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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Flailing State Of Enterprise Reform

    A decisive move on economic reform would be very helpful in demonstrating that China is still on the right track. Unfortunately the long-awaited plan for state-owned enterprise reform is not such a move. Instead it is an ungainly mishmash of bureaucratic compromises that sets no clear goals and is riven by internal contradictions.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Taking The Pulse Of The Construction Cycle

    China’s housing-driven industrial cycle is stuck in low gear, but has not worsened dramatically. What is getting worse are the parts of the economy that had been doing better earlier in the year: exports, consumer spending and finance. The result will be headline GDP growth that (finally) falls below 7% in the third quarter.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Debating The Data Denialists

    There are growing fears that China’s economic statistics are massively overstating growth, so rather than growing by 6-7%, China is now “really” growing by only 3-4%. These worries are overdone: Chinese statistics have problems, but they do provide a broadly accurate view of the growth trajectory.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Nationalist Style Of Economic Reform

    China’s leaders are not far-sighted planners calmly executing a long-term strategy, but politicians responding to events and seizing opportunities. Economic reform in China is not going in reverse, but the nationalist shift in politics means reform is scattershot and opportunistic—and that creates risks and increases volatility.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    What To Worry About, And What Not To In China

    The unexpected devaluation of the renminbi earlier this month focused international attention on the continuing slowdown in China and triggered increased worries about its problems. In this piece, we detail four areas where fears about economic fragility have been overstated, and four areas where investor concerns are justified.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Expect The Unexpected

    The last couple of months have caused whiplash for China-watchers: first, the government creates huge uncertainty by a massive intervention to prop up the stock market. Next, the government creates huge uncertainty by giving up much of its historic control over the exchange rate. So does the Chinese government love markets or hate them? It is hard to tell a consistent story either way (though that hasn’t stopped people from trying). The one...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Infrastructure Conundrum

    Officials are once again promising to boost public works to support growth. But infrastructure spending is unlikely to accelerate sharply from its already rapid pace. With little pressure on existing infrastructure, it is harder to justify new rail and power projects. And projects that do get built will be at more risk of making poor returns.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    China Update: Weak Imports Are No Mystery

    Something has happened to China’s demand for imports. In the first and second quarters, the country’s goods imports fell by about -15% year-on-year in nominal terms, even as real GDP grew 7%. Clearly some of the decline is due to the drop in prices of raw commodities, which are among China’s biggest imports. But WTO data shows China’s imports in volume terms were down -12% in 1Q, and preliminary figures point to continued volume declines in 2Q....

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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: Weak Imports Are No Mystery

    Something has happened to China’s demand for imports. In the first and second quarters, the country’s goods imports fell by about -15% year-on-year in nominal terms, even as real GDP grew 7%. Clearly some of the decline is due to the drop in prices of raw commodities, which are among China’s biggest imports. But WTO data shows China’s imports in volume terms were down -12% in 1Q, and preliminary figures point to continued volume declines in 2Q....

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Five Macro Questions For The Rest Of 2015

    1. Will economic reform make more progress? 2. Will interest rates keep falling? 3. With housing recovering, will construction also rebound? 4. Will investment growth stabilize? 5. Will deflation intensify?

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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: Is Deflation’s Grip Really Easing?

    Over the past few years, China has experienced a huge deflationary shock: nominal GDP growth went from nearly 20% in 2010-11 to around 10% in 2012-13, stepped down further to 8% in 2014, and then reached 5.8% in the first quarter of 2015. So when can we expect this deflationary shock to be over?

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    Gavekal Research

    What Lies Beneath

    As the rout in Chinese shares has deepened—and spread, hitting markets in Hong Kong and beyond—Beijing’s efforts to prop up domestic stock prices have only intensified. After an unprecedented package of market-support measures at the weekend failed to stem declines, even more unprecedented actions followed. On Wednesday, the central bank pledged to help maintain market stability, and Chinese stock regulators banned company officers and major...

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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: Better Manufacturing, Not Just Bigger

    China’s status as the workshop of the world faces no serious challengers. Accounting for nearly 25% of global manufacturing value-added, it is by far the world’s largest single manufacturing economy. But the country’s leaders still seem discontented. China may have quantity, they fret, but it lacks quality. It is not enough for China to be a “big” manufacturer, they say, it must also be a “strong” one. With a spate of new industrial policies...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Capital Spending Downshift

    Easier monetary policy and targeted stimulus may stabilize China’s economy, but anyone hoping for a rebound in capital spending growth is sure to be disappointed. Real gross fixed capital formation rose a meager 6.6% in 2014, the slowest pace since 1999 and far below the 15% average in 2002-11. It is likely that investment growth will fall a bit further this year. One reason is that even after rate cuts, China’s real cost of capital is still...

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    Gavekal Research

    A Question Of When, Not If

    The cacophony emanating from China can be disorientating. On the one hand, China’s domestic stock markets are in the throes of a vigorous bull run. Locally-listed equities are up 140% in the last 12 months, with repeated government support measures and rising openness to international fund flows sustaining the momentum. On the other hand, China’s economic growth continues to slow, while the geopolitical drumbeat is increasingly daunting. With...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Making Sense Of China’s Reform Strategy

    Since coming to power in late 2012, Xi Jinping has delivered one surprise after another. Simple labels of reformer or conservative are an increasingly difficult fit. Instead, we should take Xi at his word: he is mainly a nationalist pursuing a dream of national revival.

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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: No Mourning For The Death Of Outsourcing

    What is China doing about the loss of a big driver of export growth? Back in the days when total exports were growing at a 20%-plus annual rate, up to half of that growth came from the outsourcing of manufacturing assembly to China (we use processing trade, a customs arrangement used by many outsourcing factories, as a proxy). But the outsourcing boom of the 1990s and 2000s has faded lately. Since 2012, processing trade has essentially stopped...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Short Tale Of Iron Ore's Long Fall

    Commodity prices boom when supply is slow to respond to surging demand, and collapse when supply finally catches up. The iron ore market is clearly in the second phase now, with global supply surging just as Chinese demand slows. In this piece we outline the fundamentals for iron ore, which mean that prices will remain lower for longer.

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    Gavekal Research

    London Seminar March 2015 - Anatole, François, Andrew & Charles

    We held our main spring seminar in London on March 17 with Anatole, François, Andrew and Charles offering their views of the global economic pulse and recent market and central bank developments.

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    Gavekal Research

    Let's Watch That Movie Again

    The beginning of the year can be a sleepy time for China watchers, what with the short daylight hours, long holidays and a dearth of economic data releases. In this season, even the most earnest reader of tea leaves can be forgiven for dozing off for a bit. But if you fell asleep watching the China economy channel, you didn’t miss much: it was just playing reruns.

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