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

    A High-Pressure Business Cycle

    The US economy may have suffered one of its biggest ever contractions last year, but at just two months, it was one of the shortest due to aggressive policy reactions that spurred an unlikely economic boom. A worry for investors is that late-cycle stresses now emerging cause this expansion to fade as quickly as it started.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The World Becomes More Fragile

    In a July 2 paper, Didier Darcet explained how after seven months of being positive, the market reading from our Paris-run quant system had turned negative. The takeaway was that equity market volatility had “more than ever” become the indicator signaling a downturn. Watch any move in the Vix above 27 as a signal that US markets are entering the "tails" of the risk curve.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    How Monopolies Behave

    The economy is simply energy transformed. Today, we have a situation where governments in the West are attempting to kill off energy derived from fossil fuels, to which end they are subsidizing new forms of energy. The trouble is that demand for energy is growing faster than the ability of these new forms of energy to meet it.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Economic Impact Of Delta

    This week saw Gavekal writers address risks to the global reflation trade. Louis explored three reasons for the market shift: (i) the rise of the Delta Covid variant, (ii) tighter-than-expected policy settings in the US, and (iii) China’s tightening measures. My aim is to focus on risks posed by the first of those: another Covid shock to Western economies.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    The China Piece Of The Puzzle

    On Monday, Louis identified three possible culprits for the rally in US treasuries, the consequent abrupt shift from value to growth, and the outperformance of US equities. Of these three, Chinese overtightening seemed the best explanation for what has unfolded in financial markets over the past couple of months. Louis explores what this could mean for investors.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Breaking Down US Inflation

    So have hopes that US price pressures are merely a transitory effect faded like a mirage on an Oregon highway? The higher-than-expected jump in June’s consumer price index to a 5.4% year-on-year gain certainly dented investors’ belief that US price pressures will prove fleeting. They are probably right in that view. For while some factors driving US prices higher will abate, new pressures are waiting in the wings. Therefore, in the medium term,...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times

    It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. July has seen the shares of the biggest US tech companies, including Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, advance to new record highs. At the same time, the legal and regulatory campaign to rein in Big Tech is reaching a new pitch of intensity.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Behind The Bond Market Rally: Delta, The Fed Or China?

    US treasury yields made a post-Covid crisis high of 1.74% on March 31. At the time, US consumer prices were rising at 2.6% a year and oil was at US$60 a barrel. Fast forward to today and US CPI is at 5% and West Texas Intermediate at US$72/bbl. Meanwhile, bond yields have declined to 1.3%. It is hard not to conclude that one of these prices is “wrong”.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Is The Chinese Growth Sector Still Investable?

    First China’s regulators came for the fintech companies. Next, it was antitrust investigations into successful internet companies. Then it was a crackdown on private education. Now regulators’ ire has focused on ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing. Has the specter of harsh and unpredictable regulation made China’s internet and other high-growth companies uninvestable?

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Not Quite A Wage-Price Spiral

    European companies are hiring again—or at least they would be if they could get the staff. The rebound in eurozone economic activity has fueled employers’ demand for labor. Having languished at about one standard deviation below its long term average through 4Q20 and 1Q21, the European Commission’s index of eurozone businesses’ hiring intentions has risen to over one standard deviation above its long-term average, as of end-June. The number of...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Year Of Policy Divergence

    A year into its recovery from the Covid-induced collapse of 2020, the world’s largest economy is stimulating final demand to an extent rarely seen before. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, the picture in the world’s second largest economy is starkly different. As a result, for the first time, broad money growth in the US is rapidly outpacing that occurring in China.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Opec Frays

    Last year, when Opec+ talks broke up without an agreement on setting production quotas, the oil price collapsed. On Monday, when Opec+ talks broke up without an agreement on setting production quotas, the oil price surged. The majority of market watchers see no inconsistency, but they are making some large assumptions, which deserve close scrutiny.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Impact Of Didi’s Smackdown

    Just two days after raising US$4.4bn from US investors, China’s largest ride-hailing platform, Didi Chuxing, has been placed under investigation by Chinese authorities and told to stop registering new users due to alleged violations in the handling of users’ data. Ernan and Thomas assess what this signals for the uncoupling of US and Chinese equity capital markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Not Quite Vassal States

    "The best defense is a good offense" seems to be the mantra adopted by some emerging market central banks that have raised interest rates since the Federal Reserve began talking about a taper to its asset purchase program. This precautionary approach is at odds with the rhetoric from other EM central banks. So how to play this apparent bifurcation in responses?

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Killer Wave In The Nasdaq Bubble?

    It’s hardly surprising that stock markets are hitting new records. The inflation panic has subsided and bond yields have retreated Therefore, the immediate risk for investors is not a meltdown in bonds and equities that was predicted by perma-bears in the second quarter. The real risk may be a melt-up in equities, especially in growth stocks, as the first quarter’s growth-to-value rotation reverses.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s ‘Heads I Win, Tails I Don’t Lose’

    It was less of a taper tantrum, more of a taper tizzy. In response to the US Federal Reserve’s first talk of policy normalization in mid-June, the DXY US dollar index rose 1.9% and the S&P GSCI commodity index fell -2.7%. These are not huge moves, but they are big enough to prompt nervous emerging market investors to look for “heads I win, tails I don’t lose” plays.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Cryptos’ Many Damocles’ Swords

    Since peaking in mid-April at US$63,500, bitcoin has almost halved in value, making a series of lower highs and lower lows . For such a high-beta asset, this roll-over is interesting given that risk assets like equities have powered on to new highs. So has the overall environment for cryptos materially changed?

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    The First To Normalize

    The Bank of Mexico last week joined a growing number of emerging-market central banks that have hiked policy rates this year. Developed markets, in contrast, have stayed dovish as they are not overly worried about inflation and fret about chocking off their recoveries. But there is a good chance that the BoE will be the first big Western central bank to normalize policy in 2022.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Peak US Growth

    The US economy has been on a tear and it could be assumed that a bipartisan Congressional deal to spend US$1.2rn on roads, bridges and tunnels would spur even more growth. Yet, surprising as it may seem, we may have seen the top of the US growth cycle as activity goes from great to good in the second half of this year.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Morphing Of European Political Risk

    On both sides of the Rhine, celebrations were afoot on Wednesday night after France and Germany managed to earn spots in the knockout phase of the Euro 2020 football tournament. But once a winner is finally decided on July 11, the citizens of both countries will be forced to focus some attention on politics. After a summer of fun, the specter is being raised of European political risk.

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