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E.g., 11-04-2021
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Capex Renaissance Is Coming

    2021 is set to be a strong year for capital spending by Chinese companies. In this report, Thomas explains why solid returns on assets across the industrial sector and low borrowing costs are creating incentives for firms to invest in new capacity. This should allow policymakers to cut back on spending without tanking overall investment.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Updating The Malthusian Constraint

    In June 2019, I argued that big shifts in the US economy and financial markets largely result from changes in the relative price of energy. If oil prices are rising faster than nominal GDP, this points to energy shortages and more of the economy’s value-added going as the “miners’ rent”. This situation points to rising inflation and contracting price/earnings ratios.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Missing Target

    For four decades, every five-year plan has included a target for average GDP growth. The latest plan, presented last Friday, did not. This points to China's leadership having a more complex view of development goals argues Andrew. These now include a range of metrics including technological capability, national security, financial stability and living standards.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The New Normal For Infrastructure

    Officially, the normalization of China’s fiscal policy will be moderate in 2021: the government budget will narrow to 3.2% of GDP from 3.7%. But public-works spending is China’s true fiscal policy, and tighter financing does not bode well. Infrastructure investment is likely headed for a fourth year of negligible growth, and could even decline.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    An Unrealistic Vaccine Target

    China’s government is aiming for 40% of its population to have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by mid-2021, according to a senior health adviser. In this Quick Take, Ernan explains why such a target is unrealistic given China’s current vaccine production capacity and its obligations to other countries.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Chips And Cross-Straits Tensions

    Taiwan’s position at the core of the global semiconductor industry has never looked more secure: it is now the undisputed leader in advanced chip manufacturing. But does that success increase the risk of military aggression from China? While Beijing’s true intentions are difficult to read, semiconductors are not a plausible trigger for a hot conflict.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: The Threat Of Rising Inflation And Yields

    The roll-out of vaccines in the US is upending the investment environment, as the focus shifts beyond the pandemic to full-throttled economic recovery. With both monetary and fiscal policy set to remain loose, nominal growth could soon rip. Hopes for “normalization” have driven up inflation expectations and freaked out bond investors. Those getting fixed interest are right to be unnerved, as production capacity is fairly tight, inventories are...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Fate Of A Liquidity-Driven Rally

    The writing is on the wall for China’s post-Covid bull market as the underlying credit and profit cycles that typically drive prices over the medium term are turning down in 2021. In this report, Thomas explains why liquidity flows can trump these fundamentals for a while, but not indefinitely.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    To Hold Back The Tide Of De-Industrialization

    China’s government is focusing on a new economic metric: the manufacturing share of GDP, which looks to feature in the next five-year plan. Rather than accept de-industrialization, it wants “stability” in manufacturing. In this piece, Andrew explains why China is worried about the fall in the manufacturing share, and whether it can be stopped.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    A Discussion On Treasury Yields

    In recent days, long-dated US treasury yields have made a clear move higher. Unless there’s a violent turnaround in the coming days, February will mark the seventh consecutive month of flat-to-negative returns for treasuries This is an important development, with potentially far-reaching investment implications. Anatole and Louis discuss the outlook for yields, and the consequences for asset prices.

    11
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Stuck At Home For The Holidays

    China spent the Lunar New Year indoors and online. Travel over the seven days of the holiday declined 77% from 2019 levels, but sales of major retailers increased by 4.9%. In this Quick Take, Ernan explains how holiday restrictions and the January Covid outbreak in north-eastern China has depressed services and boosted retail sales.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    China Versus The Anglosphere

    Beijing’s ability to weaponize its global trade power is concentrating minds from Washington to Canberra. On Tuesday it was reported that China has proposed controls on the production and export of rare earths. This threat is the latest example of why reducing critical dependence on Chinese trade is now a strategic priority for many countries, in particular those in the Anglosphere.

    13
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Next Steps On Hidden Local Debt

    In 2021, China’s central government is gearing up to once again tackle the hidden debts of local authorities, toughening its stance after a couple of lax years. As Wei explains in this piece, the solution is likely to be a mixed one, combining limits on new borrowing, partial bailouts of some debt, and a lot of kicking the can down the road.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Importance Of Taiwan

    Across Europe and the US, car plants are getting shuttered because of a shortage of microchips from Asia. This storm is centered on Taiwan, which for decades has been an unsung contract supplier of electronics and chemicals. For those who had not noticed, its firms now dominate high-end global chip production and current industry dynamics mean this grip is only likely to intensify.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    A New Super-Cycle?

    A surge in commodity prices has led to hopes for a new “super-cycle”. Bulls say that commodities have been in the doghouse for a decade, ensuring limited new capacity additions, yet demand is now getting supercharged globally by easy monetary and fiscal policies. Bears retort that commodity investors have a case of the vapors, as the next phase of global growth, especially in China, will be less resource-intensive.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Vaccines, Efficacy And Variants

    Despite volumes of new information and the lightning creation of vaccines promising a path out of the pandemic, uncertainty remains. Almost daily we are bombarded with a mix of good news (the vaccines work really well!) and bad (new mutations resist vaccines!) that make it hard to know whether we should rejoice or despair. This note provides a framework for assessing these persistent uncertainties.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Propping Up Property Sales

    Housing sales growth is holding up well despite financial tightening and hawkish policymaker rhetoric. In this report, Rosealea explains why regulators are pressuring developers to cut prices, while increased household savings means more families can take advantage of these discounts. 2021 will therefore likely be a strong year for housing sales.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Profit Cycle Has Peaked

    China’s corporate profits rebounded in 2H20 after a horrific start to the year, but the profit cycle is now close to its peak. Looking past huge base effects, Thomas believes underlying growth will fade toward 10% in the first half of this year and zero in the second—not a bad macro outcome, but slower profits usually weigh on equity markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Six Reasons To Stay Bullish

    Is the recent speculative mania the beginning of the end of the post-2009 bull market in stocks? Or is it only the end of the beginning? Anatole argues that today’s speculation is reminiscent of the later stages of dot-com bubble, but he remains a confirmed bull on global equities. In this paper he offers six reasons why this is no contradiction.

    5
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Falling Behind On Vaccination

    Despite its early successes in containing Covid-19, China is lagging Western countries in rolling out a mass vaccination program. In this report, Ernan explains why Chinese policymakers are not treating mass vaccination as an urgent issue and why a slow vaccine rollout could result in a drag on economic growth in late 2021.

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