E.g., 26-09-2020
E.g., 26-09-2020
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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: The Great Covid Crash

    India has taken a bigger economic hit from the pandemic than any other major economy. After reopening its economy in June, business activity is again weakening as the surging number of Covid-19 cases raises the chance of more localized restrictions. Udith and Tom evaluate the government's response and give a prognosis for the economy.

    0
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    EM Currencies At A Pivot Point

    Emerging market economies are heavily impacted by their currency’s level against both the US dollar and the Chinese renminbi. As the dollar is a funding currency, most EMs thrive when it is weak. In contrast, China is both a competitor and a key export market for EM economies, and so a weak renminbi poses a deflationary threat. Since late May, emerging markets have faced the ostensibly benign situation of a weaker US dollar and a stronger...

    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 Research

    A British Mad Man

    The world’s worst performing major currency, stock market and economy have all been located in Britain since Boris Johnson was reelected last December. This is not surprising. With hindsight, his decision to outlaw any possible extension of the Brexit transition period as soon as he was reelected fully justified the switch from bullish to bearish on sterling assets that I recommended immediately after this announcement.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Model Pupil Still Has Problems

    Asia is seen as having had a “good” Covid-19 crisis, as it learnt vital lessons from the 2003 Sars outbreak and its policymakers have been typically more frugal than their Western peers.The problem with such generalizations, argue Udith and Vincent, is that they conceal huge discrepancies among countries.

    0
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    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.

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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...

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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 Research

    Keep Chasing Asian Yield

    As US equities brush up against new highs and safety assets like gold and treasuries sell off, global risk appetite has risen this week. Investors are betting that a vaccine for Covid-19 is at hand and if not, the world is at least learning to live with the virus. A potential beneficiary of this situation may be Asian bond markets, where quite decent yield can still be had.

    0
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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 Research

    Indian Banks On The Block

    As India's economic and fiscal situation goes from bad to worse, the government is preparing to do the unthinkable: privatize state-owned banks. Ever since the first round of nationalization of private lenders in 1969, the state has kept a tight grip on the financial system. Now it reportedly plans to sell its majority stake in six banks, hoping that an infusion of private capital and managerial skill can nurture them back to health.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: End Of The Growth Story

    India has experienced a draconian lockdown that could result in output shrinking by -25-45% in the second quarter of the year. The result will be a sharp worsening in the fiscal deficit and a low structural growth rate that leaves India as just another emerging market rather than a growth story to rival China’s. Udith and Tom consider what it means for asset markets.

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    Gavekal Research

    India's Mini Bazooka

    India’s finance minister yesterday outlined a US$265bn fiscal package to save the economy. It looks to be just enough to stop a slide into depression but not much more. A worrying factor in its response is an apparent lurch towards protectionism, which would undermine any gains made from much-needed reforms to land and labor markets

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The US Dollar Starts To Break Down

    The US dollar is back to the panicked lows of March when Western economies were being locked down. Back then the prices of financial assets reflected a lack of liquidity, rather than fundamentals. Today central banks have ensured ample liquidity, so Louis explores various reasons that could explain the US dollar’s apparent breakdown.

    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 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 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 Research

    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.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Three Big Questions For India

    Under one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns, the prospect that India will be devastated by the coronavirus pandemic is receding, and attention is shifting from saving lives to saving the economy. Tom examines the three big questions hanging over the Indian economy to determine how successful the country's recovery is likely to be.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Testing The Boundaries Of QE

    One major emerging market central bank this week sailed boldly into waters others have so far feared to navigate, when Bank Indonesia agreed to buy IDR574trn (US$40bn or 3.6% of GDP) of government bonds in the primary market at below market interest rates, so beginning the direct monetary financing of the Indonesian government’s fiscal deficit.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India And The Virus

    India is in the early stages of its Covid-19 epidemic. The economic fallout in the world’s fifth-largest economy will be severe, with well over 100mn casual jobs at risk. Like many emerging economies, India is vulnerable due to a weak medical sector and a lack of fiscal firepower to counter resulting economic shocks.

