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    Gavekal Research

    Is It Gold’s Turn To Shine?

    Over the last year, the bubbles have just rolled on from one exciting asset to the next, with investors wondering which will follow. In this note, Louis explains why he thinks gold may be the next one.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Renewed Covid Changes Asia’s Macro Drivers

    Many Asian countries face a worsening Covid outbreak, even as the region’s mostly commodity-importing economies face sharply rising prices for energy and raw materials. Asia did go into this crisis with significant policy headroom, so it retains room for action but as Udith and Vincent discuss in this video interview that is now narrowing.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Inflation Panic Is Another Buying Opportunity

    In recent days, Gavekal writers have outlined reasons to worry about the rise in US inflation. Anatole agrees with them that inflation will likely be higher in the next few years than in the previous decade, but he does not think that investors should worry about this. He says that the current ruction in markets is probably presenting investors with a “buy the dip” opportunity.

    19
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    Gavekal Research

    Not So Much Inflation, More Fiscal Dominance

    So far, the great inflation debate has centered on the United States. Europe has barely figured. That’s not surprising; although inflation and bond yields are both ticking higher in the eurozone, the levels are modest and the increases moderate compared with those in the US. Nevertheless, there is a debate in Europe concerning the European Central Bank’s policy priorities.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Q&A On The Inflation/Deflation Debate

    Last week Louis argued that each time inflation looked set to rear its head over the last 35 years, the global economy encountered a deflationary event. Yet today it’s not clear where a countervailing deflationary hit might come from. His report triggered some interesting back-and-forth with clients, and in this piece he replies to the key points raised.

    15
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    Gavekal Research

    The Data Against The Fed Stacks Up

    The US Federal Reserve prides itself on being “data dependent.” If it is truly data dependent, the Fed is going to find it increasingly difficult to justify its extremely easy monetary policy stance. The latest of the data points to stack up against it are professional forecasters’ inflation expectations, which the Fed has often lent weight to in the past. For the last two years, these have been subdued. Now—the last piece of the inflation...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Talking The Talk On Commodity Prices

    Domestic futures prices for iron ore, steel rebar and coal fell sharply last week after China’s government signaled concern about rising commodities prices. In this Quick Take, Rosealea and Wei explain that policymakers are counting on a mix of tougher demand and softening demand to cool down, if not reverse, the commodities spike.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Heading For The Med

    “Sell in May and go away,” has long been a popular adage in Europe, a continent renowned for its predilection for long summer holidays by the Mediterranean. Last year, however, “sell in May” would have proved disastrous as an investment strategy. This year too investors should treat the old saw with circumspection.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Semiconductor Endgame

    It is increasingly clear that shortages of semiconductors are both more widespread and intractable than first thought. In the near term, the fear is of cascading disruption along the Asian electronics value chain. In the medium term, however, it is possible that massive supply responses create a glut of chips that causes prices to eventually crater.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Hardly Transitory, But Not A Spiral

    After headline and core CPI readings hit multi-year highs for April, investors have inflation on their minds. The rise in US bond yields and continued fall in equities reflects fears that the Federal Reserve is behind the curve, and could be about to slam on the monetary brakes. My view is that these price pressures are far from transitory, but a spiral higher does not beckon.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    The Future Of Chips Is Overcapacity

    Semiconductors are tough to come by these days, and the shortage will be deep and long-lasting. Yet chips are about to turn into more of a commoditized product, just as companies make huge investments in production capacity and governments spend big to achieve self-sufficiency on national security grounds. This will lead to permanent excess capacity.

    7
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Population Turning Point Gets Closer

    China’s 2020 census has confirmed that the country’s population could peak around 2025, rather than the consensus forecast of around 2030. Ernan writes that inconsistencies in the data suggest the census figures are overstated; indeed, China’s population may already have peaked in the last year, a decade ahead of schedule.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Chill In EU-China Relations

    Hailed as a breakthrough when it was struck back in December, the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement On Investment is in trouble, with little chance the deal will be ratified in the European Parliament amid a deep deterioration in bilateral relations. Nick examines what the political frost means for the earnings of European companies operating in China.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Where Will The Next Deflationary Shock Come From?

