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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Europe In The Second Wave

    Yesterday Cedric Gemehl, Nick Andrews and Anatole Kaletsky joined Tom Holland to discuss what's going on in Europe. Topics ranged from how the economy is fairing in the second wave of the outbreak, what that means for asset prices, and also where Brexit fits into all this.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Evergrande Effect

    After a turbulent several days, on Tuesday China Evergrande Group averted a cash crunch that would have reverberated throughout China’s financial markets. In this Quick Take, Rosealea explains why Evergrande’s liquidity troubles are emblematic of the wider issues facing developers following China’s ongoing financing squeeze.

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    Video: Sizing Up US Election Risks

    Tuesday’s ill-tempered presidential debate will only fuel claims that the US election could see massive fraudulent voting and therefore end with the result challenged in court—and maybe on the streets. Such rancor threatens the long-run viability of American democratic institutions, but in the short run Yanmei says the system can comfortably handle a contested election result.

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    Gavekal Research

    The UK’s Savings Problem

    The British government's new job support scheme to take effect next month offers much less generous subsidies, and job losses are inevitable. Heightened job insecurity will mean increased precautionary savings, compounding the downturn in consumption. But the government faces institutional constraints on how much it is willing and able to borrow to plug the gap.

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    Gavekal Research

    China’s Belt And Road Looks To Bounce Back

    Even before the pandemic, it had become a common refrain to write off the Belt and Road Initiative. After foreign loans and construction peaked in 2017, China’s global infrastructure powerplay lost momentum. US-led criticism of Beijing’s “debt trap diplomacy” spread anxiety, forcing Xi Jinping to pledge reform. Then, when Covid struck, hundreds of BRI projects ground to a halt. However, Tom argues that it is too soon to dismiss the initiative:...

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    When Higher Inflation Is Good News

    Equity markets often seem to have a split personality, but seldom more so than over inflation. A sizable portion of investors is worried that the Federal Reserve is struggling to overcome deflationary pressures, while many of the rest fear the explosion in monetary aggregates must inevitably lead to runaway inflation.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Another Strike Against Semiconductors

    US companies will now have to apply for licenses to sell certain technologies to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., China’s leading chipmaker. In this Quick Take, Dan outlines what this means for SMIC and why it is too early to write the firm off completely. The move also increases the risk of Chinese retaliation against US firms.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Trouble Brewing In Thailand

    Thailand is no stranger to political discontent. But the mounting street protests of the last few months are different. Not only do they unite former rival factions, for the first time the monarchy is a target of popular criticism, and these demonstrations are taking place against the backdrop of an economy hit disproportionately hard by Covid-19.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Toward A US Health Care Rupture

    The nomination of a new Supreme Court justice with a record of opposing “Obamacare” means the US is more likely to see its health care system upended in the next nine months. Amy Coney Barrett’s probable Senate confirmation raises the chance of the Affordable Care Act being struck down by the court, spurring a plunge in government health-care spending and industry revenue. Multiple outcomes to this issue remain possible, but investors are likely...

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Behind The Market's Mood Swings

    In recent weeks some of the biggest US equity winners since the start of the Covid-19 crisis have appeared to run out of steam, as the Federal Reserve abstained from stepping up its asset purchases. Meanwhile, Congressional gridlock seems to stand in the way of renewed stimulus for American consumers. Will is not too concerned, and in this interview points out that the Fed still has ample ammunition, and that the strength of the US recovery...

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    Gavekal Research

    EM Currencies At A Pivot Point

    Emerging market economies are heavily impacted by their currency’s level against both the US dollar and the Chinese renminbi. As the dollar is a funding currency, most EMs thrive when it is weak. In contrast, China is both a competitor and a key export market for EM economies, and so a weak renminbi poses a deflationary threat. Since late May, emerging markets have faced the ostensibly benign situation of a weaker US dollar and a stronger...

