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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Difficult Decoupling For Australian Iron Ore

    Chinese iron ore imports grew 9.5% in 2020 to 1.17bn tons despite rising tensions with Australia, China’s largest supplier. Top leaders are calling for greater supply-chain security and reduced dependence on Australian materials, but Rosealea explains that this is easier said than done given China’s immense appetite for the commodity.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Macro And Market Implications Of Europe’s Pandemic Response Shambles

    As the European Union’s vaccination program stumbles from one misstep to another, investors are being forced to put back their expectations for European economic recovery, while a procurement scandal in Germany raises the probability that the pandemic will have a long-term effect on the EU’s political landscape. Anatole, Cedric and Nick examined the near-term market impact and long-term economic policy implications.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: The Case For Ex-US Equities

    The US trade deficit cycle suggests the world is heading towards a protracted period of US dollar depreciation. With valuations outside the US relatively attractive, and deglobalization meaning ex-US equities will offer greater diversification benefits in future, investors should consider increasing their exposure to ex-US equities.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Costs Of Biden’s Spending Plan

    On Wednesday, Joe Biden unveiled an ambitious US$2trn program of public infrastructure investment, to be funded by corporate tax hikes. In a nutshell, the plan is a proposal to transfer wealth from the broad US market to sectors favored by the government. The sectors that benefit from this largesse stand to enjoy a multi-year boom, with the cost to be borne by the rest of the market. However, the extent of this cost should not be exaggerated....

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Abundance And Shortages

    Over decades, investors have gotten used to living in a world of plenty, in which capital, labor, commodities and knowledge have all been in abundant supply. Today, however, while the world remains awash with cheap capital, there are signs that the supplies of labor, commodities and—most ominously of all—knowledge may be facing tightening constraints. In this paper, Louis asks whether, after years of abundance, the world may be facing a...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    What To Do About Capital Inflows

    The surge of foreign interest in China’s bond market has created a novel economic problem for its policymakers: managing sizable inflows of portfolio capital which are pushing up its currency. In this piece, Wei explains how China has tried to encourage capital outflows to balance those inflows, and why that is becoming less necessary.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Unpacking The NFT Hype

    What’s a “non-fungible token”? Why would anyone pay millions of dollars for one? And what do they have to do with blockchains? In this video interview, Will unpacks the latest craze to explain what buying an NFT actually gets you, and considers whether this is a useful new technology or yet another case of blockchain hype.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Who Will Buy India Now?

    On Tuesday, the US dollar index hit a five-month high and treasury yields maintained their relentless march higher. On the same day, the Indian rupee—this year’s best performing emerging market currency—plunged to a one-month low. A mix of tighter financial conditions and a worsening Covid-19 situation has investors reassessing the surprising notion of India as an EM haven. They are right to do so, for the macro tailwinds driving the rupee’s...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Yield Differentials Matter—For Now

    As the first quarter draws to a close, the US dollar has confounded December’s bearish consensus expectations by generating a positive total return versus the euro of 3.8%. As Louis and Will and KX explained last week, in retrospect the US dollar’s performance over the last three months is not that surprising. The question now is: how long will these near-term factors persist?

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Like A Hell-Broth Boil And Bubble

    Last week began with a -15% fall in the Turkish lira in Asian trading on Monday morning. This week started with a -16% fall in the share price of Nomura in Asian trading on Monday morning. It would be easy to dismiss the two events as entirely unrelated. At first glance they have nothing in common, but in this piece Tom takes a closer look.

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Speeding Ahead On Vaccination

    China administered over 3mn doses of Covid-19 vaccines on Thursday, accelerating its vaccination drive from around 1mn doses per day in February and 2mn per day last week. In this Quick Take, Ernan explains why this acceleration is not enough to meet the country’s vaccination targets, as the government’s main hurdle is not production but logistics.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    When Will Borders Reopen?

    Even as a new Covid wave sweeps across Europe, the European Union has gotten to work on a Digital Green Certificate to allow resumption of travel, within the bloc and beyond. Health passports that securely document vaccines and test results for travelers are key to opening up borders again. But as Tom explains, getting countries to agree on rules and standards will be a painful slog.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Rewind To Look Ahead

    There has hardly been a single piece of news in the last three months that could have been construed as euro-bullish. And yes, the euro has weakened. But given the newsflow, it is remarkable that the euro is not down a whole lot more. So, considering the newsflow and the 200bp spread between 10 year treasuries and bunds, why hasn’t the US dollar rallied more?

