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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Household Debt Service Burden

    The rapid rise in China’s household debt has become a major concern for markets and policymakers. While most analysis looks at the household debt-to-GDP ratio, in this report Ernan calculates the household debt service ratio for a better angle on the problem. She finds that the debt burden on household budgets will keep increasing in 2019.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    An Epidemic That Can No Longer Be Denied

    The world’s deadliest pig disease is now established in the world’s largest pork market. The spread of African swine fever in China has been more severe than the government has admitted, and as a result pork prices are spiking and imports are surging. But as Ernan argues in this report, the impact of this epidemic is still only in its early stages.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    After The Crash In Car Sales

    Is the long boom in China’s car market finally over? In this piece, Ernan takes stock of the prospects for auto sales after 2018’s historic decline. Since that drop was caused by expiring stimulus policies, sales can stabilize and recover. Future growth, however, is likely to be much slower than the industry has become accustomed to.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Large Print Giveth, The Small Print Taketh Away

    China’s government has made a cut in personal-income taxes, rushed out in August 2018, a centerpiece of its response to a slowing economy. Additional tax deductions were unveiled in January, but as Ernan explains, the new details are not that bullish for consumer spending. Enforcement is tightening, and some tax breaks will be phased out.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Cold Winter In China's Job Market

    China’s job market was an early casualty of the US-China trade conflict, with industrial layoffs accelerating to a pace last seen in 2015-6. But Ernan argues that the situation is worse this time, as service-sector employers are being squeezed by tighter regulations. The weaker job market means a worsening outlook for household spending in 2019.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Chinese Consumer In 2018

    In our annual review of the economic performance of the Chinese consumer, Ernan examines the key issues affecting households. This chartbook covers the reasons for the decline in car sales, the rising burden of household debt, the effects of the income-tax cut, the prospects for consumption upgrading—and where all these trends are headed in 2019.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How Demographics Are Shaping China's Future

    Where is China heading as it undergoes demographic change of unprecedented speed and scale? In this chartbook, Ernan offers a comprehensive guide to the unfolding transformation of the nation’s population, focusing on changes in family-planning policy, the implications of an aging society, and the shifting patterns of migration.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Drive For Affordable Drugs

    China’s healthcare reforms have created new opportunities for global pharmaceutical firms and made healthcare a favored sector for many investors. But as Ernan explains, the government’s top priority these days is controlling healthcare costs, especially drug prices. That trend makes it trickier to profit from China’s healthcare growth story.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    An Overdue Tax Cut For Households

    Facing trade conflict with the US and a slowdown in credit growth, China is under pressure to use fiscal policy more aggressively to support the economy. On Friday, the National People’s Congress delivered on at least part of the solution, passing a large cut in personal income taxes. In this piece, Ernan explains the impact of this tax cut.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Consumer Soldiers On

    Consumer spending has been the ballast of China's economy over the past six years. But this year its resilience has been questioned, thanks to a sharp fall-off in automobile sales and reported growth rates in retail sales that appeared to bear no relationship to the underlying data. Ernan finds that household spending is actually holding up well.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Retail Sales Data Enigma, Explained

    This technical note explains why the retail sales growth numbers reported by the National Bureau of Statistics are so much higher than the growth rates one can calculate by comparing this year's sales values with last year's. This is not an effort to cover up bad economic performance by fudging statistics, but the opposite.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Restructuring Of Retail

    China’s rapid shift to online shopping is emptying malls and forcing retailers to close hundreds of stores. But at the same time, the big internet companies are investing billions to seek new growth from brick-and-mortar stores. In this piece, Ernan explains how Chinese retail is restructuring and where the growth opportunities are.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Urbanization Without Migration

    The story of China’s urbanization has long been the migration of people from the country to the cities. Not anymore: as Ernan explains, rural migration has slowed sharply, and is being replaced by the reclassification of rural areas into urban ones. Policymakers now prefer this “local urbanization,” even though it delivers less income growth.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    New Jobless Rate, Same Old Problems

    China has moved to rid itself of a longstanding statistical embarrassment, replacing its discredited unemployment data with a new survey based on international standards. But as Ernan explains, the old problems have not gone away: the new jobless rate is still implausibly low and stable, and likely still subject to political manipulation.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Taming The Inflation Risk From Pork

    What are the odds that China has a surprise jump in inflation this year? In China, surges in the CPI are usually driven by food—particularly highly cyclical pork prices. But while food inflation is likely to turn positive this year, Ernan argues that the odds of an inflation spike are low, as farm consolidation has tamed the pork price cycle.

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    Gavekal Research

    Chinese Equities: Marching To A Different Drum

    Though onshore Chinese stocks did not escape the rout of global markets in recent weeks, the real trigger for the meltdown onshore was heightened investor anxiety over Beijing’s financial regulations. Thomas and Ernan reckon that after the dust settles, benign fundamentals and attractive valuations should set the market back on its upward track.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Tightening The Grip On Urbanization

    The populations of Shanghai and Beijing, China’s two largest cities, declined in 2017, in a clear sign that urbanization policies are being enforced more strictly under Xi Jinping. In this piece, Ernan explains how planners have gotten more effective in restricting growth of the largest cities, how controls on almost all cities have tightened.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The End Of The Preschool Boom

    China’s busy and ambitious parents have driven a huge boom in private preschools, with the number of students roughly tripling over the past decade. But the sector is now clouded by allegations of child abuse, which will only strengthen a shift to tougher regulation and public provision of preschools. For now, the private preschool boom is over.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Chinese Consumer: Outlook & Trends 2017

    In our annual review of the Chinese consumer, Ernan outlines the short-term outlook and longer-term trends in household spending. This chartbook explains why consumption growth has been a bit disappointing in 2017, why the outlook for 2018 is better, what are the drivers of consumption upgrading, and how the transition to online is playing out.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Three Retail Takeaways From 11.11

    It was a busy weekend for China’s online retailers, who reported huge sales numbers for their November 11 promotional events. Alibaba’s aggressive strategy is helping uphold its dominance even as market growth slows, and online retail integrates with offline. In this piece, Ernan cuts through the wave of publicity with three simple points.

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