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    Gavekal Research

    How To Pay For Sin In The Future?

    Just as success has many fathers, there are many possible explanations for the upside breakout in gold prices. Obvious explanations include a rapid rise in monetary aggregates across the OECD, the fall in the US dollar and growing US-China tensions. An overlooked explanation is the demise of physical cash as a liquid and easily transportable asset.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Emerging Markets And The Dollar

    A weakening US dollar is usually an unalloyed positive for emerging markets, so it is no surprise that their assets have rallied since the March 23 bottom in global markets—equities are up 45%, while bonds (both US dollar and local currency-based indexes) have gained 20%. Happy days indeed, but the next stage of the EM rally is likely to be more exacting for investors.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: A Joe Biden Presidency?

    With the US presidential election less than three months away, polling suggests Joe Biden and the Democrats have a chance at a clean sweep of the White House and Congress. While Biden has been open about wanting to raise taxes and tackle climate change, he would inherit an economy still reeling from the coronavirus shock. With this in mind, Yanmei outlines what the 100 first days of a Biden presidency are likely to look like.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Leading The Way In Export Recovery

    Chinese exports have outperformed expectations due to booming sales of goods related to Covid-19 and Chinese manufacturers staying open when their international counterparts were forced to suspend production. In this report, Thomas explains why China's export growth will continue to flatten in H2 as global trade catches up.

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    Gavekal Research

    Tech As The Battlefield Of The Unfolding Cold War

    Despite technology issues sitting at the heart of the great-power struggle between the US and China, tech stocks continue to brush off geopolitical tensions. Louis is concerned that the market's assumptions don't line up with reality on three counts. It all adds up to a bad brew for tech.

    16
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    Gavekal Research

    Different Decades, Different Backdrops

    In the months after the 2008 global mortgage crisis, gold prices broke out to new highs in part driven by the belief that quantitative easing would trigger higher inflation, perhaps even hyper-inflation. Against such a backdrop investors flocked to real assets. Today, similar forces seem to be at work, although maybe in more concentrated form.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Bringing Back Volatility

    Cleaning up the messy world of wealth-management products is still a key mission in China’s financial de-risking campaign, even if the PBOC has now had to give banks another year to work on it. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains how the regulatory crackdown is pushing the risks hidden in WMPs out into the open, increasing market volatility.

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    Gavekal Research

    Why It Won't Be Hamiltonian

    A number of Gavekal writers, in addition to a good share of investors in eurozone assets, saw last month's embrace of mutualized lending to hard-hit European economies as a game changer. Charles is far from convinced that this move has expunged the original sin of the euro, since the single currency area remains riddled with competitiveness problems.

    14
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    Gavekal Research

    The Assault On Chinese Tech

    After a whirlwind of negotiations, the US government may have succeeded in forcing the sale of TikTok’s US operations to a US company. The US earlier used national-security grounds to restrict the business of Huawei. Both companies still have large domestic businesses, but US government actions over the past year may mark a peak for the global expansion by Chinese tech firms.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe Stares Down A Second Wave

    Europe beat back the Covid-19 outbreak in March and April with decisive responses and reaped the benefit by reopening its economy in the early summer. Now, however, the price of fun in the sun has come due, with a rising case count that has led Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, to label it Europe’s “second wave”. In response to rising infections in Spain, the UK has reimposed quarantine rules on returning travelers from the country, while...

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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: From Bullish To Neutral On The US

    The upsurge in second-round Covid-19 infections has put the US economic recovery on hold for now. But government, businesses and consumers have got better at coping with Covid, and in contrast to the first round, the economy is not going backwards.

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    Gavekal Research

    Not All Tech Markets Are Created Equal

    Aided by lockdown effects, Big Tech has rolled out some stellar results. Self-isolating consumers have replaced devices and devoured cloud computing services, spurring a new upgrade cycle. Such demand has boosted Asia’s tech supply chain, but surging hardware demand is about to become more specific, with some segments facing excess supply and others sustained tightness.

