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E.g., 19-01-2022
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    Gavekal Research

    Transitory Inflation’s Unanswered Questions

    As a child, I was lucky enough to attend a Jesuit school. I once asked a teacher: “Father, is it true that Jesuits always answer a question with another question?”. The priest looked me up and down and answered: “Who told you that?”. In this spirit, I will try to answer today’s biggest market question—whether inflation proves transitory, or not—with more questions.

    13
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    Gavekal Research

    The Fed Chair Question And The Euro

    The resignation Monday of US Federal Reserve governor Randy Quarles has highlighted the question marks hanging over his boss, Fed chair Jay Powell. With each week that goes by, the failure of Joe Biden to renominate Powell shortens the odds that the Fed chair will not see a second term. This may help to explain the recent rallies in bonds and equities. If Powell is to be replaced, his successor is likely to be even more dovish. Given the White...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Hedging A Tighter US Economy

    After October’s payroll report came in strong on Friday, the S&P 500 hit a new high. On Saturday, the House Of Representatives was corralled into passing the Biden administration’s delayed infrastructure bill and there is a good chance of the “reconciliation bill” becoming law. Given such boosts to demand, US equity investors could be forgiven for expecting smooth sailing ahead. But KX warns of higher volatility.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Fortress Europe (Again)

    One of Europe’s enduring mysteries is why the continent’s left-of-center political parties, many of them steeped in Marxist theory, became such eager exponents of European integration. Integration, after all, promised to expose the domestic workers whose interests the left claimed to represent to cut-throat cross-border competition.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    An Unstable Equilibrium

    In the past few weeks, the central banks of developed commodity producers including Canada, Australia and New Zealand have given up on the idea that monetary policy will stay easy forever. But the world’s major central banks do not seem to share their concern. This makes for an unstable equilibrium.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    Chronic Congestion

    The US is facing the prospect of a gloomy Black Friday this year. Consumer demand for products is strong. But with scores of container ships backed up outside the main US ports, supply chain bottlenecks are slowing the pace at which stuff can be distributed. This isn’t just a problem affecting imported consumer goods. It is also leading to shortages of key components, which are weighing on the output of US manufacturers. Either way, the results...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Beware The Bear Flattening

    On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia became the latest major central bank to signal a change of course, shifting away from its ultra-accommodative policy stance and towards a marginal tightening in response to higher inflation pressures. In executing its shift, the RBA confirmed what the bond market had already concluded: last month, yields at the short end of the Australian dollar curve spiked higher in anticipation of interest rate...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Downside Of Rising Wages

    US wage growth is accelerating. The employment cost index rose 3.7% year-on-year in the third quarter, up from 2.8% in 2Q to the fastest rate since 2004. In quarter-on-quarter terms, compensation rose at a rate that has only been matched twice in recent decades—in 2001 and 1990, both times on the eve of recession. A number of transient constrictions in labor supply contributed to the rapidity of 3Q wage growth. But although these will abate in...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Lagarde Versus The Market

    If European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde really intended to throw cold water over market expectations of an ECB interest rate hike in 2022, then she failed dismally on Thursday. At Wednesday’s close, the short term interest rate market had been pricing in a hike of 23bp by December 2022. By the end of Lagarde’s press conference on Thursday, it was pricing in an increase of 32bp.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    A Case Of Hopeless Optimism

    How can we reconcile the 6.5% growth forecast and the absence of feared tax hikes in Wednesday’s UK budget with The Coming UK Recession forecast by Nick Andrews at the beginning of October? The strict answer is that we cannot, because a recession in the conventional sense of two quarters of negative GDP growth is almost impossible in Britain next year. This is for the same reason that a recession is almost impossible in the US, or anywhere else...

    0
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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:

    6
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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.

    2
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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

    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

    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

    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 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

    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

    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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