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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Europe’s Cruel Winter

    As the pandemic intensifies across Europe growth prospects in the first quarter are dimming, but investors are focused on a potential economic reopening by the spring. In yesterday’s webinar, Anatole Kaletsky, Nick Andrews and Cedric Gemehl discussed whether markets are overly optimistic since the European Union seems to have botched its vaccine procurement strategy.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Logos, Idiotes And Demagogues

    Charles revisits the idea of the Greek "logos", "idiotes", demagogues and citizens, and how the Greeks believed that those who controlled the logos—the language used to describe the world—ipso facto controlled the political system. Problems arise when a new, competing logos started to emerge.

    8
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Small Borrowers Still Struggling

    Even after a dramatic economic recovery, many of China’s smallest businesses are still struggling. In this piece, Xiaoxi shows how the government’s financial-support measures did little to improve small businesses’ access to financing, which is already tightening. But the policies are helping banks avoid a potential spike in bad loans.

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    Gavekal Research

    Biden’s United Front Against China

    As the outgoing Trump administration exits with a flurry of executive actions directed against China, Beijing is not sitting around hoping for Joe Biden to spark a new era of détente with the US. The recent tightening of control in Hong Kong shows that President Xi Jinping has no intention of giving an easy early ride to a leader who has pledged to build a “united front of US allies and partners” to constrain a resurgent China. The European...

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Two-Speed Recovery

    China’s Q4 GDP growth surpassed pre-Covid rates, with housing and manufacturing leading while services lagged and infrastructure investment slowed. In early 2021, this divergence is likely to continue as consumers stay home for the Chinese New Year and poor credit growth drags on infrastructure investment.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    For Exports, It’s Stronger For Longer

    China’s exports have been boosted by two side effects of the Covid-19 pandemic: a shift of consumer spending to goods from services, and the failure of manufacturing in other countries to get back to full capacity. How long can those advantages last? Thomas argues they will continue to boost exports through the first half of 2021.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    New Ceilings For Property Financing

    China’s policymakers are expanding their restrictions on bank financing of the property sector, imposing limits on mortgage lending in addition to curbs on borrowing by developers. In this report, Rosealea explains why the new regulations do not shift her expectations of flat property sales and a modest decline in construction activity in 2021.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Squeeze Of Old Hong Kong

    Last Wednesday Hong Kong police arrested scores of pro-democracy activists for joining forces to try and win a local parliamentary election and thereafter block government legislation. The use of a tough new national security law to suppress routine political organization threatens more international opprobrium that will further cut the city off from the Anglosphere.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Covid Headaches Continue

    China diagnosed 527 new cases of Covid-19 in the first 10 days of 2021, mostly in Hebei province, in the biggest local outbreak since July 2020. In this Quick Take, Ernan explains why this outbreak is challenging China’s Covid-19 playbook and why its timing is particularly concerning ahead of the Chinese New Year.

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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Darkness Before Dawn? The Covid Vaccine Outlook

    As a new wave of Covid infections grips major economies, and social restrictions return, the hopes for a return to pre-pandemic normal rest on the rollout of vaccines. With vaccine production ramping up, most developed economies could reach herd immunity by late in 2021. But many emerging economies will take longer, and several risk factors could still derail the rollout.

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    Gavekal Research

    Portfolio Construction Over The Next Two Years

    On Thursday, Anatole set out his view that undivided Democratic Party control of both the executive and legislative branches of the US government opens the door for unconstrained Keynesian stimulus, which will be highly positive for the US economy and equities. It will probably come as little surprise to Gavekal clients that I should dispute whether such unconstrained Keynesianism will be good news either for the economy or for US equities

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Not As Hawkish As Feared

    The People's Bank of China is one of the world’s most hawkish central banks—but just how hawkish will it be in 2021? Bond market investors worry that the PBOC, eager to normalize policy, will be pushed into hiking rates by higher inflation. In this piece, Wei argues those worries are misplaced, and that bond yields have more room to fall.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Renminbi Races Out Of The Starting Gate

    The renminbi gained 1% against the US dollar in the first two trading days of 2021, leading China’s central bank to signal a pushback against appreciation by tweaking foreign-lending limits. In this Quick Take, Wei explains that such moves are likely to slow than stop the currency’s gains, as fundamentals still favor the renminbi.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Decoding The Assault On Alibaba

    The antitrust investigation into Alibaba, following close on the heels of the cancellation of the Ant IPO, has raised big questions about the changing political environment for Chinese internet companies. In this piece, Andrew considers the best- and worst-case scenarios, and concludes that at a minimum, growth prospects have dimmed.

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    Gavekal Research

    Gravity Or Liquidity? Which Will Win In 2021?

    In hindsight, 2020 showed that if three conditions are met, a stock can break free from the earth’s gravity, and lift off for destinations only sci-fi writers could have imagined. Consequently, one of the most important questions for investors in 2021 is whether such inter-galactic travel can continue. Or will the coming year instead see a shift in investor behavior, with gravity once again exerting its downward pull?