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Taking Stock Of US-China Decoupling

    In yesterday’s webinar, Andrew Batson presented an overview of where the Chinese economy is going and how the relationship with the US is evolving, and Dan Wang addressed recent US actions in the technological rivalry between the two countries, particularly the latest executive orders on WeChat and TikTok.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The China Inc. Annual Report 2020

    After a historically disastrous quarter, Chinese companies are now enjoying a V-shaped rebound—but what is driving this bounce, and how sustainable is it? In his annual chartbook, Thomas answers these and other questions, dissecting the impact of Covid-19 on China’s corporate sector across sales, margins, profits, cashflow, capex and leverage.

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    Gavekal Research

    Four Exaggerated Concerns

    As if markets weren’t nervous enough, US policymakers have been fueling the nervousness. On Wednesday, a series of remarks spotlighted a number of the main concerns currently troubling investors, including that the US Federal Reserve is out of ammunition, and that disputes over the result of November’s upcoming presidential election could drag on into the new year, plaguing asset markets with additional uncertainty. This focus appeared to...

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    Gavekal Research

    Lockdown-Lite

    A series of controls have been announced by European countries in reaction to sharp increases in the numbers testing positive for the Sars-CoV-2 virus.This has raised fears of renewed lockdowns and economic havoc. But it appears European policymakers are opting for a lockdown-lite approach to public health restrictions in order to minimize the economic damage.

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    Gavekal Research

    Illiquidity And Creative Destruction

    Covid came as a shock to the world, but in many cases it is merely accelerating fundamental trends that were already unfolding anyway. This probably shouldn’t be a surprise. If there has been one constant theme in Gavekal’s research over the last 15 years or so, it is that we are living in an age of accelerating creative destruction.

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    Don’t Waste Time Analyzing The US Election

    Over the next six weeks, investors will spend hours of mental anguish and spill lakes of agonized ink attempting to analyze the outcome of the US presidential election. Will it really be time well spent? Louis isn’t sure.

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    Gavekal Research

    Caution Prevails In US Attack On Apps

    Last month President Trump issued orders that threatened massive disruption to two of China’s biggest technology companies. But the Commerce Department’s final decision on WeChat was less extreme than feared, and Trump’s blessing of a deal to avert a ban on TikTok signals a promising shift in the political calculus.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The US Fiscal Seesaw

    There are some signs that Democrats and Republicans are inching towards a new spending deal to provide "enhanced" benefits to struggling companies and unemployed Americans. Yanmei argues that such a resolution would certainly buttress demand going into the winter season but a "no deal" outcome would not necessarily spell disaster for a US economy that is learning to live with Covid-19.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s Winners In The US-China Tech War

    The US government has stepped up its campaign against China’s leading technology companies, and already the measures against Huawei are taking effect. This threatens to severely disrupt global electronics supply chains, but creates opportunities for companies elsewhere in Asia. Vincent assesses who stands to benefit.

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Embattled India

    India has taken a bigger economic hit from the pandemic than any other major economy, exacerbating a slowdown that was already underway. In addition, India is engaged in a high-stakes standff with China over its Himalayan border, which may force an economic decoupling of the two countries.

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    Gavekal Research

    Riding Europe’s Second Wave

    The latest Covid figures from Europe make sobering reading, with countries including France, Spain and others seeing pronounced second waves of new cases. Equity markets, however, have reserved judgment. Yes, the rebound that started in mid-March has been stalled for the last two months as infections have mounted. However, European markets have not sold off significantly, despite this month’s US volatility. And an examination of the opposing...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Risks To The Consumer Recovery

    Consumer spending in China looks to be firmly on a recovering track, with Covid-19 under control and the job market improving. But the shock to household income in the first half of 2020 could still linger over spending for a while. In this piece, Wei explains what could keep consumption from quickly regaining previous growth rates.

