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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.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Risks To The Consumer Recovery

    Consumer spending in China looks to be firmly on a recovering track, with Covid-19 under control and the job market improving. But the shock to household income in the first half of 2020 could still linger over spending for a while. In this piece, Wei explains what could keep consumption from quickly regaining previous growth rates.

    0
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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 Dragonomics

    A Booming Recovery

    China’s economic recovery continues to boom ahead, with retail sales turning positive and exports continuing to outperform. In this Quick Take, Thomas, Rosealea and Wei explain why this momentum is likely to continue for several more months but might dampen towards the end of the year as credit tightens and the property market is reined in.

    7
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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 Dragonomics

    Red Lines For Real Estate

    China’s central bank and housing ministry are putting together new restrictions on the leverage of major real-estate developers by drawing three “red lines” for the firms. In this report, Rosealea explains why regulators are targeting individual developers, as well as why she feels these red lines will have limited macro impact.

    2
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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

    Pained Tales From The Hills

    On Monday, for the first time since 1975, gunshots were fired on the disputed Himalayan border between India and China.Hundreds of incidents occur along the undemarcated Line of Actual Control every year, but this year’s skirmishes are the most dangerous for at least five decades.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Open-Source Moment Arrives

    Most of the US government’s efforts to hinder China’s technological progress have focused on hardware, mainly semiconductors. But software is also now a front in the US-China tech conflict. As Dan explains in this piece, those tensions could make open-source software, which is free from most legal restrictions, even more globally important.

    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

    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 Dragonomics

    Victory Over The Virus

    With no new domestic cases in almost a month, Xi Jinping effectively declared victory on Tuesday in the struggle against Covid-19. In this Quick Take, Gilliam explains how China’s post-Covid landscape is shaping up for consumer services, and why Beijing is unlikely to open up internationally any time soon.

    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 Dragonomics

    Restraint And Retaliation

    As the US government has rolled out ever more actions targeting Chinese firms, China has exercised restraint and has mostly opted not to retaliate in kind. As Dan explains, the government is taking the long view on the economy rather than pandering to nationalist outrage. But China is also developing legal tools that could be used to hurt US firms.

    4
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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 Dragonomics

    The Experiment With Sectoral Monetary Policy

    Central banks usually concern themselves with the economy in the aggregate. The People’s Bank of China is now experimenting with a disaggregated approach, minimizing changes in overall policy and instead directing the flow of credit to specific sectors. In this piece, Wei considers whether this experiment can work, and where rates are headed.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    An Acceptable Amount Of Chaos

    The first batch of 18 firms on Shenzhen’s tech-oriented ChiNext board under new registration-based IPO regulations exhibited exceptional levels of price volatility this week after their Monday debut. In this Quick Take, Thomas explains why this volatility is to be expected in Chinese equities and might even be an improvement on the status quo.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Dimensions Of Decoupling In 2020

    The “decoupling” of the US and Chinese economies that began with a trade war has now spread to almost all aspects of the relationship, with the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating the process. In this chartbook, Andrew and Dan show what decoupling looks like so far in 2020, using data on flows of trade, investment, technology, finance and people.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Understanding Dual Circulation

    Top leader Xi Jinping is now promoting a new slogan—dubbed “dual circulation”—to manage China's significant dependencies on the global economy. In this report, Gilliam explains how this does not mean the country is turning inward, but rather trying to gain more control over its long-term growth without losing its role as an international hub.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Climbing Up The Smartphone Smiling Curve

    Chinese advances in hardware technology have increased the country’s contribution to the global smartphone supply chain. In this report, Dan explains how Chinese firms have increased their value-added in both innovation and branding. Now, he suggests, the main headwinds for Chinese smartphones are no longer technological, but geopolitical.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Headwinds Build For Equities

    Chinese equities tapped on their ceiling this week but have been unable to break through, despite both surprisingly positive economic data and rebounding corporate earnings. In this piece, Thomas explains how increasingly adverse liquidity conditions are keeping a downward pressure on the markets which is unlikely to lift in the short term.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Death Sentence For Huawei

    The US government has passed a death sentence on Huawei. The questions now are whether it will choose to suspend that sentence, and whether China will retaliate by punishing major US companies. The likely answers, says Dan, are no and no. Huawei is probably finished as a maker of 5G network equipment and smartphones once its inventories run out early next year.