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, July 2020

    In our monthly Global Investment Roundtable, US analyst Tan Kai Xian analyzed the latest US data and assessed the risk that the present economic stall-out turns into a double-dip recession. Arthur Kroeber explained why the Trump Administration has amped up its Cold War rhetoric on China. Anatole Kaletsky tied it all together and tried to explain the recent movements in global markets.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Questions On The Digital Renminbi

    The People’s Bank of China is on the way to becoming the first central bank in the world to launch a digital currency. The idea of a digital renminbi has sparked a huge amount of interest, but confusion and speculation are rampant. In this Q&A, Xiaoxi and Wei provide clear answers to some of the big questions about the digital currency.

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    Gavekal Research

    A Conventional Fed

    The Federal Reserve did not shift its policy stance yesterday and nor is it likely to announce some big-bang reform after a “strategic policy framework review”, which Jerome Powell indicated should be wrapped up within a couple of policy-setting meetings. That may not be an exciting story, but it is one that financial markets will welcome.

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    Gavekal Research

    Managing Money In A Keynesian Environment

    When Charles looks at US monetary policy, he gets nostalgic for glam rock and big hair, as he is reminded of 1973. However, rather than go on gut, in this piece he sets out to verify that the Federal Reserve is indeed acting as a “Keynesian” central bank. He does this by considering the relationship between US T-bills and the price of gold.

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    Gavekal Research

    Don’t Fear The Fiscal Cliff

    The Republican Senate proposal for a new stimulus falls far short of the Democratic bill passed in the House in May. Reconciling these differing visions into a unified bill that can pass through both chambers and into law will likely take several weeks at least. As a result, the incomes of 17mn jobless Americans will fall off a cliff at the end of July.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Construction’s Surprising Resilience

    After a robust recovery in construction following the Covid-19 lockdown, the big question now is whether this growth rate is sustainable. Using a rolling sum of construction starts, Rosealea posits that construction should slow only moderately in the second half, providing room for steel demand to continue growing for the rest of 2020.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Hong Kong Sanctions Regime

    As US-China tensions amp up, Hong Kong faces US actions in response to the national security law imposed by the Chinese government. This includes an end to preferential trade treatment and penalties for foreign financial institutions that transact with officials found to be undermining the city’s freedoms. In this video interview, Dan explains how the program will play out and addresses the question of whether the US government will target Hong...

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    Gavekal Research

    Not Cheap, But Not Expensive Either

    I don’t propose to wade into the debate over whether US equities are in are in a bubble or not. I'd only point out that by one key metric—relative valuation—equities do not look excessively expensive today, at least when compared with the relative valuations seen at the height of the dot-com boom at the turn of the century.

    11
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    Gavekal Research

    Indian Banks On The Block

    As India's economic and fiscal situation goes from bad to worse, the government is preparing to do the unthinkable: privatize state-owned banks. Ever since the first round of nationalization of private lenders in 1969, the state has kept a tight grip on the financial system. Now it reportedly plans to sell its majority stake in six banks, hoping that an infusion of private capital and managerial skill can nurture them back to health.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How To Contain A Lingering Virus

    China is seeing its highest number of daily new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases since March, and government officials are rushing to contain the outbreak. In this Quick Take, Gilliam explains how China has developed a standard containment strategy to handle this and future outbreaks while minimizing economic damage.

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    Gavekal Research

    The EU And The Bond Markets

    The European Union’s decision last week to issue an additional €750bn of debt in its own name has profound implications for the euro-denominated bond markets. Firstly, the decision will mark the emergence of the EU (or more specifically the European Commission) as a major—and relatively attractive—issuer, on a par with sizable European sovereigns. Secondly, EU supranational issuance will be a stabilizing force in the market, reducing the risk...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Playing Volatility Convergence

    When the initial Covid-19 panic gripped US financial markets in March, the near term volatility priced in by both equity and bond markets leapt steeply. But the volatility priced in by the equity market rose far more in relative terms, and has been much slower to recede. As a result equity market vol remains abnormally elevated relative to bond market vol, offering investors an opportunity.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    In Defense Of Marxists And Communism

