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    Gavekal Research

    The Gavekal Monthly: A Possible Return Of US Inflation

    The Gavekal Monthly outlines our highest conviction ideas and summarizes the key economic, market and thematic views held by the firm’s partners and analysts. This report is an attempt to answer a question that we are often asked, but find it hard to answer: "What does Gavekal think?".

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Plan For Less Planning?

    China’s leaders have launched their next five-year plan with a big step back from planning, at least of the family variety: henceforth all couples will be allowed to have two children. This is a good thing. But we’re not so sure it is a sign of the “decisive” move away from central planning and toward market mechanisms that reformers have promised.

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    Gavekal Research

    Now Or Never For Vietnam

    Vietnam is South East Asia’s standout economy with growth likely to hit 6.5% this year, the fastest pace since 2010. It has emerged as a low-cost export-processing powerhouse and a gradual revival in domestic demand points to a generalized upswing in the cycle. There are also reasons to think that Vietnam may be about to embark on significant market-based reforms, driven by its inclusion in free trade groupings. The problem is that the current...

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: "Now Or Never For Vietnam"

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    Gavekal Research

    Positioning For A Hawkish Fed

    What have we learned from the world’s largest economy in recent days? It would seem that a fairly hawkish Federal Reserve is ready to raise interest rates in December, while for all its dysfunction Washington has done a deal to keep the US government running for the next two years without threats of a debt default. Considering that two months ago the concern was that the global economy was about to tip into a China-induced death spiral, this...

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    Gavekal Research

    A New Look At Capital: Reassessing Cost And Return

    US profits are contracting, corporate bond rates are rising, and the Federal Reserve is inching towards rate hikes. It is no wonder the US equity rally faltered this summer. As the dust settles, the question confronting investors is: Where does the US stand now in the economic cycle?

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    Gavekal Research

    Middle-East Machinations

    Russia and Turkey are increasingly at loggerheads as Moscow escalates its military engagement in Syria. Earlier this month Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to find another gas supplier after Russian jets breached its air space, and in recent days Ankara initiated legal action against Gazprom over the price it is charged for piped gas.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Housing & Construction Review 2015

    Our annual overview of China’s housing and construction markets summarizes the short- and long-term outlook for these crucial economic drivers. In this concise chartbook, Rosealea explains the structural challenge from stagnant demand, the new focus of housing policy, and the role of inventories in shaping the construction cycle.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Danger Of Further BoJ Easing

    There is growing speculation that the Bank of Japan may follow the European Central Bank, which last week signaled additional easing, and the People’s Bank of China, which cut rates on Friday, and surprise the markets with further credit easing. But while extra action from the BoJ could be a short term shot in the arm for the equity market (or not, given the underwhelming response to China’s easing), it is doubtful whether additional easing will...

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    Gavekal Research

    London Seminar Presentation Slides - October 2015

    These are the London Seminar presentation slides from October 2015

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    Gavekal Research

    London Seminar Audio And Slides

    We held our main fall seminar on October 27 in London, where Anatole Kaletsky, Francois-Xavier Chauchat, Neil Newman, Tom Miller and Louis-Vincent Gave presented their views on the global economy. Anatole discussed the implications of recent developments in financial markets; Francois examined Europe’s resilience to global headwinds; Neil outlined three major investment themes in Japan; Tom explored China’s regional foreign policy ambitions, and...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    London Seminar: The Aggresively Friendly Giant

    What sort of country is China, and what sort of power does it want to be? In this presentation to our seminar in London, Tom Miller explains how to understand the signals China’s leaders have been sending. China wants to pursue great-power status, a process that may alienate its neighbors and will require adjustments from the US.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A New Era For China’s Monetary Policy

    More important than its sixth rate cut in 12 months was the Chinese central bank’s announcement that it has abandoned the ceiling it has long set on commercial bank deposit rates. This step brings the decade-long process of interest rate liberalization almost to completion, and ushers in a new era for China’s monetary policy.

