown faster than Britain,” boasted George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, presenting his autumn public spending review yesterday. Indeed it is true that, according to the latest estimates, GDP in both Britain and the US has increased by exactly the same number, 12.4%, since the first quarter of 2010.

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    Gavekal Research

    Financing Europe’s Soaring Defense Costs

    François Hollande has rightly made it clear that France is at war (see France Under Attack). And wars cost a lot of money, as keeping an army in the field and airplanes in the air is expensive. There is a reason for the military adage “amateurs talk strategy; professionals talk logistics”. Moreover, fighting a terrorist organization involves both military costs and large domestic security costs. As such, the increase in security spending for the...

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    Gavekal Research

    Stick With The Dollar

    With the US set to raise interest rates and the eurozone more likely to ease policy, a long-dollar, short-euro position has been an obvious bet. Yet as the DXY inches closer to its March high, the question is whether a breakout is feasible. After all, the long US dollar trade looks crowded, with the world and its dog convinced that Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi will soon be travelling quite different monetary pathways. Such a comfortable...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    A Britisher At Heart

    On Monday, Anatole argued that a British exit from the European Union would rank as a foreign policy disaster of historic proportions (see Brexit: A Blunder To Rank With The Boston Tea Party). This is not the first time I have disagreed with my partner on UK matters, and it will likely not be the last. In recent years Anatole worried about the impact of public spending cuts being pushed through by the Conservative-led coalition government; I...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe’s Equity Bet

    On the face of it, the opportunity in European equities is hardly exciting. US stocks may be close to their high while European equities languish 10% below their April peak, but on a valuation basis the two markets are similar. A comparison of their price-to-earnings ratios, both on a trailing and forward basis, sits near its historical average. Things, however, start to look more interesting when a cyclically-adjusted P/E ratio is applied—CAPE...

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    Gavekal Research

    France Under Attack

    In the worst days of the Northern Ireland troubles, British policymakers spoke of a “tolerable level of violence”. It was taken for granted that senseless and murderous acts would be committed, but what mattered was ensuring that these did not “get out of hand”.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    Brexit: A Blunder To Rank With The Boston Tea Party

    Ask any divorced couple whether their relationship would have been different had they never married. Actually, don’t bother asking, since the answer is obvious. Strangely, most conservative politicians do not seem to understand this—and neither do 48% of British voters. That is the number, according to recent opinion polls, who want a divorce from the European Union.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    A Happy Apologist

    At Gavekal the conversation with clients never stops and from time to time we like to offer up a taste of debates that strike us as interesting. Louis got into just such a discussion earlier this week with one of our smarter, free-market embracing US clients. The topic of discussion was China and why Louis is such an apologist for the Chinese Communist Party when he clearly has little time for governments meddling with markets elsewhere?

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Drifting In The Mid-Atlantic

    On the one hand the United Kingdom looks to have similar dynamics to recovering European economies, where growth is picking up nicely even though deflationary pressure still looms—Britain’s headline CPI rate stands at -0.1% and real rates have swung positive from a low of -4.7%. Such a cautious view explains why the Bank of England offered a report last week whose dovishness surprised some. Yet, on the other hand mid-Atlantic Britain in many...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Catastrophe Of Negative Rates

    Yesterday both Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan and Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann broke ranks, daring to suggest that ultra-low interest rates may not be such a good thing after all. If rates were held too low for too long, warned Rajan, the risk of financial instability would be greatly heightened, a concern Weidmann shares. Unfortunately, that’s not the half of it.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    China And Russia: Locked In Reluctant Embrace

    China’s economic activity is gradually reducing Russian influence in Central Asia. Despite that, shared authoritarian values keep the two countries closely aligned on many issues.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ: China Reshapes Asia

    In the last two years China has made a bold push to expand its influence in Asia, using both the carrot of well-funded infrastructure diplomacy and the stick of forceful assertion of territorial claims in the South and East China Seas. What explains this newly assertive foreign policy, and what are its effects likely to be? This special issue of the China Economic Quarterly tries to answer these questions.

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    Gavekal Research

    Clearer Political Skies In Spain

    For the last three years Spain has been the poster child for the eurozone’s recovery. In its country report published yesterday, the European Commission described Spain’s growth as “robust, underpinned by sustained job creation, improved financing conditions, high confidence and low oil prices”. Yet not everything in the Spanish garden is rosy. The manufacturing PMI suggests the recovery is facing severe challenges, having slowed from a cyclical...

