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    Gavekal Research

    The Limits Of Europe’s Rotation

    The last five weeks have seen an impressive rally in Europe’s formerly beaten- down equity market sectors. As hopes have grown that vaccines will bring the coronavirus pandemic to an early end in 2021, the stocks of Covid losers such as banks, oil and gas companies, airlines and airports have leapt sharply higher. The Stoxx bank index, for example, is up 44% since the end of October in euro terms, 50% in US dollar terms.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Rising Yields And US Housing

    Investors are looking ahead to us economic growth picking up as vaccines are deployed and restrictions dialed back. With the Federal Reserve having anchored short rates near zero, this dynamic is causing a yield-curve steepening. The question is whether higher yields feed back into a still vulnerable US economy and choke off the recovery.

    0
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    Sell A-Shares Into Strength

    Over the last month, onshore Chinese equities have got swept up in the global rally. The CSI 300 gained 7% in November, surpassing July’s peak to set a new high for the year this week. And the broader Shanghai index is on the cusp of following. However, this is a rally running on fumes.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, December 2020

    The US equity market is seeing a switch from the winners of the pandemic like technology and online retail, to the beaten-up losers such as travel plays. At the same time, hopes for a strong economic recovery in 2021 are juicing up value stocks. Similar dynamics are being seen in other major markets. Our team of analysts discussed what happens next, and what’s in store in 2021.

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  • Gavekal Research

    Video: The Treasury’s Liquidity Programs And Markets

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has come under fire for failing to extend a number of the Treasury’s liquidity support programs into 2021. But as Will outlines in this short video interview, while the existence of the facilities that are set to expire helped to shore up sentiment back in March and April, they have been little used, and are now largely irrelevant in practical terms.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Tail Risk Insurance: Financials And Gold

    US equities have just had a record month on hopes that a successful rollout of vaccines will allow the world economy to return to normal. The questions is what that will look like in financial markets, especially given that the US government is spending record sums.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The ECB And Euro Strength

    In the last couple of days the euro has broken higher against the US dollar. The last time the euro hit US$1.20, European Central Bank officials led by president Christine Lagarde emerged to talk the currency down, worried that euro strength would import deflation and erode European competitiveness. The question now is whether the ECB will again come out to jawbone the euro lower.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Asian Bonds Remain Attractive

    Two weeks ago, the central banks of Indonesia and the Philippines each lowered their policy rates by 25bp, making their first rate cuts since the summer. Although the moves came as a surprise to the markets, they should not have done. Across Asia real interest rates are generally positive, and in some cases are above their long term averages, while inflation rates are modest. This gives central banks plenty of room to reduce nominal rates to...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Georgia On My Mind

    In the four weeks since the US election, the S&P 500 has climbed 7.5%. The bulk of that run-up can be attributed to hopes for an early vaccine roll-out, but at least some is due to the perceived decline in US political risk, Yet although US electoral risk may have diminished, it has not disappeared, and may yet return to affect investor positioning in markets over the coming weeks.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Two Equity Rotations For A Post-Covid World

    The impending rollout of vaccines in the United States is spurring two big equity rotations. With investors looking ahead to a post-Covid world, a rotation has begun from stocks that thrived in the pandemic to those that merely clung on. Second, the expectation that a robust economic recovery will push interest rates up has caused beaten-down value stocks to recover some mojo. Investors should play these rotations at a granular, sub-sector level...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Fate Of Chinese Listings In The US

    Today, there are 365 Chinese companies listed on US markets. A handful of these have dual listings in Hong Kong, but for most, the US is their sole listing. Together, these 365 companies account for US$1.92trn of market capitalization. This increasingly looks like an anomaly. Why should Chinese companies choose to raise capital on Wall Street when they can tap the capital market in Hong Kong?

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    The Importance Of The Renminbi

    In days long gone by, the yen’s exchange rate affected asset prices around the world. Today, it is not the yen that investors need to watch, but the renminbi. And in the last few months the renminbi has been strengthening, with important implications for everything from global bond yields, through energy prices, to the relative performance of US growth and value stocks.

