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E.g., 01-11-2020
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Facing Down US Risks

    The world is focused on the US election, with concerns over a disputed result. Our US team of analysts are less worried about process than the substantive impact of big changes in domestic economic policy settings. Will, Yanmei and KX assessed the likely fallout from November 3 and assess the latest US economic data with a focus on threats to the US recovery should the pandemic worsen and near-term fiscal responses remain uncertain.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Hong Kong's Resilience

    Massive inflows of capital into Hong Kong’s financial system ahead of this week’s record-breaking US$34bn IPO for Chinese fintech giant Ant Group represent a major vote of investor confidence in Hong Kong’s future as a financial center, just months after many international commentators were writing the city’s obituary following Beijing’s imposition of a sweeping national security law. Vincent explores the underpinnings of this confidence.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Competition For 2035 Begins

    While much of the world struggles to make it through 2020, the Chinese Communist Party is setting its sights on 2035. The Party closed its annual plenum Thursday with a decision on the broad goals it should pursue both over the next five years, and the next 15. Top leader Xi Jinping first articulated some of those long-term goals in his 2017 speech to the 19th Party Congress, although only in the most general of terms. But a lot has happened in...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    A Multi-Faceted US Sell-off

    As Covid-19 cases soar and investors fret about the economic recovery being snuffed out, US equities are getting sucked into a gathering sell off. The worry is that the US follows the kind of nationally-mandated lockdowns now being adopted in Europe. We would make the point that in the US, other factors are also at work.

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    Gavekal Research

    Investment In The Post-Election World

    With less than a week to go until the US election, this is a good time to think about investment ideas that could work after November 3, regardless who becomes the next president. Specifically, four important features of the post-election world economy will, in my view, attract more market attention as soon as the US political uncertainty is resolved. These features are already reflected in asset bubbles that have been created by the Covid...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe’s Bitter Winter

    Just a couple of weeks ago there were still reasons to be sanguine about the damage that rising coronavirus infections would inflict on Europe’s economy and financial markets. Today those reasons are looking a good deal thinner. Europe’s near term trajectory increasingly resembles a “W-shaped” recovery.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Themes For The Coming Plan

    Party officials are gathering this week to discuss China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, a document intended to guide the country’s development from 2021 to 2025. In this report, Gilliam outlines the plan’s likely major themes and why it represents the first step in Xi Jinping’s ambitions of transforming China into a “modern socialist country” by 2049.

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: China's Fintech Showdown

    China’s financial technology industry has been chaotic for two decades, with Ant Group launching pioneering new products while regulators and competitors play catch-up. With Ant Group ready for its IPO, the push-and-pull between the firm and regulators is grabbing institutional investors’ attention. Matthew Forney and Laila Khawaja of Gavekal Fathom China addressed this tension and also the broader impact of regulation on the country's...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Three Key Prices: 10-Year Treasury Yields

    A core thesis for Louis is that in financial markets three prices matter above all others: the price of oil, the price of US dollars and the yield on 10-year US treasuries. In this second part of a three-part series, he addresses the bond market question. US treasuries are currently pricing in a highly deflationary future on both a cyclical and structural basis. Such an outcome would defy recent experience in the US bond market.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Velocity Of Money And Its Price

    Let me go back to the old equation of MV=PQ, where money supply times velocity equals price times the quantity of output. When Covid struck the US, Q cratered and V collapsed (as everyone saved their incomes as a precaution against uncertain times). The only solution was for the Federal Reserve to print enough M to support consumption and stave off the impending economic collapse. But what happens next?

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Dynamics Of US Curve Steepening

    October has seen the US treasury curve steepen, with the spread between three-month and 10-year yields widening by almost 20bp. In historical terms, however, the US curve remains anomalously flat. This suggests there is a greater probability of further steepening in the short to medium term than of flattening. With the short end of the curve pinned at zero by the Federal Reserve, possibly for the next two or three years, any changes in the yield...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Macro Update: Back In Business

    China is transitioning from an imbalanced, supply-side recovery to a more broad-based upswing as consumption and private-sector investment finally join the party. But policy is also normalizing quickly, creating challenges for property and equity markets. In this regular chartbook, the Dragonomics team explains the outlook heading into 2021.

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    Gavekal Research

    No Fiscal Panacea

    It’s been a big week in Europe’s debt capital markets. The European Union sold €17bn of bonds for its SURE job support program and Italy issued €8bn of 30-year bonds yielding 1.76%. The strength of demand was an encouraging sign, given the outsize role that debt-funded government stimulus will have to play in driving the eurozone’s economic recovery from the Covid crisis.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Facing Down US Risks

    Investors in US financial assets face a panoply of concerns from political upheaval, a worsening pandemic, uncertainty over near-term fiscal stimulus and threats to the highly-rated tech sector. In this video interview, Will addresses such concerns and offers portfolio positioning advice.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Biggest Event Of 2020 (By Analogy With 2007)

    What’s the most important event of 2020? Easy, you will answer: the Covid-19 pandemic. Maybe. But will it really look that way in hindsight? Sure, Covid seems pretty momentous today. But years hence, will it really be seen as a key driver of structural change? Or will the most important event of 2020 be regarded as something else entirely?