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    Gavekal Research

    Goldilocks And The 10 Bears Of 2021

    In recent years Anatole has written a series of articles describing 10 key risks for investors. He readily accepts that this year’s exercise was rendered redundant by the emergence of Covid-19 in January. Next year, however, he believes that a greater range of factors could weigh on markets and in this piece assesses them one by one.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Looming Correction For Iron Ore

    Iron ore prices hit an eight year high in early December in response to a tight steel market. Rosealea writes that this uptick in steel demand, likely due to China’s strong steel-intensive export figures, is unsustainable and should subside in the new year—resulting in a correction for iron ore prices in the coming months.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Boom Of 2021

    As he gazes into next year, Charles has reviewed some of his most trusted indicators and found that the US is moving towards an inflationary boom that should mean stronger growth, rising inflation and higher bond yields. If the Federal Reserve acts to crimp this adjustment in the price of money, he warns that the US dollar could tank.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Road To Policy Normalization

    China’s economy is almost back to normal after Covid-19, and that means economic policy will also normalize: the question is not whether, but how. In this piece, Wei argues that the most likely policy settings for 2021 will be somewhat tighter fiscal policy and a deceleration in total credit growth, but no increase in policy interest rates.

    2
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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...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Reluctant Executioner

    MSCI announced on Tuesday the removal of 10 Chinese securities from its indexes in response to a US executive order. In this Quick Take, Thomas explains why MSCI’s narrow interpretation of the order leads to risk of more Chinese securities being added to the list, and how the decision adds to existing headwinds for Chinese equities.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Credit Has Peaked, Growth Has Not

    China’s economic momentum continued to accelerate in November despite an October peak in credit growth, with exports and manufacturing investment taking the lead while more policy-dependent sectors plateaued. In this piece, the Dragonomics team explains why China is likely to maintain its strong economic growth through 1Q21.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The 10 Important Changes Of The Past Year

    Two years ago, 10-year treasury yields were falling (and trading below their 200-day moving average), oil prices were falling (and also below trend) and the US dollar was rising (and trading above its trend level). Today, the situation has reversed for all of these anchor prices in the global system. This profound change can be explained with reference to 10 tectonic shifts in the global economy.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Re-Centralization Of Finance

    China’s banking system has been steadily decentralizing for thirty years, with smaller and local banks gaining market share from the large, centrally controlled state banks. In this piece, Xiaoxi and Andrew show that this long-term trend has now come to a halt, and argue that the banking system will start to re-centralize in coming years.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Social Credit And Digital Governance

    China’s social credit system is widely misunderstood as a totalitarian tool. The reality is that it is a relatively low-tech part of a sophisticated Communist Party strategy to use digital means to deliver both better governance and social control. In this 22-page DeepChina report, Rogier Creemers explains the truth behind the social credit myths.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Webinar: China And The World Economy In 2021

    Arthur Kroeber and Dan Wang sketched out the likely course of the US-China rivalry under the new Biden administration; He Wei and Thomas Gatley analyzed key developments in China's economy and markets, and Gavekal CEO Louis Gave presented his views on the forces shaping global markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A New Reality For Commercial Property

    Vacancy rates for office and retail space are picking up sharply this year despite a broad return to normality in China. In this report, Rosealea argues that Covid-19 accelerated an ongoing shift towards at-home work and entertainment. Developers must now grapple with the new reality that demand is unlikely to ever return to pre-Covid levels.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Three Key Prices: The US Dollar

    It is an axiom of Gavekal’s research that the starting point for looking at the global macro landscape is that three prices matter above all others: the 10-year US treasury yield, the price of oil, and the US dollar exchange rate. In the third of a three-part series, Louis examines the US dollar.

    12
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    Gavekal Research

    Sell A-Shares Into Strength

    Over the last month, onshore Chinese equities have got swept up in the global rally. The CSI 300 gained 7% in November, surpassing July’s peak to set a new high for the year this week. And the broader Shanghai index is on the cusp of following. However, this is a rally running on fumes.

    6
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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.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Access To Global Capital Has Peaked

    After years of inflows via IPOs and foreign portfolio investment, the US is now moving to deny Chinese firms access to global capital. As a result, Thomas explains that the firms will instead have to rely on domestic markets for equity fundraising, which could cause a liquidity drag in onshore and Hong Kong equities.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Eroding The Implicit Guarantee

    China’s financial regulators recently stepped in to calm a corporate bond market roiled by the unexpected default of a local state-owned enterprise. In this report, Wei argues that this reassurance does not translate to a reassertion of the implicit sovereign guarantee for local SOE debts; in fact, more local SOE defaults look likely for 2021.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Fate Of Chinese Listings In The US

    Today, there are 365 Chinese companies listed on US markets. A handful of these have dual listings in Hong Kong, but for most, the US is their sole listing. Together, these 365 companies account for US$1.92trn of market capitalization. This increasingly looks like an anomaly. Why should Chinese companies choose to raise capital on Wall Street when they can tap the capital market in Hong Kong?

