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E.g., 19-01-2022
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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.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    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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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    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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    Gavekal Research

    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.

    0
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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.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    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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    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.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    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.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Financial Manias: The Electric Car Craze

    Almost wherever you look today, there are bubbles: in SPACs, in crypto, and in electric vehicles. In this report, the first of a series on today’s financial manias, Louis reviews Gavekal’s tried and tested framework for analyzing bubbles, and applies it to today’s mania for electric vehicles. He concludes that the electric car bubble is unique in history, and that the prognosis for many investors in the sector is less than encouraging.

    17
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The New Plan For Urbanization

    The 14th five-year plan outlines significant changes to China’s household registration (hukou) system. In this report, Ernan writes that this new policy direction is to reduce the significance of the system over time by reducing urban/rural inequality. Rural areas will benefit, but at a cost to China’s overall economic growth.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Time To Fix Credit Ratings

    2021 could be a pivotal year for the overhaul of credit ratings, which have long been an impediment to the functioning of China’s corporate bond market. The defaults of a few AAA-rated state firms have now pushed regulators into tackling long-standing problems, at a moment when cyclical and structural conditions are favorable for reform.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Let's Twist Again

    When they sit down on Wednesday, the members of the Federal Open Market Committee will face a couple of knotty questions. Should they attempt to do anything about rising bond yields? And if so, what?

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Looking Past The Base Effect

    The collapse in activity during the Covid-19 lockdowns in early 2020 has ensured some eye-popping economic data for January-February 2021. In this report, the Dragonomics team looks past base effects to find consumption and services still on track to normalize this year, while industry and property will likely cool as policy tightens at the margin.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The New High-Pressure US Economy

    Having just signed off on US$1.9trn of Covid relief, the US government has now spent US$5trn on support measures since the pandemic began. Unfazed by warnings that it could overheat the economy and spur runaway inflation, the White House plans another big package of public investment that aims to tackle climate change, upgrade US infrastructure and revamp education. Joe Biden seems intent on spurring a “high-pressure” economy.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    There Is No Plan To Boost Consumption

    Consumption and domestic demand are everywhere in the Chinese government’s latest policy rhetoric, with high-level promises to “boost consumer spending across the board” and “create a robust domestic market.” In this piece, Andrew explains why the new five-year plan is not actually a plan to boost consumption.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Is The Belt And Road Turning Green?

    China is trying to clean up its domestic energy sector, but critics accuse it of exporting an outmoded and dirty energy model around the world under the guise of the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2019, Xi Jinping pledged to turn the BRI “green and clean.” Tom argues that there may have been a moderate shift towards green energy, but not a decisive one.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Capex Renaissance Is Coming

    2021 is set to be a strong year for capital spending by Chinese companies. In this report, Thomas explains why solid returns on assets across the industrial sector and low borrowing costs are creating incentives for firms to invest in new capacity. This should allow policymakers to cut back on spending without tanking overall investment.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Gold, Renminbi Bonds And The Clash Of Empires

    As the US expands its deficits to pay for pandemic relief, emerging economies that use the US dollar for reserve backing have reason to fret. China is being incentivized to accelerate development of the renminbi as both an international standard and store of value. Louis, Charles and Didier offer a potential roadmap for how renminbi internationalization may unfold.

    16
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The New Normal For Infrastructure

    Officially, the normalization of China’s fiscal policy will be moderate in 2021: the government budget will narrow to 3.2% of GDP from 3.7%. But public-works spending is China’s true fiscal policy, and tighter financing does not bode well. Infrastructure investment is likely headed for a fourth year of negligible growth, and could even decline.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s New Industrial Policy

    Industrial policy is back in vogue, especially in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will spend US$27bn on subsidizing manufacturing, as it seeks to forge a “Self-Reliant India.” Given India’s unhappy history of chasing self-sufficiency, this raises concerns. Yet “self-reliance” does not necessarily mean protectionism, argues Tom.

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