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    Gavekal Research

    Why The Ruble Rally May Be Over

    Global investors are bulled up on Russian financial assets with the ruble having outperformed most emerging market currencies since the “junk rally” got going in early September. On a YTD basis Russian bonds have outpaced those from other big EMs. As a result, dedicated Russian funds last month saw a big inflow for the first time in a year. Certainly, the shift in sentiment has been spurred by the Federal Reserve delaying any interest rate move...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Promise Of A More Forceful ECB

    The signal could hardly have been clearer. Although the European Central Bank chose to hold its fire yesterday, bank president Mario Draghi made it plain that he will be prepared to wheel out even bigger weaponry at December’s meeting to overcome the deflationary forces pressing on the eurozone’s economy. If necessary, this could include extending the current quantitative easing program beyond next September, increasing the ECB’s monthly asset...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Cross-Border Flows And The Renminbi

    China is now earning more renminbi from its foreign trade and fewer US dollars, which means its currency can come under depreciation pressure even if the trade surplus is widening. But such downward pressure has diminished since August, and we do not expect the renminbi to fall more than about 3% against the dollar over the next six months.

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  • Gavekal Research

    The Myth Of Secular Stagnation

    When the European Central Bank meets today, discussion will center on whether it should expand quantitative easing in an attempt to stave off deflation and support the eurozone’s painfully slow growth. In Japan too, talk is about whether the Bank of Japan needs to step up its stimulus efforts. And in the US, the Federal Reserve last month decided to delay calling an end to its own zero interest rate policy amid evidence that US growth is in...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Long And Short Of Liquidity

    Charles sometimes likes to say that investing is simple: all one needs to do is figure out whether there is “more money than fools”, in which case risk assets rise, or “more fools than money”, in which case equity markets struggle, since they are one of the world’s main reservoirs for excess liquidity. Alas, what Charles fails to say with this quip is that working out whether there is more money than fools, or the reverse, is no easy job. What’s...

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    Gavekal Research

    Excerpt From Anatole Kaletsky's Hong Kong Seminar Presentation

    Excerpt From Anatole Kaletsky's Hong Kong Seminar Presentation

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    Gavekal Research

    Hong Kong Seminar

    This is the full recording from Gavekal's October Hong Kong seminar featuring Joyce Poon, Andrew Batson and Anatole Kaletsky as well as a Q&A session.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Hong Kong Seminar: Housing Explains Everything

    What is the best way to sort through the complexities of China’s enormous, continent-sized economy? In this presentation to our seminar in Hong Kong, Andrew argues that if you understand what’s going on in the housing market, then you know pretty much everything you need to know about the Chinese economy.

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    Gavekal Research

    Will The ECB Opt For QE-Plus?

    When the governing council of the European Central Bank convenes this Thursday in the Maltese capital Valetta, the assembled policymakers will be forced to contemplate a track record of quantitative easing that at best can be described as “mixed”. True, since the ECB announced its €60bn a month program of asset purchases in March this year, eurozone activity has staged a modest comeback, with growth expected to rise to 1.6% in the third quarter...

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    Gavekal Research

    Louis on leadership in the East and West

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    More Headwinds Than Tailwinds

    The better-than-expected GDP number China released today should help further calm market fears about collapsing growth and capital flight. But while growth is not collapsing, it’s also not rebounding, The data will likely look a bit better in the fourth quarter, but we still think China’s growth will take another big step down in early 2016.

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    Gavekal Research

    Japan's Deal Of The Decade

    Today will be a day of celebration for many Japanese investors, as they find out whether they have hit the jackpot with an allocation of shares in the initial public offerings for Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance. Together with the IPO of Japan Post Holdings, which will be priced next Monday, the three deals are expected to raise some ¥1.4trn (US$11.7bn), making the joint offering Japan’s largest since the 1998 IPO for telecommunications...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    When Will Construction Rebound?

    Given the huge role that real estate plays in China’s economy, we can’t expect growth to rebound much until construction recovers. In this piece we propose scenarios for how this could happen, focusing on the inventory cycle. We conclude that construction starts will decline again in 2016, with a cyclical rebound not arriving until 2017 or 2018.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Dollar, Deflation And US Equities

    Is the threat of US deflation really receding? Far from it—for a large segment of the US stock market deflationary pressure is set to intensify, rather than abate, over the coming months. Sure, data for September released yesterday showed an uptick in core inflation (ex-energy and food) to 1.9% from 1.8%, raising expectations that that overall US consumer prices are poised for a moderate uptrend driven largely by housing and healthcare costs....

