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    Gavekal Research

    The EU’s Ambitious Roadmap To Net Zero

    Europe has by far the most ambitious decarbonization program among major regions, targeting net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a -55% reduction from the 1990 level by the end of this decade. Cedric has examined the European Union's plans for achieving this goal, and in this article outlines the likely impact on key sectors of the economy.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    This Time Really Is Different

    Let’s go back to a time before 2015. Imagine a country running a big trade surplus with the US. Typically, the exporters who create this surplus bear domestic costs and so need to change their US dollar revenues into the local currency. From here, one of two things can happen:

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s Taper Resilience Wanes

    In mid-2013, emerging markets faced blanket selling after the Federal Reserve said it would buy fewer assets. In time, investors differentiated between strong and fragile markets, but the damage was still severe. Fast forward eight years and there have been good reasons to think that Asia could happily avoid a rerun of the “taper tantrum”. Vincent is now revising that view.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Macro Update: Demand Disappoints

    Supply-side issues are dominating the headlines, but China’s real problem is now on the demand side. Growth momentum stalled in Q3 as a downturn took hold in the property sector, and policymakers are responding only cautiously. In our latest quarterly chartbook, the Dragonomics team explains the changing outlook for the economy and markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    When Correlations Reverse

    For decades, portfolio managers have held US treasuries as a hedge for their equity exposure on the grounds that over periods of 12 months or so, treasuries tend to be inversely correlated with the US stock market. For the most part this strategy has worked. But few investors seem to appreciate that the relative performance of US treasuries and stocks depends heavily on the type of inflation the US economy experiences. If inflation is demand-led...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Back On The Road Again

    In the last couple of weeks Louis has been on the road, meeting clients face-to-face for the first time in 18 months. In this report, he distills some of the spirit of those conversations, addressing hot button topics from the sharp run-up in energy and commodity prices, through China’s economic slowdown, to the increase in tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

    8
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    No Respite For Real Estate

    Troubled developer China Evergrande Group made an interest payment on a US dollar bond just before the 30-day grace period expired on October 23, narrowly avoiding a default. However, this does not mean the wave of developer defaults is over, or that the freeze in demand for developer debt has thawed.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Japan’s Poorly Defined New Dawn

    Having recorded the first rise in headline consumer prices for 18 months, Japan is once again an inflationary economy. This may be welcome news for new prime minister Fumio Kishida, who claims to have a bold new agenda to break Japan out of its funk. Alas, Kishida’s agenda looks half-baked and could spur a retreat from Japanese risk assets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: What To Expect As The Fed Tapers

    The Federal Reserve is planning to wind down its creation of artificial savings just as the US net national savings rate has ticked lower and the Treasury is preparing to rebuild its depleted cash balances. Will and KX set out what these all these shifts—as well as rising inflation, tightening labor markets and deteriorating housing affordability—mean for US stock and bond markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe’s Wage-Price Nexus

    Data released on Wednesday showed that Germany’s producer price inflation accelerated to 14.2% year-on-year in September. That’s not only faster than consensus expectations of 12.8%, it’s the fastest since November 1974 in the immediate aftermath of the oil price shock.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Typhoon Season For Hong Kong

    Hong Kong is sticking to its zero-Covid policies, complete with a travel ban on outsiders and Draconian quarantine rules for returning residents, even as Singapore tentatively reopens to international arrivals. In this video interview, Vincent explains what is driving Hong Kong’s uncompromising stance on Covid. He assesses whether it will damage the city’s standing as a regional financial center, and whether doubts over the status of China...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Decision Rule For Chinese Equities

    For investors trying to buy the dip in Chinese equities, there is one reliable indicator—the government’s macroeconomic policy, as proxied by private-sector credit growth. In this report, Thomas outlines a robust decision rule for asset allocators: when credit growth is accelerating, buy equities; when it’s decelerating, buy government bonds.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Ghost Trains And The Chinese Debt Mountain