    16
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Don’t Call It A Bailout

    China’s government is finally rolling out a plan to aid small banks, the weakest links in the nation’s financial system. But don’t call it a bailout, Xiaoxi argues in this piece: while the government will replenish RMB200bn in capital, the money will mostly support relatively solid banks. The truly troubled banks will be shuttered or acquired.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Huawei And The Roads Of The Future

    China is engaged in an imperial project that will not be typified by territorial conquest, but by “road building”. This is done to bring commodities to the heart of the empire at the cheapest cost, while higher value-added finished goods are pushed out to its outer realms. It is no coincidence that a common saying for Europeans is that “all roads lead to Rome’”.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Another Leg Up For Growth

    After plateauing in Q2, China’s economic activity is stepping up in Q3, powered by demand in housing, infrastructure and exports, and a lessening drag in consumer services. In this Quick Take, Thomas, Rosealea and Wei explain how these factors will assist the country as it continues down its path back to economic normalcy.

    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

    What US-China Decoupling Means For The US Dollar

    Almost all of the world’s commodity trade is done in US dollars, so any commodity-importing country must keep much of its central-bank reserves in US currency. The fact that China, the world’s largest commodity importer, pays for these imports using another nation’s currency was an anomaly even when the US and China got along. As US hostility towards Beijing increases, this raises four possible scenarios.

    9
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Hawks In The Driver’s Seat

    The China hawks are at the wheel in the Trump administration and driving as fast as they can. In this report, Arthur outlines the many tactics being employed by hardliners in the White House to lock in an adversarial stance against China ahead of the US elections. However tense things have been so far, even tenser times lie ahead.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Taking On Tencent

    President Donald Trump signed executive orders on Thursday imposing restrictions on Tencent and ByteDance, two of China’s biggest software giants. In this report, Dan explains how the broad language in the orders might end up blocking any US person or company from working with the firms, dealing a major blow to their operations.

    4
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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

    Emerging Markets And The Dollar

    A weakening US dollar is usually an unalloyed positive for emerging markets, so it is no surprise that their assets have rallied since the March 23 bottom in global markets—equities are up 45%, while bonds (both US dollar and local currency-based indexes) have gained 20%. Happy days indeed, but the next stage of the EM rally is likely to be more exacting for investors.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Leading The Way In Export Recovery

    Chinese exports have outperformed expectations due to booming sales of goods related to Covid-19 and Chinese manufacturers staying open when their international counterparts were forced to suspend production. In this report, Thomas explains why China's export growth will continue to flatten in H2 as global trade catches up.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Tech As The Battlefield Of The Unfolding Cold War

    Despite technology issues sitting at the heart of the great-power struggle between the US and China, tech stocks continue to brush off geopolitical tensions. Louis is concerned that the market's assumptions don't line up with reality on three counts. It all adds up to a bad brew for tech.

    16
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Bringing Back Volatility

    Cleaning up the messy world of wealth-management products is still a key mission in China’s financial de-risking campaign, even if the PBOC has now had to give banks another year to work on it. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains how the regulatory crackdown is pushing the risks hidden in WMPs out into the open, increasing market volatility.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Assault On Chinese Tech

    After a whirlwind of negotiations, the US government may have succeeded in forcing the sale of TikTok’s US operations to a US company. The US earlier used national-security grounds to restrict the business of Huawei. Both companies still have large domestic businesses, but US government actions over the past year may mark a peak for the global expansion by Chinese tech firms.

    1
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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.

    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 Dragonomics

    Questions On The Digital Renminbi

    The People’s Bank of China is on the way to becoming the first central bank in the world to launch a digital currency. The idea of a digital renminbi has sparked a huge amount of interest, but confusion and speculation are rampant. In this Q&A, Xiaoxi and Wei provide clear answers to some of the big questions about the digital currency.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Construction’s Surprising Resilience

    After a robust recovery in construction following the Covid-19 lockdown, the big question now is whether this growth rate is sustainable. Using a rolling sum of construction starts, Rosealea posits that construction should slow only moderately in the second half, providing room for steel demand to continue growing for the rest of 2020.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Hong Kong Sanctions Regime

    As US-China tensions amp up, Hong Kong faces US actions in response to the national security law imposed by the Chinese government. This includes an end to preferential trade treatment and penalties for foreign financial institutions that transact with officials found to be undermining the city’s freedoms. In this video interview, Dan explains how the program will play out and addresses the question of whether the US government will target Hong...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How To Contain A Lingering Virus

    China is seeing its highest number of daily new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases since March, and government officials are rushing to contain the outbreak. In this Quick Take, Gilliam explains how China has developed a standard containment strategy to handle this and future outbreaks while minimizing economic damage.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Edging Toward A New Cold War

    The US decision to close China’s consulate in Houston is a big deal. The precise motivations are obscure but the story is not: the Trump Administration is turning up the heat on China before the US presidential election. In the next few months Washington is likely to make new moves pushing the US closer to a Cold War posture against China.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Macro Update: The Supply-Side Recovery

    China has rapidly bounced back from its Covid-19 lockdown, but the recovery has been an unbalanced one with supply outpacing demand. Economic policy has also turned more cautious amid exuberance in property and financial markets. In this regular chartbook, the Dragonomics team outlines how the next stage of China’s recovery will proceed.