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Ominous Signal In Inventories

    One of the characteristics of a recession is an overhang in inventories, which must then be sold off or written down before growth can recover. The overhang results from overproduction during the final stages of the preceding boom, an unexpected collapse in demand, or both.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Rough Road For Retailers

    Chinese consumers spent plenty of money over the national holiday this month—but growth in retail sales has clearly slowed along with the rest of the economy. On top of this slowdown, structural changes in shopping patterns are wreaking havoc with traditional retailers, who increasingly struggle to benefit from the bright spots in consumption.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    No Real Respite In Brazil

    Dilma Rousseff yesterday won a temporary reprieve from a threatened impeachment and Brazilian assets promptly took a beating. Investors seem to be hoping for a presidential ouster as an end to the political turmoil which has killed any chance of fiscal consolidation or structural reform. With an emerging market bounce seemingly ebbing, Brazilian assets do not offer an appealing risk-reward profile—even after yesterday’s sell-off, the real has...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Could Volkswagen Save Europe?

    Volkswagen's stock price has rebounded more than 20% since its early October low, but there remains uncertainty about the firm’s future. Since news of the diesel polluting scandal broke, US$30bn has been wiped off VW’s market value, and you do not need to be conspiratorial to see a scenario that has the value of the German carmaker’s equity going to zero.

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    Gavekal Research

    Position For A Pick-Up In US Inflation

    Everyone agrees that US inflation, if not actually dead, is unlikely to gain a new lease on life any time soon. With oil prices down -48% over the last 12 months and the US dollar up 11%, inflation as measured by personal consumption expenditure is just 0.3%, while core inflation (ex-food and energy) is down to 1.3% year-on-year. What’s more, investors expect no acceleration in price rises over the medium term. The implied breakeven inflation...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Can Stimulus Save China?

    Last week the International Monetary Fund confirmed its forecast that China’s growth will slow to 6.3% next year—the weakest rate since 1990, in the aftermath of Beijing’s suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests. In an attempt to counter this slowdown, in recent months the government has rolled out a series of measures designed to stimulate demand. It has cut interest rates, reduced bank reserve requirements, released funds for...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Italy’s Debt Trap Escape Bid

    Even though Italy has run primary surpluses for all but one of the last 20 years, public debt has ballooned to 133% of GDP, second only to Greece in the eurozone. Italy’s original profligacy dates to the 1980s, but the real issue has been an inability to bite the bullet on reform, which, according to the International Monetary Fund, has reduced potential economic growth to just 0.4%. The good news is that Italy seems to have woken up and smelt...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Fallacy Of Containment

    Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hailed this week’s deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership as evidence that “the curtain is finally rising on a new Asian century.” The TPP is the biggest trade agreement for 20 years, its 12 members accounting for a full 35% of global trade (see The Big Winner From The TPP). Yet it is hard to get excited about a trade deal that deliberately leaves out the world’s biggest trading nation: China. The TPP is designed...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Spreading The Urban Wealth

    President Xi Jinping is promoting a plan for integrating Beijing and Tianjin with poorer Hebei province, ev even declaring it a national strategy to drive future growth. If successful, the plan will spread some of the resources in central Beijing more evenly around the region. This in turn will push up property prices in suburbs and smaller cities.

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  • Gavekal Research

    The Best Financial News In Months

    To our relief, China’s latest reserve statistics showed a significantly smaller than expected decline, confirming that capital flight out of China has eased substantially. The threat to the global economy generated by the summer turmoil has now lifted, and markets all over the world should therefore return to risk-on mode.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Birth Of A Pain Trade?

    The question we have received most in recent days is whether this week’s counter-trend rally in commodities, deep cyclicals and emerging markets can morph into a “melt-up” akin to that seen in 4Q98. Seventeen years ago the blowback from the Asian Financial Crisis culminated in late September with the failure of Long Term Capital Management. Within days of a hurriedly agreed creditor bailout, the Federal Reserve had made the first of three...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Does Slower Job Growth Signal A Coming US Recession?