    Fears about a debt crisis erupting in the world’s most financially vulnerable nations have receded, but there is still uncertainty over how developing economies will manage their debt repayments. The biggest lender to low- and middle-income countries is China, and a new study estimates that debt owed to China has been severely underreported.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Drawing Conclusions From A Sample Size Of One

    We are all the fruits of our own experiences, which create biases to project our experiences into the future. Such personal experience can even be transformed into iron rules. Today, the narrative is that Federal Reserve tapering results in lower bond yields. Louis challenges this view, pointing out that as the Fed has started talk of tapering, yields have been rising.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Solving The Power Crisis

    To solve China’s power shortages, planners are both liberalizing electricity prices and browbeating mines to produce more coal. In this report, Rosealea explains that while getting through the crisis will require a rebound in coal-fired power, energy price liberalization should support China’s environmental goals in the long run.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The US Production Problem

    US manufacturing production data for September released on Monday was a double disappointment. The -0.7% month-on-month decline, down from growth of 0.2% in August, not only fell short of consensus expectations for 0.1% growth. It also dampened hopes that manufacturing is set to emerge as a significant driver of US economic growth. This raises questions over the future strength of the US expansion.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Source Of Discoordination And Inflation

    Today, the global economy lacks its usual order. Each month brings a new shortage that is disrupting supply chains and driving up prices. In short, the right goods are not being delivered at the right time and place. Will examines the drivers of spacial and temporal "discoordination" to determine how investors should allocate assets in this challenging environment.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Troubling Signal In US Savings

    In recent months, the US net national savings rate—the share of income unconsumed—has ticked lower. It may seem a small concern as the Federal Reserve prepares to taper, but if the rate of genuine savings continues to fall over coming quarters, it will be a danger signal both for asset markets and for US economic growth.

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Steady Slowdown

    Chinese economic growth continued to slow in 3Q21 thanks to ongoing supply constraints and demand weakness. In this Quick Take, the Dragonomics team explains that while China’s poor September figures reflect supply-side constraints, of greater concern is the weakening demand side due to a deepening property downturn.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Still Behind The Curve

    On Thursday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced it would target a modest nominal effective exchange rate appreciation of the Singapore dollar in order to contain domestic inflation. On the same day, the governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines, or BSP, said there “is no more need” for the central bank to continue financing government fiscal policy.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: China’s Policy Trajectory

    China’s leaders capitalized on the country’s post-Covid boom by pursuing reforms that further Xi Jinping’s political goals. This has resulted in hits to both economic growth and financial markets. Andrew unpicks these developments and explains why he thinks no overt U-turn in the broad policy approach is likely, but addressed possible regulatory softening moves.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Building The Bubble-O-Meter

    Charles is somewhat tired of reading general descriptions of US equities being in a bubble, with little serious empirical backing to support the assertion. In this piece, he sets out to build an objective tool to answer the bubble, or not, question. Spoiler alert: he thinks investors would do well to re-assess their hedges.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Persistent Inflation Takes Over

    Some may hope that supply bottlenecks quickly ease and the price-hike scare of 2021 soon fades, but that is not the story of the latest US inflation reading. In short, US inflation is now persistent and the Federal Reserve will soon have to address this reality head-on.

    10
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Long Winter For Small Business

    China’s small businesses are having a rough 2021: business conditions have stagnated or deteriorated since the recovery in late 2020. There’s been much debate on the causes of their struggles, but the biggest culprits are the ripple effects from the government’s zero-tolerance Covid policy and its tightening of credit and real-estate policies.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Four Quadrants For Emerging Markets

    Last week, Charles Gave updated his Four Quadrants view. Udith takes it a step further, combining the quadrants with another two-by-two framework by Michael Power of Ninety One to gleam insight into what the changing macroeconomic environment means for emerging markets, and who will be the winners and losers.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Musical Chairs At The Fed

    After the resignation of two regional Federal Reserve branch presidents over potential conflicts of interest, the knives are out in Washington for Jay Powell. In this video interview, Will assesses what personnel changes at the Fed may mean for the trajectory of US monetary policy and for the Fed’s role as US banking supervisor.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Energy And The Euro’s Exchange Rate