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    Gavekal Research

    The First Meeting Of The Fed’s New Era

    On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee concluded its first meeting after Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell last month revised its strategic policy framework. The new framework boils down to a temporary increase in the Fed’s inflation target to “make up” for past shortfalls.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Challenge Of Valuing Gold

    Gold ranks as the ultimate “scarcity asset”, as its value is dictated not by its utility but because it is rare. Valuing such assets is tough as there is no “underlying value” to reference and prices are driven by the immediate supply and demand situation. Yet, in periods when both government budget deficits and monetary aggregates have rapidly grown, gold has historically outperformed—and it is doing so now.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    When Export Strength Is A Sign Of Weakness

    China’s manufacturers are back to normal, and then some. Exports and manufacturing output are running faster than their pre-pandemic trend in 2019, even as global trade is contracting. In this piece, Andrew and Thomas explain what’s driving those strong numbers, and why they are actually a sign of continued weakness in the global economy.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Death, Taxes And Covid-19: Things That Cannot Be Avoided

    Six months after the first western countries went into lockdown, data suggest that unless imposed very early on, lockdowns did little to avert excess deaths. With weekly death rates in many western countries now running close to decade lows, Louis argues that this leaves politicians in an awkward spot, with one of three possible policy paths.

    39
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Booming Recovery

    China’s economic recovery continues to boom ahead, with retail sales turning positive and exports continuing to outperform. In this Quick Take, Thomas, Rosealea and Wei explain why this momentum is likely to continue for several more months but might dampen towards the end of the year as credit tightens and the property market is reined in.

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    Gavekal Research

    Positioning For A Yield Curve Steepening

    Little about the Covid-19 recession has been “normal”, including shifts in the US yield curve. Contrary to expectations at the end of a cycle, the spread between 10-year and three-month treasury yields "steepened" by just 109bp from the bottom. At the same time, the Fed’s hugely expanded quantitative easing program has boosted demand for long-dated treasuries, which continues to compress yields. So what gives?

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    A British Mad Man

    The world’s worst performing major currency, stock market and economy have all been located in Britain since Boris Johnson was reelected last December. This is not surprising. With hindsight, his decision to outlaw any possible extension of the Brexit transition period as soon as he was reelected fully justified the switch from bullish to bearish on sterling assets that I recommended immediately after this announcement.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Trouble With Covid Testing

    Last week, professional rugby started up again in France. The authorities have decreed that if any team finds that three or more of its players test positive for Covid-19, its games must be played at a later date. This ruling is being rigidly enforced even though in reality a player who tests positive has less than a 50% probability of actually having the disease.

    12
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    Gavekal Research

    Of Gold And Gold Miners

    In recent weeks, attention has focused on the surge, and subsequent correction, in US technology stocks. Yet an asset class that has greatly outperformed the Nasdaq 100 this year is gold-mining equities. In this piece, Charles seeks to develop firmer investment rules for managing gold and gold-mining stocks within a portfolio.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Red Lines For Real Estate

    China’s central bank and housing ministry are putting together new restrictions on the leverage of major real-estate developers by drawing three “red lines” for the firms. In this report, Rosealea explains why regulators are targeting individual developers, as well as why she feels these red lines will have limited macro impact.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: From Bearish To (Conditionally) Bullish

    Anatole and Will presented their views on the efficacy of US fiscal and monetary policy in response to the Covid crisis, and outlined the prospects for the economy and asset markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Pained Tales From The Hills

    On Monday, for the first time since 1975, gunshots were fired on the disputed Himalayan border between India and China.Hundreds of incidents occur along the undemarcated Line of Actual Control every year, but this year’s skirmishes are the most dangerous for at least five decades.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Assessing The Midwest Outbreak

    While the pandemic continues to ravage the US, the last month has seen rates of infection decline across most of the country. That situation has recently reversed in some low-population Midwestern states, but on balance the US has learnt to live with Covid, and therefore a resurgence in the fall will not result in the kind of disruption seen in March and April.

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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: The Great Covid Crash

    India has taken a bigger economic hit from the pandemic than any other major economy. After reopening its economy in June, business activity is again weakening as the surging number of Covid-19 cases raises the chance of more localized restrictions. Udith and Tom evaluate the government's response and give a prognosis for the economy.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Open-Source Moment Arrives

    Most of the US government’s efforts to hinder China’s technological progress have focused on hardware, mainly semiconductors. But software is also now a front in the US-China tech conflict. As Dan explains in this piece, those tensions could make open-source software, which is free from most legal restrictions, even more globally important.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Growth Scare? Or Rotation?