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Banks Will Digest The Hit To Earnings

    The pandemic economy has not been very good for China’s banks, with net profits plunging an unprecedented 24% YoY in Q2 as the government pressured them to sacrifice profits. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains why things are not actually so bad: bank profits have been hurt mainly by aggressive provisioning requirements, which are likely to ease in 2021.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Divergence In Emerging Markets

    Emerging markets have had very different pandemic experiences and the effects are showing up in economic data and market performance. Northeast Asian economies offer strong growth opportunities while southeast Asia is muddling through in a way that favors bond investors. The good news in Asia is that struggling economies such as India and Indonesia are pursuing reform initiatives. The picture is less rosy in Latin America, while Turkey offers...

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    Gavekal Research

    Crisis Averted, Hard Times Ahead

    This week, Boris Johnson got what he needed politically: a bromide from Brussels that will allow him to camouflage the compromises he must make to secure a trade deal with the EU before the year’s end. But it will be a minimalist deal that will leave the UK’s service sector out in the cold, increasingly shut out of the EU’s markets.

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    Gavekal Research

    A Smoking Gun

    Throughout my career, I have always found that it pays to bear in mind Jacques Rueff’s notion of US “imperial privilege.” Put succinctly: the US has long been the only country able to settle its current account deficits in its own currency. So, when the US runs a current account deficit, it pumps large quantities of US dollars abroad, many of which flow into the foreign exchange reserves of countries running current account surpluses. These...

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    Gavekal Research

    Erdoğan’s Dangerous Game

    Turkey’s economy is in crisis. The International Monetary Fund is forecasting a -5% contraction in GDP this year, the Turkish lira is down -28% against the euro year-to-date, unemployment and inflation are both in double digits, and bond yields are soaring. Yet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is pressing ahead with costly military adventures. Turkey tested its new Russian missile air-defense system in mid-October, defying its NATO allies. It is...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The World’s Best Manufacturer

    The strong performance of China’s manufacturing sector reflects both the country’s success in getting the virus under control as well as its long-established manufacturing strengths. In this report, Dan explains why multinationals are reluctant to leave a country they’ve built up to be the world’s best manufacturer.

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    Gavekal Research

    Different Strokes For Different EM Folks

    Last spring, key beneficiaries of the rich world’s fiscal and monetary largesse were emerging market economies, which enjoyed unprecedented policy flexibility that gave broad-based, if not universal, financial relief. The next turn in this crisis is, however, unlikely to float as many boats, as shown by divergent inflationary trends across EM economies.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Return To Normality

    China’s recovery story continues apace, with strong showings in exports, retail sales and manufacturing counteracting a softening in the property sector. In this Quick Take, the Dragonomics team explains why Beijing is therefore unlikely to conduct further policy easing or support major infrastructure investment for the rest of the year.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The State Of The US Consumer

    Data released on Friday showed that US retail sales rose a welcome 1.9% month-on-month in September. However, fears are growing that the stars are now aligning against the US consumer. First, new Covid infections are climbing rapidly to rival the numbers seen at the height of July’s second wave. With government infectious diseases boss Anthony Fauci warning that things are set to get worse heading into winter, this new wave of infections raises...

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Understanding Chinese State Capitalism

    The advance of the private sector and the retreat of the state sector has been central to China’s long transformation from an isolated socialist nation to a globally connected economy. Yet the notions of China’s private sector being either in the ascendency, or facing a squeeze in the statist Xi Jinping era are not born out by the facts. Andrew Batson discussed the findings in his recent major piece of research on this topic.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe Battens Down

    Having remained sanguine over recent weeks as coronavirus infection rates in Europe mounted, on Thursday investors sat up and paid attention. After the French government imposed a 9:00pm curfew on Paris and eight other cities, and after the German government tightened restrictions on Covid hotspots including Berlin and Frankfurt, the euro Stoxx index fell -2.2% during Thursday’s session. Clearly as infection rates have risen, and governments...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Funding The Future

    China has seen a surge in funding to “strategic” high-tech industries following US attempts to strangle Chinese technological development. What’s surprising, Thomas writes, is that this funding is coming not from public subsidies but rather from capital markets, with the firms leveraging government support to raise equity and secure financing.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Behind The Scenes Cash Boost

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s admission that striking a deal with Congress on a new stimulus package before November’s election will be “difficult” was blamed for eroding market sentiment. Maybe. But behind the scenes, the Treasury has begun to run down some of the cash hoard it accumulated between April and August.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Gauging Asian Resilience

    Since the panicked sell-off of March, Asian emerging markets have been a relative bastion of stability. Northeast Asian equities have done well as effective pandemic control and strong export markets have powered an economic recovery, while Southeast Asia has offered bond investors solid returns as liquidity from aggressive policy easing has mostly flown into safe assets. In this video interview, Vincent discusses whether the equilibrium will be...

    0
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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.

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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

    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

    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

    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

    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 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 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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    Gavekal Research

    A Dove With Ammunition

    Hawks want the European Central Bank to wind down its monetary stimulus once the immediate Covid crisis is over. On Wednesday, ECB president Christine Lagarde poured a large bucket of cold water over that idea. Speaking in Frankfurt about the central bank’s current strategy review, she made clear that the ECB regards deflation, not inflation, as the main monetary risk, and opened the door to a symmetric inflation target going forward. In the...

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