    The 1986 oil price crash, to an extent, fired the starting gun on 30 years of global deflation. As commodity prices collapsed, so did the Soviet Union, giving the West a deflationary peace dividend. By the early 1990s, Japan’s real estate and equity market busts threatened its banks. The rollout of the North American Free Trade Area and the 1995 “tequila crisis” helped make Mexico a competitive manufacturing hub. Soon after, the 1997-98 Asian...

    11
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    Gavekal Research

    Ricardian Growth Is Fragile, Schumpeterian Growth Is Anti-Fragile

    Capitalism works well when activity is undertaken using David Ricardo’s law of comparative advantage and Joseph Schumpeter’s process of creative destruction. Charles argues that an era of Ricardian growth for many countries and industries is running out of road and the drivers of Schumpeterian economic transformation are shifting.

    10
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    Gavekal Research

    Playing The Inflation Rotation

    It seems wherever you look today, there are inflation signals. If the Federal Reserve is right, and the signaled burst of inflation proves transitory, then all will be well. The risk is that inflation proves stickier than policymakers expect. If so, Monday’s -2.6% sell-off in the Nasdaq is just a taste of a rotation that still has further to run.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Screws Tighten On SOE Debts

    China’s central authorities are ramping up their campaign to deal with hidden local-government debt, rolling out new rules and high-level political instructions. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains how this scrutiny will produce more defaults by state-backed firms, but also hopefully clarify the problematic legacy of implicit sovereign guarantees.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Post-Brexit Britain

    Some long-term investors do seem to be worried that a breakup of the United Kingdom could add another element of uncertainty to what I described last year as the “triple whammy” of Brexit, Covid and the British Treasury’s surprising flirtation with tax increases and premature fiscal tightening. It now appears, however, that only one of these concerns is really justified.

    5
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Coming Home For The Holidays

    The number of tourists over China’s five-day Labor Day holiday recovered to 3.2% above 2019 levels, according to the Ministry of Culture & Tourism, although tourism revenue was still 23% below 2019. In this Quick Take, Ernan outlines explains what renewed confidence in domestic travel means for China’s services recovery.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Global Pivot To The Indo-Pacific

    The Indo-Pacific is at the heart of global geopolitics today. The US, UK, and European Union are all shifting their attention east. Tom argues that the new treatment of the Indian and Pacific Oceans as a single, connected space reflects a key shift in managing China’s regional power. The impact will be felt in both strategic and economic terms.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India Is Running Out Of Road

    After Mumbai and Delhi, Bengaluru is the latest big Indian city to face a second wave of Covid infections. India’s underfunded health system is collapsing, as we feared it could a year ago. Yet markets are shrugging off the crisis: equities are flat, the rupee resilient. Tom and Udith investigate whether this disconnect is likely to persist.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Economic Impact Of India's Second Wave

    If India's latest Covid wave peaks in the next few weeks, economic catastrophe can be avoided. However, India does not have much policy space in which to operate, so the counter scenario of new and more virile mutations driving a worsening outbreak does mean that hitherto stoic local investors could yet throw in the towel on Indian risk assets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, May 2021

    Joe Biden's enormous fiscal initiatives mark a potential sea change in the US government’s role in the economy. They may yet get watered down as the US president negotiates with more conservative members of his party, but tax and spend is clearly the new mantra in Washington DC. The question for investors is what this means for assets in the US and around the world.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The US Doesn’t Need A Wealth Tax

    Louis had feared that the US would follow France in imposing a wealth tax on its citizens. But it turns out it doesn't have to, as the US is now embracing a combination of economic policies that seem set to destroy the capital base of rich Americans. This will have implications for asset holders and the value of the US dollar.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Changing State Of US Liquidity

    When it comes to creating and distributing US money, there are three main players: the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury and commercial banks. Recent events call for a status update on the prospects for money flows from each, and what it all means for the bond market.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Fighting The Fed Over Wages

    Recent rollbacks of Covid restrictions in the US should spur consumer demand, adding to an inflationary brew. Most policymakers continue to claim such pricing pressure is “transitory”. Perhaps, but the employment cost index shows US wages having accelerated for the last two quarters and the balance of evidence points to this uptrend continuing.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Steel Price Squeeze Is Here To Stay

