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    Gavekal Research

    The UK Cliffhanger

    Conventional assumptions about British elections say that the incumbent party of government generally enjoys a swing of one or two percentage points in the final period of campaigning. Like most electorates, once all the shouting is done, British voters typically focus on livelihood issues and tend toward “the devil they know”. In recent days the Conservative Party has seen the opinion polls move slightly in their favor, but nothing so...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Growth & Markets Monthly (May 2015)

    While our growth readings ticked higher last month, the big shift came with a sharp rise in our risk appetite indicators. We also note an easing of deflationary pressure with the US breakeven inflation level registering a nine-month high. On the liquidity side, the European Central Bank has cranked up its expansionary efforts and its balance sheet is rising at 16% YoY. Taken together, these moves have benefited equity markets (notwithstanding...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The World's Most Crowded Trade

    Markets are made at the margin. As a result, the key driver of prices for a given asset is the question of where the marginal buyer (or seller) comes from. This is why very crowded trades can prove dangerous: by the time every one and their dog is convinced that (i) the euro can only go down (early 2015), (ii) being short long-dated bonds is the single best trade out there (early 2014), (iii) underweighting European equities is the easiest path...

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Property Is Still Too Big To Let Go

    While the share of China’s economy driven directly and indirectly by real estate and construction has declined over the past three years, it is still substantial at roughly one-third. This means that the government cannot afford to be relaxed about the housing market as fundamental demand starts a long-term decline.

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    Gavekal Research

    5C Overview: The Real Message From Labor

    So how are we to understand the less than thrilling message emanating from the labor markets of the main economies. Is this evidence of some unescapable “secular stagnation”, or is something else going on?

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C United States: Forget Payrolls, Watch Out For Wage Growth

    Not so long ago most of what the savvy investor needed to know about the US economic cycle could be gleaned from a casual perusal of the labor market. Sadly for those seeking a simple life, those days have passed. For example, key measures of labor market slack offer mixed messages; the participation rate is stuck below the trough of the last two cycles which points to the working age population being under-utilized. Yet, a greatly reduced...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Europe: Still Waiting For Pay Day

    Although it started from an extremely low base, the recovery of the eurozone’s job market since 2013 has been significant, with employment rising by almost 1% YoY in 4Q2014—the highest growth rate since 2008. Recent business surveys indicate that this trend has continued and even accelerated into 2015.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: Policymakers Are Concerned, With Good Reason

    China’s labor market has held up relatively well so far this year despite a pronounced slowdown in growth. But the actions of policymakers and the trajectory of the economy both suggest that there will be more bad news for the job market in the second half of the year. Official indicators of employment in China are patchy, but the published figures have been resilient.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Japan’s Wageless Recovery

    Unlike the countries of the eurozone, which are plagued by persistently high unemployment, Japan is suffering from a labor shortage. Yet despite the dearth of workers, economic recovery has not fed through into wage rises—a cause of much frustration in Tokyo.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Beware Of Crowds, And False Prices

    The world’s largest economy is on the cusp of a deflationary depression—at least according to yesterday’s US GDP report. Real growth was up a mere 0.2% annualized in the first quarter, while nominal growth was even lower, at just 0.1%, due to a -0.1% drop in prices. Yet the markets largely looked past this “shocking” report. There were some notable moves yesterday, but not because the market was pricing in economic disaster—far from it.

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The End Of The Margin Squeeze

    The profits of Chinese industry have not grown since August, but the worst of this crunch now seems to be over. The fall in industrial profits was all but guaranteed by the combination of an extended slowdown in housing construction and the aftershocks of the collapse in commodity prices in late 2014 (see Profits Under Pressure). But thanks in part to the recent stability in oil prices, China’s industrial sector is on course to avoid a worst-...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    China: QE Or Not QE?

    Press reports that China’s central bank is preparing to launch quantitative easing may give investors the impression that the People’s Bank of China is about to join the ranks of major central banks that have embraced unconventional monetary policies. This impression would be false. The PBOC is certainly in easing mode, but its methods have been, and will continue to be, entirely conventional. With the benchmark deposit rate still at 2.5%, the...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Whither US Manufacturing

    US economic data has started to surprise on the downside, and much of this can be attributed to the manufacturing sector. This is worrying since the sector often leads the general economy. Hence, the $64,000 question is whether we should be bracing for an unscripted recession? Our answer is no, but investors should underweight the US manufacturing sector. In the near term, price adjustments, largely stemming from the energy and commodity price...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Pros And Cons Of A Bull Market

    In sharp contrast to their approach in 2007, Chinese government officials are actively encouraging the current bull market in onshore equities, repeatedly saying that rising share prices are a good thing for China. We agree that there are definite economic advantages to the run-up in stocks, but it is also worth keeping an eye on the risks.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Starving The Greeks Out

    After Friday’s near-total breakdown in the negotiations between Greece and the eurozone, it is clear that both sides need a Plan B. In the case of Greece the alternative to a negotiated solution has always been clear. It is to default on its debts to other European governments, thereby presenting those nations with a stark alternative: either expel Greece from the euro and risk contagion to Portugal, Spain and Italy, or offer Greece the money it...

    12
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    Gavekal Research

    The Rebirth Of CEE Banking - Cedric Gemehl & Nick Andrews

    Who will benefit most from Europe’s extraordinary monetary easing? Will it be struggling giants such as Italy and France, or those lapping up liquidity on the fringes? Our contention is that Central and Eastern Europe is at the early stage of a “deflationary boom” while financial institutions have sufficiently recovered to transmit the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program into credit expansion.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    No One Likes To Pay Taxes

    No one likes to pay taxes, and a good few try to find a way around it. Perhaps this is why the US tax code and associated practice notes runs to 74,000 pages. Pretty much everyone feels better equipped to spend their own money than the government, and rightly so (anyone who pretends differently is a hypocrite; or did not earn their money themselves). This is why as people pay more tax there is demand for a clear accounting of the services...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    A Tactical Shift On Greece

    As angry rhetoric between Athens and eurozone finance ministers escalated last week, the drumroll towards Grexit appeared to be reaching a crescendo. But having raided the coffers of state enterprises this week, the Greek government can now pay its bills until June. No less significant was the move by the European Central Bank to prop up Greek banks in the face of deposit flight by upping its Emergency Liquidity Assistance limit by €1.5bn to €...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Maritime Silk Road Or “String Of Pearls”?

    China’s strategic expansion into the Indian Ocean is causing jitters in both Washington and Delhi. This week Xi Jinping pledged to finance a whopping US$46bn of investments in Pakistan, a large chunk of which will fund a 3,000km “economic corridor” from the Arabian Sea to northwest China. The route will begin at Gwadar, a Chinese-run port near the Iranian border, which Indian security experts fear will become a strategic base for the Chinese...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (22 April): Global Trade

    Overview: Charles Gave argues that an era of globalization and expanding world trade is coming to an end. On balance, he says this is no bad thing. United States: The negative impact of the strong dollar on US exporters will become clear once disruption from the early year port strikes on the US West Coast clear up according to Will Denyer and Tan Kai Xian. Europe: Europe’s huge trade surplus is purely a German issue. François-Xavier Chauchat...

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