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    Gavekal Research

    Goldilocks And The Ten Bears (2019)

    Despite last week’s sell-off, the bull market remains intact, for now. In this report Anatole returns to the framework he set out in November 2017, examining the 10 key risks that could threaten global markets over the next 18 months and which investors should monitor closely—and he comes to some surprising conclusions about the central locus of global dangers.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    This Really May Be The Start Of A Year-End Rally

    Although this week started with a violent sell-off, Anatole argues that the stars are aligned for a year-end equity rally, especially in emerging markets. This is because EMs have sold off not on US interest rate worries but a combination of rising oil prices and heightened political risk. Those headwinds now seem to be abating and beaten up markets could surprise before year-end.

    6
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    It's Finally Safe To Buy Sterling

    The pound rose 2% yesterday after a statement from the British government that a Brexit deal could be expected by late this month. That has since been rowed back. Nevertheless, the UK is moving into an endgame where the most plausible outcomes are either a "soft Brexit", or a new referendum which results in the UK remaining in the EU. Both would be good news for sterling.

    5
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    No Deal Could Mean No Brexit

    After European Union leaders rejected Theresa May’s Chequers deal, the UK government is left with only two alternatives, argues Anatole. If Parliament in November is confronted with No Deal or No Brexit, the most likely outcome would be a new referendum and a vote to remain. The result will be a massive appreciation of sterling and a rally in many UK domestic assets.

    9
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    Why The US Cannot Win A Trade War

    The US has made a fundamental policy mistake in pursuing a trade war against China. A Keynesian macroeconomic analysis shows that the US will likely be worst affected by the conflict, while China should escape unscathed and several other emerging markets could be clear gainers. This sell-off may be an ideal opportunity to "buy the dip" in EMs

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    The Most Hated Bull Market In History

    Anatole reviews the state of the US bull market and concludes that it still has legs. He does, however, warn that portfolio strategies which worked well during the disinflationary era since the mid-1980s are unlikely to play well in this bull market’s later stage.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Arithmetic Of Brexit

    If a country votes to make two plus two equal five, that “democratic decision” will eventually be overwritten by the rules of arithmetic. Anatole reckons this is what’s playing out in Britain, as Theresa May’s government struggles to get a parliamentary majority for any realistic Brexit plan. If the situation persists, the only alternative will be another referendum—only this time the choice would be between remain and a far less attractive, but...

    11
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    Time To Buy Brexit Britain

    “Will the Brexit agony never end?” Anatole asked in mid-June. It now seems that the agony may end much sooner than expected. Following last Friday’s decision by prime minister Theresa May to blur all her “red lines” in negotiations with the EU, and—paradoxically—the subsequent resignation of hard-Brexiteer cabinet minister David Davis, the time to start buying cheap British assets may have come.

    4
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    The Terms Of Betrayal

    Will the Brexit agony never end? Theresa May managed this week to remove troublesome amendments attached by the House of Lords to her legislation for taking Britain out of the European Union. But she was immediately in even deeper political trouble. These problems show just why I have been advising clients to avoid any big bets in sterling assets, whether long or short.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    ‘Peak Politics’: Another Chance To Buy The Dip?

    In recent weeks, investors have been hit with multiple political shocks in the shape of Italian politics, American trade policy and global oil shenanigans. But even as President Donald Trump seems to escalate the American “trade war” and Italy’s new prime minister thumbs his nose at Brussels’ budget parsimony, Anatole asks if political risks have in fact peaked, offering a “buy the dip” opportunity.

    0
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    Whether To Buy Italy (And The Euro)

    On Wednesday, Louis argued that the Italian president’s rejection of a proposed coalition finance minister was “worse than a crime, a mistake”. Anatole and Cedric are not so sure. In this paper they examine the two conditions—one political, one financial—that will signal a major buying opportunity in Italy.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Change And Stasis In Italy

    In Italy’s general election on Sunday, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement emerged as the largest single party in each chamber of parliament, and the populist Lega eclipsed Silvio Berlusconi’s Forze Italia to dominate the right of Italian politics. Following these changes, it is hard to see how any plausible combination of parties can secure a stable majority in both houses of parliament. As Cedric and Anatole explain, the most likely...