    It will come as news to no one that energy prices and exchange rates are intimately connected. Historically, over the last 20 years, the euro has tended to be positively correlated with the price of oil, while the broad US dollar exchange rate has tended to be inversely correlated. So, over the first half of 2008 as the price of oil surged to a record high, the euro hit its all-time high against the US dollar. And in 2014 as the oil price...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Sun King

    As the US and Europe pursue more serious green agendas, they are wondering if they can wrest back production of solar power from China. The answer: probably not. China is not just the low-cost producer, but also the technological leader. In this piece, Dan explains why the global deployment of solar energy will depend heavily on China.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    What's Next For Internet Platforms?

    With the results in for China’s antitrust investigation of food-delivery giant Meituan, Ernan writes that the direction of China’s antitrust policy is now becoming increasingly evident, with clear guidance from regulators reducing uncertainty. However, platform profits should continue dwindling as their business models are chipped at by regulators.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Labor And The Age Of Shortages

    The leader of the British Labour Party, Keir Starmer, missed a political trick at his party conference in late September when he failed to quote Labour’s late deputy leader, Aneurin Bevan, who told the party’s 1945 conference, “This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organizing genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time.”

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    London Seminar — September 2021

    In our recent London seminar, Thomas Gatley addressed China's changed business environment and Tom Miller unpicked US-China geopolitical tensions. Charles Gave and Anatole resumed their dialogue about the future of the world economy in their first in-person sparring session since the pandemic started.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Entente Discordiale

    As if a tight labor market, rising inflation and widespread fuel shortages weren’t enough to contend with, the United Kingdom is also seeing a sharp deterioration in its relations with the European Union, and France especially. Nick examines what worsening cross-Channel relations could mean for the economies of the UK and EU.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Temporary Respite

    Going into 4Q21, a worry for Will had been that asset prices faced the prospect of two tightening moves to US liquidity. Yet, with Congress now punting a debt-ceiling reckoning to December, this could, in turn, delay the Fed’s taper announcement to December, or even January. Thus, yesterday’s deal on Capitol Hill could allow temporary relief on the liquidity front.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, October 2021

    In Thursday's Global Investment Roundtable, Louis argued that shortages of everything from microchips to natural gas are structural in nature and augur a radical change in the investing environment. Anatole, in contrast, said that current supply disruptions are likely transitory and the inflation panic should pass relatively soon.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What, Me Worry?

    There is a growing drumbeat of commentary arguing that today’s shortages of everything from microchips to natural gas must end in an inflationary blowout and a return to the lascivious 1970s. Anatole thinks that today’s shortages are likely to correct relatively quickly, and for investors the coming period is more likely to resemble the 1950s.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Housing & Construction Review 2021

    China’s post-Covid property boom has unwound more rapidly than expected this year as the government’s tough policies drive developers into distress. In her annual chartbook, Rosealea explains the outlook for the rest of 2021 and 2022. Further declines in housing sales and construction will come, but policy adjustments can limit their magnitude.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Shifting Economic State

    Regular readers may be familiar Charles's my longest-serving analytical tool, the Four Quadrants framework. It aims to represent the four economic states that at different times can exist in a market economy. Through this prism, he examines current market conditions to figure out where in the quadrants we are, and where we're headed.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Price Of Policy

    Wherever you look, energy prices are shooting up, and shortages abound. The global economy, it seems, is in the grip of a full-blown energy crisis. Drill down, and it appears this is not one crisis, but many. The effects—worsening shortages and surging prices—are much the same in differentregions. But the immediate causes of the crunch seem to differ widely.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Fixing Italy

    The results of this weekend's municipal elections in Italy look to have buttressed Mario Draghi’s national unity government, which is half way through an ambitious overhaul of core institutions that have failed the country for decades. With 70% of Italians favoring Draghi’s initiative, and no general election due until mid-2023, the betting is that he gets to finish the job.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Crabwise ‘Recoupling’