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Future Of The Great US Rotation

    Much has happened in the US in the last eight weeks. More than 80mn Americans have been vaccinated against Covid, Congress has passed a stimulus bill worth 9% of GDP, and the Fed has confirmed its determination to remain among the most peaceable of inflation doves. In response, 10-year US treasury yields have leapt, and the rotation from growth stocks to value has grown more violent even as the broad equity market has ascended new heights. In...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Pushing Less Hard On The String

    Concluding a long-awaited policy review, last week the Bank of Japan signaled that after almost a decade of pursuing titanic quantitative easing targets, it will be looking to make fewer asset purchases from now on. In this short video interview, Udith weighs the implications for Japan’s economy, its bond market, the yen, and Japanese equities.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    For Want Of A Chip

    China’s car market is starting to show the first effects of the global chip scarcity, but Thomas and Ernan write that the shortage might just be starting to bite. Supply could resume by Q3, but even a temporary drag on auto production will have material consequences for China’s industrial sector and the economy at large.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Future’s Clear, The Future’s Green

    Europe’s Green parties used to be denigrated by their political opponents as “watermelons”: green environmentalists on the surface, red hard-leftists beneath. In Germany, this attempt to marginalize the Greens by associating them with the discredited revolutionary socialists of 50 years ago failed dismally. Having established their credibility in regional politics, notably in Germany’s third richest state of Baden-Württemberg, where they have...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Financial Manias: The Crypto Craze

    After scrutinizing the electric car craze last week, today Louis turns his gimlet eye on crypto-currencies. Yes, bitcoin now has a market capitalization of US$1trn, but what does it actually do? What value does it add to economies and societies? On close examination, Louis finds that the functions of bitcoin are relatively straightforward, if not particularly edifying. And more to the point, they are already attracting the sort of attention that...

    18
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    Gavekal Research

    The Short And Long For The US Dollar

    After ending 2020 amid heavily negative sentiment, the US dollar has confounded near-term bears by edging higher year-to-date. The DXY dollar index has gained 2.75%, clawing back just over a third of its -7.5% decline in 2020. Perhaps this should not be too surprising. First, by the end of 2020, the US dollar was no longer blatantly overvalued. Second, the DXY found support at 90, its low of early 2018. Third, the near-term outlook for nominal...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Slowing Down Steel Production

    Policymakers have pledged to “ensure a year-on-year decline” in steel output this year to help China achieve peak carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030, but these curbs will not reduce the country’s underlying demand for steel. In this report, Rosealea analyzes the feasibility of this target and its consequences for the steel industry.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Strengthening Case For Value

    In the last two weeks, US value stocks have given up some of the outperformance relative to growth that they racked up over the previous five. So has value’s spurt of outperformance now run its course, leaving the S&P 500 value index’s 11pp of outperformance relative to growth since the beginning of February as just a counter-trend blip against a backdrop of more than a decade’s underperformance? Or are the relative gains in value since the...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Extent Of Turkish Contagion Risk

    After four and a half months in which Turkish central bank governor Naci Ağbal had raised policy rates and restored a measure of confidence in the Turkish lira, on Saturday Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan fired Agbal and replaced him with a loyalist who has echoed the president’s conviction that higher interest rates lead to higher inflation.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    What Strategic Competition Looks Like

    Last week’s diplomatic meeting between China and the US was marked by harsh rhetoric as both sides used the event to signal toughness to their home audiences. In this report, Arthur and Dan outline what policy tools Beijing and Washington have at their disposal and why the Biden administration is struggling to articulate a clear China strategy.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Weak Links No Longer

    Once upon a time, a steep rise in US yields coupled with capital outflows—like those we’ve seen in recent weeks—would have led to intense financial stresses in Asian emerging markets. Weak-link economies with fragile fiscal positions and precarious external balances would have been vulnerable to abrupt sell-offs and destabilizing currency depreciation. As sentiment swung risk-off, investors would have gotten badly trampled in the rush for the...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Webinar: Making Sense Of China’s Grand Plans

    The annual session of China's National People's Congress has wrapped up with the approval of a new five-year plan, a sweeping document that promises not only technological self-sufficiency but a different style of economic management in coming years. In this webinar, our China experts unpacked what these grand promises really mean, and also discussed the substantial recent correction in Chinese equities and where markets are headed...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Financial Manias: The Electric Car Craze

    Almost wherever you look today, there are bubbles: in SPACs, in crypto, and in electric vehicles. In this report, the first of a series on today’s financial manias, Louis reviews Gavekal’s tried and tested framework for analyzing bubbles, and applies it to today’s mania for electric vehicles. He concludes that the electric car bubble is unique in history, and that the prognosis for many investors in the sector is less than encouraging.