    China’s iron and steel prices have broken through their post-financial crisis highs, the result of strong domestic demand, constrained international supply and government plans to curb steel production. In this report, Rosealea explains why prices are likely to remain elevated but slowing demand growth should keep them from rising further.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: French-Language Webinar, May 2021

    As the US and Europe begin to emerge from the pandemic, Louis assesses the key relationships in global markets, Cedric asks whether Europe will have a summer this year and what the economic effects will be and Didier presents the “Yellow Jacket” multiplier, as he introduces a new asset allocation tool.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Biden's Tech War

    The US has changed generals in its tech war against China, but that has not brought a respite in the campaign. President Joe Biden is deploying many of the same sanctions used by the Trump administration, while also looking to invest in extending the US technological lead. In this piece, Dan surveys the state of play in the US-China tech war.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Japan’s Big Bets

    Yoshihide Suga’s stodgy record does not suggest he is in the mold of relative political mavericks, yet in recent days, he has taken some punchy policy decisions that signal he is not just a caretaker but has serious political ambitions. Global investors who overlooked Japan in recent years due to the lack of a compelling narrative may want to pay attention.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Broader Risk Of Semiconductor Shortages

    Today’s semiconductor supply constraints are structural in nature, and affect many industries, not just automobile production. In this piece, Vincent argues that if chip shortages start to cause cascading disruption along the Asian electronics value chain, the region's export engine may stall. In turn, that will cast doubt on the strength of Asian equities and currencies.

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: China’s Multi-Dimensional Tightening

    China’s economic policymakers are using the space afforded them by a rapid economic recovery from the pandemic to refocus on a longer-term effort to redirect resources for strategic and political purposes. The immediate effect is a multi-faceted tightening across many sectors. For investors, this effort may upend old uncertainties and create new risks.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Fighting Europe’s Headwinds

    Last Thursday, Nick Andrews and I argued that Europe’s economic recovery is set to defy dire predictions. The fly in the ointment, we argued, was a weakening in Europe’s hitherto robust manufacturing sector. Such concerns deepened on Friday, as more evidence emerged of slowing industrial activity. So does this headwind need to be taken more seriously?

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Outbreak

    A year ago, the world’s media were focusing on heaps of bad Covid news in the US and Europe. Unsurprisingly, global risk assets did not like it: equities collapsed, the WTI oil price fell into negative territory, and OECD government bond yields fell to new lows. Fast forward a year, and the reporting from India is even more apocalyptic, yet, markets are brushing off the bad news.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Biden Ups The Ante On Tax And Spend

    President Joe Biden has said that the US will make sweeping cuts to carbon dioxide emissions and impose tax hikes on the wealthy. For now, the US economy is recovering, but can this continue if risk takers pull in their horns as they will get less of the rewards?

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Meteoric Rise Of Mutual Funds

    The size of China’s equity mutual-fund industry has doubled over the past year, a sharp rise driven by policy shifts and strong performance. While fund performance and fundraising has suffered in 2021, Thomas argues that mutual funds can still help increase the role of institutional investors in China’s volatile, retail-dominated equity markets.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    How To Make The Rich Properly Rich

    On Monday Charles argued that abnormally low interest rates act to make the poor poorer and the rich (seemingly) richer. Armed with this conviction he worked with our quant team in Paris to look more closely at the impact of such a monetary policy on holders of equities, discovering a decision rule which enhances equity returns and protects against drawdowns.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    The Case Against TIPS, From An Inflation Worrier

    Jerome Powell made it clear on Wednesday that the Federal Reserve is not even ready to talk about tapering its asset purchases. Understandably, most questions from journalists ran something like: “Why so, given the strong economic data?”. When it comes to inflation, there is a similar disconnect between the Fed and the bond market, with big implications for investors.

    5
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Antitrust Net Widens

    China’s antitrust crackdown on its internet sector is just getting started. Earlier this month, regulators brought in 34 major internet platforms and made clear that abusive business practices will no longer be tolerated. In this report, Ernan explains why firms still focused on trying to outwit the system could suffer disproportionately.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Towards A Sustainable Boom?

