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    Gavekal Research

    Lockdown-Lite

    A series of controls have been announced by European countries in reaction to sharp increases in the numbers testing positive for the Sars-CoV-2 virus.This has raised fears of renewed lockdowns and economic havoc. But it appears European policymakers are opting for a lockdown-lite approach to public health restrictions in order to minimize the economic damage.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Riding Europe’s Second Wave

    The latest Covid figures from Europe make sobering reading, with countries including France, Spain and others seeing pronounced second waves of new cases. Equity markets, however, have reserved judgment. Yes, the rebound that started in mid-March has been stalled for the last two months as infections have mounted. However, European markets have not sold off significantly, despite this month’s US volatility. And an examination of the opposing...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Challenge Of Valuing Gold

    Gold ranks as the ultimate “scarcity asset”, as its value is dictated not by its utility but because it is rare. Valuing such assets is tough as there is no “underlying value” to reference and prices are driven by the immediate supply and demand situation. Yet, in periods when both government budget deficits and monetary aggregates have rapidly grown, gold has historically outperformed—and it is doing so now.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    When Export Strength Is A Sign Of Weakness

    China’s manufacturers are back to normal, and then some. Exports and manufacturing output are running faster than their pre-pandemic trend in 2019, even as global trade is contracting. In this piece, Andrew and Thomas explain what’s driving those strong numbers, and why they are actually a sign of continued weakness in the global economy.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Death, Taxes And Covid-19: Things That Cannot Be Avoided

    Six months after the first western countries went into lockdown, data suggest that unless imposed very early on, lockdowns did little to avert excess deaths. With weekly death rates in many western countries now running close to decade lows, Louis argues that this leaves politicians in an awkward spot, with one of three possible policy paths.

    39
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    Gavekal Research

    A British Mad Man

    The world’s worst performing major currency, stock market and economy have all been located in Britain since Boris Johnson was reelected last December. This is not surprising. With hindsight, his decision to outlaw any possible extension of the Brexit transition period as soon as he was reelected fully justified the switch from bullish to bearish on sterling assets that I recommended immediately after this announcement.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Trouble With Covid Testing

    Last week, professional rugby started up again in France. The authorities have decreed that if any team finds that three or more of its players test positive for Covid-19, its games must be played at a later date. This ruling is being rigidly enforced even though in reality a player who tests positive has less than a 50% probability of actually having the disease.

    12
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    Gavekal Research

    Of Gold And Gold Miners

    In recent weeks, attention has focused on the surge, and subsequent correction, in US technology stocks. Yet an asset class that has greatly outperformed the Nasdaq 100 this year is gold-mining equities. In this piece, Charles seeks to develop firmer investment rules for managing gold and gold-mining stocks within a portfolio.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: From Bearish To (Conditionally) Bullish

    Anatole and Will presented their views on the efficacy of US fiscal and monetary policy in response to the Covid crisis, and outlined the prospects for the economy and asset markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable (in French), Sept 2020

    In a turbulent economic environment, Louis sought to identify assets with “anti-fragile” qualities; Cedric deciphered the message from European markets; Didier Darcet refreshed refresh an old Gavekal framework with “Four Quadrants 2.0” and Charles moderated the discussion.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Better Days For Europe’s Domestic Plays

    It is hardly surprising that euro strength is generally bad for European exporter stocks and good for domestically-focused firms; or that exporter-heavy markets, like Germany, tend to lag at such moments. We saw this in 2017, when the euro rose almost 12% against the dollar between April and August, spurring a -2.4% fall in the DAX and a 0.7% gain in the broad Eurostoxx. So how to explain this year’s topsy-turvy markets, where the sprightly DAX...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Desperately Seeking Anti-Fragility (Part II): In The Eye Of The Beholder

    Last month, Louis outlined the four asset classes that investors appear to regard as anti-fragile, now that US treasuries no longer fit the bill. With each of these four asset classes enjoying a roaring bull-run, today Louis examines the typical life cycle that lifts an asset class from unloved hell to anti-fragile heaven, and asks what could plunge the present favorites back down into the depths again.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, September 2020