    17
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    Gavekal Research

    Markets After The Fed

    The Federal Reserve saw no need to ease monetary policy any further at its March meeting which concluded Wednesday. That’s no surprise. Policy is already extremely easy, and growth and inflation are already looking up. Indeed, the Fed has pumped so much money into the system that the one policy change it felt compelled to make was to increase counterparty limits on its reverse repo facility from US$30bn to US$80bn in response to concerns that...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Conflicting Forces In The Hong Kong Market

    The Hong Kong stock market started 2021 as one of the world’s best performing, gaining 14% in the first six weeks of the year. In the weeks since, however, Hong Kong-listed equities have given back half those gains as sentiment has soured. In this short video interview, Vincent weighs the opposing forces at work in the local market to assess how they are likely to play out in the future.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The New Plan For Urbanization

    The 14th five-year plan outlines significant changes to China’s household registration (hukou) system. In this report, Ernan writes that this new policy direction is to reduce the significance of the system over time by reducing urban/rural inequality. Rural areas will benefit, but at a cost to China’s overall economic growth.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Time To Fix Credit Ratings

    2021 could be a pivotal year for the overhaul of credit ratings, which have long been an impediment to the functioning of China’s corporate bond market. The defaults of a few AAA-rated state firms have now pushed regulators into tackling long-standing problems, at a moment when cyclical and structural conditions are favorable for reform.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Attack Of The Drones

    Military technology is a lynchpin of the geopolitical balance. And the superiority of US weaponry has been one of the principal factors underpinning the US dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. However, recent events raise important questions about whether the US can retain this superiority.

    19
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    Gavekal Research

    Let's Twist Again

    When they sit down on Wednesday, the members of the Federal Open Market Committee will face a couple of knotty questions. Should they attempt to do anything about rising bond yields? And if so, what?

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    How Bad Is Europe’s Vaccine Problem?

    The Covid news from Europe only seems to lurch from bad to worse. The suspension by several European Union countries of distribution of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine over possible side-effects threatens to disrupt the EU’s vaccination programs and damage public confidence in vaccines in general. So how bad are things likely to get?

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Looking Past The Base Effect

    The collapse in activity during the Covid-19 lockdowns in early 2020 has ensured some eye-popping economic data for January-February 2021. In this report, the Dragonomics team looks past base effects to find consumption and services still on track to normalize this year, while industry and property will likely cool as policy tightens at the margin.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    When Currencies Misbehave

    In recent days, investors have had to absorb a series of troubling headlines from Europe, yet news that should be either bearish for the euro or bullish for the dollar failed to keep the euro from gaining last week. Meanwhile, the yen continues to grind lower. Why is that, and what does the inability of the dollar to rally tell us about the future?

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    The New High-Pressure US Economy

    Having just signed off on US$1.9trn of Covid relief, the US government has now spent US$5trn on support measures since the pandemic began. Unfazed by warnings that it could overheat the economy and spur runaway inflation, the White House plans another big package of public investment that aims to tackle climate change, upgrade US infrastructure and revamp education. Joe Biden seems intent on spurring a “high-pressure” economy.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Yield Curve Control That Dare Not Speak Its Name

    A year ago today, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde said “we are not here to close spreads”. With a fair amount of water having flowed under the bridge since then, the spread between 10-year Italian BTP’s and bunds has fallen from 261bp to just 94bp. So when on the anniversary of that proclamation, she said the “ECB is not doing yield curve control”, one could be forgiven for demurring.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Shape Of India's Recovery

    With the release of pent-up demand and more fiscal spending, India's economy is rebounding sharply. Its growth potential is also being raised by a new push towards privatization and an industrial policy that supports manufacturers. The question is whether India can overcome institutional lethargy and make these policies work. Tom and Udith addressed such issues and the latest market developments impacting sub-continent assets.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    There Is No Plan To Boost Consumption

    Consumption and domestic demand are everywhere in the Chinese government’s latest policy rhetoric, with high-level promises to “boost consumer spending across the board” and “create a robust domestic market.” In this piece, Andrew explains why the new five-year plan is not actually a plan to boost consumption.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Is The Belt And Road Turning Green?