    With a shoot-the-lights-out number universally expected when the US reports first quarter GDP data this week, Tan Kai Xian looks at the drivers propelling growth to determine whether US performance is sustainable, or just a flash in the pan. As a number of risks continue to loom large on the radar screen, in this video interview he assesses the implications of US growth for investors in risk assets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe Surprising On the Upside

    Europe may not yet have the pandemic in the rear-view mirror but infection rates in most countries are falling, vaccinations are surprising on the upside and a full opening of most services this summer seems likely. Since expectations for the eurozone remain constrained, there is a good chance that its yield curves soon steepen and the single currency strengthens.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Curing The Coal Addiction

    China’s reliance on coal is a major hurdle to its goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2060. The country is gradually improving its energy mix; however, despite these efforts, Rosealea argues that China’s appetite for coal and continued dependence on the energy-intensive construction complex mean that its green transition will be slow and painful.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Renter’s Housing Market?

    When GDP for 1Q21 is released on Thursday, the US economy will be shown to be booming. An exception to this cheery trend is the US residential property market, which, having led the recovery, now looks pretty anemic. The worry is that a pronounced housing downturn could even choke off the broader recovery.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Low Rates Are Socially Regressive

    Policymakers around the world believe that ultra-low rates are good for growth, and are therefore good for standards of living among the poorest in society. Charles has long argued this view is a fallacy. In this paper he demonstrates that under ultra-low interest rates, the poor get poorer in real terms. This has both political and investment implications.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Two EM Headwinds Intensify

    Emerging market investors face two worrying developments. First, there is the risk that India’s new wave of infections could be repeated in other developing countries struggling to vaccinate their populations. Second, there are concerns that the brightest spot in EMs—Asian electronics exports—is now jeopardized by the worsening shortage in semiconductors.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Rise Of Regulatory Risk In China

    Risk is alive and well in China even amid a record economic recovery. Antitrust authorities are turning their attention to the rest of China's internet platforms, financial regulators are taking a tougher line and Chinese equity markets are looking a bit wobbly. In yesterday's webinar, our panel of China analysts discussed the latest regulatory developments and their implications for markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Taxing Capital

    Next week Joe Biden will set out plans to double the rate of capital gains tax for Americans making over US$1mn a year. The president’s proposal is the latest element of his initiative to levy higher taxes, from one direction or another, on the elusive earnings of multinational corporations and wealthy individuals in order to help fund higher government spending. Whatever the political merits of Biden’s plan, his multi-pronged approach will be...

    13
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Macro Update: Calling The Peak

    China’s post-Covid recovery continues, but Q1 should be the peak of the cycle. The strength of the rebound has given policymakers confidence to focus on longer-term issues; the result is a multi-dimensional tightening of policy. In the latest edition of our regular chartbook, the Dragonomics team explains the outlook for the economy and markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Discontinuity Risk In A Bipolar World

    For the first time in generations, the world now has two economic poles—the US and China. And they are following diametrically opposed monetary and fiscal policies. US policy is as Keynesian as you can get, while China has read the book on Wicksell and is turning restrictive. This divergence is the single most important challenge investors face today.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: A Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate Is Coming

    With Joe Biden in the White House, international proposals for a global minimum corporate tax rate are back on the table. In this video interview, Yanmei Xie and Udith Sikand weigh the probability of agreement on a global tax rate, assess the degree of resistance, and look at who will really end up bearing the burden of higher effective corporate tax rates.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Covid’s Legacy Of Corporate Debt

    Covid-19 will leave a legacy of debt—corporate as well as sovereign. An increase in borrowing has raised fears: both of a wave of job-destroying corporate bankruptcies if government support is withdrawn, and of the creation of a legion of zombie companies if it is not. Cedric examines the situation in France, which accounted for half of the eurozone’s increase in corporate debt last year, and finds the true picture is less alarming than it first...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Trading The Vaccination S-Curve

    Vaccination programs around the world have gotten off the ground at widely varying speeds. But everywhere they tend to follow a similar S-curve trajectory. While most countries are still in the early stages of their vaccination programs, a very few are in their late stages, where the S-curves begin to flatten. Their experience provides an investible roadmap.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Quest For Semiconductor Sovereignty

    China is using the best-funded industrial policy in history to engineer greater self-reliance in semiconductors. Ambition and a big checkbook, however, do not guarantee success. In this DeepChina report, Dan argues that Chinese chip firms will increase their market share in some segments, but will not make it to the technological frontier.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    1994 All Over Again?