    15
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    Gavekal Research

    Yield Curves, The Euro And The Dollar

    The balance of probability points towards a steeper US yield curve over the short to medium term as US short rates remain pinned at zero and long-dated US treasury yields push higher. One might think that higher US long rates should attract capital inflows, but what matters is the relative shift in gradients, notably between the US dollar and euro yield curves.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Bridge Too Far?

    The Reserve Bank of New Zealand was the first central bank to successfully argue that being independent from government direction would let it foster better economic outcomes. Yet the RBNZ still seems one to break down barriers—or perhaps have them broken down for it. On Tuesday the Kiwi finance minister proposed that control of house prices should be added to its inflation remit.

    14
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Hong Kong Under The National Security Law

    Hong Kong has spent five months living under a tough national security law imposed on it from Beijing. The direct impact has been a sharp curtailment of opposition political activity that has sparked sanctions from the United States. Now, China has plans for more changes to Hong Kong's legal system, with a requirement for judges to be patriots. In yesterday’s webinar, Vincent Tsui, Dan Wang, Tom Holland and Simon Pritchard discussed the...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Two Equity Rotations In The Making

    Investors are bulled up on hopes that successful vaccine roll-outs will end the Covid-19 pandemic before next spring and the US will get a smooth transition of power that leaves an investor-friendly divided government. Since Pfizer announced its successful stage-three vaccine trials on November 9, managers have been forced to reassess their US portfolio positioning. That process has likely only just got going.

    2
  • Gavekal Research

    Video: What Prospect US Fiscal Support?

    Investors in the US are displaying signs of euphoria as they anticipate the end of the pandemic due to the roll-out of vaccines. But is this shortsighted given the lack of agreement over fiscal stimulus? Our US policy analyst Yanmei thinks the market has it about right, as the political stars are aligning for some kind of accommodation on a new spending package.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Realignments Begin

    It was no coincidence the first-ever visit to Saudi Arabia by an Israeli prime minister took place a day before US President-Elect Joe Biden announced his choice of Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, indicating a conciliatory stance towards Israel and Saudi's mutual enemy Iran. It was, however, coincidence that the price of oil should advance to its highest since early March on Tuesday.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Three Strikes And Still In

    In the last three weeks, investors in Chinese assets have suffered a series of shocks, with the suspension of the Ant IPO, antitrust actions against China’s tech giants, and the high-profile default of a local state-owned enterprise. Louis examines what may be going on behind the scenes, and sets out how investors should interpret these successive shocks.

    11
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    Gavekal Research

    A Boost From US Restocking

    As the latest wave of US coronavirus infections continues to worsen, the probability of a modest contraction in fourth quarter GDP is rising. However, there are solid arguments for believing that the worst case scenario for 4Q remains no worse than a mild contraction in output.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Dear Cedric And Nick, Allow Me To Disagree...

    ...in Thursday’s Daily you argued that Hungary and Poland’s effort to veto yet another power grab by Brussels represents a mere hiccup in the march towards a European nation state. You can add Slovenia into that basket of recalcitrants. I believe that these three countries are posing an essential question: where does the legitimacy of a government come from?

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    The Scars Beneath India’s Cheer

    As India celebrated Diwali this month, there was some reason for cheer on the economic front. After a deep downturn, demand has picked up, the economy is primed to return to growth in the fourth quarter, and the manufacturing sector is firing on all cylinders. Nevertheless, the scars from this year’s contraction will take a long time to heal.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Europe And The Second Wave

    European markets were ebullient earlier this week on news that an effective Covid-19 vaccine may be approved for use early next year. In the meantime, regional lockdowns aimed at curbing the escalating pandemic threatens Europe's economic recovery. This all but guarantees loose monetary and fiscal policy for the foreseeable future. In yesterday's webinar Nick and Cedric discussed how this shakes out for investors.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Limits To EU Solidarity

    This week, Hungary and Poland vetoed the European Union’s €750bn recovery fund in a fit of pique at a new mechanism that will stop money going to “bad boy” states deemed to impede the rule of law. With southern Europe waiting for EU cash to support its post-Covid recovery, the two eastern bloc countries hope to force a compromise that will stop outside interference in their domestic affairs. The issue tops the agenda of today’s EU leaders’...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: EU Summit Tensions