    There’s no getting away from it: last week’s US employment report was unequivocally weak. According to the latest estimates, the US added only around 140,000 jobs in each of August and September—a marked slowdown from the average growth rate of 260,000 in 2014. So what is going on? There are three possibilities:

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  • Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Stimulus Question: Not When But How

    With China’s growth heading below the government’s 7% target, policymakers are once again rolling out supportive measures. But will yet more stimulus be enough to arrest the slide in growth and turn around sentiment? In this piece, Andrew explores the potential impact from two conventional and two unconventional options for further stimulus.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Big Winner From The TPP

    After a tough summer with little to cheer about, investors finally got some good news yesterday. After five years of negotiations, culminating in six days of round-the-clock talks in Atlanta, the US, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim economies finally struck a deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If ratified by the signatories’ parliaments, the TPP will be the biggest liberalization of global trade since China’s entry into the WTO, and the...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Not The Obvious Payroll Conclusion

    Is the US economy sliding towards recession? After six years of steady expansion, it would not be unusual for the business cycle to start rolling over. This possibility, suggested by Charles’s time-tested recession indicators (see Positioning For A US Recession), caused equities and the dollar to swoon right after Friday’s unexpectedly weak payroll report. Until this release it was tempting to dismiss such historic cyclical indicators that rely...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia's Good For A Bounce

    Financial markets offer a real-time snapshot of how humans, and increasingly computer programs react to new information. When they collectively engage in a fit of irrationality the opportunity arises to extract profits. With Hong Kong equities rallying hard in this morning’s session, it seems that enough investors reckon such a moment has arrived in Asia.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Gavekal Monthly: More Questions Than Answers

    With the Fed having put its rate hike decision on hold, investors face an uncertain environment of weak global growth and inflation, tottering emerging markets and continued worries about China. In this edition of The Gavekal Monthly, Louis-Vincent Gave surveys the crucial questions investors must grapple with and identifies the indicators to monitor in the coming weeks. In addition, we highlight three calls from our analyst team: Joyce...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Financing Gap, Creative Accounting And US Recessions

    The pithy aphorism that there are “lies, damned lies and statistics” is attributed to Benjamin Disraeli. Having spent the better part of my adult life torturing data to prove points, I would certainly agree. But in my view, the British Prime Minister missed a beat, for surely the most predictable form of officially sanctioned lying is the type overseen by accountants.

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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Still Fertile Forest

    Earlier this week India cut interest rates by 50bp, making it one of the few emerging economies to do so in the face of an investor panic that has hit the asset class hard. The central bank’s actions contrast sharply with the 2013 “taper tantrum” when it was forced to ramp up rates to rein in inflation and prevent capital flight. The action shows that India has a fundamentally better macro-economic positioning than its EM peers, and in our view...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    QSCB: What Is The Trade Slowdown Telling Us?

    For the first time since the 1970s global trade is growing more slowly than global GDP, and if anything this growth is decelerating. One explanation is that slower world trade is a symptom of weak global demand, and perhaps a harbinger of worse economic news to come. That is possible, but in this Quarterly Strategy Chartbook we argue that the trade slowdown reflects structural changes in the world economy, and signals that a new phase of...

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    Gavekal Research

    Why Big Caps Are Still Blighted

    Big cap stocks globally have had a horrible 2015 with the Volkswagen emissions scandal being just the latest “uncorrelated shock” to hit the sector. In Europe, German utilities RWE and E.ON have lost more than half of their market value, while oil and commodity producers everywhere have been hurt by a collapse in the price of their wares. Still, “blue chips” got that reassuring moniker because they tend to be the highest value counters on the...

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    Gavekal Research

    Positioning For A US Recession

    Since the end of last year I have been worried about an “unexpected” slow-down, or even recession, in the world’s developed economies. In order to monitor the situation on a daily basis, I built a new indicator of US economic activity which contains 17 components ranging from lumber prices and high-yield bond spreads to the inventory-to-sales ratio.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Macro Update: The Next Step Down In Growth

    In our latest quarterly overview of the Chinese economy: monetary easing has done little to reverse the slowdown, and weakness in heavy industry and construction is now spreading to exports and consumption. Meanwhile financial markets are in turmoil and the reform agenda is disappointing. Another step down in growth looks inevitable.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Worrying Set Of Signals

    Regular readers will know that we keep a battery of indicators to gauge, among other things, economic activity, inflationary pressure, risk appetite and asset valuations. Most of the time this dashboard offers mixed messages, which is not hugely helpful to the investment process. Yet from time to time, the data pack points unambiguously in a single direction and experience tells us that such confluences are worth watching. We are today at such a...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Libor Not Lehman

