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    Gavekal Research

    The PBOC Hangs Tough

    These are nervous times for global investors as volatility creeps back into asset markets and growth indicators disappoint—witness recent sharp declines in commodity prices and currencies such as the Australian dollar. The eurozone economy continues to weaken as shown by yesterday’s soft French PMI, Japan is moribund and China, while far from collapsing, continues to slow. Given the Federal Reserve’s tightening bias and a continued failure to...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia Can Handle A Strong Dollar

    Can emerging markets handle a strong US dollar? This is a crucial question for investors in emerging Asia since an appreciating dollar has often spelt trouble for the region’s markets. The worry is that the dollar now looks to be on a secular strengthening trend with the DXY up 6% since July 1. For its part, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index has lost 3% in less than two weeks.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Accepting The Inevitable

    Weakening growth pushed China’s reform-minded government into some reluctant and half-hearted stimulus measures earlier this year. But the effect of the “mini-stimulus” was in fact pretty minimal, and growth has since turned downward again. In the latest installment of our China Macro Chartbook, we summarize the state of the economy in a few well-chosen slides. Current signs point to the government becoming somewhat more accepting of the...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Genesis Of The Capitalist Farmer

    The world’s biggest farm is running out of farmers. So to continue its impressive record of boosting agricultural production, China needs to change how it raises crops—shifting from techniques that rely on lots of labor to ones that use more capital and technology. If this structural transformation is going to happen, China will need a sustained boom in agricultural capital spending.

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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (17 September): World Bond Markets

    In our latest bi-weekly review of global economics, we take a searching look at the state of global bond markets. As the US Federal Reserve inches closer to a tightening bias, bond investors must climb a wall of fear. Recent weeks have seen yields rise globally. The issue is whether this represents a nervous short-term move or a bigger shift in the cycle. Gavekal Dragonomics analysts consider the picture from the major economic regions.

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    Gavekal Research

    How To Game A Rigged Market

    Markets are on alert in a week that could see more great insights from the gods of central banking on high. Investors seem a little spooked with the MSCI emerging markets index off 4% in the last eight trading days, while currency volatility has picked up as the US dollar has strengthened. And yet despite these minor ructions, there remains a deeper sense of calm. It is the sort of quiescence born of insiders’ knowledge that the nature of...

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    So Much For China's Mini-Stimulus

    So much for the ‘mini-stimulus’. The data on China’s economic performance in August released over the weekend were dismal, showing a significant and unexpected decline in growth. The boost from the government’s suite of supportive policies was always going to be temporary, but renewed weakness is appearing much sooner than expected. We had previously thought that policy could keep growth stable for a couple of quarters (see Fears For China’s...

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    Gavekal Research

    5C Overview: Weatherproofing Bond Portfolios

    For much of this year bond investors have been in ‘risk-on’ mode. When in April the European Central Bank first hinted it was preparing to embark on its own unconventional easing measures, investors concluded that with all the world’s major central banks now offering a put on growth, it was safe to head out in search of extra yield. Global bond markets duly rallied across the board, with volatility falling to near-record lows.

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    Gavekal Research

    Behind The RMB's Strength

    When Michael Milken invented junk bonds in the early 1980s, few foresaw that his new market would change the way companies financed themselves. Nor did they think it would alter how businesses looked at their cost of capital, trigger an M&A boom, midwife the birth of the private equity industry or change the way banks were run. However, with hindsight, it is obvious that the creation of junk bonds was one of the most important financial...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Korea Thriving In China's Chilly Investment Climate

    Many multinational companies are under pressure in China, facing a slowing economy and slowing sales, as well as increased regulatory scrutiny. This is beginning to show up in business plans: annual surveys of American and European businesses by their Beijing-based chambers of commerce show that while China still ranks as a top-three global investment priority, more and more companies are scaling back their expansion plans. For Japanese...

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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: RMB Bonds Are Still The Place To Be

    In 2008 China’s leaders learnt the hard way that US bankers were no smarter and US regulators no more capable than bankers and regulators anywhere else. With the instability of the US financial system brutally exposed by the crisis, it no longer looked sensible for China to depend on the US dollar for 100% of its foreign trade. In response, Beijing invited other developing economies—Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia—to settle their trade...

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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s New Credit Cycle

    The US dollar’s renewed strength has seen most major currencies swoon before it in recent weeks. A notable exception has been the emerging Asia basket which has seen declines of less than 1% against the dollar compared to falls of up to 5% for the euro, yen and sterling. We don’t think this is a case of emerging Asia being the next shoe to drop. Instead, under-owned Asian markets look to be in an early phase of a new credit cycle following the...

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Slums Are Still With Us

    One of the paradoxes of China’s housing market is that excess supply in many areas coexists with a shortage of housing for the worst-off. We have long argued that a significant portion of the Chinese urban population is under-housed, lacking access to modern living arrangements. Given continued worries over excess housing supply in China, we recently decided to test this analysis by re-estimating the housing stock from different data sources....

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ: Is It Safe? Pollution And Food Safety

    Unbreathable air and toxic food top the list of urban China's anxieties, and the government has finally started to take notice. Since taking office in 2013, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have aggressively stepped up efforts to clean up the polluted skies and improve the safety of the food supply. The air pollution efforts have borne some fruit: average levels of fine particulates fell by 9% in the first half of 2014. But a lot...

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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (3 September): World Labor Markets

    In our latest bi-weekly review of global economics, we take a searching look at the forces affecting labor markets in the world’s major economies. How robust are the medium term prospects for wage growth? And how will the longer term forces of ageing populations and increasing automation affect the outlook for jobs? Overview: Arthur Kroeber examines how the wage-positive influence of developed world demographics will balance the job-negative...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Killing Democracy To Save Capitalism

    Beijing is tightening its control over Hong Kong’s institutions and political processes. Last week anti-corruption agents raided the homes of three of the city’s prominent pro-democracy figures. Then on Sunday Beijing handed down a long-awaited decision on constitutional development which crushed the city’s hopes for open elections. China’s increasing influence over the nominally-autonomous territory is deeply resented by many in the former...

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    Gavekal Research

    Market Review: A Summer Series

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

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    Gavekal Research

    Growth & Markets Monthly (September 2014)

    This month we note a slight deterioration in our global growth indicators, which probably mirrors the significant economic deceleration seen in Europe. On the risk side, markets do not appear stressed, although there has been a slight widening in the US corporate spread (albeit from very low levels). On the question of inflation vs deflation our indicators offer a mixed picture: on the one hand our diffusion index of US CPI components keeps...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q3 2014

    “Selective easing” of monetary policy temporarily boosted GDP growth. Premier Li Keqiang has shifted emphasis away from structural reform and toward supporting growth. Credit growth picked up in Q2 and fiscal spending accelerated, enabling GDP growth to rebound modestly to 7.5%. But the cyclical support is not enormous and growth will likely slow again in early 2015.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q3 2014 - Stirring Dragon, Nervous Neighbors

    Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific by Robert D. Kaplan (Random House, 2014)

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