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    Gavekal Research

    The Three Key Prices: Oil

    In financial markets, there are three prices matter above all: the price of the US dollar, the yield on 10-year US treasuries, and the price of oil. Get the direction of these right, and the other pieces of the investment puzzle fall into place. In the first of a three-part series, Louis examines in depth what could cause the oil price to break out of its current trading range.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    New Tech, Same Fiat Money (For Now)

    This week saw seven western central banks and the Bank for International Settlements issue a joint report on central bank digital currencies. They come not to bury cash nor to undermine banks, but to modernize payments for a digital age. If so, the introduction of CBDCs is unlikely to upend the banking system and monetary policy, but would resemble the rollout of ATMs in the 1960s.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Counting Europe’s Zombies

    Usually when an economy contracts, corporate bankruptcies go up. This time is different. In European countries, bankruptcies in the second quarter—the low point of the lockdown-induced economic collapse—were down by anywhere between -16% and -33% in year-on-year terms. By suspending normal bankruptcy regulations and offering generous liquidity assistance, European governments successfully prevented their lockdowns from causing a mass wave of job...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Typology Of Bear Markets Based On Wicksellian Analysis

    In half a century of doing financial analysis, Charles has acquired the core conviction that there is not one type of bear market, but two. Think of these as the gentle black bear-type downturn that is survivable and the highly-dangerous, big brown grizzly collapse that for many money managers proves fatal. In this piece, Charles seeks to map this insight with some analytical rigor.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Keeping It Super Simple

    Let me start with President Donald Trump’s policies as I understand them. As a businessman, since taking office in 2017 his singular goal has been to keep US firms’ return on invested capital as high as possible. So, if Trump is reelected on November 3, I would expect more of the same. In contrast, a Joe Biden win would lower ROIC and cause the US dollar to fall against the euro.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    What The Holiday Means For Consumption

    Tourism over China's weeklong National Day holiday disappointed, with tourism revenues down 30% YoY. In this Quick Take, Ernan writes that Chinese consumers still seem concerned about long-distance travel, and are instead spending their money locally; however, the overall recovery in consumer spending is still continuing apace.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Euro's Next Move

    The euro’s appreciation against the US dollar has stalled out as resurgent Covid-19 infections threaten new lockdown measures, and a possible upending of the economic recovery. Nick argues that the euro’s decade-long run as a “weak currency” was down to policy settings that kept domestic demand weak. A convincing reversal is not likely until those domestic drivers are again firing.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Not Quite A Game-Changer

    Earlier this week, Indonesia passed a sweeping “omnibus law” aimed at attracting foreign investment by lowering taxes, reducing labor costs and cutting red tape. In pushing through the new law, president Joko Widowo hopes to capture a slice of Asia’s shifting manufacturing-for-export business, as regional supply chains migrate away from China.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, October 2020

    Yanmei Xie discussed the US team’s assessment of risks surrounding the US election, Anatole Kaletsky explained the reasons for his return to bullishness and Louis Gave talked about global asset allocation and how to find “anti-fragile” assets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Guiding Principle Of Our Time

    The dominant guiding principle of contemporary western society, or at least of its elite, appears increasingly to be “CYA,” which we might euphemistically render as “protect your posterior.” In this paper, Louis argues that the CYA principle is increasingly governing fiscal and monetary policy, as well as how investors act in the financial markets. The implications are significant.

    29
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Phantom Mechanism

    In late July, Beijing declared that a trial “long-term mechanism” for regulating real estate had achieved “significant results” despite having never been properly defined. Rosealea posits that the mechanism is a combination of smaller reforms implemented in recent years, concluding that major policy changes are therefore unlikely for now.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    European Divergence Is Back

    Like a car, the more excess weight you add to an economy, the slower it drives. Slapping restrictions on normal activities, even if income support measures are offered, makes it harder for an economy to grow. In Europe, the second wave of Covid-19 infections is having an uneven effect depending on the severity of the outbreak and the sector composition of the affected economy. The result will be to deepen the divergence in European growth and...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Antitrust Law And The Tech Cycle

    On Tuesday the US Congress fired a broadside against Big Tech, when a House of Representatives subcommittee on antitrust law published a 449-page report accusing Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google of abuse of market power, and calling for them to be “reined in.” The report’s publication reflects a shift in regulatory thinking about Big Tech.

    12
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    Gavekal Research

    No More Stimulus

    Within the span of a day, President Donald Trump called off Congressional talks over new fiscal stimulus and then tweeted that he supports sending more checks to all Americans. As Democrats will likely balk at such a deal without more support for the jobless, the chance of getting fresh stimulus before the November 3 election is dimming. That means no population-wide cash handout, no more business bailouts and another income crunch for the 15mn...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India Tackles Rural Reform

    Against an awful economic backdrop, Indian policymakers are pushing through long-awaited reforms to open up agricultural and labor markets. In theory, the reform package should boost competition among buyers, create a national market in farm produce, and help to modernize agriculture by attracting greater private investment.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s North-South Covid Divide

    If anywhere has been a winner from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is east Asia. Compared to other big regions, it has suffered lower infections, fewer deaths and incurred less economic damage. However, that generalization simplifies a big difference between its northern and southern regions, which have had quite different experiences that is also impacting the investment arena.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Flows Favor The Renminbi

    China’s renminbi has been appreciating in recent months, driven by heavy inflows into the onshore bond market and declining concerns about US-China tensions. The biggest risk to continued renminbi strength is the possibility that an election victory for Donald Trump sparks fears of a renewed US-China tariff war.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A US Dollar Check-Up

    Over the last month, the US dollar has caught a bid. Admittedly, the rally is small. Since the end of August, the DXY US dollar index has edged up by 1.7%, with the rise in broader dollar indexes scarcely much greater. Nevertheless, the recent uptick is causing some to question whether the dollar’s decline has run its course.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: The Real US Election Risks

    Some investors worry that a contested US election may spark social and political unrest that is serious enough to threaten US risk assets. They are likely focused on the wrong risk. The US’s democracy faces heavy strains but is nowhere near a breaking point, but the differing outcomes that can occur on (or after) November 3 pose threats to portfolios.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The State Never Retreats

    The retreat of the state from the command of China’s economy has been greatly exaggerated. In this 25-page DeepChina report, Andrew uses new estimates of SOEs’ share of GDP to show how little has changed in the state’s role in the economy in the past two decades, and explains how that stability has affected China and the rest of the world.

    2
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