    The Biden administration continues its crabwise efforts to craft a China strategy balancing national security and economic interests. The challenge is that Biden wants to maintain the basic stance established by Donald Trump—“strategic competition”—while satisfying a wider range of interest groups and setting more realistic policy targets.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: The Macro Risks Of Xi Jinping’s Agenda

    China’s leaders sought to use the country’s post-Covid boom to press ahead with reforms aimed at furthering Xi Jinping’s political goals. The resulting property slowdown, China Evergrande’s financial troubles and the flight out of internet stocks have hit both economic growth and financial markets. Despite this, no overt U-turn is likely.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Least Bad Energy Policy?

    Today, policymakers in western countries and China are facing similar problems, including growing disparities in wealth between those who own assets and those who do not, and worsening energy shortages. So will policymakers in western countries, and especially in Europe, who are facing similar shortages follow China and impose energy rationing?

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Coming UK Recession

    Thursday saw UK GDP growth for 2Q21 revised up to a perky 5.5% from a previous 4.8%. Yet all is not well in shortage-plagued Britain. While other economies facesupply chain disruption and energy shortages, the “just in time” UK economy looks to be facing a perfect inflationary storm that could deliver a recession in 2022.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Having It Both Ways In Emerging Markets

    The question for emerging market policymakers is: do they follow the Federal Reserve and tighten monetary policy in anticipation of "taper tantrum II"? Or do they, instead, try and stimulate their weakened economies by keeping money cheap and hope this does not prompt a disorderly exit of capital?

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Chinese Power Problem

    The power shortages rippling across China threaten to weigh on economic growth that was already slowing more than previously expected. Manufacturing firms in provinces from Ningxia to Henan are being told they can only have limited electricity supply, and many are having to cut production in response. This combination of supply- and demand-side problems is clearly negative for growth, but if the current sharp slowdown in heavy industry continues...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Cauterizing Evergrande

    Chinese property developer Evergrande announced that it will sell a portion of its minority stake in Shenjing Bank to a local state-owned enterprise in Liaoning province. In this Quick Take, Xiaoxi explains that while the deal wont save the firm, it exemplifies how local officials can work to soften the impact of Evergrande’s unwinding.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Avoiding Sequels

    Like many other parents, Louis has seen his share of kids' movie sequels, which unfortunately fall much too short of the of the first installment. This reminds him of two “curve-balls” that investors are now having to digest. The first is the China Evergrande debt debacle. The second is the looming shortage of energy across most of the industrialized world.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Q&A: China’s Investibility

    In the last few weeks, as China Evergrande’s financial troubles have deepened, Louis and Gavekal’s China team have fielded a spate of questions from clients about China’s investibility. In this paper, Louis offers a distillation of these conversations, presented in a question-and-answer format.

    13
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    Gavekal Research

    The German Interregnum

    Germany is headed for a three-party coalition for the first time since Konrad Adenauer’s governments of the 1950s. Multiple options remain on the table but a center-left figure should eventually be sworn in as chancellor. The issue is that material differences over fiscal policy mean that coalition talks could drag out well into 2022. How these divisive issues are bridged will determine the way that Germany and Europe react to growing economic...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Divergence In Central Banking

    A material difference has opened up in both the actions and signaling of global central banks, as they exit from pandemic-era monetary policy settings. On the hawkish side is the likes of the Federal Reserve and on the dovish side the European Central Bank and a raft of Asian policymakers. The question is who could be on the verge of making a policy mistake.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Developers Need Loans

    How much financial stress can China’s developers take? Thanks to strict financial regulation and slowing sales, every channel of financing for developers is now tightening simultaneously. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains how this puts pressure on policymakers to ease those financing restrictions, and why bank lending is the most likely beneficiary.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Times They Are A-Changin’

    Despite widespread fears that the troubles of property giant Evergrande will cause China's "Lehman moment", the renminbi's exchange rate against the US dollar has barely blinked, while Chinese government bonds continue their strong outperformance. Louis examines the facts and outlines the likely consequences that matter for investors.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Completing The Bond Connection