    Consider a flash back to 1994, when financial markets were mostly driven by what happened in the US, Europe and Japan. Europe was unable to tighten monetary policy while Japan was in a debt-driven deflationary bust. The US raised interest rates and sparked a seven-year bull market in the US dollar. Today, it is China which surprises everyone with a tightening.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Next Move In Bond Yields

    Where are China’s government bond yields headed next? Policy and economic fundamentals point downward, but local investors fear rising inflation and leverage could still push yields up. In this piece, Wei argues the risk of a spike in yields is fading, and that any upward move would in any case be a buying opportunity.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Doom Loop? What Doom Loop?

    Ahead of the European Central Bank’s meeting this Thursday, there has been the usual chatter about what the ECB can do to alleviate stresses in the eurozone’s financial markets. This is unsurprising, given that Covid infection rates remain stubbornly high in several of the bloc’s leading economies, and that peripheral spreads have widened in recent weeks, with the Italian 10-year spread over bunds increasing by some 10bp.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Giant Problem

    Having recorded 261,000 Covid infections on Sunday, India has emerged as the worst affected country in the pandemic. Efforts to contain the virus likely mean the IMF's growth forecast of 12.5% this fiscal year is too optimistic. The real economic worry would be India’s ability to escape from the structural slowdown that began before the arrival of the pandemic.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    This Summer’s Driving Season

    After four weeks of trading sideways around the US$60/bbl price point, the WTI crude oil price popped higher this week following a bigger-than-expected draw on US inventories. This lends fresh urgency to one of the more important near-term questions investors are facing: how busy will this year’s US summer driving season be?

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Two-Speed Recovery Continues

    Chinese GDP growth lost momentum in 1Q21 according to economic data released on Friday, with broad strength in the industrial sector offset by weakness in household consumption, particularly within services. In this Quick Take, the Dragonomics team dive into China’s Q1 economic figures and explain why they paint a picture of stability.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The UK Emerges, But To What?

    English consumers have this week embraced the end of lockdown and the reopening of non-essential services. Across Britain, a successful vaccination drive has raised hopes that drastically reduced Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations can be sustained as further restrictions are eased. In this video interview, Nick outlines what that is likely to mean for UK assets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Asset Allocation Amid Low Interest Rates

    Charles Gave likes to say he is a rules-based investor, and he’s never been short of ideas. In this webinar, Charles and Gavekal TrackMacro’s Didier Darcet presented their latest work on portfolio construction, including a tool to help fixed-income managers to get satisfactory returns despite punitively low yields.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Huarong Haircut

    In the last two weeks, the bonds of Huarong Asset Management have slumped -30% or more in price in the offshore market, as investors fear either a default or a vicious restructuring which will force them to take painful losses. Wei and Xiaoxi assess the fine political line that China’s authorities must walk to assess the likely extent of the eventual haircut.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia Goes Seriously Unconventional

    Asian governments reacted to the region’s late 1990s crisis by prioritizing export growth, financial stability and external resilience. The result has been two decades of orthodox monetary policy and muted public spending. This began to change with the pandemic’s onset and recent moves suggest a deeper embrace of irregular monetary policies.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    US Inflation Not Just A base Effect

    Even adjusting for base effects, US consumer price inflation is accelerating. This is not surprising, as expansionary factors like fast money supply growth and strong demand are driving up prices. In this context, it is also not surprising that real assets (equities, commodities, TIPS) have outpaced nominal assets (cash, nominal bonds). But how long-lasting will inflation’s rise prove to be, and when will the Federal Reserve start to normalize...