    European Union leaders are today sitting down for a high stakes summit. Poland and Hungary are threatening to scupper the EU’s budget and grandly-announced Recovery Fund if they are further penalized for becoming authoritarian and eroding the rule of law. The pandemic continues to demand leaders’ attention and Brexit lurks as the ugly beast in the background.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Upside For Asian Currencies

    As global uncertainty has started to recede following the US election result and on the promise of effective coronavirus vaccines, so the skies have begun to clear for Asian currencies. Recently the components of the East Asia ex-China currency complex have begun to appreciate across the board at an accelerating rate. The conditions are ripe for this to continue.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    The Brake On US Growth

    Hopes for effective coronavirus vaccination programs in 2021 propelled both the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000 small cap index to record high, but on the ground in the US, accelerating infections and rising hospitalization rates prompted more state and local governments to order additional restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    After RCEP: A Tough Ask For Pivot 2.0

    On Sunday, China signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. With the 15-nation trade agreement, Beijing has successfully positioned itself at the center of the region’s trade and investment networks. This will make it hard for US President-Elect Joe Biden to fulfill his pledge to place “America back at the head of the table” in international relations, at least in Asia.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Are The Markets Trying To Tell Us Something?

    I am not a technical analyst, but I am an avid consumer of charts, which I often use to check if my overall view is confirmed, or not, by the markets. Having undertaken this exercise recently, I have two strong convictions.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Biden And Brexit

    Despite the UK enduring another Covid lockdown and facing a key Brexit deadline on November 15, its political class spent this week obsessing over a personality struggle inside the prime minister’s office. The real significance of a Brexit-supporting aide to Boris Johnson quitting his post may be that the UK is about to accept a trade deal will leave it as an effective satellite of the European Union. After all, hopes for a plucky Britain going...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: China After The Recovery

    Having gone into lockdown first, China was also the first economy to emerge, and has since enjoyed a rapid rebound in industrial production and exports, reflected in financial markets. But now that the economy is back to “normal”, policymakers have returned to a conservative stance which focuses on financial stability.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    After Consolidation, A Further Rerating

    Given the violence of Monday’s rotation-driven rally on soaring hopes of an early coronavirus vaccine rollout, it is small surprise that equity markets are now giving back some of those gains. Expectations are still high that developed economies will be able to begin vaccination programs as early as the first quarter of next year. But the intervening days have given investors a keener appreciation of the challenges involved. Meanwhile, the...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Time To Look Beyond The US

    Heading into the US elections, there were three big reasons to be bearish on the US dollar. With the results as they stand, one of those concerns has diminished. But the other two continue to weigh on the US currency. Meanwhile, the US equity market is looking extremely expensive compared with equity markets elsewhere. Together, these factors favor unhedged positions in selected non-US equity markets.

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  • Gavekal Research

    Video: Politics And Pandemics—The US After The Election

    The last week has seen two big developments affecting the US economy and markets: effective confirmation that Joe Biden has won the presidency, and a surge in hopes for the early rollout of a coronavirus vaccine as infection rates continue to accelerate. Will examines how the last week’s news affects the US growth outlook, and outlines what it means for US bonds, equities and the dollar.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    China’s Departure From Past Standard Operating Procedures

    China is emerging from the pandemic stronger than its big economic rivals in the West. It is an irony that the US and Europe are applying expansive Keynesian-type solutions of the type China has deployed in recent crises, but now seems to be rejecting. The result, Louis argues, may be that China starts to enjoy a "triple merit" scenario.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Either Steeper, Or Much Steeper

    Hopes of an early vaccine rollout mean that investors are now looking beyond rising coronavirus infection rates in the US towards an end to the pandemic in 2021. The resulting improved business and consumer confidence will favor stronger activity next year, and therefore a steepening of the US yield curve driven by higher long term bond yields. On top of this, there is an appreciable probability that the Democrats could yet capture the Senate in...

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    Turning The Page On 2020?