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    Gavekal Research

    Good Enough In Turkey

    Investors have welcomed last weekend’s victory of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey’s elections, with the lira and equities both rallying strongly. After June’s inconclusive poll failed to produce a workable government, the concern was that a country with huge economic, security and strategic challenges would become ungovernable. In this context, the election result was the best that...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Fight Against Europe’s Inflation Skeptics

    In recent conversations with Europe-based clients we have been struck by a rising tide of “inflation skepticism”. While many investors back in 2009-2011 fretted that monetary activism must lead to spiraling inflation, many now believe the exact opposite. Their fear is that irrespective of central bank action, inflation is doomed to stay below target. In just a few years, inflation has stopped being commonly thought of as “always and everywhere a...

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    Gavekal Research

    Good Enough In Turkey

    Investors have welcomed last weekend’s victory of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey’s elections, with the lira and equities both rallying strongly. After June’s inconclusive poll failed to produce a workable government, the concern was that a country with huge economic, security and strategic challenges would become ungovernable. In this context, the election result was the best that...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Gavekal Monthly: A Possible Return Of US Inflation

    The Gavekal Monthly outlines our highest conviction ideas and summarizes the key economic, market and thematic views held by the firm’s partners and analysts. This report is an attempt to answer a question that we are often asked, but find it hard to answer: "What does Gavekal think?".

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    Gavekal Research

    Middle-East Machinations

    Russia and Turkey are increasingly at loggerheads as Moscow escalates its military engagement in Syria. Earlier this month Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to find another gas supplier after Russian jets breached its air space, and in recent days Ankara initiated legal action against Gazprom over the price it is charged for piped gas.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    London Seminar Audio And Slides

    We held our main fall seminar on October 27 in London, where Anatole Kaletsky, Francois-Xavier Chauchat, Neil Newman, Tom Miller and Louis-Vincent Gave presented their views on the global economy. Anatole discussed the implications of recent developments in financial markets; Francois examined Europe’s resilience to global headwinds; Neil outlined three major investment themes in Japan; Tom explored China’s regional foreign policy ambitions, and...

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    Gavekal Research

    Why The Ruble Rally May Be Over

    Global investors are bulled up on Russian financial assets with the ruble having outperformed most emerging market currencies since the “junk rally” got going in early September. On a YTD basis Russian bonds have outpaced those from other big EMs. As a result, dedicated Russian funds last month saw a big inflow for the first time in a year. Certainly, the shift in sentiment has been spurred by the Federal Reserve delaying any interest rate move...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Promise Of A More Forceful ECB

    The signal could hardly have been clearer. Although the European Central Bank chose to hold its fire yesterday, bank president Mario Draghi made it plain that he will be prepared to wheel out even bigger weaponry at December’s meeting to overcome the deflationary forces pressing on the eurozone’s economy. If necessary, this could include extending the current quantitative easing program beyond next September, increasing the ECB’s monthly asset...

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  • Gavekal Research

    The Myth Of Secular Stagnation

    When the European Central Bank meets today, discussion will center on whether it should expand quantitative easing in an attempt to stave off deflation and support the eurozone’s painfully slow growth. In Japan too, talk is about whether the Bank of Japan needs to step up its stimulus efforts. And in the US, the Federal Reserve last month decided to delay calling an end to its own zero interest rate policy amid evidence that US growth is in...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Excerpt From Anatole Kaletsky's Hong Kong Seminar Presentation

    Excerpt From Anatole Kaletsky's Hong Kong Seminar Presentation

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Hong Kong Seminar

    This is the full recording from Gavekal's October Hong Kong seminar featuring Joyce Poon, Andrew Batson and Anatole Kaletsky as well as a Q&A session.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Will The ECB Opt For QE-Plus?

    When the governing council of the European Central Bank convenes this Thursday in the Maltese capital Valetta, the assembled policymakers will be forced to contemplate a track record of quantitative easing that at best can be described as “mixed”. True, since the ECB announced its €60bn a month program of asset purchases in March this year, eurozone activity has staged a modest comeback, with growth expected to rise to 1.6% in the third quarter...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Could Volkswagen Save Europe?

