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E.g., 06-05-2021
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    Gavekal Research

    The Sword Is The Axis Of History

    As Anatole recently argued, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that the tussle over the Crimea has likely been resolved without serious bloodshed and at minimal cost (see All Over Bar The Annexation). But in the longer term it is clear that these events may cast a long shadow over international relations for years to come. Indeed, as British politician Ernest Bevin famously said, “don't open this Pandora’s box, it is full of Trojan horses...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Is Iron Ore Becoming The New Copper?

    One of the hoariest of market clichés is that copper is “the metal with a PhD in economics” since its demand is supposedly closely related to real economic activity. This saying should produce a bit of a chuckle for those familiar with Chinese commodity markets, where copper is heavily used as collateral for financing. Because of this practice, copper shipments and prices often have no relationship whatsoever with economic fundamentals. In...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Urbanization 2.0

    China’s cities are a mess. The urbanization policies of the past decade encouraged rapid urban sprawl and wasteful investment, funded by large debts and pushing farmers off their land. Simultaneously, millions of rural migrants have been blocked from settling permanently. Pressure has been building for a comprehensive approach to these interlinked problems of debt, planning, land policy and social inequity. After internal wrangling and repeated...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    More Freedom For The Renminbi

    China’s weekend announcement that it will double the permitted daily trading range of the renminbi, to plus or minus 2% around the daily fixing, is its latest signal that market forces will be playing a greater role in the nation’s economy. It should also finally put paid to the incorrect but widespread view that China has begun a steady devaluation of its currency in a desperate attempt to regain export competitiveness. The 1.5% fall in the...

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    Gavekal Research

    5C Overview: A New China Rises From The Concrete

    The recent weakness of the renminbi has stirred up new doubts about China’s economic trajectory. We are repeatedly asked how China’s economic model—based as it is on bank-financed infrastructure spending—can be sustainable. The answer is that it is not; and that China will need to see strong labor and capital productivity gains in order to keep the show on the road over the coming years. Which brings us back to French theorist Frederic Bastiat’s...

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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: Is Iron Ore Becoming The New Copper?

    One of the hoariest of market clichés is that copper is “the metal with a PhD in economics” since its demand is supposedly closely related to real economic activity. This saying should produce a bit of a chuckle for those familiar with Chinese commodity markets, where copper is heavily used as collateral for financing. Because of this practice, copper shipments and prices often have no relationship whatsoever with economic fundamentals. In...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    ‘Tis The Season For China To Disappoint

    The trickle of weak economic data from China has turned into a flood, with yesterday’s publication of official readings of industrial output, investment and retail sales that were uniformly below market expectations. As a result, investors are increasingly doubtful of the ability of heavily indebted Chinese firms to survive the combination of weaker growth and tighter credit. Premier Li Keqiang, by coincidence giving his annual press conference...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ: China And Japan

    In this issue, we focus on the increasingly tense relationship between China and Japan. Frictions over disputed islands in the East China Sea have stalled bilateral trade and driven the confidence of Japanese businesses in China to the lowest level ever. China's increasing assertiveness, and Japan's election of strongly nationalist leader Shinzo Abe, have sparked worries over a damaging Sino-Japanese conflict. Yet the news is not all...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Neither Boom Nor Bust For Housing

    The pattern has become all too predictable: when Chinese house prices rise, the media cries bubble. When prices slow, we are warned of a crash. In recent weeks the crash warnings have been piling up, as housing sales and price growth have decelerated. The more boring truth is that China’s housing market has its cyclical ups and downs. The year 2014 is shaping up to be cooler than the surprisingly torrid 2013. But collapse is not on the horizon,...

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    Gavekal Research

    It's All Good In America, And All Bad In China

    “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First by reflection, which is noblest. Second, by imitation, which is easiest. And third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Getting Serious About Fiscal Policy

    This week’s session of the National People’s Congress is the first major public presentation of Chinese government policies since the leadership unveiled a major reform package last November. As such it provides an occasion to assess how much the government is following through on those plans. And Premier Li Keqiang did indeed reinforce market-friendly themes by pledging further steps on deregulating the economy and supporting private-sector...

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    Gavekal Research

    RMB Limbo: How Low Can It Go?

    As we argued last week, the recent depreciation of the Chinese currency was engineered by the central bank—not as a competitive devaluation, but rather to rout speculators making one-way bets on renminbi appreciation. The People’s Bank of China (PBC) acted after January saw roughly US$73bn in net capital inflows, the biggest deluge of inward flows in 12 months. The question now, after a 1.4% fall in the renminbi in 10 trading days (a bigger fall...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How To Fix China’s State Sector

    The government’s own data on SOEs show that neither of its two principal priorities for the state sector is now being achieved: SOE assets are not, in fact, being concentrated in the sectors the government wants; and the returns on SOE assets have sharply deteriorated. As a result, a significant part of the Chinese economy is underperforming. This creates a drag on economic output at a time when many other changes—an aging population, the...

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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: Factory Workers' Fairytale

    Once upon a time, Chinese bosses lived in a fairytale world populated by an endless supply of cheap migrant labor. For two decades, nominal GDP growth outpaced migrant wage growth, as employers squeezed their migrant workforce dry. But around five years ago, the labor supply/demand dynamic flipped and migrant wages started to rise. As any reader of fairy tales knows, wicked bosses always meet their comeuppance in the end.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q1 2014 - Data

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q1 2014 - Leadership, urbanization, local debt

    Xi’s Style: Checks Without Balances, Policies Without Politics

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q1 2014 - Cleaning Up Coketown: Can Air Pollution Be Controlled

    After years of lip service, China’s leaders are finally getting serious about cleaning up the country’s dreadful air. An all-out assault on filthy and unprofitable steel mills in Hebei is a good start, but much more will be needed.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q1 2014 - Japanese Business in China-Alive In The Bitter Sea

    Growing belligerence by China’s government and populace has driven Japanese companies’ confidence in the China market to its lowest level ever. An increasing number are hedging their bets by investing more in Southeast Asia. But some still find ways to win in hostile territory.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q1 2014 - The New 'Great Game' In Asia

    Asia’s two largest nations are battling it out for the hearts and minds of their regional neighbors. So far Japan is doing a better job of making friends, as it shifts aid and investment toward Southeast Asia. In the long run, though, China’s market power will continue to be its strongest asset.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q1 2014 - Shinzo Abe's Master Plan To Re-arm Japan

    International media celebrate Shinzo Abe for his economic stimulus and reform package. But ‘Abenomics’ is just a fig leaf for Abe’s true aim: an aggressive nationalist plan to re-militarize Japan in response to the rise of China. Can anything stop him? Most likely, Abenomics will.

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