    The southbound channel of the Bond Connect program linking mainland China and Hong Kong debt markets started trading on Friday. In this Quick Take, Wei explains that although outflows are unlikely to be large in the early stages, the program should eventually carry major flows and help grow Hong Kong’s offshore bond market.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    After The German Election

    The results of this Sunday’s German federal election are unlikely to generate any shocks when markets reopen on Monday. Nonetheless, the precise colors of the coalition that eventually emerges will matter a great deal to investors. Cedric reviews the possible coalition compositions and outlines what they will mean for fiscal policy, European integration and China.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: European Course Correction, Or Steady On Ahead?

    Germans will soon go to the polls, while the European Central Bank has denied media reports that it is considering raising interest rates early. In other words, there is no shortage of news and events that may make markets jittery. In this webinar our Europe team attempt to make sense of it all and plot Europe’s likely fiscal and monetary course.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Volatility In A Changed Economy

    It’s been a chastening, if not decisive, month for investors in US equities. The S&P 500 index has recovered ground, but still endured a -4% fall from its September 2 peak. On a historic basis, the drawdown was small but we have not seen many of them in the last 18 months. Bulls hope that having weathered worries about China and the Federal Reserve’s asset purchase taper, the ground has been set for US equities to hit new highs. My aim today...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Don’t Call It A Tech Crackdown

    China’s regulatory onslaught against companies like Ant Group, Didi Chuxing and Tencent has been widely referred to as a “tech crackdown.” In this piece, Dan argues that the government’s actions are less a sign that it has turned against tech than they are a rejection of the idea that the consumer internet is the peak of technological achievement.

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Webinar: The Evergrande Crisis

    Markets have reacted violently to China Evergrande Group starting to default on US$300bn of obligations. The worry is that a disorderly failure causes a systemic crisis that dents Chinese growth and upends other emerging markets. Our team of analysts think such a chaotic denouement is unlikely and a managed solution remains the most likely outcome. In this webinar, they explain their thinking.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Liquidity And Shortages

    It is possible the US equity market was simply confused on Wednesday, when it rallied after the Federal Open Markets Committee unfurled its communiqué. Or perhaps it was just oversold. Either way, the Federal Reserve revealed itself to be as hawkish as could have been expected. Asset purchases will be tapered “soon” and likely occur at a faster pace than last time around. Interest rates could be hiked next year and the Treasury will soon become...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Asia’s Diverging Covid Strategies

    Asian economies are often lumped into the collective bucket of following “zero-Covid” elimination strategies. That has certainly been the case in most of the region’s big economies. However, there is increasingly an impetus by the better-vaccinated countries to fully reopen. Vincent surveys the landscape and draws some conclusions regarding preferred currency plays.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Anglosphere Doubles Down

    The “Aukus” security partnership sparked a diplomatic explosion when it was unveiled by Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States last week. As the smoke clears, America’s strategy to counter China is becoming clear. But the diplomatic fallout from Aukus also reflects a new reality. How does Europe fit into this brave new world, and how will China respond?

    10
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Reversal In Iron Ore

    Over the past two months, iron ore prices have tumbled as China’s property market slows and local authorities expand restrictions on steel output. In this report, Rosealea explains why falling steel demand should cause prices to continue their decline, eventually settling at around levels of US$70-80/ton.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Evergrande’s International Risks

    The troubles of debt-laden Chinese property developer Evergrande are no Lehman moment, but they do pose a significant risk of international contagion across emerging markets, which investors would be rash to ignore.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Investing In Today’s Inflationary Environment

    Investing in a topsy-turvy macro environment can feel like a crapshoot. One way to seek order among chaos is to draw lessons from economic history. Louis examines the underlying causes of financial crises since the late 1990s and applies the lessons to consider the way in which the global economy and markets emerge from the pandemic.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    No Escape From The Evergrande Effect

