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    Gavekal Research

    The BoJ Intervenes...To Little Effect

    On August 4th, the Bank of Japan intervened in the FX market, as the Yen broke through 77 to the USD. Impressively, this included the BoJ using Y4.5trn to suppress its currency, double what it used in September 2010, and possibly larger than the amount used by the entire G7 following the March earthquake. Less impressively, of course, was that the intervention had all the staying power of a hedge-fund, private equity, or commodity-trading group...

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    Gavekal Research

    Which Are The Best Asian Safe Haven Currencies?

    As we discussed in Friday’s Daily (see More Ugly Currencies Will Not Help), with the future purchasing power of the US Dollar and the future existence of the Euro in doubt, investors are struggling to identify the currencies which will allow them to best preserve their capital Given recent price actions, the commodity currencies, the Yen, the CHF and gold all seem frothy. The recent price surge in the traditional safe-havens, combined with...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    DragonWeek - July 2011 Data

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    Gavekal Research

    Daily - More Ugly Currencies Will Not Help

    Underlying the current market turmoil is a decline of confidence in the two main reserve currencies of the world, the USD and the Euro. While this may not yet be characterized as a fiat currency crisis, serious questions have clearly driven many to diversify into other fiat currencies (the CHF, Yen, AUD…), or move completely out of fiat currencies into zero-duration assets (gold, silver, fine wines…). This has driven the prices of these “...

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    Gavekal Research

    Daily - Is the Fed's Promise A Game Changer?

    Since the beginning of the summer, we have expressed the view that global financial markets would enter into a liquidity squeeze, and that liquidity squeezes usually end with four things: a) Equity markets reach very attractive levels of valuation, b) oil prices decline, c) somebody big, somewhere, goes bankrupt (we’ve called this the ‘whale’), and d) a profound change in policies. Today, there is little doubt that equity markets are...

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    Gavekal Research

    Daily - Who Will Lead Out of the Bear Market?

    Following yesterday’s further sell-off, almost every single equity market is now in bear market territory. Almost every equity market is also deeply undervalued against bonds, against gold and against real estate. And needless to say, almost every market is deeply oversold. So why aren’t investors (ourselves included) getting more excited about the opportunities currently offered up by equity markets? The easiest answer is that the uncertainties...

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    Gavekal Research

    Why We Have Not Seen a US$ Squeeze This Time

    As the last few days have made painfully clear, markets face a level of uncertainty that is high even on today’s standards. But one question that most investors (ourselves included) are struggling with is why, in this uncertain environment, the US$ is not faring better? Indeed, in recent months we have repeatedly laid out the case for of an international US$ Liquidity Crisis. This was largely based on the observation that the growth rate of US$...

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    Gavekal Research

    Some Good News Amidst the Current Gloom - Louis-Vincent Gave

    One of the main reasons behind the cautiousness expressed in A Debate on The Immediate Outlook for Equity Markets back in late June was the fact that, wherever we cared to look, it seemed that the velocity of money was contracting fast. In Europe because of the uncertainty related to the value of sovereign debt; in Japan because of the uncertainty regarding TEPCO’s fate; in China because of the government’s tightening efforts and in the US...

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    Gavekal Research

    An Alternative Euro End-Game

    Anatole’s scenario on the previous page is very interesting but there are a few serious hurdles, mostly pertaining to France’s willingness to go ahead with a non-German Euro. Indeed, the French vision of the Euro is anchored on three basic principles:

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    Gavekal Research

    The Way of the Sudo

    One of the greatest dangers for the Euro has to be the risk that Germany finally balks at having to come up with bailout after bailout to save its profligate neighbors. While we are certainly not there yet, it may be still be interesting to ponder how such a development could play out. Initially, this move could be triggered by a Constitutional Court judgment, mass resignations by Bundesbank directors or a conservative political rebellion...

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    Gavekal Research

    Will the Sell-Off Trigger More Policy Cooperation?