    China is trying to clean up its domestic energy sector, but critics accuse it of exporting an outmoded and dirty energy model around the world under the guise of the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2019, Xi Jinping pledged to turn the BRI “green and clean.” Tom argues that there may have been a moderate shift towards green energy, but not a decisive one.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Stop Worrying About Bond Yields And Buy Equities

    Is it time to buy or sell global equities? I think investors should be adding exposure for four broad reasons. As argued in February, during the last mini-correction the global bull market that began on March 20, 2020, is still in its early stages and the cyclical economic problems that usually provoke bear markets are not yet on the horizon.

    7
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Capex Renaissance Is Coming

    2021 is set to be a strong year for capital spending by Chinese companies. In this report, Thomas explains why solid returns on assets across the industrial sector and low borrowing costs are creating incentives for firms to invest in new capacity. This should allow policymakers to cut back on spending without tanking overall investment.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Updating The Malthusian Constraint

    In June 2019, I argued that big shifts in the US economy and financial markets largely result from changes in the relative price of energy. If oil prices are rising faster than nominal GDP, this points to energy shortages and more of the economy’s value-added going as the “miners’ rent”. This situation points to rising inflation and contracting price/earnings ratios.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Gold, Renminbi Bonds And The Clash Of Empires

    As the US expands its deficits to pay for pandemic relief, emerging economies that use the US dollar for reserve backing have reason to fret. China is being incentivized to accelerate development of the renminbi as both an international standard and store of value. Louis, Charles and Didier offer a potential roadmap for how renminbi internationalization may unfold.

    16
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    Gavekal Research

    The Bursting Of The Electric Car Bubble, And Consequences

    A friend recently sent me the following quote from the Barrow Hanley small-cap manager, Jim McClure: “Should an investment narrative become particularly disputed, the best course of action is to identify the camp that is more emotional, and bet heavily against them”. This was good advice a few years back when anti-Tesla/anti-Elon Musk sentiment was rampant. And it would have been good advice again in early January, when the pendulum had swung...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: US Equities In A Changed Macro Environment

    US tech stocks have been hit hard, as attention focuses on the underlying quality of themes like the migration to electric vehicles. Yet this shakeup is also happening against the backdrop of a fast-changing investment environment due to a strengthening US growth outlook, rising inflationary pressure and an unnerved bond market which is driving yields higher. In this video interview, Will seeks to unpack these dynamics in order to navigate a...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Missing Target

    For four decades, every five-year plan has included a target for average GDP growth. The latest plan, presented last Friday, did not. This points to China's leadership having a more complex view of development goals argues Andrew. These now include a range of metrics including technological capability, national security, financial stability and living standards.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: Reading The Recovery

    India is enjoying a V-shaped recovery and there are hopes that high fiscal spending and favorable base effects can push GDP growth above 10% in the coming fiscal year. The problem is that the private sector remains weak after a savage Covid-19 experience. Udith and Tom digest the macro currents and on balance conclude they would rather be in Indian equities than bonds.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Bond Vigilantes Keep Fighting The Fed

    Jerome Powell tried to calm the bond market yesterday by repeating that it’s likely to be a while before policy normalization begins. Growth and inflation indicators are up, but the Fed expects much of this to be “transitory”. In short, Powell remains a steadfast dove. So why are bond yields, real and nominal, still ticking higher?

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, March 2021

    As Covid-19 vaccinations are cranked up and Congress gets ready to dole out stimulus measures, US growth expectations have risen along with inflation concerns. In response, bonds have sold off and equity markets have shuddered. In our monthly global investment roundtable, Gavekal partners discussed this confluence of events and addressed what it means for risk assets.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The New Normal For Infrastructure

    Officially, the normalization of China’s fiscal policy will be moderate in 2021: the government budget will narrow to 3.2% of GDP from 3.7%. But public-works spending is China’s true fiscal policy, and tighter financing does not bode well. Infrastructure investment is likely headed for a fourth year of negligible growth, and could even decline.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Enduring Cognitive Dissonance

    As yields continue to test new highs, Jay Powell is set to deliver a speech today reasserting the Federal Reserve’s view that inflation can push above its 2% target due to base effects and pent-up demand without monetary tightening being needed. This could offer temporary relief to equity investors, but resulting uncertainty in the bond market is likely to ensure an unstable trading environment.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Will Bond Yields Topple Asia's EMs?

