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E.g., 18-05-2021
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    Gavekal Research

    A Post-Brexit Britain

    Some long-term investors do seem to be worried that a breakup of the United Kingdom could add another element of uncertainty to what I described last year as the “triple whammy” of Brexit, Covid and the British Treasury’s surprising flirtation with tax increases and premature fiscal tightening. It now appears, however, that only one of these concerns is really justified.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bond Wolf?

    For the past two months, financial analysts all over the world have been obsessed by two closely related questions: (i) How much further will US bond yields rise, and how fast? (ii) Will rising bond yields kill the bull markets in global equities and other risk assets?

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Stop Worrying About Bond Yields And Buy Equities

    Is it time to buy or sell global equities? I think investors should be adding exposure for four broad reasons. As argued in February, during the last mini-correction the global bull market that began on March 20, 2020, is still in its early stages and the cyclical economic problems that usually provoke bear markets are not yet on the horizon.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    The Real Effect Of The Vaccine Row

    The fiasco of Europe’s vaccination plan and Brussels’ retreat from its standoff with the UK and AstraZeneca have has caused the euro to weaken. While this reaction makes sense, the euro is, in fact, unlikely to fall much more against sterling, while the euro-dollar exchange rate will depend on how politicians behave in Washington, more than bureaucrats in Brussels.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Deal Or No Deal: Should We Really Care?

    As the fifth season of the Brexit soap opera lumbers towards a predictably messy climax, the prospect of a sixth season will probably be enough to discourage international investors from considering British assets and sterling for another year or more. And rightly so. British assets should continue to be avoided because sterling at its present level represents a case of “heads I lose, tails I don’t win”.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Pricing The Post-Election World

    For once, everything went according to plan. The US election has passed without any big surprises—and the initial market reaction has been exactly what would be predicted in any textbook of finance, when a centrist and predictable conventional politician replaces an extreme and erratic populist as US president.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    A British Mad Man

    The world’s worst performing major currency, stock market and economy have all been located in Britain since Boris Johnson was reelected last December. This is not surprising. With hindsight, his decision to outlaw any possible extension of the Brexit transition period as soon as he was reelected fully justified the switch from bullish to bearish on sterling assets that I recommended immediately after this announcement.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Why I Was Right To Turn Bullish

    Previously, Anatole tried to explain why he had abandoned the bearish view on equities. We will not know for a long time whether any of his explanations make sense, but Jerome Powell’s speech about the Federal Reserve’s new operating philosophy bolstered his confidence in a once-in-a-generation economic regime change.

    10
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    Gavekal Research

    Time To Run With The Herd?

    When a herd of cattle is being hunted by a pack of wolves, the worst thing any cow or bull can do is show individualism and originality by running off in a different direction from the rest of the herd. In financial markets, “the trend is your friend” expresses the same evolutionary logic. Are markets now displaying non-rational herd behavior?

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Boris Will Pile Pelion On Ossa

    No country has matched Britain’s dismal combination of currency and equity losses so far this year. Making matters worse for Britain than other DMs is Boris Johnson's refusal to extend the post-Brexit transition period beyond December, precisely the time when the Covid-19 recession might otherwise be expected to start lifting.

    14
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe’s Hamiltonian Moment

    If there was a rational explanation for Monday’s global risk-on rally, it would be the genuinely exciting news from Europe. It is possible—just possible—that the Franco-German proposal for a €500bn coronavirus Recovery Fund announced yesterday will turn out to be the most important historic consequence of the coronavirus.

    14
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    Gavekal Research

    The Short, Medium And Long Term Outlook

    At the end of March, just after the collapse of global stock markets and non-dollar currencies had reached its climax, I argued that it was too early to buy equities but probably a good time to sell US dollars. The first of these ideas turned out to be wrong, the second irrelevant. But far from admitting defeat, I think it is worth doubling down on both these recommendations.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    A Modest Proposal For Europe

    A month ago, with the world economy just beginning its lockdown, I presented a modest proposal which seemed impossibly far-fetched to the point of madness. Four days later, the British government announced almost exactly those policies. This week a different crisis is looming: an intensified rerun of the 2012 euro crisis. So here is another modest proposal.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Too Early To Buy Equities, But Time To Sell Dollars