    Monday’s vaccine news from Pfizer raises the prospect that along with the US election, investors will soon be able to stop worrying about Covid-19. Suddenly the hope that economic activity can return to normal no longer sounds absurdly Pollyannaish. This about-turn not only triggered a sharp reversal in a bunch of market prices, it also raised a host of questions.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Markets And The Split Between American Trees And American Boats

    The aftermath of the US election points to deep distrust between America’s two great political tribes that could yet become a concern for investors. Charles worries that betrayal narratives in the US may lead to the Federal Reserve printing even more money in order to paper over the cracks of division.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Pricing The Post-Election World

    For once, everything went according to plan. The US election has passed without any big surprises—and the initial market reaction has been exactly what would be predicted in any textbook of finance, when a centrist and predictable conventional politician replaces an extreme and erratic populist as US president.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Let’s Build A Second Maginot Line!

    With the coronavirus endemic in Europe, the new anti-Covid lockdowns being imposed by governments across the region, including in France, Germany and the UK, make about as much sense as a second, smaller, Maginot line would have done back in 1943 when the Germans were firmly entrenched in France.

    23
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    Gavekal Research

    US Election Points To A Bullish Result

    The US election is tilting towards a denouement but a categorical result may not be known for weeks. That uncertainty is not good for Americans’ nerves but should not especially trouble investors. More impactful will be policy changes (or maybe the lack of them) that flow from the result. US equities, and growth stocks especially, have been buoyed by the chance of a Joe Biden presidency and split Congress.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: China's Grand Plan For The Next Two Decades

    While the US has been busy tying itself in knots over the 2020 presidential election, the Chinese government, with no electoral calendar to worry about, has quietly been setting out its grand strategy for the country’s development over the next two decades. In this video, Gilliam cuts through the impenetrable ideological jargon to identify the key themes running through Beijing’s long term policy pronouncements.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The 2020 US Election

    With the US election outcome likely subject to a period of litigation and some uncertainty, yesterday Gavekal partners and US analysts convened to discuss the possible scenarios lying ahead and what they're likely to mean for asset markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Post-Election Rally

    Heading into the 2020 election, the consensus among investors was that the worst possible outcome would be for a long, drawn-out election (check) decided by mail-in ballots (check), whose legitimacy would be questioned by one of the candidates (check), with the final result decided by the courts (most likely check). Yet on Wednesday financial markets cheered the vote. Why?

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: US Election & Global Investment Roundtable (in French)

    Charles Gave, Louis-Vincent Gave, Didier Darcet and Cedric Gemehl delved into the results of the US election, and discussed the latest impact of Covid-19 on the global economy and markets. Additionally, they presented Gavekal’s latest research on portfolio construction.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Ant Stomped

    Ant Group’s US$35bn IPO was set to be the ultimate market validation of the new world of fintech and financial innovation. But by suspending Ant’s IPO at the last minute China’s financial regulators have demonstrated there is still a force more powerful than the coming wave of financial innovation: the state. It’s a lesson that big tech giants outside China may also need to take to heart, as they face increasing regulatory scrutiny from US and...

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    The New Geostrategic Pressure Point

    Investors today are overwhelmingly focused on the economic impact of the Covid pandemic and the possible effects of the US presidential election. Yet something happened over the summer that although not at all traumatic by comparison, may end up having much more far-reaching consequences for world geopolitics.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    US Inflation Is Still Benign

    The current investment environment in the US faces three clear and present dangers. The first is tomorrow’s election, the second is the resurgent Covid outbreak and the third, is the threat of an inflation surge, which could force the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy. Thankfully for asset markets, the latest releases show inflation to remain benign.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Chinese Assets After The Recovery

    China was the first economy into lockdown, and the first to emerge, enjoying a rapid rebound in industrial production and exports. Uniquely among major economies, China has already regained and exceeded pre-Covid levels of output. The speed and strength of this early recovery was reflected in financial markets, with equities rallying hard, bonds selling off, and the renminbi appreciating on heightened capital inflows.

    0
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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

    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.

    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: its annual plenum closed with a decision on its broad goals for the next 15 years. In this piece, Andrew explains how China is adapting its priorities to a less favorable international political and economic context.

    3
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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.

    0
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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 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 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 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.

    4
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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 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.

    0
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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?

    21
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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.

    6
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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...

    0
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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...

    7
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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 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 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...

    9
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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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...

    1
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    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.

    0
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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.

    0
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    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.

    0
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    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:...

    0
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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.

    0
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    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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    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...

    0
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    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...

    0
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    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...

    0
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    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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