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E.g., 14-04-2021
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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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    Gavekal Research

    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 Research

    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.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Turn In Asian Inflation

    Over the last year, a collapse in oil and commodity prices slashed inflation in Southeast Asia and buoyed real interest rates. As a result, regional central banks were able to cut policy rates and mitigate the impact of massive Covid disruption. However, this disinflationary tailwind is set to abruptly reverse in the coming months as inflationary pressure inevitably builds up. Ultimately, this rise in prices may wash through the system as a “...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Paradox Propelling Asian Currencies

    This year, the world is likely to see a sharp bifurcation in economic performance. In developed economies, mass vaccination programs enable a return to economic normality, while in emerging markets, vaccine supply and distribution problems will slow recovery. Paradoxically, EM economic underperformance will favor the outperformance of emerging Asia’s currencies.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Lure Of Korea In A Rotation

    Hopes for a return to normality as Covid vaccines get rolled out have helped fuel a global rotation from growth to value equities, and from previous “Covid winners” to “Covid losers”. Due to its better pandemic management, clear policy headroom and exposure to the electronics sector, Asia has generally been a Covid winner. Hence, Udith Sikand and myself have argued that beaten-up non-Asian markets are the way to play this rotation (see Asia’s...

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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s Fully-Priced Winners

    In the league table of Covid winners and losers, emerging Asia’s equity markets rank among the winners. The perception among international investors is that East Asian societies handled the outbreak better than Europe and the US, and better than non-Asian emerging economies. On top of that, Asian governments rolled out unconventional monetary and fiscal support relatively early, and regional exporters have benefited from solid external demand...

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, December 2020

    The US equity market is seeing a switch from the winners of the pandemic like technology and online retail, to the beaten-up losers such as travel plays. At the same time, hopes for a strong economic recovery in 2021 are juicing up value stocks. Similar dynamics are being seen in other major markets. Our team of analysts discussed what happens next, and what’s in store in 2021.

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    Gavekal Research

    Asian Bonds Remain Attractive

    Two weeks ago, the central banks of Indonesia and the Philippines each lowered their policy rates by 25bp, making their first rate cuts since the summer. Although the moves came as a surprise to the markets, they should not have done. Across Asia real interest rates are generally positive, and in some cases are above their long term averages, while inflation rates are modest. This gives central banks plenty of room to reduce nominal rates to...

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Hong Kong Under The National Security Law

    Hong Kong has spent five months living under a tough national security law imposed on it from Beijing. The direct impact has been a sharp curtailment of opposition political activity that has sparked sanctions from the United States. Now, China has plans for more changes to Hong Kong's legal system, with a requirement for judges to be patriots. In yesterday’s webinar, Vincent Tsui, Dan Wang, Tom Holland and Simon Pritchard discussed the...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Upside For Asian Currencies

    As global uncertainty has started to recede following the US election result and on the promise of effective coronavirus vaccines, so the skies have begun to clear for Asian currencies. Recently the components of the East Asia ex-China currency complex have begun to appreciate across the board at an accelerating rate. The conditions are ripe for this to continue.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Hong Kong's Resilience

    Massive inflows of capital into Hong Kong’s financial system ahead of this week’s record-breaking US$34bn IPO for Chinese fintech giant Ant Group represent a major vote of investor confidence in Hong Kong’s future as a financial center, just months after many international commentators were writing the city’s obituary following Beijing’s imposition of a sweeping national security law. Vincent explores the underpinnings of this confidence.

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Divergence In Emerging Markets

    Emerging markets have had very different pandemic experiences and the effects are showing up in economic data and market performance. Northeast Asian economies offer strong growth opportunities while southeast Asia is muddling through in a way that favors bond investors. The good news in Asia is that struggling economies such as India and Indonesia are pursuing reform initiatives. The picture is less rosy in Latin America, while Turkey offers...

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    Gavekal Research

    Different Strokes For Different EM Folks

    Last spring, key beneficiaries of the rich world’s fiscal and monetary largesse were emerging market economies, which enjoyed unprecedented policy flexibility that gave broad-based, if not universal, financial relief. The next turn in this crisis is, however, unlikely to float as many boats, as shown by divergent inflationary trends across EM economies.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Gauging Asian Resilience

    Since the panicked sell-off of March, Asian emerging markets have been a relative bastion of stability. Northeast Asian equities have done well as effective pandemic control and strong export markets have powered an economic recovery, while Southeast Asia has offered bond investors solid returns as liquidity from aggressive policy easing has mostly flown into safe assets. In this video interview, Vincent discusses whether the equilibrium will be...

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    Gavekal Research

    Not Quite A Game-Changer

    Earlier this week, Indonesia passed a sweeping “omnibus law” aimed at attracting foreign investment by lowering taxes, reducing labor costs and cutting red tape. In pushing through the new law, president Joko Widowo hopes to capture a slice of Asia’s shifting manufacturing-for-export business, as regional supply chains migrate away from China.