    With shares in Volkswagen down -28% since the diesel emissions rigging story broke last Friday, VW bond yields up sharply, and the securities of other European automakers hit hard by the news, investors face some uncomfortable questions. Is the risk posed by the scandal idiosyncratic, with the fallout likely to be confined largely to VW itself? Or could the risk prove systemic, with potentially catastrophic implications for the broader European...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Mixed-Up Case Of Mixed Ownership Reform

    China’s long-awaited plan for state-owned enterprise reform centers on the vague concept of “mixed ownership.” This new slogan at first seemed to promise more privatization of state enterprises and a greater role for the private sector. But in actual practice, mixed ownership does not look much like privatization at all.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Has Abenomics Failed?

    Has Abenomics failed? On paper, the answer is an unequivocal “yes”. Almost three years after the election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the “three arrows” of his economic revitalization program—stimulative fiscal policy, massive central bank monetary expansion, and far-reaching structural reforms—have missed all their declared targets. Far from accelerating to a trend growth rate of 2%, Japan’s economy has faltered, contracting at an annualized...

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    Gavekal Research

    Gastarbeiter Redux

    The influx of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from war torn Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and parts of Africa has laid bare familiar divisions within the European Union. This week’s deal to relocate 120,000 more refugees from Greece and Italy on top of the 40,000 agreed in May starts to address the problem. Many multiples more are making the trip to Europe, but only one country—Germany—is promising to take large numbers. Commentators often...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Diverging Fortunes Of The Two Chinas

    One of the most important facts about China’s current slowdown is how unevenly distributed it is. There is a huge and growing gap between different sectors and provinces; in economic terms there are effectively “two Chinas.” Understanding this disparity is key to assessing China’s growth prospects, financial risks and global impact.

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    Gavekal Research

    What The VW Scandal Could Mean

    Last year as Europe tightened economic sanctions on Russia for its role in fomenting the Ukrainian conflict, German business confidence readings took a bath. This was not surprising as German exports to Russia—a one time key growth market for Teutonic metal bashers—have shrunk by about €9bn in two years. However, once the dust settled on 2014 it became clear that far from being decimated, Germany’s highly diversified exports had actually risen...

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  • Gavekal Research

    Philosophical Dominance, Profits And Stocks

    Let us start with a simple idea, which also happens to be validated by the data: stock market returns and corporate profits over the long term have the same growth rate.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Wrong End Of The Fed’s Stick

    Friday’s market action spoke volumes about the jitteriness of investors. After the Federal Reserve decided on Thursday not to raise US interest rates, at least for the time being, the S&P 500 sold off -1.6% in the following day’s trade. The reaction in Europe was even more extreme, with the Euro Stoxx 50 falling -3%. Rather than taking the Fed’s dovishness as a positive sign, it seemed that equity investors instead asked what bad news...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Fed Throws EMs A Lifeline

    The Federal Reserve’s decision to keep on procrastinating over a rate hike should have come as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to the comments of Janet Yellen. And indeed it didn’t come as much of a surprise to the markets, to judge by their reaction yesterday. After a brief flurry of activity following the announcement, the US equity market closed little changed on the day. Currency and bond markets proved a bit more excitable, but...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    How Much Does China Really Matter?

    How much does China’s slowdown really matter to the rest of the world? At first this might sound like a silly question. After all, China is home to a fifth of humanity, it is the world’s second largest national economy and its second largest importer, and in recent years has contributed between a quarter and a third of global growth. What’s more, the recent volatility in China’s stock markets and exchange rate caused shockwaves around the world...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe And Chinese Risk

    Yesterday Joyce argued that the slowdown in China was not a major problem for most developed economies (see How Much Does China Really Matter?). Arguably an exception to that general observation are Europe’s multinationals, which over the last decade or so have thrived by selling goods that Chinese firms and households love to buy.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    From Empire Builders To Traders

    The new oil-market reality of abundant supplies and low prices is sapping the financial and political power of China’s state-owned oil companies. So they are reducing their capital spending and domestic output, and ramping up their oil trading operations—and shaking up markets in the process.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Is The China Panic Abating?