    Rising treasury yields are rarely a good thing for emerging markets, as this implies tighter financing conditions. The good news of sorts is that Asia's external position is strong due to buoyant exports, yet domestic demand has been constrained by the pandemic and a slow vaccine rollout.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Problem With Europe’s Inflation

    Later this year, eurozone consumer price inflation should hit its highest level in more than a decade. We found out on Tuesday that February’s consumer prices rose by 0.9% year-on-year, and more price hikes are in the works. Alas, this is not the type of inflation that the European Central Bank has been seeking to engineer for the best part of a decade.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    An Unrealistic Vaccine Target

    China’s government is aiming for 40% of its population to have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by mid-2021, according to a senior health adviser. In this Quick Take, Ernan explains why such a target is unrealistic given China’s current vaccine production capacity and its obligations to other countries.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s New Industrial Policy

    Industrial policy is back in vogue, especially in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will spend US$27bn on subsidizing manufacturing, as it seeks to forge a “Self-Reliant India.” Given India’s unhappy history of chasing self-sufficiency, this raises concerns. Yet “self-reliance” does not necessarily mean protectionism, argues Tom.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Oil-US Dollar Interaction

    The past year has seen two important developments in the oil industry. Firstly, US oil production has rolled over by between -2mn and -2.5mn bpd and there are reasons to think this situation lasts until next year. Secondly, oil prices, which were in a clear bear market between late 2018 and early 2020 are now in a bull market. Hence, as US oil production falls and oil prices rise, energy may again become a major contributor to the US trade...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Chips And Cross-Straits Tensions

    Taiwan’s position at the core of the global semiconductor industry has never looked more secure: it is now the undisputed leader in advanced chip manufacturing. But does that success increase the risk of military aggression from China? In fact not. As Dan argues in this piece, semiconductors are not a plausible trigger for a hot conflict.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Productive Bubbles And Unproductive Bubbles

    There are two kinds of bubbles: bubbles in productive assets like railways, and broadband lines, and bubbles in scarcity assets like tulips and gold. In turn, these bubbles can be funded through equity, or by debt. The best kind of bubble is in productive assets, funded by equity and the worst kind is in unproductive assets, funded by debt, especially if the leverage is hidden.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: The Threat Of Rising Inflation And Yields

    The roll-out of vaccines in the US is upending the investment environment, as the focus shifts beyond the pandemic to full-throttled economic recovery. With both monetary and fiscal policy set to remain loose, nominal growth could soon rip. Hopes for “normalization” have driven up inflation expectations and freaked out bond investors. Those getting fixed interest are right to be unnerved, as production capacity is fairly tight, inventories are...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What I’ve Given Up For Lent

    For Lent this year I decided to give up investing in gold miners. My priest said this was like giving up broccoli; for Lent you are meant to forgo something that feels good. I replied that the Church banned self-flagellation in the 14th century; by giving up gold, I would free my mind for higher purposes. I still ended up with three “Hail Marys” and three “Our Fathers” for penance.

    10
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    Gavekal Research

    Inflation And The Stock Market

    Despite a roiling US bond market sell-off, equity investors had until Thursday taken comfort from the Federal Reserve saying it would stay easy for longer. They were also fairly relaxed about a gentle rise in inflation, which seemed to be part of a "normalization" process as Covid-19 vaccines do their job and activity picks up. Charles and Didier are not so sure, and in this paper test the notion that limited inflation can, in fact,...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Europe And The Politics Of Exiting The Pandemic

    Europe is at a strange juncture, as governments remain committed to massive fiscal and monetary support and refuse to rush into any economic reopening before Covid vaccinations are deployed. Yet despite this collective risk aversion, Italy has appointed a new technocratic government run by Mario Draghi that looks to have broad political support and a fairly radical plan for change. Our team explored Europe's exit from the pandemic and asked...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Bitcoin—Money Or Snakeoil?