    0
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    Goldilocks And The Ten Grizzly Bears

    Over the last fortnight, Anatole has written lengthy pieces on why he remains structurally bullish and how investors should play this trend. Today, he takes a realistic look at factors that could disrupt his generally upbeat assessment of the global economy and markets. This piece is a journey into Anatole’s darker side.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Asset Allocation For The Global Bull Market

    On Monday Anatole outlined his fundamental reasons to believe that the world is enjoying a global bull market that still has years to run. Today he reviews the investment recommendations that flow from his thesis, and examines how investors can best play the unprecedented divergence of the US business cycle from the cycles in Europe and the emerging markets.

    2
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    This Is (Still) Not A Peak: It’s A Global Bull Market

    It was almost five years ago that Anatole started to shout loudly that the US equity market had achieved a clear breakout from its more than decade long bear market trading range. His advice has been to stick with the trend. In light of this year’s near across-the-board upward moves in risk assets globally, it would be tempting to back away from this positioning. However, in this piece he argues that the bull market is now going global and so it...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Battle Of Brexit Is Over

    Judging by statements made by two of the most fervent Europhobes in Theresa May’s cabinet, Soft Brexit has emerged the victor over Hard Brexit. While this means the UK's exit will be postponed during a transition period, and possibly beyond, Anatole argues this comes with its own drawbacks and risks. Things are likely to get worse before they get better.

    0
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    The Lost Decade

    Next month will mark the tenth anniversary of the Global Financial Crisis, and the developed world’s GDP per capita still lingers 20-25% below its pre-crisis long term trend. Were there no good economic policies to deal with the aftermath? Far from it, argues Anatole, but four features of post-crisis politics and ideology blocked constructive policy responses.

    4
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    May Day For Hard Brexit

    After the Conservative government of UK prime minister Theresa May lost its parliamentary majority in last week's general election, Anatole argues that the "hard Brexit" strategy formerly pursued by May no longer looks politically viable. That means a Norwegian-style soft Brexit is more likely, which makes sterling assets look relatively attractive.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    ECB Normalization And Why Not To Worry About It

    The US Federal Reserve will almost certainly announce the second of this year’s rate hikes at its next policy meeting on June 14. The week before, on June 8, the European Central Bank will probably state for the first time in years that the risks to the eurozone are now balanced “symmetrically” instead of tilting unequivocally downwards. If they were brave they might even echo Benoit Coeuré, the French governing board member who in an interview...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Points Of Agreement And Dissent

    Last week Louis laid out his roadmap for navigating financial markets in 2017. In this follow-up, Anatole picks up on five debating points, and details where and why he agrees or disagrees with Louis.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Crisis Of Market Fundamentalism

    After 2008, the prevailing market fundamentalism forbade political interventions that could have shared the benefits of capitalism while mitigating its costs to specific people. The result was a post-crisis confusion and disillusionment whose political effects we witnessed last year—and which has not yet ended.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    Only The Start Of The Trumpflation Trade

    Three weeks after the US presidential election, and it looks as though the Trumpflation trade may be running out of puff. Far from it, argues Anatole. With US policy about to swing from monetarist to Keynesian, markets are only at the start of a long term bear market in bonds and a bull market in the US dollar that will have enormous repercussions on asset prices around the world.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    When The Facts Change, I Change My Mind

    After the Brexit vote, Anatole became deeply bearish, fearing that a populist insurgency could unleash a destructive retreat from globalization. With the US electorate seemingly set to reject that pathway on November 8, the likelihood of other nations following Britain by turning in on themselves is greatly diminished.

    17
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    Gavekal Research

    Debate: A Trump Win And The Dollar

    As the world seriously tunes into the US presidential election, four Gavekal partners debate the outlook for the US dollar should Donald Trump emerge victorious and set about his promised remaking of the international security order and global trading system.

    25
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    Gavekal Research

    Why Brexit Still May Not Happen

    With a newly installed British prime minister gravely intoning that “Brexit means Brexit” and having just appointed a cabal of Brexiters to run the UK’s exit strategy from the European Union, it would look to be game-over. Anatole would beg to differ and explains why there remains a strong likelihood that the UK government will change tack in the face of different circumstances than prevailed at the time of last month’s referendum.

    8
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    The Brexit Vote As Harbinger Of A Populist Age, Or Not

    The biggest threat to the world economy is no longer slumping industry in China, failing banks in Italy, unpredictable monetary policies or seesawing oil prices. All these familiar economic problems now pale compared with the political risks of Brexit, a Trump presidency and resurgent nationalism in Germany. Given the common underlying tensions driving political populism in the big advanced economies, Anatole argues that Britons will on June 23...