    Charles Gave, Louis Gave and Will Denyer joined Arthur Kroeber at the global investment roundtable to discuss what's going on in the global economy. Charles identified three big trends that will affect the investment environment in the long term, Will gave an in-dept update on the US economy, and Louis examined where to find assets with “anti-fragile” properties.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Why I Was Right To Turn Bullish

    Two weeks ago, I wrote an article that tried to explain why I had abandoned the bearish view on equities. We will not know for a long time whether any of my explanations make sense, but Jerome Powell’s speech about the Federal Reserve’s new operating philosophy last week made me more confident about my assertion of a once-in-a-generation economic regime change.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Eight Questions, 11 Answers

    With US equities once again at record highs and the Fed promising to keep rates nailed to the floor, it is time to ask hard questions of the bull market that won’t die. That interrogation is conducted by Charles and Louis Gave. In these strange times, the case for owning anti-fragile assets has rarely been stronger, they contend. Four stand out for having weathered the pandemic and should be treated seriously.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Bottom In Sight For European Banks

    No sector has been so beaten down as eurozone banks. But although bad loan ratios are rising, and further big writedowns are on the cards, this bad news is in the price. What is less adequately priced in is the change in policy from the European Union which means there will be no early return to austerity. Eurozone banks may be better placed than investors believe to generate earnings.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    The Euro's Solid Ground

    After a breakneck 10% rally against the US dollar since mid-May, the euro faces headwinds as rising Covid-19 cases means that European nations must re-instigate social distancing measures. Still, Europe’s newly-agreed common purpose in facing such travails makes any sell-off in the single currency a buying opportunity as the unit looks set on a path of structural appreciation.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Making Biarritz Great Again (Part II)

    A few years back Charles and Louis bought into the storied Biarritz Olympique Rugby Club in order to save it from a looming bankruptcy. The ups and downs of this Basque region club during Covid is a microcosm of the French economy’s travails, as the state seeks to protect all players on the field of commerce from both crunching tackles and a spell in the sin bin.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe’s Job-Protection Choices

    Between February and April, some 22mn Americans lost their jobs. The rate of unemployment soared to nearly 15%—four percentage points above its last record high in 1982—but across the pond in Europe joblessness barely budged, inching up to 7.8%, from 7.2% in March. Taking the lead from Germany, governments across Europe decided it was better to keep people in jobs than to fire and rehire them later. As Europe again faces a worsening Covid-19...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Building A New System

    On Monday, Charles argued that developed economies’ moves to nationalize both the creation of money and the distribution of credit would degrade the unit-of-account function played by fiat currencies in many markets. Today, he outlines new monetary mechanisms that are likely to replace, or at least live alongside, fiat currencies.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe's Covid-19 Loan Drag

    In response to the Covid-19 crisis, central banks in Europe have shoveled money to banks in a bid to have them deliver liquidity to stressed companies. A worry is that this new debt binge will weigh down corporate balance sheets for years to come, and limit growth. These concerns are probably overdone.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Destruction Of The Monetary System

    A basic assumption for Charles has long been that the creation of money was not under the control of governments but loosely related to value being added in the private sector of the economy. However, with governments now willfully upending this relationship, he thinks the capitalist system faces its biggest upheaval since 1917.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    How To Pay For Sin In The Future?

    Just as success has many fathers, there are many possible explanations for the upside breakout in gold prices. Obvious explanations include a rapid rise in monetary aggregates across the OECD, the fall in the US dollar and growing US-China tensions. An overlooked explanation is the demise of physical cash as a liquid and easily transportable asset.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Why It Won't Be Hamiltonian

    A number of Gavekal writers, in addition to a good share of investors in eurozone assets, saw last month's embrace of mutualized lending to hard-hit European economies as a game changer. Charles is far from convinced that this move has expunged the original sin of the euro, since the single currency area remains riddled with competitiveness problems.