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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s North-South Covid Divide

    If anywhere has been a winner from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is east Asia. Compared to other big regions, it has suffered lower infections, fewer deaths and incurred less economic damage. However, that generalization simplifies a big difference between its northern and southern regions, which have had quite different experiences that is also impacting the investment arena.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Trouble Brewing In Thailand

    Thailand is no stranger to political discontent. But the mounting street protests of the last few months are different. Not only do they unite former rival factions, for the first time the monarchy is a target of popular criticism, and these demonstrations are taking place against the backdrop of an economy hit disproportionately hard by Covid-19.

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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s Winners In The US-China Tech War

    The US government has stepped up its campaign against China’s leading technology companies, and already the measures against Huawei are taking effect. This threatens to severely disrupt global electronics supply chains, but creates opportunities for companies elsewhere in Asia. Vincent assesses who stands to benefit.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Covid-19's Investment Implications For Asia

    Asia has handled the pandemic decently well and its solid macroeconomic fundamentals means it does not face any kind of solvency crisis. The problem for investors is that the growth outlook remains pretty grim, with limited prospects for a swift improvement. As a result, investors should stick with local currency bonds, which look well set in this environment.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Model Pupil Still Has Problems

    Asia is seen as having had a “good” Covid-19 crisis, as it learnt vital lessons from the 2003 Sars outbreak and its policymakers have been typically more frugal than their Western peers.The problem with such generalizations, argue Udith and Vincent, is that they conceal huge discrepancies among countries.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Perfect Asian Proxy

    The Federal Reserve’s new policy framework seems set to keep US monetary policy easier for longer, with the main victim being the dollar. Asian currencies now look well primed and the question for investors is how to play this trend given the very different experiences being had by regional economies. Fortunately, there is a simple answer: just buy the Singapore dollar.

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    Gavekal Research

    Keep Chasing Asian Yield

    As US equities brush up against new highs and safety assets like gold and treasuries sell off, global risk appetite has risen this week. Investors are betting that a vaccine for Covid-19 is at hand and if not, the world is at least learning to live with the virus. A potential beneficiary of this situation may be Asian bond markets, where quite decent yield can still be had.

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    Gavekal Research

    Not All Tech Markets Are Created Equal

    Aided by lockdown effects, Big Tech has rolled out some stellar results. Self-isolating consumers have replaced devices and devoured cloud computing services, spurring a new upgrade cycle. Such demand has boosted Asia’s tech supply chain, but surging hardware demand is about to become more specific, with some segments facing excess supply and others sustained tightness.

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    Gavekal Research

    Unpicking The Tourism Effect

    Despite a worsening Covid-19 situation in many big developing economies and concerns over central banks’ monetization responses, emerging market investors continue to climb the wall of worry, betting that a putative “second wave” does not stymie the recoveries of developed economies and China. But another challenge for EM economies is a collapse in foreign tourism.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Singapore's Policy Path

    Just days after securing another five years in power at the ballot box, Singapore’s government announced that the island republic’s gross domestic product contracted a worse-than-expected -12.6% year-on-year in the second quarter. However, with large accumulated fiscal reserves, the government has considerable scope to spend in order to stimulate Singapore’s economy.

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    Gavekal Research

    Testing The Boundaries Of QE

    One major emerging market central bank this week sailed boldly into waters others have so far feared to navigate, when Bank Indonesia agreed to buy IDR574trn (US$40bn or 3.6% of GDP) of government bonds in the primary market at below market interest rates, so beginning the direct monetary financing of the Indonesian government’s fiscal deficit.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Singapore Beyond July's Election

    Although a new opposition political party is making Singapore’s current election season somewhat more interesting than past campaigns, the outcome is not in doubt: the ruling People’s Action Party will be confirmed in power for another five-year term. In this short video interview, Vincent looks beyond the July 10 poll to survey the economic and market outlook for the island republic.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Behind The Resilience Of Hong Kong's Markets

    Hong Kong has been beset by a string of bad news, from mass street protests, through Covid-19, to national security legislation of unknown scope and severity imposed by the mainland. Yet you wouldn’t guess it from looking at the city’s property market—the world’s priciest—or its stock market where several mainland tech companies are lining up to do their initial public offerings. Vincent explains the disconnect.

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Emerging Market Update, June 2020

    In yesterday’s webinar, Udith Sikand, Vincent Tsui and Tom Miller joined Arthur Kroeber to present the general outlook for emerging market assets and currencies, as well as discuss the situation in India.

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    Gavekal Research

    Picking Winners In Asian Currencies

    A terms of trade improvement and the relative resilience of electronics demand have helped support Asian currencies through the coronavirus crisis despite the deep contraction in world trade. Now as the world emerges from lockdown, any recovery in external demand, coupled with any revival of risk appetite that sees capital flow out of the safe haven US dollar, will be positive for Asian currencies.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Webinar: China's Economic Outlook After The NPC

    China research director Andrew Batson was joined by China macroeconomist Wei He and Asia analyst Vincent Tsui to discuss the news from the National People's Congress and what it means for China's economic recovery, the likely direction of fiscal and monetary policy, and the consequences of Hong Kong's national security law.