    0
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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 Dragonomics

    The Marginal Impact Of Housing Renovation

    The State Council recently announced a nationwide target to renovate 39,000 antiquated residential compounds in 2020, improving accommodation for 7mn total households. In this Quick Take, Rosealea explains how the target will provide space for local governments to further tighten property policy without upsetting China’s economic recovery.

    0
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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 Dragonomics

    The Next Steps In US-China Decoupling

    As the US election approaches, the Trump Administration is intensifying pressure on China on all fronts. In this report, Dan outlines the executive-branch agencies tasked with implementing sanctions and restrictions, what they have accomplished so far, and what tools are at their disposal should Trump decide to further escalate the situation.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Toward A Renminbi-Gold Standard

    As the international trading and monetary order of the last 50 years continues to crumble, the endgame must be the US dollar losing its lofty position at the apex of the system. Louis and I have argued that this process began in and around 2005 as the US moved to “weaponize” the dollar, thereby ensuring the renminbi’s emergence as a competitor.

    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 Dragonomics

    The Recovery Tapers Off

    Although Q2 GDP growth rebounded strongly after Q1’s significant contraction, sequential growth slowed considerably into June. In this Quick Take, Thomas, Rosealea, Wei and Xiaoxi report on why despite this latest rebound it will be difficult for the country to maintain its upward momentum as it moves into Q3.

    0
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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.

    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 Dragonomics

    A Bumpier Road To Semiconductor Supremacy

    The Chinese semiconductor industry has made substantial progress over the last year, making credible gains in both design and production—despite attempts by the US to stymie China’s advancement. In this report, Dan explains how the US has escalated its anti-China campaign and outlines the rough road ahead for the industry.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Pharma Problem

    India, the world’s pharmacy, is in danger of running out of drugs. The source of the danger is India’s deteriorating relationship with China, which provides up to 70% of the bulk ingredients for India’s pharmaceutical industry. Most Indian pharma makers hold at least two months of stock, but if the situation is not resolved, the global pharma supply chain could be disrupted.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: China's Capital And Bond Markets

    On Tuesday morning Thomas Gatley and Wei He joined Arthur Kroeber to discuss the Chinese equity bull market and the major reversal in the bond market.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How To Burst A Bubble

    Chinese equities surge ahead, and officials are worried that markets are coming dangerously close to resembling the dramatic boom and bust of 2015. In this report, Thomas makes the case that the current rally has no basis in fundamentals and outlines how regulators are trying to guide equities back to reality without causing a panic.

    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 Dragonomics

    The Monetary Policy Emergency Is Over

    The Chinese government bond market has seen its biggest reversal in more than three years. Conflicting policy signals have made the priorities of China’s central bank difficult to decipher; in this report, Wei explains why it has now clearly returned to its “selective” easing mode of delivering targeted rather than broad-based economic support.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Local Support For Housing Is Peaking

    National housing sales growth is likely to accelerate in June following May’s rebound on the back of supportive measures from local governments and easier access to credit. In this report, Rosealea outlines how the surge in sales might peak soon due to diminishing returns from local government stimulus as well as more cautious monetary easing.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Is This What Capital Flight Looks Like?

    The bearish scenario for Hong Kong was that a combination of protests and Beijing’s heavy hand would trigger the flight of capital—financial and human—jeopardizing the peg and the financial system. Yet despite months of protests, and Beijing’s subsequent clampdown, the financial elements of this doomsday scenario have completely failed to materialize.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    India Eyes Up Uncle Sam

    After the border clash with Chinese troops on June 15, India is on the verge of a strategic reorientation towards the United States that will reshape security in Asia. A full formal military alliance with the US would be a red rag to the Chinese bull, and therefore remains unlikely. But India is set to deepen its strategic partnerships with the US and other like-minded countries, especially Japan and Australia. It will also weaken its ties with...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Behind The Bull Run In Chinese Stocks

    Chinese equity markets are bounding higher on ebullient animal spirits. The CSI 300 index is up some 12.5% YTD in renminbi terms Monday morning. While the sequential rebound in profits from the first quarter’s dire situation has been heartening, the prospects for year-on-year earnings growth cannot justify this exuberance.