    Fears about the potential systemic risks posed by troubled property developer Evergrande reverberated through global financial markets on Monday. Unless China’s regulators seriously mismanage the situation, a systemic crisis in the country’s financial sector is not on the cards. Nevertheless, lenders will not be able to escape the costs.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Out Of The Congressional Quagmire

    Eight months after Joe Biden’s inauguration, the US president’s economic agenda remains bogged down, with two flagship spending bills stuck in Congress amid infighting among Biden’s fellow Democrats. In the coming weeks, however, there is a good chance of a compromise that will see one of the two cleared through the House of Representatives.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Going Electric In The Land Of The F-150

    The US government and the auto industry are now pulling in the same direction of decarbonizing transportation. In this piece, Yanmei asks if the emerging government-industry alliance can accelerate vehicle electrification, where the US has fallen behind Europe and China, and whether they can catch up to Tesla and foreign competitors.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Squeaky Bum Time For The US Economy

    As Covid cases rise in the US, most indicators point to a slowing economy. After August’s payrolls came in weak, activity measures and nowcasting readings have softened, while conditions in leading sectors like housing and autos have worsened. With the Citi US economic surprise index having fallen to -44.6 from close to zero a month ago, forecasters have been caught off guard by the slowdown. As Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Questions Arise As US Growth Slows

    As renewed Covid outbreaks curtail activity and the labor market starts to normalize, the US economy is no longer generating big upside growth surprises. Will the Federal Reserve defer its retreat from super-easy monetary policy, and what will come of the Biden administration's fiscal strategy?

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe’s Energy Headwinds

    The United Kingdom got a sharp lesson in the perils of energy dependence on Wednesday. A fire shut down its imports of electricity—mostly nuclear-generated—from France, pushing domestic natural gas prices up by as much as 20% in intraday trading. The fire may keep as much as a third of the UK’s capacity to import power from France closed through the winter months. Given that the UK has the capacity to import 3MW from France and on average...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Cryptos, NFTs And CyberPunks

    As investors have flipped between euphoria and dejection over the future of crypto-currencies and related digital assets, prices have had a crazy ride. In this video Will outlines a framework for thinking about valuations. Even if digital art sold as NFTs sticks around, the basic economics of their use case means they probably won't be great stores of value.

    0
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    No Profits From Payments

    Online payments were one of the first and most prominent victims of China’s regulatory onslaught against internet platforms. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains how a combination of both tighter oversight and the pending launch of the digital renminbi is limiting platforms’ ability to monetize their payments businesses.

    0
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    ‘Transitory’ Inflation And Government Intervention

    Tuesday’s US CPI release shed little light on the “transitory versus persistent” inflation debate. Airfares and hotel rates weakened on the delta outbreak. And surprisingly, rents remained muted, while used car prices rolled over even as new car prices surged. Still, US CPI gained 5.3% YoY, while core CPI rose 4% YoY. By the standards of recent decades, these are big numbers.

    5
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    The Window Is Closing For Structural Reform

    China’s dismal August economic figures suggest that the “window of opportunity” identified by the Politburo in April, when officials hoped to take advantage of China’s post-Covid rebound to focus on longer-term structural priorities, is now closing. However, it is still too early to expect policymakers to shift gears into a supportive stance.

    0
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    Winners And Losers In India’s Dying Democracy

    As India’s economy has weakened, so too have its democratic foundations. Since Narendra Modi’s reelection victory in 2019, “the world’s largest democracy” has flirted with despotism. State institutions have been co-opted, freedoms repressed and minorities attacked. But a handful of listed companies—especially those run by tycoons with personal ties to Modi—are thriving.

    15
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    A Mile In MbS’s Shoes

    Steve Martin once said “before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes”. In this piece Louis takes a stroll in Mohammed bin Salman’s shoes to see what issues Saudi Arabia has faced recently, and outlines four scenarios that affect energy prices and geopolitics.

    0
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    The High Cost Of Free Money, Revisited

    It’s now more than 10 years since Charles published a seminal paper titled The High Cost Of Free Money, in which he argued that free-market capitalism could not function properly without a free-market-determined cost of capital. Today it’s clear that capital markets, at least, can continue to operate, but Charles argues this has created very little new wealth.

