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E.g., 19-01-2022
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Further Easing For 2022

    China’s Q4 economic data release was presaged by a policy rate cut by the People’s Bank of China as officials work to counteract the country’s mounting economic headwinds. The Dragonomics team believes that China will continue to face downside risks; policymakers are therefore likely to ramp up supportive measures accordingly in the coming months.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Investing Through Inflation

    When assessing the impact of inflation on US markets, Charles has long believed that its actual level is irrelevant. Instead, it is necessary to determine whether price growth is accelerating or decelerating. He uses this insight to present a new framework for investing in inflationary times.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Behind The Incredible Export Boom

    Chinese export growth ostensibly continues to outpace the rest of the world this year, but Thomas believes this could in part be due to misleading data. Exporters have been incentivized to reduce their under-invoicing, which has in turn materially inflated China’s export growth over the past three years.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Housing Demand Begins To Stabilize

    Chinese policymakers are scaling back their crackdown on real estate, having signaled a pivot towards prioritizing stable growth. The change in rhetoric has had a visible effect on the housing market, with a particularly sharp pickup in sales volumes in late December. This should lead to a further sequential improvement in sales and prices in Q1.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Covid Containment Evolves

    After a string of outbreaks, China’s Covid strategy is evolving. No longer aiming for zero cases, authorities are focused on quickly containing local outbreaks. This has mostly worked well, and travel will be less restricted over the Lunar New Year holiday. But the harsh lockdown in Xi’an shows what can go wrong if the virus gets out of hand.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Implications Of The Kazakhstan Protests

    Violent protests triggered by rising energy prices have rocked Kazakhstan in recent days, prompting President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to call in the Russian military in an attempt to restore control. Tom examines what the current unrest means for energy prices and the region’s power balance.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    SWOT Analysis For 2022

    Despite a spate of exogenous shocks in 2021, currency markets largely remained placid, bonds barely sold off and the US equity market continued to scale new heights. This year, however, the global policy backdrop is shifting. Clearly, 2022 will be different from 2021. But how different? Louis analyzes the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the new year.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Rethinking The International Liquidity Crisis

    In recent weeks Charles has published a series of reports assessing changes in the reserve of value that underpins the global financial system. In this report, he returns to one of his older frameworks for the US-dollar-centered system to see if it still has explanatory power. He concludes that it does, but he is not reassured by the findings.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Money Supply, Reconsidered

    Money sits at the heart of the economy and financial markets. At a time when inflation is taking off and the US Federal Reserve is starting to scale back its money printing, investors badly need a single reliable gauge of US money supply—not a dozen or more. In this report, Will offers a new measure of money supply that he believes is suitable for today’s conditions.

    19
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Currency Policy Gets More Hands-On

    The People’s Bank of China raised its foreign-exchange reserve-requirement ratio for the second time this year, a clear signal to markets that it wants to cool down currency appreciation. Wei explains that that the central bank is less worried about speculative market action and more concerned that the renminbi is simply getting too strong.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Big Blades, Big Dreams

    China is the largest market for wind power and the biggest producer of wind turbines. Yet turbines cannot easily be exported, and Chinese firms have found themselves mostly confined to the domestic market. In this report, Dan explains why China’s large presence in wind power development does not mean that it will be globally dominant.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    After The Squeeze Comes The Consolidation

    The financial woes of China’s property developers are piling up and the government is offering only limited support. In this report, Xiaoxi explains why the tight regulations on developer fundraising will gradually force private firms to transfer assets to state-owned firms—which appears to be exactly what policymakers are hoping for.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Evolving China-Africa Nexus

    China struck a blow in its battle with the United States for global influence last week. As the US and Europe slapped travel bans on African countries over omicron fears, China’s foreign minister was in Africa pledging 1bn Covid vaccines, US$40bn in credit and investment, and greater access to the Chinese domestic market.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Regulatory Risks Remain

    China’s crackdown on internet companies is far from over. The government is pursuing a broader rectification of internet business practices, and regulators have been given tougher enforcement powers and broader reach. Ernan and Thomas explain that while this environment may not be terrible for all internet companies, it is still a risky one.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Property Becomes A Fiscal Burden

    With a downturn in property intensifying China’s economic slowdown, hopes are rising that a pickup in infrastructure investment will help stabilize growth in 2022. But as Wei argues in this piece, the property downturn is becoming a major drag on local-government finances, which will limit their ability to boost public works spending.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The New, Yet Forgotten, Inflation Force

    The global economy and global energy markets were transformed by China’s dramatic expansion of the last 20 years. Most of that growth was fueled by coal, which now finds itself in policymakers’ crosshairs—even in China. Louis assesses the world’s energy mix and asks what the macroeconomic implications will be of a pronounced move away from the dirty fuel.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Next Wave Of Bank Stress

    The downturn in China’s property sector will be a strain on smaller banks, which are less well-capitalized and often more exposed to the real-estate sector than their larger counterparts. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains why regulators are likely to take a hands-off approach to the problem, tolerating bank closures and encouraging bank mergers.