    9
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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 Dragonomics

    Japan And Korea Split On China's Rise

    Japan and South Korea have responded differently to China’s attempts to peel them away from the US. Japan continues to align closely with its ally, while South Korea is more ready to accept that China as the regional power. In this report, Yanmei and Dan explore the logic behind these decisions and what they mean for the regional power balance.

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Uneven Rebound In Consumption

    The recovery of consumption in China is coming, but it will be an uneven one. In this piece, Thomas explains how the combination of recent negative surprises on public-health restrictions with positive surprises on jobs and income will shape the trajectories of different consumption categories, from food to autos to electronics.

    0
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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.

    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 Dragonomics

    The US Takes Action Against Military Fusion

    New regulations from the US Department of Commerce which go into effect on Monday could deny US-origin technologies to a broad swath of Chinese companies. In this Quick Take, Dan explores which firms are most at risk of falling afoul of these regulations and how their supply chains might be affected.

    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 Dragonomics

    The Future Of Hong Kong

    Whither Hong Kong? After a year of political turmoil, uncertainty about the city’s prospects is the highest it has been in decades. This 20-page DeepChina report examines Hong Kong’s historical trajectory, and concludes the city is in long-run decline—even though it will continue to be an important financial gateway between China and the world.

    0
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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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    A Friendlier Supply Chain Required

    Covid-19 has revealed reliance on Chinese supply chains as a serious national security risk. But shifting manufacturing of vital goods to other parts will be no easy task, especially when alternatives like Vietnam remain so dependent on imports from China themselves. Meanwhile, the pandemic has made other potential locations—notably India—less attractive.

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    China Legislates For Hong Kong

    The summary of Hong Kong’s national security law released on Saturday is a tough read for advocates of a common law system. It represents a hybrid of China’s and Hong Kong’s legal systems that effectively ends the separation of powers between the executive and judiciary. How quickly the city changes as a result depends on the severity of enforcement.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Most Cautious Of Central Banks

    China’s medium-term lending facility rate and the loan prime rate were left unchanged in June, while short-term market interest rates have risen. In this Quick Take, Xiaoxi argues that, though the PBOC is likely to cut policy interest rates further this year, the pace of rate cuts is likely to be slower in the second half than in the first.

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    Explaining The Iron Ore Surge

    Chinese iron ore prices have surged by 30% since May due to growing Chinese demand, shrinking Brazilian supply and increased logistics costs. In this Quick Take, Rosealea explains why prices are likely to remain elevated in the coming months but might fall precipitously in the second half of the year.

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    The Range Of US Sanctions

    US President Donald Trump has pledged a response to Beijing’s decision to impose national-security legislation on Hong Kong, and has now signed legislation to sanction officials involved in the crackdown on Uighurs in Xinjiang. In this piece, Dan outlines the various legal tools that the US can bring to bear and their possible effects.

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    Video: High Stakes In The Himalayas

    In this video, Udith argues that the mayhem seen on the India-China border this week will provide another catalyst for Indian nationalists who want to lessen the country’s reliance on China, even if that means accepting far slower economic growth.

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    Sticks And Stones May Break A Trade Relationship

    Monday night’s deadly face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Himalayan mountains threatens to rupture a burgeoning trading relationship between Asia’s two largest nations. Diplomats should be able to deescalate military tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries, but it may be harder to normalize economic ties.

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    The Market’s Perception Of Scarcity

    It is a long-running trope of Gavekal’s research that assets can have value either as tools or as jewels. Tools have efficiency value and jewels have scarcity value. The rule that seemed to govern the relative performance of these over the last 50 or so years appears to have broken down. Louis wonders if this is because investors have reversed their perceptions of what is "scarce" and what is "abundant".

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    Arbitrage Comes Out Of The Shadows

    The Covid-19 pandemic has shocked China’s financial regulators into allowing a substantial rebound in total credit growth. But they are not worried enough to abandon their strict control of shadow finance. As Xiaoxi explains in this piece, a recent bounce in the shadow finance numbers is due to a popular arbitrage which is now being contained.

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    The Beginnings Of A Plateau

    China’s economic data for May continued April’s wider recovery; however, Thomas, Rosealea and Xiaoxi argue that this upward momentum is losing steam. Weak external demand, tapering industrial production and Beijing’s aversion to further monetary easing all support the idea that China’s post-Covid bounceback is starting to plateau.

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    The Froth Comes Off

    Recent weeks saw telltale signs of markets getting silly: firms with no sales reaching U$26bn valuations; airline-focused exchange traded funds jumping from US$50mn in size in January to US$1.5bn, and bankrupt firms becoming five and 10 baggers. This kind of activity may lead to one of three conclusions.

