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    Gavekal Research

    Is Myanmar Really Opening Up?

    When Myanmar (aka Burma) gained its independence in 1948 it was one of Asia’s strongest economic performers at the time, being the world’s largest exporter of rice, well-endowed with natural resources, a well-educated population, a worldly elite, and a strong institutional framework. Following former General Ne Win’s socialist and isolationist policies in 1962, however, the country’s development faltered badly. By 2008, the economy was hardly...

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    Structural Pain in Philippine Exports

    Asian exporters have had a rough ride over the past year. But even in that company, the Philippines has had a staggeringly hard run, with exports falling for seven straight months, including November’s –19.5% YoY plunge. One would think it was the Philippines, rather than Thailand or Japan, that suffered a natural disaster this year...

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    Value in Chinese Property Developer Bonds

    After two years of clampdown, a -6% fall (-15% in big cities) in real estate prices from the peak and a significant slowdown in transactions growth last year, Chinese property developers are probably thinking it is time the government gave them a break. However Li Keqiang, who is likely to replace Wen Jiabao as the next Premier, has a vital interest in staying firm with the new housing policy. China’s campaign to provide unprecedented quantities...

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    Hot Money Outflows from China?

    For years it was fashionable to bemoan the scourge of “hot money” inflows into China. Now, with China’s foreign exchange reserves registering falls in three of the last four months, it is fashionable to talk about “hot money” flowing out of China. Another bit of evidence for the coming collapse of China? Hardly.

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    Checking the Boxes: Monday, January 16, 2012

    This is undeniably the question that, over the weekend, every investor has had to ponder. On the one hand, it could be argued that rating agencies are, as always, a “day late and a Euro short” and simply telling the market what it already knows. After all, the yield on the Eurozone debt-weighted average 10-year bond yield rose considerably in October and November, to over 6% (see p. 2). The OAT-BUND spread also reached new record highs and has...

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    Bull Markets and the Global Liquidity Environment

    Structural equity bull markets rest on three pillars: attractive valuations, expanding economic activity and excess liquidity. In recent months, we have tried to show that equity market valuations were far from stretched, almost anywhere one cared to look. We have also argued that the momentum of US economic activity looked solid (partly on the back of a stabilization in real estate, and partly thanks to the retrenchment in government spending—...

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    Taiwan's Sideshow Elections

    Over the past year Taiwanese stocks have fallen -22%, the Taiwan Dollar is down -3%, and export growth has slowed from +20% to near zero. Will Saturday elections stop the rot? No, but regardless of who wins, investors should find some interesting tactical opportunities.

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    Gavekal Research

    Industry's Pulse Slackens

    China’s industrial sector still looks healthy, but is clearly experiencing a cyclical slowdown, the latest survey data show. Longer term indicators look positive: trend profit growth, while not as rapid as headline figures suggest, was still pretty fast in 2011. And profit margins are stable at historic levels, giving the lie to predictions of huge excess capacity. However, profit growth has slowed significantly since August, and inventories are...

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    Year of the Flying Dragon for China Shares?

    In 2009, we got very excited about the prospects for financial reform in China, because we believed that in the aftermath of its massive stimulus program, Beijing would have no choice but to make substantial improvements in capital efficiency to support long-term economic growth. For the next two years, we were disappointed by the glacial pace of reforms. Now, however, the pace of financial reform is picking up noticeably, thanks to new and more...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    China's Incoherent Rare Earth Policy

    China Policy Watch: Rocky road for China Inc(oherent)

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    Gavekal Research

    More Discriminating Markets?

    Over the past few years, trading has been characterized by a rather bi-polar, risk-on/risk-off mentality. This may be due to the competing forces of massive central bank liquidity vs persistent macro uncertainty and peril. But whatever the case, in risk-on mode, all boats get lifted, no matter the quality, while in risk-off mode, the good and the bad sell down together. Because correlations of 1 make for a frustrating trading environment, many...

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    Gavekal Research

    A Q&A on Shale Gas

    Our China energy specialist Nate Taplin has been helping to field questions on the impact of increased shale gas production in the US—on the US current account balance, global oil prices, US jobs, the environment, etc. Clients might be interested in the exchange below:

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    Gavekal Research

    Returning to the Golden Rule

    The “golden rule” as expressed by Maurice Allais or Knut Wicksell specifies that, over the medium term, long rates and the nominal growth rate of the economy tend to converge. Thus, if the reader accepts our basic premise that an increase in government spending leads to a decline in the structural growth rate of the economy, then it stands to reason that an increase in government spending leads to lower interest rates, since the interest rates...

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    Gavekal Research

    The US and the UK are on Right Track

    Recently there has been a lot of talk about the supposed stark differences between the US and UK budget policies. Many argue that the UK policy path of aggressively cutting government expenditure is going to lead to a new recession; in contrast, the sure-to-be-reelected President Obama is said to be wisely staving off a double-dip by maintaining government spending at a high level. There is a slight problem with this view, however. It is not at...

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    Gavekal Research

    A Possible US Growth Surprise

    There are three broad reasons to believe that the US economy will grow more strongly than the consensus expectation of +2.1% (see previous page)—and much more strongly than the average of +1.5% recorded in the last four quarters.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Best Macro Trade for 2012?

    One of the main themes of our research since last summer has been the possibility of a sharp improvement in the US economy—and the likelihood that US economic conditions, whether good or bad, would set the tone for financial markets in 2012, even while investors and policymakers remained obsessed with the chaos in Europe. In other words, the US economy would produce the “signal” for markets, while Europe would create a lot of random noise. This...

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    Gavekal Research

    Mansions in Communist India

    We recently visited Kochi, a port city in the southwest Indian state of Kerala. Fort Kochi, formerly a Portuguese and then Dutch colony, is a major tourist destination. Most visitors take in Fort Kochi and then head down to the “backwaters” for a boat tour of this a chain of brackish lakes and waterways that head inland along the Keralan coast. The drive down from Kochi to the city of Alleppey, where most set off into the backwaters, yielded...

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    Gavekal Research

    Daily - Gearing Up to Another 1994?

    Following yet another set of solid data out of the US and more signs of gradual liquidity easing from China, one question that investors will have to start to ponder is whether we could be sleep-walking our way towards a government bond market accident. After all, with US GDP growth likely to come in around 2.5% and with US inflation likely to be in the same range, why should 10-year USTs be yielding 1.9%? In some ways, this is reminiscent of...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    DragonWeek - SOE Profits Heading Down

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    Gavekal Research

    Daily - Europe's Coming Balance of Payments Crisis

    In a recent piece (see Draghi in Control – But For How Long?), Charles argues that, thanks to the ECB’s aggressive liquidity provisions, Europe’s policymakers have likely managed to avoid near-term budget and banking crisis…but at the cost of an upcoming balance of payment crisis. Indeed, by forcing down the cost of capital for hapless European governments, and thereby postponing the hard medicine and removing any incentive for reform, the ECB...

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