    Volkswagen's stock price has rebounded more than 20% since its early October low, but there remains uncertainty about the firm’s future. Since news of the diesel polluting scandal broke, US$30bn has been wiped off VW’s market value, and you do not need to be conspiratorial to see a scenario that has the value of the German carmaker’s equity going to zero.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Italy’s Debt Trap Escape Bid

    Even though Italy has run primary surpluses for all but one of the last 20 years, public debt has ballooned to 133% of GDP, second only to Greece in the eurozone. Italy’s original profligacy dates to the 1980s, but the real issue has been an inability to bite the bullet on reform, which, according to the International Monetary Fund, has reduced potential economic growth to just 0.4%. The good news is that Italy seems to have woken up and smelt...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Birth Of A Pain Trade?

    The question we have received most in recent days is whether this week’s counter-trend rally in commodities, deep cyclicals and emerging markets can morph into a “melt-up” akin to that seen in 4Q98. Seventeen years ago the blowback from the Asian Financial Crisis culminated in late September with the failure of Long Term Capital Management. Within days of a hurriedly agreed creditor bailout, the Federal Reserve had made the first of three...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Gavekal Monthly: More Questions Than Answers

    With the Fed having put its rate hike decision on hold, investors face an uncertain environment of weak global growth and inflation, tottering emerging markets and continued worries about China. In this edition of The Gavekal Monthly, Louis-Vincent Gave surveys the crucial questions investors must grapple with and identifies the indicators to monitor in the coming weeks. In addition, we highlight three calls from our analyst team: Joyce...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    QSCB: What Is The Trade Slowdown Telling Us?

    For the first time since the 1970s global trade is growing more slowly than global GDP, and if anything this growth is decelerating. One explanation is that slower world trade is a symptom of weak global demand, and perhaps a harbinger of worse economic news to come. That is possible, but in this Quarterly Strategy Chartbook we argue that the trade slowdown reflects structural changes in the world economy, and signals that a new phase of...

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    Gavekal Research

    Why Big Caps Are Still Blighted

    Big cap stocks globally have had a horrible 2015 with the Volkswagen emissions scandal being just the latest “uncorrelated shock” to hit the sector. In Europe, German utilities RWE and E.ON have lost more than half of their market value, while oil and commodity producers everywhere have been hurt by a collapse in the price of their wares. Still, “blue chips” got that reassuring moniker because they tend to be the highest value counters on the...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Worrying Set Of Signals

    Regular readers will know that we keep a battery of indicators to gauge, among other things, economic activity, inflationary pressure, risk appetite and asset valuations. Most of the time this dashboard offers mixed messages, which is not hugely helpful to the investment process. Yet from time to time, the data pack points unambiguously in a single direction and experience tells us that such confluences are worth watching. We are today at such a...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Libor Not Lehman

    With shares in Volkswagen down -28% since the diesel emissions rigging story broke last Friday, VW bond yields up sharply, and the securities of other European automakers hit hard by the news, investors face some uncomfortable questions. Is the risk posed by the scandal idiosyncratic, with the fallout likely to be confined largely to VW itself? Or could the risk prove systemic, with potentially catastrophic implications for the broader European...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Gastarbeiter Redux

    The influx of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from war torn Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and parts of Africa has laid bare familiar divisions within the European Union. This week’s deal to relocate 120,000 more refugees from Greece and Italy on top of the 40,000 agreed in May starts to address the problem. Many multiples more are making the trip to Europe, but only one country—Germany—is promising to take large numbers. Commentators often...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What The VW Scandal Could Mean

    Last year as Europe tightened economic sanctions on Russia for its role in fomenting the Ukrainian conflict, German business confidence readings took a bath. This was not surprising as German exports to Russia—a one time key growth market for Teutonic metal bashers—have shrunk by about €9bn in two years. However, once the dust settled on 2014 it became clear that far from being decimated, Germany’s highly diversified exports had actually risen...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    How Much Does China Really Matter?

    How much does China’s slowdown really matter to the rest of the world? At first this might sound like a silly question. After all, China is home to a fifth of humanity, it is the world’s second largest national economy and its second largest importer, and in recent years has contributed between a quarter and a third of global growth. What’s more, the recent volatility in China’s stock markets and exchange rate caused shockwaves around the world...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe And Chinese Risk

    Yesterday Joyce argued that the slowdown in China was not a major problem for most developed economies (see How Much Does China Really Matter?). Arguably an exception to that general observation are Europe’s multinationals, which over the last decade or so have thrived by selling goods that Chinese firms and households love to buy.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Is The China Panic Abating?