    For the past six weeks, global markets have been in a China-centric panic, sparked partly by bad economic data, but mostly by policy bungling from China’s policymakers. Having spurred a huge expansion in equity margin debt, regulators turned tail in June and cracked down on the practice. As an equity market crash unfolded, policymakers took to swinging a big stick: price-keeping operations were tried, stock trading was halted and speculators...

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Why Malaysia’s Falling Knife Is Worth Catching

    The downgrade of Brazil’s debt last week to junk status has renewed fears that emerging markets may face another vicious sell-off. To date EM angst has mostly focused on resource exporters made fragile by the China-induced commodity bust. But the prospect of an imminent US interest rate hike has focused attention more generally on markets with heavy foreign currency debt exposure. Malaysia looks to face the worst of all worlds as its external...

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    The Fed’s Opportunity For Lift Off

    There are many problems in the world today, but too-high a cost of capital is not among them. This is not going to change if the Federal Reserve hikes short rates by a quarter of a percent this week, or in December. We have no particular insight as to when the Fed will make its move, but there are good reasons for it pull back on the “lift off” lever before the end of the year. Recent ructions in global markets are not likely to deter Janet...

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Flailing State Of Enterprise Reform

    A decisive move on economic reform would be very helpful in demonstrating that China is still on the right track. Unfortunately the long-awaited plan for state-owned enterprise reform is not such a move. Instead it is an ungainly mishmash of bureaucratic compromises that sets no clear goals and is riven by internal contradictions.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Deleveraging In The Emerging World

    There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about the collapse in emerging market currencies, with extravagant comparisons to the 1997-98 crisis. In reality, however, there is no “crisis”. Over the last three years an equally-weighted index of major emerging market currencies has fallen no more against the US dollar than an index comprising the euro and the yen. And despite all the recent turbulence in financial markets, there have been no...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Has The Fed Missed The Boat?

    It is decision week at the Federal Reserve. At its meeting this Wednesday and Thursday, the Federal Open Market Committee must decide whether the US labor market has now tightened enough to warrant the first interest rate increase since mid-2006, even though inflation is subdued and financial market sentiment remains fragile following the summer’s bout of heightened volatility. It is an unenviable decision—all the more so since the recent...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Taking The Pulse Of The Construction Cycle

    China’s housing-driven industrial cycle is stuck in low gear, but has not worsened dramatically. What is getting worse are the parts of the economy that had been doing better earlier in the year: exports, consumer spending and finance. The result will be headline GDP growth that (finally) falls below 7% in the third quarter.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    How Corbynomics Could Work

    Whatever you may think of Jeremy Corbyn, he has a point about economic policy. Actually he has two good points and one bad one. Corbyn has been right about what he called People’s Quantitative Easing, a potentially transformative idea for restoring economic prosperity that was proposed years ago by several radical economists but had never been taken seriously in Britain until it became the centerpiece of Corbynomics. Corbyn has also been right...

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    No New Coal: Power Sector Crosses Green Energy Threshold

    The combination of structural shifts under way in the economy and new regulations mean that future growth in China’s electricity demand growth can be met entirely from clean energy sources. The implication is that over the coming years, China will no longer need to build new coal-fired power plants.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Has The Asian Currency Collapse Run Its Course?

    The past four months have seen an unprecedented divergence in the performance of developed market and emerging market currencies, with Asian units getting sucked into the EM downdraft even though their manufacturing-heavy economies should, on paper, be beneficiaries of the commodity collapse. Or to be more specific the more than 10% decline in Asian currencies against the euro over the last four months has been a near two standard deviation...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    I Know, I Know...

    ...the US economy is doing fine and after the longest run up in history, may be on the verge of achieving take-off velocity. So why am I so worried? The problem is that my US recession indicator has entered negative territory, after literally collapsing in the last 6 months. Today I will try and explain my concerns about the US, when all others seem fixated by China. It should be acknowledged that since about 2002 the US economy has been managed...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Is The Bull Market Over? (II)

    Yesterday we examined the three big fears that—in the absence of any markedly negative news from the OECD economies—lie behind the recent equity market sell-off, and which have prompted many investors to ask “Is The Bull Market Over?”