    14
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe Stares Down A Second Wave

    Europe beat back the Covid-19 outbreak in March and April with decisive responses and reaped the benefit by reopening its economy in the early summer. Now, however, the price of fun in the sun has come due, with a rising case count that has led Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, to label it Europe’s “second wave”. In response to rising infections in Spain, the UK has reimposed quarantine rules on returning travelers from the country, while...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, July 2020

    In our monthly Global Investment Roundtable, US analyst Tan Kai Xian analyzed the latest US data and assessed the risk that the present economic stall-out turns into a double-dip recession. Arthur Kroeber explained why the Trump Administration has amped up its Cold War rhetoric on China. Anatole Kaletsky tied it all together and tried to explain the recent movements in global markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Managing Money In A Keynesian Environment

    When Charles looks at US monetary policy, he gets nostalgic for glam rock and big hair, as he is reminded of 1973. However, rather than go on gut, in this piece he sets out to verify that the Federal Reserve is indeed acting as a “Keynesian” central bank. He does this by considering the relationship between US T-bills and the price of gold.

    17
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    Gavekal Research

    The EU And The Bond Markets

    The European Union’s decision last week to issue an additional €750bn of debt in its own name has profound implications for the euro-denominated bond markets. Firstly, the decision will mark the emergence of the EU (or more specifically the European Commission) as a major—and relatively attractive—issuer, on a par with sizable European sovereigns. Secondly, EU supranational issuance will be a stabilizing force in the market, reducing the risk...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    In Defense Of Marxists And Communism

    Charles has often appeared on television shows in France as the token right-wing guy asked to debate a socialist or communist on the proper role of the state. He misses those days, for both he and his adversary usually agreed that the objective was improving the welfare of the average Frenchman—even if they disagreed profoundly on how to achieve this.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Do Bubbles Predict Or Project?

    With the second quarter data season now in full swing, the rebound in equity prices that followed the Covid-19 panic seems to have stalled. So, what happens now? In this piece, Anatole follows up on Louis’s recent efforts to define reasons for the surge in equity values and proposes a fresh explanation centered on the nature of bubbles.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Direction For Europe

    Anatole Kaletsky, Cedric Gemehl and Nick Andrews joined Louis Gave to talk about what lies in store for the European Union in light of Tuesdays agreement on a €750 billion Covid-19 recovery fund.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe's Deal

    Most of the attention paid to the European Union’s recovery fund deal, secured in the early hours of Tuesday morning, focused on how much of the agreed €750bn would be distributed as grants and how much as loans. That’s understandable. Haggling over this balance was one of the main reasons the talks dragged on into their fifth day. But as far as investors are concerned, the relative size of grants and loans is among the least significant aspects...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Consequences Of ‘Worthless Cash’

    In the second quarter of this year, global equity markets registered their best quarterly performance in two decades. In this, the third paper of a series about the record-breaking rebound, I will consider the possibility that the present growth in monetary aggregates is leading investors to conclude that they have no alternative.

    5
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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.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    From Temporary To Permanent

    “Nothing,” Milton Friedman famously declared, “is so permanent as a temporary government program.” He was right, which is one reason Wednesday saw the euro climb to its highest against the US dollar since the first days of the international Covid outbreak in early March, while 10-year Italian government bond yields fell to their lowest. Investors are betting that the European Union’s €750bn “Next Generation EU,” proposed as a temporary facility...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Simmering War Over Digital Taxes

    The US and Europe are in a standoff over how to tax digital companies. The US Trade Representative on Friday announced tariffs on French cosmetics and handbags, to take effect next year unless France drops plans to tax American tech giants. The worry is that such a dispute spirals, causing a further degradation of the global trade architecture.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Pick Your Side

    The British government’s decision to block Huawei from the UK’s 5G mobile network, confirmed yesterday, is further evidence that the post-Covid world is splitting into two opposing security blocs. International distrust of China is hardening along ideological lines, spurring liberal nations to prioritize national security over economic growth.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Buy Europe, Sell The UK

    In past crises the UK has emerged more quickly than the eurozone. In 2008-09, it restructured its banks, slashed interest rates and embraced quantitative easing before European policymakers had eaten breakfast. As a result, UK domestically-focused stocks outperformed those in the eurozone. Don’t count on a rerun in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Have Equities Become A Bubble?