    9
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    Things Fall Apart

    Over the past century periods of social breakdown have swung the pendulum of power from markets to governments and back. Each crisis ended with a transformation in economic and political thinking. Today, voter anger is a response to the 2008 breakdown of deregulated capitalism. This time, argues Anatole, politicians must reconsider the market fundamentalism that has prevailed in recent decades and design a new system of checks and balances to...

    12
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    Why Brexit Won't Happen

    Among the multiple existential challenges facing the European Union this year—refugees, populist politics, German-inspired austerity, government bankruptcy in Greece and perhaps Portugal—one crisis is well on its way to resolution. Britain will not vote to leave the EU.

    24
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    Gavekal Research

    Brexit: A Blunder To Rank With The Boston Tea Party

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

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    How Corbynomics Could Work

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

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Long Live US Productivity Growth!

    The contrast between last Friday’s strong US employment report and the very pedestrian GDP figures published three days earlier draws renewed attention to the greatest paradox of the post-2008 economic recovery. GDP growth since 2008 has indicated the weakest cyclical expansion on record, but employment growth has been roughly as strong as usual, at least in the US and Britain. Post-crisis US employment has grown fairly steadily at a rate of 1.5...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Osborne’s Budget: Good For The UK, Bad for UK Assets

    After May’s surprise election victory for David Cameron’s Tories—which proved yet again that Britain is a naturally conservative country— expectations were running high for the first truly Conservative budget in the UK for almost 20 years. Yesterday, George Osborne duly delivered an impressive relaunch of British conservatism for the 21st century, in a speech self-consciously modeled on Benjamin Disraeli’s famous “One Nation” budget speeches,...

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    The UK Drama Has Only Just Started

    Although the Tory victory came as a huge surprise, it changes very little about the UK's economic or financial prospects. In that sense the absence of any big reaction in the financial markets is understandable. The pound and the stock market would have fallen steeply in the event of a “hung parliament”—and, certainly, that is the outcome I expected (see The UK Cliffhanger). But now that the prospect of domestic political instability has...

    6
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    The Darkest Hour Before Euro Dawn

    Two weeks ago we suggested that the euro’s decline against the US dollar—probably the clearest consensus trade of 2015—could soon be over. As luck would have it, we published this article on the very day the euro rebounded from a 12-year low against the US dollar of US$1.05 (see Beware The Euro Consensus). Dumb luck of this kind is certainly not evidence of wisdom or special insight. But now that the modest bounce following the euro’s March 13...

    5
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    Greeks Gaming Themselves Out

    Yanis Varoufakis, the new Greek finance minister, is a professor of economics who specializes in game theory, but when it comes to negotiating strategy he has more to learn than to teach. Varoufakis’ idea of a winning strategy is to hold a gun to his own head and then demand a ransom for not pulling the trigger. Not surprisingly, this bluff has been called, first by the German government and now by the European Central Bank. As a result the...

    11
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    Gavekal Research

    The Macro Dividend From Oil

    Now that the markets have dealt with their post-New Year hangover and the buy-on-dips normal service has been resumed, it seems a good time to step back and consider some of the themes that could dominate markets in the months ahead. Here are some suggestions for this year’s main macro stories, with some financial implications at the end.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Catching The Russian Knife

    Why does a country with US$416bn of foreign exchange reserves and a current account surplus bigger than China or Japan relative to the size of its economy, suffer a currency crisis? The obvious answer is that the country is called Russia and it has launched an undeclared war against the US and EU. On closer inspection, however, this year’s 50% devaluation of the ruble, which culminated with an apparent death-plunge on Wednesday morning after the...

    1
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    A Debate: Fade Or Embrace The ECB?

    Client: You published your last quarterly on the various scenarios confronting Europe. And arguably, the recent downturn in global markets finds its source in the fact that European growth has lately come in a lot weaker than most investors expected. Throughout the year, Francois has argued for exposure to Europe’s ‘national victims.’ Do you think that this call still makes sense? We had Anatole pop by the office the other day, mostly to discuss...