    What is causing the selling panic? As usual, there are many possible answers, but the two mentioned most often in market reports and newspaper headlines—the US credit downgrade and the crisis in Italy—are probably overplayed. The US downgrade may inspire lurid headlines, but it has to be viewed by the markets as a non-event or a joke. Indeed, US Treasury bonds enjoyed one of their biggest ever rallies the day after S&P’s announcement, and...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Return of Accumulators

    In the midst of the rampant equity bull market before the Lehman disaster, one of the more infamous financial products here in Hong Kong was the stock market accumulators, later to be known, not very affectionately, as “I kill you laters”. These were essentially contracts obliging investors to purchase a security at regular intervals at a fixed price for the term of the contract, typically one year. Perhaps the most attractive feature is that...

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    Gavekal Research

    Daily - The US Downgrade

    As one reader put it to us over the weekend: “the guys who can’t shoot straight were downgraded by the guys who can’t count”. And we have to admit that, even if one doesn’t need an HP-12C calculator to know that borrowing 40c for every dollar one spends is not a long-term credible path to prosperity, we were surprised by S&P’s announcement. Indeed, with the ratings agencies having not covered themselves in glory over recent years, we had...

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    Gavekal Research

    Tuition and the "Real" Value of Education

    With just weeks left until classes begin at colleges across the U.S., the “back to school” sensation is in the air. Well, the feeling certainly subsists for the students but probably not so much for the parents paying their tuition. The average price of tuition in 2010 for private non-profit institutions was $27,290, according to the U.S. College Board’s annual survey. In 1980, tuition at these private institutions cost $5,594 on average,...

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    Gavekal Research

    Daily - In Dark Times, Turning to Lenin

    Yesterday’s trading session started well enough: the intervention by the BoJ triggered some hopes that Japanese savers may start expatriating capital once again, while the looming ECB meeting raised the possibility of a more dovish policy stance. This in turn allowed most European equity markets to open +1% higher (most likely on some short covering). Then at 4pm Frankfurt time, Jean-Clause Trichet’s press conference began, and commenting on the...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    China Insight - When Will Energy Demand Peak?

    Will China’s energy thirst keep growing forever? At the moment, that can seem likely: in the last decade, China’s total primary energy consumption grew at an average of 8.4% a year; crude oil demand doubled from 4.3m barrels a day to 8.7m while imports quadrupled from 1.2m bbl/day to 4.8m; and annual coal consumption doubled to 3.2 bn tons. This ravenous demand for fuel and other commodities has driven up their relative prices, and led to...

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    Gavekal Research

    Daily - What Impact Will the Latest Currency Interventions Have?

    In the past 24 hours, we have witnessed the Swiss National Bank slash interest rates to as close to zero as possible while easing CHF refinancing options for domestic banks, and the Bank of Japan come into the market to push down Yen from close to its post-war high of ¥76.25/US$. Needless to say, both economies are struggling to cope with the overvaluation of their domestic currencies (even if the CHF is by far looking more expensive than the...

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    Gavekal Research

    A New Singapore Residential Property Index

    The National University of Singapore’s (NUS) real estate department has created an index that monitors the prices of private residential units, including “shoebox apartments,” or private homes that are no more than 47 square meters (500 square feet). These tiny apartments have made overall home prices in Singapore more volatile, according to NUS: shoe box apartments have rocketed up +62% since March 2009, significantly outpacing the +51% overall...

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    Gavekal Research

    Daily - What Could Trigger a Rally in Equities?

    Two weeks ago, European policymakers supposedly delivered a solution to the crisis plaguing Southern Europe. Two days ago, US policymakers finally came to an agreement to prevent a technical debt default. But in spite of these apparent breakthroughs, risk assets are continuing to fare poorly: yesterday, the S&P 500 fell for the seventh straight day, its longest consecutive decline in three years, and the Dow marked its eight consecutive down...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Macro Quarterly - Q2 2011

    China economic outlook: August 2011

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