    Will Denyer examines the forces behind the eye-watering run-up and eye-popping volatility of bitcoin, and delves behind the near-term moves in crypto-currency markets to ask whether bitcoin and its ilk will ever gain traction as a unit of account, means of exchange or store of value.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Emerging Markets And Rising Yields

    As 10-year US treasury yields have pushed higher, investors have begun to reassess their enthusiasm for emerging market assets. Historically, rising US yields has seldom been accompanied by emerging market outperformance. Yet rising US yields are not necessarily negative for EMs, and there are reasons to think this time may well be different, at least for some EMs.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Fate Of A Liquidity-Driven Rally

    The writing is on the wall for China’s post-Covid bull market as the underlying credit and profit cycles that typically drive prices over the medium term are turning down in 2021. In this report, Thomas explains why liquidity flows can trump these fundamentals for a while, but not indefinitely.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    It’s A Policy-Driven Market

    US bond yields are rising as the growth outlook is boosted by the vaccine roll-out and sustained monetary and fiscal stimulus. US value stocks and the sectors hit by Covid restrictions are ripping. Growth investors, in contrast, are spooked about this situation, as much of their worth comes from earnings discounted far into the future. The investors' reactions to Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell’s Congressional testimony on Tuesday reminded...

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    Beautiful In Heaven

    Like the players on a rugby team, assets in a portfolio should both be all-rounders and excel at a specific job. For four decades, US treasuries both offered a stream of positive real yields and provided an anti-fragile portfolio hedge in times of market turbulence. Now however, Louis argues that US treasuries are at risk of falling from the position of anti-fragile favor.

    18
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    To Hold Back The Tide Of De-Industrialization

    China’s government is focusing on a new economic metric: the manufacturing share of GDP, which looks to feature in the next five-year plan. Rather than accept de-industrialization, it wants “stability” in manufacturing. In this piece, Andrew explains why China is worried about the fall in the manufacturing share, and whether it can be stopped.

    2
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    No Exit

    “We are not here to close spreads,” proclaimed European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde last March. “This is not the function or the mission of the ECB.” After the market took her at her word, Lagarde hastily back-tracked, and the ECB duly spent the following months doing exactly what Lagarde had said it would not.

    3
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    Can Covid Vaccines Cure The Pound?

    The British pound has been the strongest major currency so far this year, contrary to Anatole’s expectations at the end of 2020. In this piece he outlines three reasons for sterling’s outperformance, but maintains that in the long term the pound will be forced lower.

    5
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    The Changing Composition Of US Inflation

    Investors are all in a tizz about US inflation as the economy begins to normalize and the effect of a huge fiscal stimulus is factored into calculations. Inflation expectations are above the Federal Reserve’s target at 2.2% and energy base effects mean the personal consumption expenditure reading is sure to rise from December’s 1.3%. So far, market action has been focused in the bond market (see A Discussion On Treasury Yields) but equity...

    2
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    Draghi’s Reform Plan And Asset Prices

    Newly installed as Italy’s prime minister at the head of a broad coalition, on Wednesday Mario Draghi outlined an ambitious agenda of structural reforms. Notably, the former European Central Bank chief wants to oversee a root-and-branch overhaul of Italy’s tax system, while investing in the education system and streamlining public administration. His first task will be to steer Italy through the pandemic. But beyond that, Draghi’s plans could...

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    A Discussion On Treasury Yields

    In recent days, long-dated US treasury yields have made a clear move higher. Unless there’s a violent turnaround in the coming days, February will mark the seventh consecutive month of flat-to-negative returns for treasuries This is an important development, with potentially far-reaching investment implications. Anatole and Louis discuss the outlook for yields, and the consequences for asset prices.

    11
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    Webinar: Emerging Markets In The Next Phase Of The Pandemic

    Emerging markets have had a strong run, fueled by floods of stimulus in developed markets. Much of that money has flowed to Asia, where export sectors have thrived on rich-world consumers’ demand for electronics and other goods. The question is whether Asian EMs will be able to keep up this outperformance as they lag far behind in the vaccination race. Our team addressed these issues, and considered whether commodity-based EMs can again have...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Stuck At Home For The Holidays

    China spent the Lunar New Year indoors and online. Travel over the seven days of the holiday declined 77% from 2019 levels, but sales of major retailers increased by 4.9%. In this Quick Take, Ernan explains how holiday restrictions and the January Covid outbreak in north-eastern China has depressed services and boosted retail sales.