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    The Ant And The Grasshoppers

    In the last few days, Chinese policymakers have stepped up the campaign to rein in their domestic tech giants, slapping Alibaba with fines of US$2.75bn and forcing the restructuring of Alibaba spin-off Ant Financial. Their action is in stark contrast to the inaction of regulators in western countries. But this is hardly the only contrast between China and the west.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    A Case Study: US Long Bonds

    With recent moves at the long end of the US treasury curve causing consternation among investors everywhere, Charles dusts off his decision rules for US long bonds to see what they are telling us about the present state of the market and concludes that it is not yet time to lengthen portfolio duration.

    8
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Curbing Mortgage Enthusiasm

    China’s regulators are strengthening their curbs on the property market as its post-pandemic exuberance continues. In this piece, Xiaoxi and Rosealea explain the central bank’s latest moves to curb disguised mortgage lending and cap overall loan growth. The main effect of these controls will be to slow lending to households and cool housing prices.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Living In A Stock Picker’s Market

    When only one major factor affects equities, correlations rise. At such points, the name of the game is not to pick the best stocks, but to get the ebb and flow of that key factor right. At other times, multiple factors are in play and these affect different stocks differently; in such periods, picking winners is vital. For most of last year, the US market was macro-dominated as the Covid-induced economic collapse caused equity correlations to...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Procedural Shortcuts And Political Roadblocks

    For a president with a scant majority of one in the US Senate, Joe Biden has an extremely ambitious legislative agenda, starting with a US$2trn infrastructure spending and tax bill. Yanmei examines the procedural shortcuts and political roadblocks that may either smooth or obstruct Biden’s proposed legislation to assess how much of the program is actually likely to make it into US law.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, April 2021

    In the long years between the 2008-09 financial crash and the 2020 Covid crisis the US stock market massively outperformed equities in the rest of the world. In recent quarters, however, the US market has lost its edge. Yesterday, Louis, KX and Udith weighed the merits of ex-US equities versus US stocks in a post-pandemic world.

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    The Eurozone’s Sub-Surface Slack

    At first glance, with the unemployment rate down from a peak of 8.7% last September, it looks as if the degree of slack in the eurozone’s labor market may be small by historical standards. However, a look at the level of employment (including employees and self-employed) shows that employment is down by 3.1mn compared with the pre-pandemic baseline.

    0
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    Living With The Next Covid Wave

    Global markets are looking ahead to a post-pandemic world, but Covid-19 is still very much with us. Globally, new infection rates have risen sharply since late February, reversing their earlier decline. In the last few weeks, the US has experienced an alarming uptick in infections. The European Union is struggling to contain its latest Covid wave, which in several major countries compares with November’s for severity. And across the developing...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Fall And Rise Of Bond Inflows

    Foreign investors’ holdings of Chinese onshore bonds declined by RMB9bn in March, after rising RMB89.5bn in February. In this Quick Take, Wei explains how narrowing yield spreads and the decline of the renminbi against the dollar led to this sharp reversal, and what comes next for Chinese bond inflows.

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    The Taiwan Risk

    With the hardening of the US-China strategic rivalry and technology’s central role in that rivalry, the possibility of a war over Taiwan is one which must be considered. In this report, Arthur explains the importance of the island to both countries and concludes that while the risk of war remains low, it is likely to rise in the next several years.

    8
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    When Do We Begin To Worry About Cost Pressures?

    For the last 13 months or so, ever since the Covid pandemic started to grip, the broad US equity market has been driven above all by fears and hopes for top-line revenue growth. Last spring, as investors anticipated a collapse in revenues, the market collapsed. Policy support halted the slide, and over recent months, as investors have looked forward to the end of the pandemic and a rebound in revenues, the broad market has scaled new highs.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Digital Renminbi Steps Out

    The People’s Bank of China is getting closer to rolling out its digital currency, with ever-broader and more public trials of the technology. The focus has been mostly on domestic uses and security issues—but there is more to come. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains what the PBOC is doing to prepare the digital renminbi for use in international trade.

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    Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bond Wolf?

    For the past two months, financial analysts all over the world have been obsessed by two closely related questions: (i) How much further will US bond yields rise, and how fast? (ii) Will rising bond yields kill the bull markets in global equities and other risk assets?