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Future Of Hong Kong

    Louis Gave, Simon Pritchard and Vincent Tsui joined Arthur Kroeber to talk about the national security law which China's National People's Congress announced it will implement in Hong Kong, and what this could mean for Hong Kong's future as a global financial center.

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    Gavekal Research

    Surviving A US$100bn Funding Gap

    Developing economies are struggling from reduced trade and harder access to capital. They also face a US$109bn cut in remittance income this year as construction sites in the rich world close, ships stay in port and restaurants are shuttered. This could spur a spiral of poverty and protest that ends with debt defaults that even suck in well-managed emerging markets.

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: What Does Covid-19 Mean For Emerging Markets?

    So far the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have been a less significant health event in most emerging markets. Yet EMs are bound to suffer a lot of economic damage not only from their own lockdowns but also from the demand collapse in Europe and the US. Udith Sikand and Vincent Tsui analyzed where the investment opportunities lie, and Tom Miller offered the prognosis for India.

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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Emerging Markets Under Pressure

    Aside from China, emerging markets have not been hit as hard as rich countries by Covid-19, but their asset markets have been hammered. An optimistic view holds that undervalued EM assets can now bounce back. Udith and Vincent are more cautious: a dollar-squeeze could yet hurt markets that have otherwise decent fundamentals and attractive valuations.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Benefit Of Panicking Early

    Among industrialized nations, Taiwan stands out as the least affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Taiwan chose to “panic early” by barring entry to foreign travelers, enforcing strict quarantines and assiduously tracking potential infections. The payoff has been no material disruption to domestic activity, which should lead to continued outperformance of the Taiwan dollar.

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    Gavekal Research

    Asia Goes Unconventional

    China just unveiled a -6.8% year-on-year fall in 1Q20 output and the ricochet effect is being felt beyond its borders. Neighboring economies face shrunken demand and are being forced to ditch fiscal rectitude and other economic orthodoxies. In some cases, monetary responses look a lot like quantitative easing. These emerging economies’ capacity for such action varies greatly.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Problem For Emerging Markets

    Despite aggressive policy moves in recent days, emerging market asset values have continued to crater. These moves are the result of lost demand and supply chain disruption but also the fear of a financing shock from a squeeze in US dollar funding. Despite many emerging economies having solid fundamentals, there are reasons to think things will get worse for investors before they improve.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Hong Kong's Viral Woes

    For Hong Kong’s economy, already in recession after eight months of anti-government street protests, the Chinese coronavirus outbreak comes as a fresh blow falling on the existing bruise. Inevitably, the effect will be painful. Yet as Vincent explains, the Hong Kong economy has considerable resilience.

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    Gavekal Research

    Opportunities In Asian Easing

    Economists are still trying to assess how severe the economic fallout from China’s coronavirus outbreak will be for the rest of the region, but local central banks are not waiting to find out, and are already either cutting interest rates or promising to cut them. As policymakers cut rates, some will offer opportunities for emerging market investors.

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    Gavekal Research

    Audio & Transcript — Gavekal Research Call February 2020

    In yesterday’s research call, Vincent Tsui and Tom Holland joined Arthur Kroeber to discuss the coronavirus outbreak, what it means for Chinese and regional economic growth, and how investors should position themselves during this period of rapid news flow and high market volatility.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Covid-19 And Emerging Markets

    The rapid spread of Covid-19 has spooked investors and triggered steep sell-offs in Chinese and Asian markets. But there are good reasons to hope the spread of the disease will be contained in the coming weeks, at which point Chinese and regional equities can recover.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Post-Election Upside For Taiwan

    Contrary to investor fears, the victory of Chinaskeptic Tsai Ing-wen in last weekend’s Taiwanese presidential election is unlikely to lead to a marked further deterioration of cross-straits relations between Taipei and Beijing. With that risk off the table, explains Vincent, the coast is clear for an improving electronics cycle to support the local stock market.

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    Gavekal Research

    Asia's Currency Manipulators

    The US decided on Tuesday to drop its designation of China as a currency manipulator. Beyond the short term politics of US-China bilateral relations, the Treasury's report was also notable for the countries named on its “monitoring list” of potential currency manipulators. Among emerging Asia’s economies, these included Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Taiwan Chooses, Hong Kong Reacts

    Taiwan goes to the polls on Saturday in a presidential election where pro-independence incumbent Tsai Ing-wen looks like a shoo-in against the more China-friendly Kuomintang candidate. Tsai is unlikely to push China’s red lines and cross-strait relations should not be imperiled. Vincent also addresses the related issue of Beijing replacing its top representative in Hong Kong with a senior apparatchik.

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    Gavekal Research

    A Rentier's Paradise

    For East Asia’s emerging economies, these are the best and the worst of times. Bad news can be seen in slowing trade, deglobalization effects and China’s structural slowdown rendering the commodity “super cycle” a memory. Yet they also benefit from good policy choices, contained energy costs and favorable liquidity conditions. Indonesia is the prime example of this low-growth, low-inflation new normal.

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