    7
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Huawei's Slow Strangulation

    The US government’s August decision to deny Huawei access to every advanced chip in the world was a death sentence for the firm, but its execution has not been swift. In this report, Dan outlines the uneven effects of the decision on Huawei’s different business lines and explains why any solution to the firm’s troubles will have to be political.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Importance Of The Renminbi

    In days long gone by, the yen’s exchange rate affected asset prices around the world. Today, it is not the yen that investors need to watch, but the renminbi. And in the last few months the renminbi has been strengthening, with important implications for everything from global bond yields, through energy prices, to the relative performance of US growth and value stocks.

    15
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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...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How Covid-19 Changed Chinese Consumers

    China’s consumer recovery from lockdown initially lagged other economies, but now looks more sustainable. Discretionary goods are booming, and the online shakeout of retail continues, though other services and staples are less exciting. In this chartbook, Ernan presents a special Covid-19 edition of her annual review of the Chinese consumer.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    This Time Is Different For Industrial Policy

    Chinese bureaucrats are now busily drafting plans to achieve self-reliance in high technology. But as Dan argues in this piece, this latest industrial-policy push will be different. Thanks to US restrictions on Chinese firms, notably Huawei, the private sector is already convinced that developing substitutes for imported technology is necessary.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Three Strikes And Still In

    In the last three weeks, investors in Chinese assets have suffered a series of shocks, with the suspension of the Ant IPO, antitrust actions against China’s tech giants, and the high-profile default of a local state-owned enterprise. Louis examines what may be going on behind the scenes, and sets out how investors should interpret these successive shocks.

    11
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Macro Implications Of Microfinance

    The surprise suspension of Ant Group’s IPO on November 4 was caused by the publication of new rules on online microfinance—a tiny sector that accounts for just 0.3% of China’s banking system. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains why microfinance is of so great macro importance to China’s financial regulators, and what they will do next.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Second Wave Of Bond Inflows

    There was a record increase in foreign holdings of Chinese bonds in the second and third quarters of 2020, almost all of it from private-sector investors. In this report, Wei explains why foreign investors will likely continue to buy up Chinese bonds and why Chinese authorities appear relaxed about this second wave of inflows to the bond market.

    8
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Cracks Appear In Local Support For Bonds

    A missed debt payment last week by a local state-owned enterprise in Henan province has created turmoil in China's corporate bond market. In this report, Xiaoxi and Wei explain why the default undermined one of the market's fundamental supports and why investors are now likely to be more discerning between provinces.

    7
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Full Steam Ahead

    Economic data released on Monday showed China’s continued economic normalization, with property sales and infrastructure investment outperforming expectations, industrial activity staying strong and the consumer recovery picking up. In this Quick Take, the Dragonomics team outlines why this environment is favorable for bonds and risky for equities.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    After RCEP: A Tough Ask For Pivot 2.0

    On Sunday, China signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. With the 15-nation trade agreement, Beijing has successfully positioned itself at the center of the region’s trade and investment networks. This will make it hard for US President-Elect Joe Biden to fulfill his pledge to place “America back at the head of the table” in international relations, at least in Asia.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Another Trump Attack On Chinese Stocks

    President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday barring US investments into a list of 31 Chinese firms, 13 of which are publicly listed. In this Quick Take, Dan and Thomas outline what obstacles the order faces before implementation, what impact it would have for investors and what the move means for Chinese equities both on- and offshore.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: China After The Recovery

    Having gone into lockdown first, China was also the first economy to emerge, and has since enjoyed a rapid rebound in industrial production and exports, reflected in financial markets. But now that the economy is back to “normal”, policymakers have returned to a conservative stance which focuses on financial stability.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Internet Is No Longer Exempt

    Recent major regulatory actions have sent a strong message to Chinese internet companies: you’re not special anymore. In this report, Andrew, Dan and Ernan explain why anti-competitive practices, prudential risk and the pandemic are now prompting policymakers to regulate online firms on the same basis as their offline counterparts.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    China’s Departure From Past Standard Operating Procedures

    China is emerging from the pandemic stronger than its big economic rivals in the West. It is an irony that the US and Europe are applying expansive Keynesian-type solutions of the type China has deployed in recent crises, but now seems to be rejecting. The result, Louis argues, may be that China starts to enjoy a "triple merit" scenario.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Race To Decouple

    Both the US and China now seem eager to reduce their mutual economic dependencies. However, such a process is different for either country: Dan explains that China’s reliance on the US is narrow and technical in scope while American dependence on China is more wide-ranging. The US therefore faces more complex challenges in the “race” to decouple.

    7
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Housing & Construction Review 2020

    China’s property sector led the rebound from Covid-19 lockdown, but how long can the new boom last? In her annual chartbook, Rosealea explains the outlook for 2021 after a very volatile 2020. Housing policy has turned tighter after signs of overheating, which points to sales flattening and construction activity declining next year.

    0
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