    For the past six weeks, global markets have been in a China-centric panic, sparked partly by bad economic data, but mostly by policy bungling from China’s policymakers. Having spurred a huge expansion in equity margin debt, regulators turned tail in June and cracked down on the practice. As an equity market crash unfolded, policymakers took to swinging a big stick: price-keeping operations were tried, stock trading was halted and speculators...

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    How Corbynomics Could Work

    Whatever you may think of Jeremy Corbyn, he has a point about economic policy. Actually he has two good points and one bad one. Corbyn has been right about what he called People’s Quantitative Easing, a potentially transformative idea for restoring economic prosperity that was proposed years ago by several radical economists but had never been taken seriously in Britain until it became the centerpiece of Corbynomics. Corbyn has also been right...

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Is The Bull Market Over? (II)

    Yesterday we examined the three big fears that—in the absence of any markedly negative news from the OECD economies—lie behind the recent equity market sell-off, and which have prompted many investors to ask “Is The Bull Market Over?”

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Fixing Germany’s Current Account

    Germany’s trade surplus for July rose to a record €25bn, lifting the country’s accumulated current account surplus over the last 12 months to a hefty 8.2% of GDP. The fall of the euro has clearly made German exports more competitive outside the single currency area. As a result, Germany’s expanding trade surplus is by far the dominant influence on the eurozone’s external accounts. Over the last 12 months, Germany’s trade surplus with the rest of...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The US Current Account Deficit And World Markets

    Spotting turning points in the US current account is central to Gavekal’s research method, as such shifts impact all other economic relationships. When the US dollar is strong the US tends to run a big current account deficit, providing the world with lots of “earned dollars.” Conversely, a weak dollar eventually leads to a shrunken US current account deficit and more incentive to borrow in dollars. Big moves in the dollar exchange rate create...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    German Exports Are Not Kaputt

    Predictions of the German export machine’s demise followed southern Europe’s 2011 slide into deflation, the yen’s 2012/2013 devaluation, and now the emerging world’s slowdown. And yet German exports hit a new high in 2Q15 and the latest IFO survey points to more strength in 3Q. Far from going kaputt, German exporters can likely handle an emerging world crunch due to their geographical diversification, the benefit of a weak euro and improving...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Can Europe Be Part Of The Solution?

    The eurozone is no longer the center of the global market panic, but an interesting question is whether it can be part of the solution. Investors ostensibly sold equities yesterday on more evidence of economic weakness in China. However the deeper fear is of a faltering global growth outlook at a time when the Federal Reserve is looking to hike rates. Eurozone equities topped out back in April as the initial flush of the European Central Bank’s...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse

    Markets are entering bear market territory and what vexes Charles and Louis is whether the root cause is a liquidity crunch, a solvency crisis or a deflationary bust. In this wide ranging chart book they explore the problem through the revelatory prophecy of four riders whose presence marked the coming of judgement day. We don’t mean to pile on the misery in what is shaping up as a tough week and the moderately good news is that the-end-of-times...

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    Gavekal Research

    As The Crisis Ebbs, Will Europe Turn Japanese?

    The China-induced crisis of recent weeks was noteworthy for being a major global risk-off event that, for once, was not made in Europe. Indeed as markets crumbled on Monday the euro soared. Europe’s graduation from weak link to quasi safe haven is not so surprising given the patch-up job done on Greece and a gathering cyclical recovery—private sector credit growth in the eurozone for July was a fairly perky 0.7% YoY. The question is whether the...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Real Message From Oil

    Violent swings in oil prices are destabilizing economies and financial markets worldwide. When the oil price halved last year, from US$110 to US$55 a barrel, the cause was obvious: Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase its share of the global oil market by expanding production. But what accounts for the further plunge in oil prices in the last few weeks—to lows last seen in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis—and how will...

    18
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    Gavekal Research

    Who Benefits From The Fall Of Europe’s Export Champions?

    Panic in the emerging world has reverberated back to the European equity markets through the de-rating of high quality exporters. What we call “export champions” get more than half of their sales from outside Europe and account for about half of Europe’s market value within broad indices. Yet the travails currently faced by this group have not resulted in Europe’s domestically-focused “national victims” outperforming. Instead, it is the “...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    How To Build A Reserve Currency

    A store of value, a unit of account and a medium of exchange—these are the three essential characteristics of any proper currency. Needless to say a reserve currency must possess all three. But they are far from enough. A reserve currency must have at least six other attributes too, as Jacques Rueff and Robert Triffin did so much to establish.

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