    After a three-day rout that has seen the US Nasdaq 100 index sell off by almost -11%, fear is in the ascendant. At this point a reality check may be a valuable exercise. Whatever the proximate trigger for the slump, the deep sell-off has been confined mainly to large-cap tech stocks, and is not generalized across the market. Moreover, there are reasons to believe the picture for the US economy and earnings is set to improve.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable (in French), Sept 2020

    In a turbulent economic environment, Louis sought to identify assets with “anti-fragile” qualities; Cedric deciphered the message from European markets; Didier Darcet refreshed refresh an old Gavekal framework with “Four Quadrants 2.0” and Charles moderated the discussion.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Better Days For Europe’s Domestic Plays

    It is hardly surprising that euro strength is generally bad for European exporter stocks and good for domestically-focused firms; or that exporter-heavy markets, like Germany, tend to lag at such moments. We saw this in 2017, when the euro rose almost 12% against the dollar between April and August, spurring a -2.4% fall in the DAX and a 0.7% gain in the broad Eurostoxx. So how to explain this year’s topsy-turvy markets, where the sprightly DAX...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Victory Over The Virus

    With no new domestic cases in almost a month, Xi Jinping effectively declared victory on Tuesday in the struggle against Covid-19. In this Quick Take, Gilliam explains how China’s post-Covid landscape is shaping up for consumer services, and why Beijing is unlikely to open up internationally any time soon.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Desperately Seeking Anti-Fragility (Part II): In The Eye Of The Beholder

    Previously, Louis outlined the four asset classes that investors appear to regard as anti-fragile, now that US treasuries no longer fit the bill. With each of these four asset classes enjoying a roaring bull-run, today Louis examines the typical life cycle that lifts an asset class from unloved hell to anti-fragile heaven.

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    Gavekal Research

    After The ‘Pump And Dump’

    August was an odd month in the US equity market. It saw Apple, the world’s largest company by market value, add US$650bn to its market-cap despite a string of troubling news. Yet for most investors, the biggest head-scratcher may have been the continued rise in the VIX, even as stocks, led by the Nasdaq, continued to make new highs.

    14
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    Gavekal Research

    The Implications Of A Disputed Election

    The pundits bill every US presidential election as the most important and dramatic for years, if not decades. This time they may have a point. However, an examination of the laws governing elections and of past ructions suggests any turbulence for investors will be limited and short-lived.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, September 2020

    Charles Gave, Louis Gave and Will Denyer joined Arthur Kroeber at the global investment roundtable to discuss what's going on in the global economy. Charles identified three big trends that will affect the investment environment in the long term, Will gave an in-dept update on the US economy, and Louis examined where to find assets with “anti-fragile” properties.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Little Battler Soars Too High

    A weak US dollar is generally a boon for both global growth and asset prices, yet its recent fall has ruffled feathers. So spare a thought for the Reserve Bank of Australia, which is not only presiding over the country’s first recession in 30 years but is getting no help from its “little battler” currency, which has rocketed 27% against the US dollar since its March low.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Restraint And Retaliation

    As the US government has rolled out ever more actions targeting Chinese firms, China has exercised restraint and has mostly opted not to retaliate in kind. As Dan explains, the government is taking the long view on the economy rather than pandering to nationalist outrage. But China is also developing legal tools that could be used to hurt US firms.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Why I Was Right To Turn Bullish

    Previously, Anatole tried to explain why he had abandoned the bearish view on equities. We will not know for a long time whether any of his explanations make sense, but Jerome Powell’s speech about the Federal Reserve’s new operating philosophy bolstered his confidence in a once-in-a-generation economic regime change.

    10
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Eight Questions, 11 Answers

    With US equities once again at record highs and the Fed promising to keep rates nailed to the floor, it is time to ask hard questions of the bull market that won’t die. That interrogation is conducted by Charles and Louis Gave. In these strange times, the case for owning anti-fragile assets has rarely been stronger, they contend. Four stand out for having weathered the pandemic and should be treated seriously.

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