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    Gavekal Research

    Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

    The US dollar has long been a poor reserve of value. For decades, German bunds did the job. But negative yields mean they no longer fit the bill. That leaves the US equity market as the world’s chosen reserve of value—with far-reaching implications that Charles explores in this landmark paper.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Economy Retreats With Modi

    Last week saw India's prime minister Narendra Modi stun political friend and foe alike with a decision to repeal the laws that underpinned his flagship reform of India’s sclerotic agricultural sector. Udith argues that the likely losers from Modi’s U-turn will be the poor, as India’s structural growth prospects have just taken a big knock.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Stimulus Won't Be Green

    As the sharp downturn in China’s property sector continues to deepen, hopes for the stabilization of economic growth are turning to the prospect of a “green stimulus” via two new lending tools. In this report, Wei explains why the impact of these tools is likely to be negligible, as they are no substitute for an actual relaxation of macro policy.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Dual Strategy For Semiconductors

    China’s drive for semiconductor sovereignty is entering a new phase, with government and industry converging on a dual strategy to reduce vulnerability to US sanctions. First, create a domestic supply chain for mature chip technology; second, invest in new technologies that could offer a different path to competing with leading-edge products.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Charging The Future

    The world needs more batteries, both to power electric vehicles and store electricity for green power grids. China is in a prime position to meet that demand as it already commands a large majority of both current and planned production capacity. It is therefore probable that Chinese firms will be commanding leading positions in a decade’s time.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Real Yield Mystery

    One of Will’s key calls for 2021 was that real yields on US treasuries would rebound from their deeply negative levels. But despite the news of Fed tapering, real yields have remained stubbornly low. Here, Will examines a number of factors that may be offsetting the expected effect of tapering and concludes investors should be wary a rise in real yields on treasuries.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    South Korea’s First-Mover Problem

    South Korea's central bank was the first in Asia to raise interest rates this cycle. Yet despite its apparent prudence, the market has focused on Korea’s worsening growth outlook and the BoK’s apparent limited scope to ease monetary policy. Vincent assesses the outlook for one of Asia’s powerhouse economies.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Inflation Is Still Not A Problem

    China reported a record surge in its producer price index, prompting fears that the country is both a victim of the same supply-chain shocks facing the US and an exporter of further inflationary pressures. Thomas explains that while these concerns are unfounded, domestic growth momentum is the real problem.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Return Of The Kitsune

    In Japanese folklore, a kitsune is a magical, very wily, nine-tailed fox who wriggles out of tricky situations. It resembles our financial markets, which have a doughty ability to manage “tail risks”. Last year, Louis wrote a series of articles looking at such risks and today returns to that theme in a substantially changed investment context.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    A Contrarian View On Brazil

    An inverted yield curve usually points to trouble ahead, and Brazil’s just flipped for the first time in five years. Add to that a botched Covid response, blowout fiscal deficits and political risk, and the next year may be one of living dangerously in Brazil. But given attractive valuations, Udith says there are good reasons for investors to take that risk.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Mortgage Easing Begins

    China’s outstanding mortgage loans grew in October, confirming anecdotal reports that banks have been allowed or encouraged to pick up the pace of mortgage lending. Wei and Xiaoxi explain that while more relaxation measures are likely on the way for property developers, it’s too early to say that their financial conditions are improving.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Politics And Policy In Common Prosperity

    It’s now been a year since top leader Xi Jinping first laid out his new goal of achieving “common prosperity,” but how exactly that new slogan translates into government policy still remains rather unclear. As Andrew explains in this piece, that’s because common prosperity is ultimately more of a political campaign than a coherent policy agenda.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Conservative But Costly Plan

    A major concern of negotiators and activists at this month’s global climate meetings is the size and credibility of China’s decarbonization commitment. However, as Arthur and Rosealea explain there are good reasons to believe that climate goals will play a large role in China’s policy mix in the coming decade—with large risks to economic growth.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Case Against Easing

    Even though growth has been very disappointing in China, markets are not pricing in more monetary easing from the central bank. In this piece, Wei reviews the arguments currently being made for keeping interest rates on hold—and finds them all wanting. China’s policymakers are indeed being quite conservative, but will still end up cutting rates.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    The Fed Turns Inflation Risk Manager

    At the start of 2021, not many investors expected the Federal Reserve to close the year by winding down its asset purchases. So why is it now tapering, and what comes next for US monetary policy and markets? In this piece, Will seeks to explain.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Risks Of The Property Tax Transition

    China’s property market is heading into uncharted territory following a formal authorization for the government to carry out regional pilots of a property tax. The goals of such a tax are clear: reduce speculation and diversify local government revenues. However, Rosealea explains that the transition to this tax will be tricky and not without risk.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Decarbonization’s Disruptions

    Media attention at this month’s COP26 climate talks in Glasgow will focus on which promises governments make to combat climate change. Yet this distracts from the substantive questions the world will need to grapple with in the next several years as the promised energy transition moves into gear.