    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 Research

    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.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: A Fragile Stabilization

    The Reserve Bank of India's rescue of troubled private sector lender Yes Bank highlights the feedback loop between India’s bad-loan-burdened financial system and its stuttering economy, which is now facing its lowest growth rate since the financial crisis. The current steep prices of Indian equities and the rupee are increasingly hard to justify.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A US Full-Court Press Against China

    The US-China relationship has deteriorated rapidly, and the main reason seems to be that Donald Trump has decided that a “tough on China” approach should be central to his reelection campaign. Acrimony between the two countries is likely to get much worse between now and November, and US actions are starting to spread from technology to finance.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Kitsune Market (Part III)

    In this third part of a series assessing risks thrown up by massive government interventions to stop Covid-19 lockdowns turning into an economic depression, Louis turns his sights on efforts to prevent bankruptcies at all costs. He also considers the rapidly fraying US-China relationship and existential choices faced by Saudi Arabia as it decides how to handle a collapse in oil prices.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: Stuck In A Rut

    After India’s economic growth rate slumped to a six-year low in the third quarter, the government of Narendra Modi is throwing fiscal caution to the winds in an attempt to juice up growth. Some form of recovery is likely over the coming quarters, but any loss of confidence among the foreign investors will leave asset prices vulnerable to hefty losses in US dollar terms.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Kitsune Market (Part II)

    Last week, Louis introduced the Kitsune, Japan’s mythical nine-tailed fox, and outlined four tail risks which could upend investment after Covid-19. Today he examines two more important tail risks: that the pandemic might not prove deflationary but inflationary, and the risk that the market’s “don’t fight the Fed” mentality could collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.

    10
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Implausible Energy Ambitions

    Narendra Modi’s government has set out ambitious objectives for India’s energy policy, targeting wider access to affordable energy, a greatly increased role for renewables, and stronger national energy security. The trouble is that these aims appear to be contradictory, and the government has yet to set out a coherent plan for implementation.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Kitsune Market

    The Kitsune, the mythical Japanese fox which portends a change of fortune, has nine tails. Inspired by the unnatural conditions in markets, Louis has identified nine tail risks which could upend the investment world over the short to medium term. In the first installment of a two-part series, he outlines four tail risks that investors should consider hedging against.

    12
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia Goes Unconventional

    China just unveiled a -6.8% year-on-year fall in 1Q20 output and the ricochet effect is being felt beyond its borders. Neighboring economies face shrunken demand and are being forced to ditch fiscal rectitude and other economic orthodoxies. In some cases, monetary responses look a lot like quantitative easing. These emerging economies’ capacity for such action varies greatly.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Call Of The Frontier

    On Tuesday, Indonesia issued US$4.3bn of foreign currency bonds in maturities as long as 50 years. As emerging economies expand their fiscal response to the Covid-19 crisis, others will seek to raise fresh US dollar debt. Udith argues they had better hurry up as there looks to be trouble coming down the pike in the emerging world that could even impact stronger credits.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Solving India's Water Crisis

    Experts predict that half of India’s demand for water will be unmet by 2030, threatening livelihoods and the country’s development prospects. Yet water scarcity need not be a disaster for India. With more efficient agricultural practices and better management, India has sufficient water resources both to feed itself and keep its economy on track.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    An Anti-Fragile Beauty Contest

    Following the 2008 crisis, the S&P 500 bottomed on March 9 2009. Since then, an investor in physical gold would have gained 82.2% while an investor in 10-year US treasuries would have made gains of 65.6% (with coupons re-invested). But with both assets testing their pre-crisis highs, there are several reasons to believe that gold is now set to outperform structurally.

    9
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Reshuffling Global Supply Chains

    Globally distributed production has already become less attractive since the 2008 crisis, and the Covid-19 pandemic will intensify the trend for global manufacturing to reduce its dependence on China. Dan argues this will encourage supply chains to become more robust, more decentralized and, ironically, more truly global.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Expensive And Vulnerable

    Few major economies and markets are more exposed to a possible Middle Eastern conflict than heavily oil-import-dependent India. However that's not the only thing likely to trouble investors in India this year—with the economy misfiring, Narendra Modi spending political capital on his Hindu-nationalist agenda rather than structural reforms, and local equities looking uncomfortably expensive.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    India's Frenetic Inertia

    They say the first step to solving a problem is recognizing that you have one. With its recent moves to shore up sagging growth, Narendra Modi’s new government has finally acknowledged that India’s economy is in trouble. But unless it quickly finds a coherent reform strategy, Modi’s second term could fizzle out into economic failure.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Laffer Curve Gamble