    6
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    Internet Platforms Versus Policy Darlings

    China’s offshore internet platform stocks saw fresh falls in Asia on Monday morning after reports that the Chinese authorities will break up Ant Group’s Alipay business. In recent weeks, some investors have been advocating a rotation to “safer” segments of China’s tech sector, such as hardware companies favored by policymakers. But Thomas writes, these carry risks of their own.

    0
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    Video: The Economics Of Germany's Election

    Ahead of Germany’s election in a couple of weeks, the center-left Social Democratic Party has recently climbed up the polls to eclipse the previously dominant Christian Democratic Union. If the polling is right, the SPD is likely to form a coalition government with Germany’s smaller parties. Nick breaks out the tea leaves to see what a political shift is likely to mean.

    0
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    Webinar: Understanding China's Regulatory Crackdown

    Even by China’s high standards, 2021 has seen an extraordinary amount of government intervention in the economy, as top leader Xi Jinping moves aggressively to implement his vision of national greatness. In this webinar our China team assess the impact on the economy and markets, and discuss what could cause this crackdown to pause or reverse.

    0
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    A British Fix To Housing

    For decades, urban England has had an under-supplied and over-bought housing market. UK governments of all political stripes have tried and failed to unblock building pipelines. Britain is hardly alone in having seen home prices rocket due to pandemic effects, but there was a grim inevitability to UK home prices rising 13% in the last year. Yet, at the same juncture, there is evidence that a mixture of decent policymaking and smart market...

    2
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    The Next Level Of Activist Government

    Even by China’s high standards, 2021 has seen an extraordinary level of active government intervention in the economy. With foreign investors spooked and growth slowing, how much longer can it go on? In this chartbook, Andrew takes stock of the many aspects of the current policy activism and assesses the prospects for a course correction.

    0
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    India Macro Update: A Shaky Recovery

    India is enduring a shaky, stop-start recovery. Headline GDP growth in the April-June quarter came in at a stellar 20%, but base effects are distorting the true picture. The biggest risk for investors, argue Udith and Tom, is an uncertain monetary environment. As the Fed readies to taper its asset purchases, both exports and the bond market are vulnerable to disruption.

    0
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    The Economy And Volatility

    US equities have gone almost 18 months without a double-digit drawdown. Such calm is likely to trouble devotees of Hyman Minsky, who showed that excessively long periods of market stability breeds countervailing episodes of violent instability. The question is what will cause the transition to a more volatile market, or dare I say it, what could trigger a “Minsky moment”?

    2
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    Covid, Markets And What Happens Next

    Over the last 18 months, Covid developments have been a key driver of financial market performance. Louis contends that this period can be split into four distinct phases. In this piece, he asks whether we are now entering a fifth phase. To do this he weighs up both encouraging and concerning developments within the pandemic and economic policy choices that flow from them.

    6
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    What Kind Of Easing Cycle?

    It’s been clear for a couple of months now that China has begun a monetary easing cycle. What has been less clear is what kind of easing cycle will happen under the central bank’s new “cross-cyclical” policy framework. The PBOC’s guidance indicates it could start cutting rates this year, but will try to keep credit growth next year roughly flat.

    5
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    The Split In Emerging Markets

    Animals can apparently sense impending storms and so take evasive action. Low-flying birds, sneezing cats, croaking frogs, huddled sheep and sedentary cows are all said to indicate the onset of heavy rain. In global finance, emerging markets are most exposed to sudden climatic shifts and have learned the hard way that it is unwise to be exposed when a tempest strikes. The issue today is the Federal Reserve’s well-telegraphed intention to dial...

    4
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    Bottlenecks And Corporate Bond Yields

    It seems that not all parts of the US economy are created equal. As the Delta variant outbreak causes US Covid cases to soar, the service sector is taking a hit. In contrast, the less-exposed manufacturing sector saw job growth in August. The question for investors is how these somewhat conflicting forces impact different asset classes.