    Charles has often appeared on television shows in France as the token right-wing guy asked to debate a socialist or communist on the proper role of the state. He misses those days, for both he and his adversary usually agreed that the objective was improving the welfare of the average Frenchman—even if they disagreed profoundly on how to achieve this.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Edging Toward A New Cold War

    The US decision to close China’s consulate in Houston is a big deal. The precise motivations are obscure but the story is not: the Trump Administration is turning up the heat on China before the US presidential election. In the next few months Washington is likely to make new moves pushing the US closer to a Cold War posture against China.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Macro Update: The Supply-Side Recovery

    China has rapidly bounced back from its Covid-19 lockdown, but the recovery has been an unbalanced one with supply outpacing demand. Economic policy has also turned more cautious amid exuberance in property and financial markets. In this regular chartbook, the Dragonomics team outlines how the next stage of China’s recovery will proceed.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Do Bubbles Predict Or Project?

    With the second quarter data season now in full swing, the rebound in equity prices that followed the Covid-19 panic seems to have stalled. So, what happens now? In this piece, Anatole follows up on Louis’s recent efforts to define reasons for the surge in equity values and proposes a fresh explanation centered on the nature of bubbles.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: A Fiscal Cliff Approaches

    With the Covid-19 outbreak in the US still worsening, special unemployment benefits that have provided a lifeline for 17mn Americans stand to expire at the end of next week. Yet unlike in March, there is scant appetite in Washington DC for a swift bipartisan deal to extend support for the jobless. In this video interview, Yanmei explains what is at stake for the US economy if politicians cannot make a deal before heading off for their summer...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Living With Hard Times

    Even as the Covid-19 outbreak materially worsens in the US, the pricing of financial assets remains benign. Is this equanimity justified or are we just waiting for the next shoe to drop? Myself and Will Denyer have been in the constructive camp on US equities, even if we are now squeamish about valuations, and continue to think that markets have it about right.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Marginal Impact Of Housing Renovation

    The State Council recently announced a nationwide target to renovate 39,000 antiquated residential compounds in 2020, improving accommodation for 7mn total households. In this Quick Take, Rosealea explains how the target will provide space for local governments to further tighten property policy without upsetting China’s economic recovery.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The US Dollar Starts To Break Down

    The US dollar is back to the panicked lows of March when Western economies were being locked down. Back then the prices of financial assets reflected a lack of liquidity, rather than fundamentals. Today central banks have ensured ample liquidity, so Louis explores various reasons that could explain the US dollar’s apparent breakdown.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Direction For Europe

    Anatole Kaletsky, Cedric Gemehl and Nick Andrews joined Louis Gave to talk about what lies in store for the European Union in light of Tuesdays agreement on a €750 billion Covid-19 recovery fund.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe's Deal

    Most of the attention paid to the European Union’s recovery fund deal, secured in the early hours of Tuesday morning, focused on how much of the agreed €750bn would be distributed as grants and how much as loans. That’s understandable. Haggling over this balance was one of the main reasons the talks dragged on into their fifth day. But as far as investors are concerned, the relative size of grants and loans is among the least significant aspects...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Consequences Of ‘Worthless Cash’

    In the second quarter of this year, global equity markets registered their best quarterly performance in two decades. In this, the third paper of a series about the record-breaking rebound, I will consider the possibility that the present growth in monetary aggregates is leading investors to conclude that they have no alternative.

    5
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Next Steps In US-China Decoupling

    As the US election approaches, the Trump Administration is intensifying pressure on China on all fronts. In this report, Dan outlines the executive-branch agencies tasked with implementing sanctions and restrictions, what they have accomplished so far, and what tools are at their disposal should Trump decide to further escalate the situation.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Toward A Renminbi-Gold Standard

    As the international trading and monetary order of the last 50 years continues to crumble, the endgame must be the US dollar losing its lofty position at the apex of the system. Louis and I have argued that this process began in and around 2005 as the US moved to “weaponize” the dollar, thereby ensuring the renminbi’s emergence as a competitor.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    What Will Stop The Gold Bull Market?

