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E.g., 24-05-2019
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    Gavekal Research

    A Less Than Bonza Outlook

    Australian politics has been a psychodrama for more than a decade, but for investors it barely mattered. The country has grown rich on selling ever more rocks to China and following smart, evidenced-based policy at home. That, however, looks to be changing as this weekend voters go to the polls after an election campaign that may come to be seen as a watershed.

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    Gavekal Research

    India's Acceleration Phenomenon

    As China’s market grows more mature, multinationals and investors are increasingly looking to households in emerging economies elsewhere to deliver the next big growth surge in demand for consumer goods and services. Above all they are pinning their hopes on India. With a population of 1.3bn, most aged under 30, and a GDP forecast by the International Monetary Fund to expand by 7.4% in 2019, India is easily the world’s fastest-growing major...

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    Gavekal Research

    A Careless Loss Of Indian Central Bankers

    To lose one central bank governor may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose a second one, as India did yesterday, looks like carelessness bordering on recklessness. Urjit Patel’s resignation, after resisting months of pressure from the ruling BJP to ease credit conditions and hand over some of its cash reserves, is another black mark against the government.

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    Gavekal Research

    JAM Today For Indian Fintech

    There is a Dickensian quality to Indian finance just now as banks struggle under bad debt piles and finance companies face a wholesale funding crunch after a recent high profile default. Yet if these are the worst of times for credit intermediaries in India, there is a clear silver lining as fintech firms capitalize on a national biometric database.

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    Gavekal Research

    An Indian Quagmire

    India has won kudos for adopting a modern bankruptcy law that makes it easier for big lenders to clean house on a bad debt problem that has festered since the early 2000s. The problem is that an approach which would garner broad support on Wall Street and then be executed through fairly efficient courts in New York and Delaware, has in India run into the sand of murky politics and bureaucratic sloth.

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    Gavekal Research

    Stuck In The Middle-Income Trap

    Three years ago Malaysian prime minister Najib Tun Razak faced the kind of graft allegations that would ultimately defenestrate heads of government in Brazil and South Africa. His political fortunes were further imperiled by Malaysia’s highly trade-dependent economy staggering trough the 2014-15 commodity bust. Yet, remarkably, Najib survived and now seems set to be reelected at an upcoming general election. His Houdini-like escape is bad for...

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    Gavekal Research

    Making In Delhi

    Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative is supposed to transform India from an industrial laggard into a global manufacturing hub. Tom and Udith recently kicked the tires in the industrial heartlands surrounding Delhi and can confirm that China, for now, does not have serious competition. Yet they found some surprisingly encouraging developments that point to the policy in pockets displaying genuine success.

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    Gavekal Research

    Not All Bank Recaps Are Created Equal

    A month ago, India outlined a US$32bn plan to fix its publicly-controlled banks’ bad debt problem, sparking a more than 30% rally in their share prices. The plan remains under wraps, but the “round tripping” approach will see deposits lent to the government as recapitalization bonds and then injected back into banks as fresh capital. The question is whether India’s effort is credible enough for banks to both write off debt and have enough...

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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Sly Bank Recap

    So here’s a conundrum. As finance minister, you preside over a slowing economy with banks and corporates that have giant holes in their balance sheets. You may have stellar demographic “tail winds”, but private sector investment has stalled. Your headache is a gaping fiscal deficit and a credit rating one notch above junk status. You notice, however, that your banks are flush with cash.

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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s Best Story Tops Out

    On the face of it, the Philippines offers one of Asia’s best economic stories. Whatever you think of Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, growth remains decent at about 6.5%, big tax reforms are in the offing and after years of promising action, infrastructure may soon actually get built. This has unfolded with public debt falling from more than 65% of GDP in 2006 to 42%. And yet the Philippine peso has slid -8% since Duterte took office in June last...

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    Gavekal Research

    It Is Not Slack Weighing On Wages

    How can a labor market be very tight, yet have barely any wage growth? In today’s daily Nick tackled this for the UK and found a mix of universal and idiosyncratic causes. For the US and Japan a frequent refrain is that official data hugely understates the potential size of the workforce and so a ready source of “slack”. Will and Udith beg to differ.

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    Gavekal Research

    EM Asia’s Most Sensible Market

    The “safety first” stance of Indonesian fiscal and monetary policies has contained the country’s budget deficit, restored its investment grade credit rating and capped inflation. Granted, these policies have come at the cost of lackluster growth. However, with the rupiah undervalued and plentiful carry available, Udith still sees opportunities in local currency bonds.

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    Gavekal Research

    The New EM Intervention Playbook

    In recent years emerging market central banks have taken to intervening to support their currencies against depreciation pressure using non-deliverable forward contracts settled in local currency, a technique that helps preserve the headline value of their foreign exchange reserves. Although the strategy bought time in Brazil and Mexico for more fundamental policy changes to take effect, non-deliverables are no magic bullet.

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    Gavekal Research

    Like Japan, Love Korea

    Ignore for the moment the drumbeat to hostilities on the 38th parallel; it has still been a head-spinning few weeks in the normally staid world of South Korean governance. First, the head of Samsung, the country’s biggest company, was arrested on bribery charges, and then last Friday saw President Park Geun-hye ousted by impeachment. It is our view that a political upheaval is afoot in Seoul that threatens the collusive ties between officials...

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    Gavekal Research

    Modi’s Big Political Win

    After a shaky few months, India’s reform project is back on track. The ruling BJP’s unexpectedly strong performance in state elections will enable Prime Minister Narendra Modi to continue with pro-business policies that should both deliver economic growth and buoy equity markets.

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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Property Dream

    In India, home building constitutes just 1% of GDP and fails to satisfy basic amenity demand—some 60mn Indians live in urban dwellings deemed unfit for human habitation. The good news is that India is getting serious about supporting residential property development, which could yet have a China-like impact on domestic demand and global commodity markets.

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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Banknote Bombshell

    While the world’s attention was riveted on this week’s US election, India sprang a surprise.On Tuesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the immediate demonetization of all existing banknotes with denominations of INR500 and INR1,000—note issues which together accounted for nearly 90% of the total currency in circulation by value.

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    Gavekal Research

    Staring Into The Abyss

    Since Rodrigo Duterte became president of the Philippines in May, he has sanctioned the extra-judicial killing of some 3,600 petty criminals and drug users, graphically insulted the US president, favorably compared himself to Hitler, and threatened to switch his country’s allegiance to China and Russia. As he has ripped up behavioral norms for democratic heads of state, investors have yanked out at least US$500mn of capital over the last two...

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    Gavekal Research

    Yes, Those Indian Growth Numbers Are For Real

    China has long been the whipping boy of skeptics who claim its growth numbers can’t be trusted. Data denialists got a fat new target in 2015 when India adopted a new set of national accounts that magically bumped up its GDP growth by 1.5 percentage points to over 7%, vaulting it past China as the world’s fastest growing big economy. This seemed just a bit too good to be true. Is India’s growth for real, or just a mirage conjured up by...

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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Quiet Revolution

    Last week India announced a partial liberalization of its debt and currency markets, which should open up the economy to more long term foreign capital. Such money is sorely needed to finance an estimated US$1trn of infrastructure spending over the next five years. While India has a fairly open equity market, debt issuance has been tightly controlled and banks account for some 80% of total financing across the economy. The issue is whether banks...

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