    0
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    How Markets Multiply Subsidies

    China’s government has vast ambitions for its industrial policy, yet it spends surprisingly little on subsidies and tax breaks. Instead, it relies on domestic capital markets for funding. In this piece, Thomas explains how markets can multiply those initial subsidies into much larger spending in the government’s favored industrial sectors.

    2
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    Europe’s Taper Decision

    To taper, or not to taper is the question for the European Central Bank at Thursday’s policymaking meeting. The market seems to think that monthly bond purchases will soon be lowered by about €20bn to €80bn, as shown by 10-year German bund yields rising 14bp in the last two weeks. Economic output in the eurozone is back near pre-pandemic levels and consumer price inflation in August spiked to 3%. There have even been putative sightings of the...

    2
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    Video: The Implications Of Afghanistan

    In the same week that the US military completed its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden outlined a more contained doctrine for US foreign policy. In this video interview, Yanmei argues against a declinist view of the Kabul dash for the exit, contending that the longer-term impact may be a much-needed reset of the American imperial project.

    0
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    The Most Worrying Shortage

    The world’s most traded commodity, semiconductors, is running scarce, the price of the second-most important commodity, oil, is grinding higher, and the cost of moving things around the world is soaring. All this would be worrying enough, but ask any businessperson in North America or Europe about their biggest constraint, and the answer is likely to be staffing.

    9
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    How To Create A High-Yield Bond Market

    China’s central bank has now endorsed the creation of a domestic high-yield bond market in an attempt to reverse the increasing exclusion of private-sector borrowers from existing debt markets. In this piece, Xiaoxi outlines how financial regulators are trying to increase both the supply of and demand for high-yield corporate bonds.

    2
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    The Problem Lurking In Malaysia

    Until a few weeks ago, Malaysia had not had a proper prime minister since the eve of the pandemic. The new incumbent emerged out of a messy negotiation and oversees a weak coalition that could easily fracture. For investors, the worry is a steady deterioration of Malaysia’s fiscal fundamentals in a trend that is being seen across non-China emerging Asia.

    0
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    Earnings Top Out

    China’s non-financial listed companies reported strong sales, profit and capital expenditure growth for Q2. Thomas explains why listed earnings should decelerate into Q3 as the housing cycle turns down and export demand moderates. High retained earnings and low funding costs will continue to support capex, but appetite is likely to weaken.

    0
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    The Coming Slowdown In Europe’s New Orders

    European equities have had a stunning 10 months, returning 46% since the beginning of November 2020 and outperforming even the MSCI US. This performance has been driven by expectations of strong earnings growth— supported by buoyant demand and full order books. Peering ahead, however, there are good reasons to look for the pace of new orders to slow.

    0
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    Strategy Monthly: How To Hedge Tighter Liquidity

    So far, markets have not panicked over the prospect of the Federal Reserve tapering its asset purchases. But when it comes, the taper will materially tighten global liquidity conditions. In this calm before the storm, investors running global portfolios should focus on their hedges.

    0
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    Flows Favor A Weaker Renminbi

    The renminbi has been strong in 2021, with the central bank largely tolerating a steady march higher in the trade-weighted CFETS index. But this trend will turn in coming months, as inflows of foreign currency on both the current and capital accounts decline. With the PBOC easing as the Fed prepares to taper, the renminbi will weaken modestly.

    0
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    The Long Shadow Of Canada’s Election

    Canada’s federal elections rarely make headlines. This may be because whoever wins, the outcome is usually much the same. However, Canada’s September 20 election may cast a shadow that falls beyond the country’s borders. This is because, to a large extent, the election will be a referendum on Covid policies.

    7
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    Who Is Copying Who?

    When China joined the WTO in 2001, western governments hoped that closer economic integration would pull China towards a more democratic system of governance. Yet two decades on, that hasn’t happened. In fact, argues Louis, recent years have seen governments in the West increasingly infringe on individual liberties for the benefit of the common good.

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