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    Geared To Global Recovery

    Since the global recovery trade got going at the beginning of November, Japanese equities have performed respectably, returning some 24% in US dollar terms. But they have not outperformed. This is disappointing. With high operating leverage—the ratio of fixed to variable costs—and more than half their revenues generated overseas, Japanese corporates should be a clear play on global recovery. Indeed, the consensus-beating 3% QoQ rise in Japan’s...

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    Optimization And Fragility

    I have played rugby for most of my life, but in recent years I have seldom been injured. This is because I have grown heavier and slower. It is the guys who are fast and agile that tear knee ligaments and strain hamstrings. Why do I bring this up? Because investors need to ask whether the global economy is a slow but resistant lumbering beast of burden. Or is it a finely-tuned machine in danger of spinning off its axis? Gavekal has touched on...

    1
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    China Versus The Anglosphere

    Beijing’s ability to weaponize its global trade power is concentrating minds from Washington to Canberra. On Tuesday it was reported that China has proposed controls on the production and export of rare earths. This threat is the latest example of why reducing critical dependence on Chinese trade is now a strategic priority for many countries, in particular those in the Anglosphere.

    13
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Next Steps On Hidden Local Debt

    In 2021, China’s central government is gearing up to once again tackle the hidden debts of local authorities, toughening its stance after a couple of lax years. As Wei explains in this piece, the solution is likely to be a mixed one, combining limits on new borrowing, partial bailouts of some debt, and a lot of kicking the can down the road.

    0
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    The Long Bond Bait And Switch

    Ultra-long bond issuance is back in vogue in Europe. This month Spain has sold €5bn of 50-year bonds at a yield of 1.45%, while Belgium snapped out a 50-year issue at 0.69%. In January it was France, which sold a 50-year at 0.59%. Next up is likely to be Italy, which is expected to take advantage of the tightening in spreads following the appointment of Mario Draghi as prime minister (see Draghi’s Return) to come to market with a 50-year of its...

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    The Importance Of Taiwan

    Across Europe and the US, car plants are getting shuttered because of a shortage of microchips from Asia. This storm is centered on Taiwan, which for decades has been an unsung contract supplier of electronics and chemicals. For those who had not noticed, its firms now dominate high-end global chip production and current industry dynamics mean this grip is only likely to intensify.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Game Theory, With Complications

    Devotees of game theory are set to enjoy a rare drama playing out in front of their eyes in the oil market over the coming months. Since April last year the price of Brent crude has more than tripled. Now, with production constrained, inventories being drawn down, and vaccines promoting hopes of a return towards normal economic activity, expectations are high of further near-term price gains.

    0
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    A New Super-Cycle?

    A surge in commodity prices has led to hopes for a new “super-cycle”. Bulls say that commodities have been in the doghouse for a decade, ensuring limited new capacity additions, yet demand is now getting supercharged globally by easy monetary and fiscal policies. Bears retort that commodity investors have a case of the vapors, as the next phase of global growth, especially in China, will be less resource-intensive.

    5
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    The Trouble With Biden's Climate Plan

    In a frothy market, few sectors are as pumped up as green plays. Since US markets bottomed last March, the Nasdaq composite has generated total returns of 105%. Over the same period the Nasdaq Clean Edge green energy index has returned 403%. Moreover, the outperformance has accelerated since early November, which suggests the green sector’s gains are being driven in part by hopes of a favorable policy environment under Joe Biden’s administration...

    2
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    Vaccines, Efficacy And Variants

    Despite volumes of new information and the lightning creation of vaccines promising a path out of the pandemic, uncertainty remains. Almost daily we are bombarded with a mix of good news (the vaccines work really well!) and bad (new mutations resist vaccines!) that make it hard to know whether we should rejoice or despair. This note provides a framework for assessing these persistent uncertainties.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Economic Impact Of A New Era

    Vaccines, fiscal stimulus and cheap money are working together to bolster the outlook for growth and inflation in the United States. The US is also under new leadership with new priorities. Our US team of analysts explained what this all means for the economy and asset markets.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Propping Up Property Sales

    Housing sales growth is holding up well despite financial tightening and hawkish policymaker rhetoric. In this report, Rosealea explains why regulators are pressuring developers to cut prices, while increased household savings means more families can take advantage of these discounts. 2021 will therefore likely be a strong year for housing sales.