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Debating The Data Denialists

    There are growing fears that China’s economic statistics are massively overstating growth, so rather than growing by 6-7%, China is now “really” growing by only 3-4%. These worries are overdone: Chinese statistics have problems, but they do provide a broadly accurate view of the growth trajectory.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Fixing Germany’s Current Account

    Germany’s trade surplus for July rose to a record €25bn, lifting the country’s accumulated current account surplus over the last 12 months to a hefty 8.2% of GDP. The fall of the euro has clearly made German exports more competitive outside the single currency area. As a result, Germany’s expanding trade surplus is by far the dominant influence on the eurozone’s external accounts. Over the last 12 months, Germany’s trade surplus with the rest of...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Is The Bull Market Over? (I)

    Is the bull market in equities over? As our readers might imagine, this is a question we have been asked more than once over the past few weeks. Notwithstanding the bounce of the last two days, the simple fact that clients are wondering about the answer is troubling in itself. Their doubts are embodied by three ominous developments:

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The RMB, The HKD And A Flood Of Cash

    If nothing else, yesterday’s announcement that China spent US$94bn of its foreign reserves in August to prevent the renminbi from falling against the US dollar should convince the doubters that China has no intention of being a mercantilist “currency warrior”. As a result, any bearish case against the renminbi should not rest on the government’s intentions—in spending its US$94bn, the People’s Bank of China has made it clear that it will hold a...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The US Current Account Deficit And World Markets

    Spotting turning points in the US current account is central to Gavekal’s research method, as such shifts impact all other economic relationships. When the US dollar is strong the US tends to run a big current account deficit, providing the world with lots of “earned dollars.” Conversely, a weak dollar eventually leads to a shrunken US current account deficit and more incentive to borrow in dollars. Big moves in the dollar exchange rate create...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Termaillage And The Renminbi

    For years I have felt like a lone voice in the wilderness, monitoring central bank reserves as an important determining factor of what I loosely call “international liquidity”. Suddenly I’ve got company. In the last few weeks everyone has been focusing on the topic, and “experts” by the dozen have penned reports about it. Naturally, I’ve read everything that has passed across my screen, and—sad to say—I’m appalled by the results: an egregious...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What To Do With US Bonds

    Given the recent turmoil in financial markets and an intensifying focus on the Federal Reserve’s forthcoming policy decision, it seems a good time to update readers on our thinking about the proper positioning of a US fixed income portfolio. As a starting point, it is worth restating the two main determining factors that influence the yields on longer-dated treasuries.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Nationalist Style Of Economic Reform

    China’s leaders are not far-sighted planners calmly executing a long-term strategy, but politicians responding to events and seizing opportunities. Economic reform in China is not going in reverse, but the nationalist shift in politics means reform is scattershot and opportunistic—and that creates risks and increases volatility.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Goose Stepping Into Isolation

    China’s military parade to celebrate victory over Japan 70 years ago will be lapped up by a patriotic nation that revels in shows of national strength. But rather than winning it new friends, China’s military chest-thumping is only scaring its neighbors into the arms of the US. The parade reflects not strength but a chronic lack of self-confidence.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    German Exports Are Not Kaputt

    Predictions of the German export machine’s demise followed southern Europe’s 2011 slide into deflation, the yen’s 2012/2013 devaluation, and now the emerging world’s slowdown. And yet German exports hit a new high in 2Q15 and the latest IFO survey points to more strength in 3Q. Far from going kaputt, German exporters can likely handle an emerging world crunch due to their geographical diversification, the benefit of a weak euro and improving...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Can Europe Be Part Of The Solution?

    The eurozone is no longer the center of the global market panic, but an interesting question is whether it can be part of the solution. Investors ostensibly sold equities yesterday on more evidence of economic weakness in China. However the deeper fear is of a faltering global growth outlook at a time when the Federal Reserve is looking to hike rates. Eurozone equities topped out back in April as the initial flush of the European Central Bank’s...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse

    Markets are entering bear market territory and what vexes Charles and Louis is whether the root cause is a liquidity crunch, a solvency crisis or a deflationary bust. In this wide ranging chart book they explore the problem through the revelatory prophecy of four riders whose presence marked the coming of judgement day. We don’t mean to pile on the misery in what is shaping up as a tough week and the moderately good news is that the-end-of-times...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Gavekal Monthly: Opportunity Amid Crisis