    9
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Sticking With Zero Tolerance

    With tight border controls and extensive domestic tracing, China remains one of the few countries in the world still maintaining a zero-tolerance approach towards Covid-19. Ernan explains that officials consider the policy a success relative to the alternative of widespread Covid and will likely keep it in place for at least another year.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Venture Capital After The Tech Rout

    China’s wave of regulatory actions against internet companies has left venture-capital and private-equity investors feeling on edge. While the new policy environment demands a rethink for investors, many believe they can still find promising investments. Of bigger concern is whether new regulations will make it harder to exit their positions.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The EU’s Ambitious Roadmap To Net Zero

    Europe has by far the most ambitious decarbonization program among major regions, targeting net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a -55% reduction from the 1990 level by the end of this decade. Cedric has examined the European Union's plans for achieving this goal, and in this article outlines the likely impact on key sectors of the economy.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Back On The Road Again

    In the last couple of weeks Louis has been on the road, meeting clients face-to-face for the first time in 18 months. In this report, he distills some of the spirit of those conversations, addressing hot button topics from the sharp run-up in energy and commodity prices, through China’s economic slowdown, to the increase in tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

    11
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Decision Rule For Chinese Equities

    For investors trying to buy the dip in Chinese equities, there is one reliable indicator—the government’s macroeconomic policy, as proxied by private-sector credit growth. In this report, Thomas outlines a robust decision rule for asset allocators: when credit growth is accelerating, buy equities; when it’s decelerating, buy government bonds.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Ghost Trains And The Chinese Debt Mountain

    Fears about a debt crisis erupting in the world’s most financially vulnerable nations have receded, but there is still uncertainty over how developing economies will manage their debt repayments. The biggest lender to low- and middle-income countries is China, and a new study estimates that debt owed to China has been severely underreported.

    5
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Solving The Power Crisis

    To solve China’s power shortages, planners are both liberalizing electricity prices and browbeating mines to produce more coal. In this report, Rosealea explains that while getting through the crisis will require a rebound in coal-fired power, energy price liberalization should support China’s environmental goals in the long run.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Troubling Signal In US Savings

    In recent months, the US net national savings rate—the share of income unconsumed—has ticked lower. It may seem a small concern as the Federal Reserve prepares to taper, but if the rate of genuine savings continues to fall over coming quarters, it will be a danger signal both for asset markets and for US economic growth.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Building The Bubble-O-Meter

    Charles is somewhat tired of reading general descriptions of US equities being in a bubble, with little serious empirical backing to support the assertion. In this piece, he sets out to build an objective tool to answer the bubble, or not, question. Spoiler alert: he thinks investors would do well to re-assess their hedges.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Long Winter For Small Business

    China’s small businesses are having a rough 2021: business conditions have stagnated or deteriorated since the recovery in late 2020. There’s been much debate on the causes of their struggles, but the biggest culprits are the ripple effects from the government’s zero-tolerance Covid policy and its tightening of credit and real-estate policies.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Sun King

    As the US and Europe pursue more serious green agendas, they are wondering if they can wrest back production of solar power from China. The answer: probably not. China is not just the low-cost producer, but also the technological leader. In this piece, Dan explains why the global deployment of solar energy will depend heavily on China.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What, Me Worry?

    There is a growing drumbeat of commentary arguing that today’s shortages of everything from microchips to natural gas must end in an inflationary blowout and a return to the lascivious 1970s. Anatole thinks that today’s shortages are likely to correct relatively quickly, and for investors the coming period is more likely to resemble the 1950s.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Fixing Italy

    The results of this weekend's municipal elections in Italy look to have buttressed Mario Draghi’s national unity government, which is half way through an ambitious overhaul of core institutions that have failed the country for decades. With 70% of Italians favoring Draghi’s initiative, and no general election due until mid-2023, the betting is that he gets to finish the job.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Q&A: China’s Investibility

    In the last few weeks, as China Evergrande’s financial troubles have deepened, Louis and Gavekal’s China team have fielded a spate of questions from clients about China’s investibility. In this paper, Louis offers a distillation of these conversations, presented in a question-and-answer format.

    16
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Developers Need Loans

    How much financial stress can China’s developers take? Thanks to strict financial regulation and slowing sales, every channel of financing for developers is now tightening simultaneously. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains how this puts pressure on policymakers to ease those financing restrictions, and why bank lending is the most likely beneficiary.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    After The German Election

    The results of this Sunday’s German federal election are unlikely to generate any shocks when markets reopen on Monday. Nonetheless, the precise colors of the coalition that eventually emerges will matter a great deal to investors. Cedric reviews the possible coalition compositions and outlines what they will mean for fiscal policy, European integration and China.

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