    The sustained outperformance of very large-cap tech stocks means that any manager who substantially underweighted the sector has likely lost clients. The exception may be those who favored gold and gold miners, which have experienced a “stealth” bull market. I say stealth because the precious metals rally has garnered limited headlines, scant investor interest and fewer reflections on either its causes, or consequences.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Unpicking The Tourism Effect

    Despite a worsening Covid-19 situation in many big developing economies and concerns over central banks’ monetization responses, emerging market investors continue to climb the wall of worry, betting that a putative “second wave” does not stymie the recoveries of developed economies and China. But another challenge for EM economies is a collapse in foreign tourism.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Long Autumn For Covid In The US

    Covid-19 has largely gone into the rear-view mirror in East Asia, and has been tamped down in Europe, but keeps dominating the headlines in the US. Infections in the current US wave are likely to peak in the first half of August, while deaths will peak in late August or early September. Recovery in sectors with high levels of human contact will continue to be retarded through the summer. About one-eighth of GDP, and a quarter of the workforce,...

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Recovery Tapers Off

    Although Q2 GDP growth rebounded strongly after Q1’s significant contraction, sequential growth slowed considerably into June. In this Quick Take, Thomas, Rosealea, Wei and Xiaoxi report on why despite this latest rebound it will be difficult for the country to maintain its upward momentum as it moves into Q3.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    From Temporary To Permanent

    “Nothing,” Milton Friedman famously declared, “is so permanent as a temporary government program.” He was right, which is one reason Wednesday saw the euro climb to its highest against the US dollar since the first days of the international Covid outbreak in early March, while 10-year Italian government bond yields fell to their lowest. Investors are betting that the European Union’s €750bn “Next Generation EU,” proposed as a temporary facility...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Singapore's Policy Path

    Just days after securing another five years in power at the ballot box, Singapore’s government announced that the island republic’s gross domestic product contracted a worse-than-expected -12.6% year-on-year in the second quarter. However, with large accumulated fiscal reserves, the government has considerable scope to spend in order to stimulate Singapore’s economy.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Simmering War Over Digital Taxes

    The US and Europe are in a standoff over how to tax digital companies. The US Trade Representative on Friday announced tariffs on French cosmetics and handbags, to take effect next year unless France drops plans to tax American tech giants. The worry is that such a dispute spirals, causing a further degradation of the global trade architecture.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Pick Your Side

    The British government’s decision to block Huawei from the UK’s 5G mobile network, confirmed yesterday, is further evidence that the post-Covid world is splitting into two opposing security blocs. International distrust of China is hardening along ideological lines, spurring liberal nations to prioritize national security over economic growth.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Oil’s Unintended Consequences

    On Wednesday, ministers from the Opec+ oil exporting cartel will meet to decide whether to begin scaling back their production cuts, but with the prospect of a renewed increase in infection rates, it's safe to say they will adopt a cautious approach. More interesting is whether they will err on the side of excess caution, causing the oil price to rise.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Bumpier Road To Semiconductor Supremacy

    The Chinese semiconductor industry has made substantial progress over the last year, making credible gains in both design and production—despite attempts by the US to stymie China’s advancement. In this report, Dan explains how the US has escalated its anti-China campaign and outlines the rough road ahead for the industry.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Pharma Problem

    India, the world’s pharmacy, is in danger of running out of drugs. The source of the danger is India’s deteriorating relationship with China, which provides up to 70% of the bulk ingredients for India’s pharmaceutical industry. Most Indian pharma makers hold at least two months of stock, but if the situation is not resolved, the global pharma supply chain could be disrupted.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: China's Capital And Bond Markets

    On Tuesday morning Thomas Gatley and Wei He joined Arthur Kroeber to discuss the Chinese equity bull market and the major reversal in the bond market.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How To Burst A Bubble

    Chinese equities surge ahead, and officials are worried that markets are coming dangerously close to resembling the dramatic boom and bust of 2015. In this report, Thomas makes the case that the current rally has no basis in fundamentals and outlines how regulators are trying to guide equities back to reality without causing a panic.

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