    0
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    Europe: Apocalypse Postponed

    Be afraid, be very afraid, if you are an investor in Europe. An “atomic bomb” is going to blow up in “the confrontation between Paris and Brussels”, warns Le Figaro, perhaps the most influential French newspaper, reporting what looks like the inevitable rejection of the French government’s 2015 budget by the European Commission. The same story appeared in other European media outlets this week, with many even attaching a precise date to this...

    5
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    The End Of The UK’s Haven Status

    The outcome of Thursday’s Scottish referendum is officially “too close to call”, since the difference between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ has been inside the margin of error of almost all the polls published since the sudden swing towards independence last weekend. But markets are priced for near certainty of the status quo winning, with sterling stronger than a month ago against the euro, yen, Swiss franc and every other major currency save the dollar—and...

    4
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    Putin's Tolerable Victory

    The ceasefire in Ukraine agreed last Friday has now lasted almost a week. So far there have been no serious signs of a break-down, despite some sporadic shelling and localised attacks of the sort that undermined previous attempts to stop the fighting. Nevertheless, most media analysts and political consultants argue that this ceasefire will not hold, either because Russian president Vladimir Putin is a deceitful and ruthless monster greedy for...

    0
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    Putin’s Tolerable Victory

    The ceasefire in Ukraine agreed last Friday has now lasted almost a week. So far there have been no serious signs of a break-down, despite some sporadic shelling and localised attacks of the sort that undermined previous attempts to stop the fighting. Nevertheless, most media analysts and political consultants argue that this ceasefire will not hold, either because Russian president Vladimir Putin is a deceitful and ruthless monster greedy for...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Scottish Poll A 'Yes' Vote For Volatility

    Until this week almost nobody outside Scotland took very seriously the possibility that Europe’s most stable and durable nation, the only big country on earth not to have suffered invasion, revolution or civil war in the past 300 years, might soon be wiped off the map. It now seems quite conceivable, however, that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will cease to exist within two or three years of the referendum on Scottish...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Market Review: A Summer Series

    In late July and early August Anatole went up the mountain so to speak and penned a series of articles that aimed to explain where we were in the current market cycle, and more importantly where we are likely headed. With most major asset classes continuing to head higher we thought it worth republishing Anatole’s consolidated thinking in a single document. Please click on the pdf link above, or, alternatively, the articles can be read...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Hearing Echoes Of 1987

    In the first four articles in this series, I explained why I believe that a structural bull market in equities began in late 2012 and is likely to continue well into the next decade (see The Case For A Structural Bull Market). But bull markets do not just keep rising without interruption. Sooner or later, equity investors are certain to suffer some large and painful losses, even if I am absolutely right about the economic, monetary and...

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    A Return To Valuation-Driven Markets

    In the earlier articles in this series I argued that the medium term outlook for economic fundamentals and monetary policy is more predictable now than at any time since 2008, and possibly since the late 1990s. If I am right, then over the next year or two asset prices will no longer be driven by the economic statistics and monetary policy decisions which have dominated the post-crisis financial debate and which still obsess market and media...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Monetary Policy Is No Threat To Markets

    In the first two articles of this series, I argued that the US economy has now clearly reached ‘escape velocity’ and that, with little prospect of a renewed recession in the next year or two, investors are forgetting their earlier fears of secular stagnation and becoming increasingly confident about the extraordinary monetary and fiscal policies adopted by all the major world economies (see The Case For A Structural Bull Market and The Global...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Global Obsession With US Data

    In the first article in this series, I argued that what is happening with the global economic cycle strongly influences investors beliefs’ about structural phenomena such as productivity, demographics, capital allocation and debt dynamics (see The Case For A Structural Bull Market). And while it will take many years to settle all the debates between bulls and bears about productivity or debt sustainability or zero interest rates, the cyclical...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Case For A Structural Bull Market

    It’s almost three months since I recommended a ‘Buy in May’ strategy for US equities. At roughly the same time Charles reiterated his ‘balanced portfolio’ call for a long position in US equities hedged with long-dated US treasuries. Since then both equities and bonds have performed well. The S&P 500 has risen almost 6% while 30-year US Treasury bonds have gained about 3% in price.

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    The Lesson Of Sarajevo

    Why does the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand—which lit the fuse to the First World War powder-keg 100 years ago this Saturday—still resonate so powerfully? Almost nobody believes that a Third World War is about to be triggered by the military conflicts in Ukraine or Iraq, or by the tension in the China Seas, yet there are many points of modern relevance in the catastrophe that started a century ago in Sarajevo.

    1
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