    India’s decision to cut its corporate tax rate from 30% to 22% has spurred a 7% surge in equities as investors bet on new capital spending reigniting a stalled growth cycle. The problem is that even if this fiscal easing spurs more business investment, the consumer side of India’s economy remains stuck in a low gear due to knottier problems.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Risk Of EM Capital Controls

    Emerging markets dodged a bullet last week when the US Federal Reserve announced US dollar swap lines with key EM central banks. But although they now have access to US dollar liquidity, EMs still face the twin challenges of greatly diminished global demand and the domestic economic damage of local lockdowns to counter Covid-19.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Too Early To Buy Equities, But Time To Sell Dollars

    After the biggest weekly gain in the Dow and with the US government having just approved the biggest-ever fiscal stimulus, how should investors react? While unrepentantly bullish in the long term, Anatole still believes that it is too early to buy equities. But for two other asset classes conditions do seem to be more propitious to call a bottom.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Coming Collapse Of Exports

    As other economies shut down to contain their outbreaks, China’s hopes of a V-shaped growth rebound are evaporating. Thomas explains how the ensuing collapse in Chinese exports could result in a 4-8pp drop in GDP growth for Q2, offsetting any domestic recovery and pressuring policymakers to ramp up economic assistance.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    How Long For The Costly Cure?

    Is the cure worse than the disease? This question is already being asked about the economic lockdowns being imposed in response to Covid-19. It will be asked a lot more in the coming weeks as the economic pain gets worse. The short answer is that the cure is costly, but needed; and well-designed policies can enable a transition to a much lower-cost approach by mid-May if not earlier.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    The Problem For Emerging Markets

    Despite aggressive policy moves in recent days, emerging market asset values have continued to crater. These moves are the result of lost demand and supply chain disruption but also the fear of a financing shock from a squeeze in US dollar funding. Despite many emerging economies having solid fundamentals, there are reasons to think things will get worse for investors before they improve.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Capitalism And The Coronavirus

    There is an inevitability to the economic responses being adopted by governments around the world to the current crisis. The real problem is that they follow years of cosseting the financial system through policies intended to deny economic reality. The cumulative effect, Charles argues, is that by the time this crisis is fully digested we may be left with an economic system that is a pale shadow of a market economy.

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: Hardly A Growth Agenda

    India’s economy is weak across the board, weighed down by lackluster investment, anemic consumption and soft external demand. Deep reforms are needed to unlock the country’s economic potential. In this quarterly report, Udith and Tom offer a check-in on India’s growth outlook, explain why equities may be de-rated further and worry about the bond rally fizzling out.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India After The Victory Party

    After Narendra Modi’s landslide victory in India’s general election, the economic issues that must be tackled quickly are stacking up. Tom runs through the Indian leader’s inbox and concludes that the scale of the short term problems he faces rules out a 2014-style euphoric run-up in Indian equity.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: Post-Landslide Lethargy

    After the victory party, Narendra Modi’s reelected government's focus is shifting to structural reform, but Udith and Tom have fairly low expectations that this will materialize anytime soon and hold a cautious view on Indian risk assets. Such an environment should offer a reasonable outlook for government bonds.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Cardiac Arrest In India’s Body Economic

    Bad debts are clogging the arteries of India’s financial system. Two policy developments at the end of 2019 raised hope of recovery. A Supreme Court judgment set a precedent for resolving bankruptcies more quickly. And the insolvency code was extended to cover non-bank financial companies. However, the reality is that India’s financial system could worsen before it gets better, especially if the government goes ahead with a mooted finance bill.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Long Term Risks That Matter, And Those That Don’t

    In the third paper of his series about the risks that threaten asset markets in both the short and long run, Anatole turns his attention to four longer term risks that are widely discussed—and even more widely misunderstood. Investors should worry about demographics and climate change, although not for the reasons many believe. In contrast, they can sleep relatively easily about debt and productivity growth.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Don't Count On Oil To Fall Further

    Nowhere in markets has the impact of the Wuhan flu made itself felt as forcefully as in the oil price. The price of Brent crude has fallen -24% in just four weeks to US$54.58/bbl on Wednesday morning in Asia on fears of massive demand destruction in disease-hit China. WTI has fallen by a similar amount. This slide has great immediacy for investors in the energy sector.

    0
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