    0
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    A Canary Chirps

    In late January, just as the GameStop squeeze was beginning to attract attention, Louis advised investors “to keep European banks on their screens.” As the canary in the coal mine of global financial markets, eurozone banks would signal broader trouble ahead if they continued to fall. But if they rebounded, it would be a sign the global inflation trade was back on (see Third Time The Charm?).

    0
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    US Inflation Has Many Fathers

    As the economics adage goes, inflation happens when “too much money chases too few goods”. This is an oversimplification but it does contain a core truth: the monetary price of goods is dictated by supply and demand factors that impact both the goods in question, and money itself.

    4
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    US Banks And The Steepening Curve

    The brightening of the US economic outlook and the steepening of the US yield curve over the last three months have been positive for the shares of US commercial banks. The prospect of a return to normal as vaccination quells the pandemic means banks are more willing to extend credit. According to the Federal Reserve’s January senior loan officer survey, far fewer banks are now tightening their lending standards. Experience suggests this will...

    5
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    Will Stimulus Cause US Overheating?

    The US Democrats are declining to cut the size of their stimulus proposals enough to secure bipartisan support, and are instead proposing to push the bulk of their US$1.9trn package through Congress using the reconciliation process (see The State Of Biden’s Stimulus). Their determination has raised fears that pressing ahead with such a large fiscal stimulus at a time when the US output gap appears to be closing fast could prove uncomfortably...

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Profit Cycle Has Peaked

    China’s corporate profits rebounded in 2H20 after a horrific start to the year, but the profit cycle is now close to its peak. Looking past huge base effects, Thomas believes underlying growth will fade toward 10% in the first half of this year and zero in the second—not a bad macro outcome, but slower profits usually weigh on equity markets.

    0
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    Video: An Indian Blowout?

    Indian risk assets have ripped in response to last week's big-spending budget, and reports that a collapse in Covid-19 cases points to the country having achieved "herd immunity" ahead of max vaccinations. In this video, Udith considers both India's public health situation and the chances of fiscal stimulus kick-starting growth without spurring an adverse financial reaction.

    0
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    Webinar: Uncharted Territory And Portfolio Construction

    Charles has sought to codify his many investment rules into a rigorous portfolio construction framework, which includes identifying periods when returns stop being normally distributed and move into the "tails". Right now markets could be going through a phase change, and in this webinar, he explained why. He was joined by Didier, who who heads the quant team in Paris, and Louis.

    0
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    After GameStop

    Yesterday saw Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen chair a meeting of US financial regulators to assess the fallout of recent frenzied trading in “meme stocks”. There is unlikely to be a Dodd-Frank type response to this episode but a new administration may be motivated to act decisively. Yet the effect of GameStop may go wider, so consider the effect on the four key actors in the saga.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Other Emerging Markets

    Until hit by a wobble in late January, emerging markets enjoyed heavy portfolio inflows over the last several months, and there are signs the risk aversion wobble is fading. Although the macro picture favors the currencies of Asia’s manufacturers, other less prominent forces could cause the currencies of non-Asian, commodity-exporting emerging markets to outperform.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Falling Behind On Vaccination

    Despite its early successes in containing Covid-19, China is lagging Western countries in rolling out a mass vaccination program. In this report, Ernan explains why Chinese policymakers are not treating mass vaccination as an urgent issue and why a slow vaccine rollout could result in a drag on economic growth in late 2021.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Six Reasons To Stay Bullish

    Is the recent speculative mania the beginning of the end of the post-2009 bull market in stocks? Or is it only the end of the beginning? Anatole argues that today’s speculation is reminiscent of the later stages of dot-com bubble, but he remains a confirmed bull on global equities. In this paper he offers six reasons why this is no contradiction.

    5
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    Draghi’s Return

    Say what you like about Mario Draghi, but he’s not one to shirk responsibility in a crisis. Almost 10 years after he took the helm at the European Central Bank to steer the eurozone through its debt crisis, on Wednesday he is due to meet Italian president Sergio Mattarella, who will ask him to form a government and take over as prime minister.

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