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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 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

    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 Research

    Caution Prevails In US Attack On Apps

    Last month President Trump issued orders that threatened massive disruption to two of China’s biggest technology companies. But the Commerce Department’s final decision on WeChat was less extreme than feared, and Trump’s blessing of a deal to avert a ban on TikTok signals a promising shift in the political calculus.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    A Simmering War Over Digital Taxes

    The US and Europe are in a standoff over how to tax digital companies. The US Trade Representative on Friday announced tariffs on French cosmetics and handbags, to take effect next year unless France drops plans to tax American tech giants. The worry is that such a dispute spirals, causing a further degradation of the global trade architecture.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Death, Taxes And Covid-19: Things That Cannot Be Avoided

    Six months after the first western countries went into lockdown, data suggest that unless imposed very early on, lockdowns did little to avert excess deaths. With weekly death rates in many western countries now running close to decade lows, Louis argues that this leaves politicians in an awkward spot, with one of three possible policy paths.

    39
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    Gavekal Research

    The First Meeting Of The Fed’s New Era

    On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee concluded its first meeting after Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell last month revised its strategic policy framework. The new framework boils down to a temporary increase in the Fed’s inflation target to “make up” for past shortfalls.

    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

    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 Research

    US Profits In The Pandemic

    My preferred “NIPA profits” measure fell by -14.4% during the second quarter of the year, according to US national accounts data released late last week. That follows a similarly bad -13.3% fall in the first quarter. Both declines are on par with the worst quarters in post-war history. And like previous low points, US corporate profitability is likely to recover from here. But what does the data tell us about the investment environment and what...

    2
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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

    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 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

    After The ‘Pump And Dump’

    August was an odd month in the US equity market. It saw Apple, the world’s largest company by market value, add US$650bn to its market-cap despite a string of troubling news. Yet for most investors, the biggest head-scratcher may have been the continued rise in the VIX, even as stocks, led by the Nasdaq, continued to make new highs.

    14
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    Gavekal Research

    A (Short) History Of Central Banking In The US

    Gavekal readers will be familiar with Charles's distinction between tools and jewels as a way of thinking about markets. He notes that today we have negative real interest rates while gold has outperformed both cash over the last 12 months and the US stock market since 2018. Today, he asks if we are at the start of a new counter-trend rally in gold relative to US equities.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    The Dollar Still Has Downside

    Has the great US dollar correction of 2020 run its course? After all, the DXY index is down -10% from its March 19 top and -4.4% lower year-to-date. There have been good reasons to sound Cassandra-like warnings on the US currency and while some negative drivers have moderated, the balance of evidence implies more downside.

    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 Research

    A New FDR?

    Joe Biden has accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for the US presidency. Invoking Franklin D. Roosevelt, who responded to the Great Depression with huge public works, Biden promised big fiscal programs to “build back better” after the Covid-19 recession. He also vowed to combat climate change, reduce wealth disparities and advance liberal causes.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Tech War, Meet Trade Deal

    Plans enacted by US national security hawks to toughen sanctions on Huawei and other Chinese tech firms have run into stiff resistance from both American tech firms and President Trump himself. Dan reports that, amidst this stalemate, both factions are mobilizing for a protracted fight over the fate of restrictions on exports to China.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Does Warren Buffett Know Something We Don't?

    The sage of Omaha made an interesting change of tack recently. Warren Buffet sold most of his shares in Goldman Sachs and bought positions in Barrick Gold. Goldman is often held up as the very epitome of the Wall Street financial engineering firm. Meanwhile, Barrick represents the kind of company you would buy if you no longer trusted financial engineering—or the currency in which the financial engineering is taking place.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Will A Keynesian Phoenix Arise From Covid?

    Two months ago, Anatole dismissed the rebound in equity prices as an outbreak of “market madness” among bored small-time gamblers deprived of the opportunity to bet on horses and sports. He now admits that call was wrong and in this piece explains what has driven the market to new highs. The turnaround likely reflects the largescale reconversion of leading economies to Keynesian demand-management policies and the fact that these seem baked-in...

    17
  • Gavekal Research

    Why I Was Wrong To Turn Bearish

    Yesterday, Anatole suggested that stock markets may be soaring to new records because the Covid-19 crisis could indirectly produce a stronger world economy in the coming decade. Today, he seeks to explain his damascene conversion from post-March bearishness in order that readers can better judge the merit of this view.

    8
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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

    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

    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 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 Research

    The Past Is Another Country

    With US$3trn added to the US national debt during the Covid-19 crisis and trillions more in the works should new salary replacement payments be agreed in Congress, a vital question for investors is how to think about this runaway government spending and what it means for bonds and the US dollar.

    4
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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 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 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

    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

    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 Research

    Different Decades, Different Backdrops

    In the months after the 2008 global mortgage crisis, gold prices broke out to new highs in part driven by the belief that quantitative easing would trigger higher inflation, perhaps even hyper-inflation. Against such a backdrop investors flocked to real assets. Today, similar forces seem to be at work, although maybe in more concentrated form.

    8
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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 Cheap, But Not Expensive Either

    I don’t propose to wade into the debate over whether US equities are in are in a bubble or not. I'd only point out that by one key metric—relative valuation—equities do not look excessively expensive today, at least when compared with the relative valuations seen at the height of the dot-com boom at the turn of the century.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    Quantifying Trade War Risk

    Investors seem to have grown somewhat blasé about the US-China trade war lately. Over 12 months after the outbreak of hostilities, the S&P 500 is up 2.2% year-on-year. Part of the reason for this nonchalance appears to be a belief that US growth and domestic profits are invulnerable to any escalation of the conflict. This belief may be mistaken.

    2
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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 Research

    In Defense Of Marxists And Communism

    Charles has often appeared on television shows in France as the token right-wing guy asked to debate a socialist or communist on the proper role of the state. He misses those days, for both he and his adversary usually agreed that the objective was improving the welfare of the average Frenchman—even if they disagreed profoundly on how to achieve this.

    7
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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

    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 Research

    Weathering Trump’s Trade War

    It may be the dog days of summer, but investors got a truckload of news this weekend that points to a bad situation getting worse. Given President Donald Trump’s escalation of tariffs and threat to bar US firms from operating in China, the worry is that his hardline stance spurs a US recession. KX and Will think this is unlikely.

    3
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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

    What Will Stop The Gold Bull Market?

    The sustained outperformance of very large-cap tech stocks means that any manager who substantially underweighted the sector has likely lost clients. The exception may be those who favored gold and gold miners, which have experienced a “stealth” bull market. I say stealth because the precious metals rally has garnered limited headlines, scant investor interest and fewer reflections on either its causes, or consequences.

    2
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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

    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

    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 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

    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 Dragonomics

    From Trade War To Decoupling

    Trade talks between the US and China will resume this week after a three-month hiatus, but how much do they really matter? In this piece, Arthur argues that the macro risk from the US-China trade conflict has ebbed to almost zero. What’s important now is to understand the dimensions of the decoupling between the world’s two biggest economies.

    1
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