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Difficult Decoupling For Australian Iron Ore

    Chinese iron ore imports grew 9.5% in 2020 to 1.17bn tons despite rising tensions with Australia, China’s largest supplier. Top leaders are calling for greater supply-chain security and reduced dependence on Australian materials, but Rosealea explains that this is easier said than done given China’s immense appetite for the commodity.

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    Webinar: The Macro And Market Implications Of Europe’s Pandemic Response Shambles

    As the European Union’s vaccination program stumbles from one misstep to another, investors are being forced to put back their expectations for European economic recovery, while a procurement scandal in Germany raises the probability that the pandemic will have a long-term effect on the EU’s political landscape. Anatole, Cedric and Nick examined the near-term market impact and long-term economic policy implications.

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    Strategy Monthly: The Case For Ex-US Equities

    The US trade deficit cycle suggests the world is heading towards a protracted period of US dollar depreciation. With valuations outside the US relatively attractive, and deglobalization meaning ex-US equities will offer greater diversification benefits in future, investors should consider increasing their exposure to ex-US equities.

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    The Costs Of Biden’s Spending Plan

    On Wednesday, Joe Biden unveiled an ambitious US$2trn program of public infrastructure investment, to be funded by corporate tax hikes. In a nutshell, the plan is a proposal to transfer wealth from the broad US market to sectors favored by the government. The sectors that benefit from this largesse stand to enjoy a multi-year boom, with the cost to be borne by the rest of the market. However, the extent of this cost should not be exaggerated....

    2
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    Abundance And Shortages

    Over decades, investors have gotten used to living in a world of plenty, in which capital, labor, commodities and knowledge have all been in abundant supply. Today, however, while the world remains awash with cheap capital, there are signs that the supplies of labor, commodities and—most ominously of all—knowledge may be facing tightening constraints. In this paper, Louis asks whether, after years of abundance, the world may be facing a...

    2
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    What To Do About Capital Inflows

    The surge of foreign interest in China’s bond market has created a novel economic problem for its policymakers: managing sizable inflows of portfolio capital which are pushing up its currency. In this piece, Wei explains how China has tried to encourage capital outflows to balance those inflows, and why that is becoming less necessary.

    4
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    Video: Unpacking The NFT Hype

    What’s a “non-fungible token”? Why would anyone pay millions of dollars for one? And what do they have to do with blockchains? In this video interview, Will unpacks the latest craze to explain what buying an NFT actually gets you, and considers whether this is a useful new technology or yet another case of blockchain hype.

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    Who Will Buy India Now?

    On Tuesday, the US dollar index hit a five-month high and treasury yields maintained their relentless march higher. On the same day, the Indian rupee—this year’s best performing emerging market currency—plunged to a one-month low. A mix of tighter financial conditions and a worsening Covid-19 situation has investors reassessing the surprising notion of India as an EM haven. They are right to do so, for the macro tailwinds driving the rupee’s...

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    Yield Differentials Matter—For Now

    As the first quarter draws to a close, the US dollar has confounded December’s bearish consensus expectations by generating a positive total return versus the euro of 3.8%. As Louis and Will and KX explained last week, in retrospect the US dollar’s performance over the last three months is not that surprising. The question now is: how long will these near-term factors persist?

    2
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    Like A Hell-Broth Boil And Bubble

    Last week began with a -15% fall in the Turkish lira in Asian trading on Monday morning. This week started with a -16% fall in the share price of Nomura in Asian trading on Monday morning. It would be easy to dismiss the two events as entirely unrelated. At first glance they have nothing in common, but in this piece Tom takes a closer look.

    4
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    Speeding Ahead On Vaccination

    China administered over 3mn doses of Covid-19 vaccines on Thursday, accelerating its vaccination drive from around 1mn doses per day in February and 2mn per day last week. In this Quick Take, Ernan explains why this acceleration is not enough to meet the country’s vaccination targets, as the government’s main hurdle is not production but logistics.

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    When Will Borders Reopen?