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    Can Small-Business Lending Be Fixed?

    As China tries to get the economy back to normal, it is focusing more on the plight of small businesses, who have lost weeks or months of revenue to the pandemic. Yet it has resisted offering the loan guarantees other countries have employed. In this piece, Xiaoxi assesses the other tools China is using to boost lending to the smallest firms.

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    The Derating Of The Dollar

    In the last four weeks as market participants have reassessed relative risk premiums, they have found it increasingly easy to identify currencies which at the margin are looking more attractive than the US dollar. As a result, the dollar has weakened both against developed world and emerging market currencies. This weakness is acquiring momentum, and may have further to run.

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    Video: The Threat To Chinese Tech

    The US is deepening its effort to limit Chinese technology giant Huawei’s access to components that rely on American design, which may prevent Huawei from rolling out 5G networks. The US is also broadening its efforts to constrain Mainland tech firms by using sanctions that impact suppliers to China’s government and military.

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    The Property Balancing Act

    Local governments are balancing between encouraging housing construction and containing excess housing inventory. Although they have struck a balance so far, Rosealea argues that the growing vacancies in lower-tier cities coupled with depressed household consumption render current policies unsustainable in the long run.

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    Accelerating Into Inflation

    Long-time readers will be familiar with Gavekal’s Four Quadrants framework, which describes how the economy alternates between periods of inflation and deflation, and cycles from boom and bust and back again, and which we use to illustrate which asset classes investors should favor and when. Although this is one of Gavekal’s oldest frameworks, it provides an extremely useful way to think about how the macroeconomic environment is set to evolve...

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    US Politics Versus Chinese Stocks

    Financial markets are the latest field in which US-China political tensions are playing out. Thomas describes two lines of attack US hawks are pursuing against China: blocking Chinese firms from US equity markets and pressuring US asset managers to avoid Chinese equities. The risk associated with Chinese stocks has therefore materially increased.

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    A Charm Offensive For Supply Chains

    As multinationals in China face growing pressure to shift their supply chains elsewhere, China’s government is doing everything it can to hold on to them. As Dan explains in this piece, China’s ability to get businesses back on their feet after the Covid-19 lockdown is a great advertisement for its attractiveness as a place to do businesses.

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    Video: The Upsurge In Oil

    The price of Brent crude oil has doubled in the past six weeks, supported by the beginning of a recovery in demand as economies come out of lockdown and by expectations that the Opec+ cartel will extend the deep production cuts it agreed in April. Tom weighs the forces likely to drive the oil market over the coming months.

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    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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    A Property Rebound In May

    Property sales are quickly recovering from their Covid-19 crash, with upward momentum that should continue for several months to come. However, Rosealea argues there are growing risks that China’s property market will start overheating, forcing policymakers to step in and leading to a downwards drift by July/August at the earliest.

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    The Case For Commodities

    For most of the last decade, we have been in a period of low investment in the commodity sector. Yet, over the next 20 years the global population will grow by almost 2bn—a 25% increase. Migration into cities will continue, with the world’s urban population growing by almost 50%, creating enormous demand for infrastructure.

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    Strategy Monthly: Recovery And Its Risks

    As economies have begun to emerge from their coronavirus lockdowns, there remain two big near-term macro risks that could derail a recovery. On one hand, solid demand on top of massive central bank monetary expansion could fuel rising inflation. On the other, a big round of permanent job losses could dent demand and slow the economic recovery.

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    The Chill On Corporate Capex

    The Covid-19 lockdown led to a historic collapse in corporate capital expenditure in early 2020, but what comes next? In this piece, Thomas introduces a new model for understanding China’s investment cycle. Private-sector capex should stay weak in the second half of 2020, lagging public-sector infrastructure spending, but rebound in 2021.

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    As The World Reopens

    A few weeks ago, I outlined three scenarios that could unfold as the world reopened for business. Since then, it looks like the market is starting to tentatively position scenario #3 in which the world economy rips and inflation rises due to pent-up demand, budget deficits, low oil prices and money printing. This makes sense, but the rotation may soon face a number of challenges.

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    The Renminbi As Collateral Damage

    The rise in US-China tensions over the past week is taking a toll on China’s currency, which has weakened to CNY7.15 to the dollar from around CNY7.10, approaching its lows of last September. This has raised a worrying question: is China about to use currency depreciation as a weapon in its widening dispute with the US?

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    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, May 2020

    Yesterday Louis Gave, Charles Gave and Anatole Kaletsky joined Arthur Kroeber at the Global Investment Roundtable. They discussed different scenarios for how and when the world’s major economies can exit the Covid-19 crisis and what it means for investors.

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