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    Gavekal Research

    EM Currencies At A Pivot Point

    Emerging market economies are heavily impacted by their currency’s level against both the US dollar and the Chinese renminbi. As the dollar is a funding currency, most EMs thrive when it is weak. In contrast, China is both a competitor and a key export market for EM economies, and so a weak renminbi poses a deflationary threat. Since late May, emerging markets have faced the ostensibly benign situation of a weaker US dollar and a stronger...

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    Webinar: Embattled India

    India has taken a bigger economic hit from the pandemic than any other major economy, exacerbating a slowdown that was already underway. In addition, India is engaged in a high-stakes standff with China over its Himalayan border, which may force an economic decoupling of the two countries.

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    Pained Tales From The Hills

    On Monday, for the first time since 1975, gunshots were fired on the disputed Himalayan border between India and China.Hundreds of incidents occur along the undemarcated Line of Actual Control every year, but this year’s skirmishes are the most dangerous for at least five decades.

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    India Macro Update: The Great Covid Crash

    India has taken a bigger economic hit from the pandemic than any other major economy. After reopening its economy in June, business activity is again weakening as the surging number of Covid-19 cases raises the chance of more localized restrictions. Udith and Tom evaluate the government's response and give a prognosis for the economy.

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    A Little Battler Soars Too High

    A weak US dollar is generally a boon for both global growth and asset prices, yet its recent fall has ruffled feathers. So spare a thought for the Reserve Bank of Australia, which is not only presiding over the country’s first recession in 30 years but is getting no help from its “little battler” currency, which has rocketed 27% against the US dollar since its March low.

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    The Model Pupil Still Has Problems

    Asia is seen as having had a “good” Covid-19 crisis, as it learnt vital lessons from the 2003 Sars outbreak and its policymakers have been typically more frugal than their Western peers.The problem with such generalizations, argue Udith and Vincent, is that they conceal huge discrepancies among countries.

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    Gavekal Research

    Japan Drifts Toward Change

    This week Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe went into hospital for medical tests, sparking fresh reports that he may soon step down on health grounds. Should Abe exit the scene it is unclear who will succeed him. If a leadership change becomes unavoidable, Abe will likely play a key role in anointing his successor, so there is unlikely to be a big shift in the “Abenomics” program anytime soon.

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    Gavekal Research

    Emerging Markets And The Dollar

    A weakening US dollar is usually an unalloyed positive for emerging markets, so it is no surprise that their assets have rallied since the March 23 bottom in global markets—equities are up 45%, while bonds (both US dollar and local currency-based indexes) have gained 20%. Happy days indeed, but the next stage of the EM rally is likely to be more exacting for investors.

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    Gavekal Research

    Indian Banks On The Block

    As India's economic and fiscal situation goes from bad to worse, the government is preparing to do the unthinkable: privatize state-owned banks. Ever since the first round of nationalization of private lenders in 1969, the state has kept a tight grip on the financial system. Now it reportedly plans to sell its majority stake in six banks, hoping that an infusion of private capital and managerial skill can nurture them back to health.

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    Gavekal Research

    Testing The Boundaries Of QE

    One major emerging market central bank this week sailed boldly into waters others have so far feared to navigate, when Bank Indonesia agreed to buy IDR574trn (US$40bn or 3.6% of GDP) of government bonds in the primary market at below market interest rates, so beginning the direct monetary financing of the Indonesian government’s fiscal deficit.

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    Gavekal Research

    A Rare Growth Story

    Economic good news stories are almost as rare as hens’ teeth these days—almost, but not quite. On Tuesday Vietnam’s General Statistics Office released its advanced 2Q20 GDP estimate showing 0.36% YoY growth, meaning Vietnam is likely to be one of the very few countries in the world to register any growth at all during the second quarter.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Next EM Policy Mistake

    Since bottoming out in late March, emerging market equities and bond markets have risen significantly. This snap-back stemmed from massive liquidity injections by global central banks. Investors were also cheered by a new paradigm of fused monetary and fiscal policy in economies which rarely had such flexibility. The worry is that this proves a trap for EMs.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: High Stakes In The Himalayas

    In this video, Udith argues that the mayhem seen on the India-China border this week will provide another catalyst for Indian nationalists who want to lessen the country’s reliance on China, even if that means accepting far slower economic growth.

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    Gavekal Research

    Sticks And Stones May Break A Trade Relationship

    Monday night’s deadly face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Himalayan mountains threatens to rupture a burgeoning trading relationship between Asia’s two largest nations. Diplomats should be able to deescalate military tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries, but it may be harder to normalize economic ties.

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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Emerging Market Update, June 2020

    In yesterday’s webinar, Udith Sikand, Vincent Tsui and Tom Miller joined Arthur Kroeber to present the general outlook for emerging market assets and currencies, as well as discuss the situation in India.

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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: End Of The Growth Story

    India has experienced a draconian lockdown that could result in output shrinking by -25-45% in the second quarter of the year. The result will be a sharp worsening in the fiscal deficit and a low structural growth rate that leaves India as just another emerging market rather than a growth story to rival China’s. Udith and Tom consider what it means for asset markets.

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Pressure Points In Emerging Markets

    Emerging markets have broadly weathered the liquidity squeeze that threatened to engulf them in March, however Udith is not convinced they are out of the woods. Growth shocks associated with the Covid-19 crisis mean that many smaller markets on the frontier are at risk of debt defaults, which could end up spurring forced selling by foreign investors.

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    Gavekal Research

    India's Mini Bazooka

    India’s finance minister yesterday outlined a US$265bn fiscal package to save the economy. It looks to be just enough to stop a slide into depression but not much more. A worrying factor in its response is an apparent lurch towards protectionism, which would undermine any gains made from much-needed reforms to land and labor markets

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    Gavekal Research

    The Threat From Turkey

    Turkey increasingly looks like a basket case that may spark a broader move out of emerging markets. Despite its efforts to squeeze short-sellers by stopping banks from swapping currency with foreign counterparties, the lira is hitting new lows against the US dollar. Efforts to sustain the lira with foreign currency borrowed from Turkey's dollarized banking system can't go on indefinitely.

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    Webinar: China And Emerging Markets Update

    China has started to reopen its economy, but it is proving hard to get Chinese consumers and small businesses up and running again. He Wei and Andrew Batson provided the latest updates on policy efforts to revive China’s economy. Udith Sikand reviewed the broader outlook for emerging markets.

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