    Even as a new Covid wave sweeps across Europe, the European Union has gotten to work on a Digital Green Certificate to allow resumption of travel, within the bloc and beyond. Health passports that securely document vaccines and test results for travelers are key to opening up borders again. But as Tom explains, getting countries to agree on rules and standards will be a painful slog.

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    Rewind To Look Ahead

    There has hardly been a single piece of news in the last three months that could have been construed as euro-bullish. And yes, the euro has weakened. But given the newsflow, it is remarkable that the euro is not down a whole lot more. So, considering the newsflow and the 200bp spread between 10 year treasuries and bunds, why hasn’t the US dollar rallied more?

    2
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    Webinar: The Future Of The Great US Rotation

    Much has happened in the US in the last eight weeks. More than 80mn Americans have been vaccinated against Covid, Congress has passed a stimulus bill worth 9% of GDP, and the Fed has confirmed its determination to remain among the most peaceable of inflation doves. In response, 10-year US treasury yields have leapt, and the rotation from growth stocks to value has grown more violent even as the broad equity market has ascended new heights. In...

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    Video: Pushing Less Hard On The String

    Concluding a long-awaited policy review, last week the Bank of Japan signaled that after almost a decade of pursuing titanic quantitative easing targets, it will be looking to make fewer asset purchases from now on. In this short video interview, Udith weighs the implications for Japan’s economy, its bond market, the yen, and Japanese equities.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    For Want Of A Chip

    China’s car market is starting to show the first effects of the global chip scarcity, but Thomas and Ernan write that the shortage might just be starting to bite. Supply could resume by Q3, but even a temporary drag on auto production will have material consequences for China’s industrial sector and the economy at large.

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    The Future’s Clear, The Future’s Green

    Europe’s Green parties used to be denigrated by their political opponents as “watermelons”: green environmentalists on the surface, red hard-leftists beneath. In Germany, this attempt to marginalize the Greens by associating them with the discredited revolutionary socialists of 50 years ago failed dismally. Having established their credibility in regional politics, notably in Germany’s third richest state of Baden-Württemberg, where they have...

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    Financial Manias: The Crypto Craze

    After scrutinizing the electric car craze last week, today Louis turns his gimlet eye on crypto-currencies. Yes, bitcoin now has a market capitalization of US$1trn, but what does it actually do? What value does it add to economies and societies? On close examination, Louis finds that the functions of bitcoin are relatively straightforward, if not particularly edifying. And more to the point, they are already attracting the sort of attention that...

    18
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    The Short And Long For The US Dollar

    After ending 2020 amid heavily negative sentiment, the US dollar has confounded near-term bears by edging higher year-to-date. The DXY dollar index has gained 2.75%, clawing back just over a third of its -7.5% decline in 2020. Perhaps this should not be too surprising. First, by the end of 2020, the US dollar was no longer blatantly overvalued. Second, the DXY found support at 90, its low of early 2018. Third, the near-term outlook for nominal...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Slowing Down Steel Production

    Policymakers have pledged to “ensure a year-on-year decline” in steel output this year to help China achieve peak carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030, but these curbs will not reduce the country’s underlying demand for steel. In this report, Rosealea analyzes the feasibility of this target and its consequences for the steel industry.

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    The Strengthening Case For Value

    In the last two weeks, US value stocks have given up some of the outperformance relative to growth that they racked up over the previous five. So has value’s spurt of outperformance now run its course, leaving the S&P 500 value index’s 11pp of outperformance relative to growth since the beginning of February as just a counter-trend blip against a backdrop of more than a decade’s underperformance? Or are the relative gains in value since the...

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    The Extent Of Turkish Contagion Risk

    After four and a half months in which Turkish central bank governor Naci Ağbal had raised policy rates and restored a measure of confidence in the Turkish lira, on Saturday Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan fired Agbal and replaced him with a loyalist who has echoed the president’s conviction that higher interest rates lead to higher inflation.

    1
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    What Strategic Competition Looks Like

    Last week’s diplomatic meeting between China and the US was marked by harsh rhetoric as both sides used the event to signal toughness to their home audiences. In this report, Arthur and Dan outline what policy tools Beijing and Washington have at their disposal and why the Biden administration is struggling to articulate a clear China strategy.

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