    Two weeks ago, Louis proposed three possible explanations for the exceptional performance of equity markets in the second quarter, one of which was that investors have taken leave of their senses. In this, the second paper of a three-part series, Louis asks if equity markets are in a bubble. And if so—crucially—what sort of bubble is it?

    13
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: What To Make Of Britain’s £30bn Stimulus

    This week UK Chancellor of the Exchequer “Dishy” Rishi Sunak lived up to his media nickname, dishing out an additional £30bn in fiscal support and stimulus measures. In this short video interview, Nick assesses their likely impact.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Germany's Moment

    Could this be Germany’s moment? The prospect of a disgruntled Italy walking away from the European Union spurred a German move towards new burden-sharing arrangements, but the conditions have been brewing within Germany for a few years as it became clear that its old export-led development model was cooked. Such existential fears are driving a newly creative approach to Europe at a time when the EU’s biggest economy may be set to benefit from...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: A New European Dawn?

    Yesterday Nick and Cedric presented on the topic of their latest Strategy Monthly: A New European Dawn. In this they argue that Europe is finally embracing fundamental reform that should change the investment environment. Anatole offered his take on why the European Union is heading in a “Hamiltonian” direction.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    An Upgrade For The Jeep Portfolio

    In the Covid-19 crisis, Charles’s “Jeep” portfolio, introduced at the end of 2017 and expounded on in mid-2019, has amply demonstrated its worth, outperforming a pure equity portfolio, but with much lower volatility. In this paper, Charles reviews the Jeep portfolio once again, upgrading its components to navigate a post-Covid world.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: A New European Dawn?

    European nations have managed to lay the ground for a putative fiscal union. In a change of tack, Germany has changed tack by embracing demand management policies. Its new approach should drive a more balanced and domestically-focused recovery that may lift the eurozone-wide return on invested capital. Nick and Cedric argue that this changed dynamic is likely to attract foreign capital and lift the euro against the US dollar.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, June 2020

    Yesterday Louis Gave, Will Denyer and Andrew Batson joined Arthur Kroeber at the Global Investment Roundtable. They discussed the economic growth and market situation in the US, the state of the Chinese recovery, and what a post-Covid-19 world might look like.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Towards More Of The Same?

    Investors looking at the impressive rally in global equities since mid-March have been forced to come to one of three conclusions: (i) the Covid-19-induced halt to our economies will soon fade away like a bad dream, (ii) equity investors are crazy, or (iii) a growing number of investors think the cash they hold is bound to become worthless.

    13
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    Gavekal Research

    Please May I Have €10bn Too?

    Indulge me for a moment in a flight of fancy. Last week, the European Central Bank lent out €1.31trn to eurozone banks at a negative interest rate of -1%. Now, I am not a bank, but it is diverting to imagine that I might qualify for a small crumb of this funding, say a modest €10bn—because I know exactly what I would do with the money.

    16
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Update (French), June 2020

    In yesterday's webinar for our Francophone audience, Charles and Louis Gave, Cedric Gemehl and Didier Darcet updated viewers on their views of asset markets and government responses to the economic calamity caused by Covid-19.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Club Med’s Cruel Summer

    France, Italy and Spain suffered the deepest contractions in their economic activity in the first quarter and through April. Yet government programs have successfully supported both business cash flows and household incomes. Beyond the immediate bounce-back from lockdown, however, their economic trajectories are set to diverge.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    From A Tax To A Subsidy

    There will be some hard bargaining ahead when the European Union’s 27 heads of government meet by video conference Friday in an attempt to thrash out details of the bloc’s proposed €750bn recovery fund. German chancellor Angela Merkel is urging a quick deal. But with the “frugal four” countries led by Dutch premier Mark Rutte holding out for strict conditions, a final agreement could yet take several months, with the fund unlikely to start...

    3
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