    Today we launch a new publication, The Gavekal Monthly, which presents our latest investment recommendations, as well as a handy summary of our main views across all economies and markets. Think of it as a snapshot of the collective Gavekal brain. In this issue you'll find: "Opportunity Amid Crisis": Louis's assessment of the current investment environment, with ideas on how best to position your portfolios. Three...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Three Options For Renminbi Policy

    Heavy intervention by the People’s Bank of China has restored stability to the exchange rate, but raised questions about its longer-term strategy. We think the central bank has three options: continue intervention to maintain stability; cease intervention and allow a sizable devaluation; scale back intervention and allow a gradual depreciation.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The World Monetary Base And The Dollar

    If the supply of US dollars is declining then, all else being equal, the value of the dollar should rise, and vice versa. This truism can be checked by comparing the annual growth rate of the “world monetary base” with changes in the JP Morgan trade weighted dollar. Regular readers will recall that the WMB is simply the sum of the US monetary base and foreign exchange reserves deposited at the Federal Reserve for the account of foreign central...

    12
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    Gavekal Research

    Portfolio Construction Towards The End Of The Cycle

    Buy into the rebound or position for the real sell-off still to come? It is a tough question at this point. Most investors are confident we are considerably more than half way through the cycle, but they are far from certain the end is nigh (especially after yesterday’s big upward revision of US GDP). For the bamboozled, the summer sell-off of 1998 offers some interesting parallels.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    As The Crisis Ebbs, Will Europe Turn Japanese?

    The China-induced crisis of recent weeks was noteworthy for being a major global risk-off event that, for once, was not made in Europe. Indeed as markets crumbled on Monday the euro soared. Europe’s graduation from weak link to quasi safe haven is not so surprising given the patch-up job done on Greece and a gathering cyclical recovery—private sector credit growth in the eurozone for July was a fairly perky 0.7% YoY. The question is whether the...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Bubbles, Busts And Regime Change

    Collapsing commodity prices, a deflating bubble on the Shanghai stock exchange, dodgy infrastructure financing schemes. It all sounds a lot like China in 2015, but it happens to be a description of the country in 1910—when China was on the brink of a revolution that would bring down the Qing dynasty.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    The Real Message From Oil

    Violent swings in oil prices are destabilizing economies and financial markets worldwide. When the oil price halved last year, from US$110 to US$55 a barrel, the cause was obvious: Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase its share of the global oil market by expanding production. But what accounts for the further plunge in oil prices in the last few weeks—to lows last seen in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis—and how will...

    18
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    What To Worry About, And What Not To In China

    The unexpected devaluation of the renminbi earlier this month focused international attention on the continuing slowdown in China and triggered increased worries about its problems. In this piece, we detail four areas where fears about economic fragility have been overstated, and four areas where investor concerns are justified.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Surviving The Bear Market

    Never mind whether investors in US equities should buy the dip. The question now is whether a six year bull market is yielding to a bear market. Bears are stealthy animals that tend to creep up unannounced. I have had the nagging suspicion for a while that we were approaching grizzly territory and have been recommending an increasingly conservative portfolio positioning (see Protect And Survive). However, the core of my investment philosophy...

    13
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    China’s Broken Directional Signal

    There has clearly been a recent breakdown of communication between Beijing and global financial markets. The underlying problem is that policies that are good for China are bad for the rest of the world, and vice-versa. Beijing has not made clear whether it will do what’s right for China, what’s right for the rest of the world, or neither.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    No Light At The End Of The Tunnel

    Four years of grizzly underperformance has turned everyone into an emerging markets bear. First it was the currencies of the twin deficit countries that took a hit in the 2013 taper tantrum. Then it was the EM resource producers that faced the crunch when commodity prices halved in just 12 months. Now liquidity which had found its way into the healthier emerging markets in Asia is rushing out the door after China’s currency shock tilted the risk...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Who Benefits From The Fall Of Europe’s Export Champions?

    Panic in the emerging world has reverberated back to the European equity markets through the de-rating of high quality exporters. What we call “export champions” get more than half of their sales from outside Europe and account for about half of Europe’s market value within broad indices. Yet the travails currently faced by this group have not resulted in Europe’s domestically-focused “national victims” outperforming. Instead, it is the “...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Solvency Crisis Or A Liquidity Crisis?

    Over the past five years, critics of zero-interest rate policies have typically fallen into one of two camps:

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