    After the biggest weekly gain in the Dow and with the US government having just approved the biggest-ever fiscal stimulus, how should investors react? While unrepentantly bullish in the long term, Anatole still believes that it is too early to buy equities. But for two other asset classes conditions do seem to be more propitious to call a bottom.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    A Modest Proposal To Avert Economic Catastrophe

    Contrary to initial expectations, the spread of the coronavirus around the world is not following the relatively benign trajectories experienced in China outside of Hubei, and in Korea, Singapore and the rest of Asia. Instead, across Europe—and likely in the US—the spread increasingly resembles the path it took in Hubei. This threatens both medical and economic disasters.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Another View Of The Bond Bubble

    How should we think about the unstoppable journey of all OECD bond yields towards zero, including 10-year, 50-year and even 100-year maturities from governments not noted for multi-generational predictability, such as Italy, Greece, Austria and post-Brexit Britain? On Monday Louis offered two explanations. Today, Anatole presents a third.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    When To Catch A Falling Knife

    Now that the Federal Reserve has hit the panic button, is it time to try to catch the falling knife on Wall Street? Technical analysis and investor sentiment suggest that equity prices may still have somewhat further to fall before they find a sustainable floor, even if the viral threat is probably overstated and stimulus by major governments will eventually outweigh the temporary economic collapse.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Downing Street Putsch

    Ever since turning negative on sterling and the UK economy when Boris Johnson dropped his post-election bombshell announcing a new “No Deal” deadline of December 2020, I have been waiting for a chance to double-down on this bearish position. On Thursday, Johnson provided such an opportunity to extend short positions in sterling.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Boris's Bearish Brexit

    We now know why markets reacted so nervously to Boris Johnson’s election landslide last Thursday. The lack of follow-through after that evening’s exit poll and the retreat when trading resumed on Friday morning was suspicious. But there were no clear explanations until Monday evening, when everything became clear. At 10.30pm Downing Street restated Johnson’s promise to finish negotiating a new UK-European Union trade deal within 12 months and...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Learn To Stop Worrying And Love The Pound

    Sometimes, markets just get things wrong. Since early January investors have been panicking about a “no deal” Brexit, and I have been urging clients to buy sterling. Not because I became less gloomy about the damage that will be done to Britain by any form of Brexit, but because a “no deal” rupture is the one version of Brexit that can be confidently ruled out.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Behind The Risk-On

    In recent months, economic data has improved or stabilized, and political risks have receded. But now that equity prices on Wall Street have hit new records and US treasury yields have rebounded from the bottom of their post-2011 trading range, it is worth asking if the move to risk-on conditions is a temporary mood swing, or one supported by economic fundamentals.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe's Brexit Booster

    Boris Johnson has secured a revised Brexit deal and the stage is set for a key Saturday vote in the House of Commons. On balance, there is a 70% chance of the vote passing as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn seems unable to control his Brexit-supporting rebels, while Johnson looks to have persuaded his Brexiteer wing that it could be now or never.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    To Impeachment And Beyond

    What will determine whether the global economic expansion and equity bull market will continue in the year ahead? The political upheavals which dominated in the past three years, such as the trade war, Iran oil sanctions and Brexit, have seemed to subside or become priced in. But new political noise is being generated by the threatened impeachment of President Donald Trump.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Upside For Europe

    The euro is trading at its weakest against the US dollar since May 2017. Whether it falls further from here or finds support around current levels to establish a base for a rebound will depend mainly on whether Europe’s economic performance continues to deteriorate, or whether upside surprises are likely in the months ahead.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    ‘Do Or Die’ Boris Is Bullish For Sterling

    Considering the political chaos that will descend this week on the UK, it may seem surprising that the pound has bounced back to its trade-weighted level just before Boris Johnson became prime minister. Or maybe it is not too surprising—if a “No Deal Brexit” is the only possible scenario that would justify a further weakening of sterling and other UK assets.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Boris Johnson And The Pound

    With Boris Johnson’s almost inevitable enthronement as British prime minister only a week away, it is a good time to review the recommendation to buy sterling and sell UK government bonds which I first made in January, and repeated in April and again in late May.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Three Messages From The Markets

    Last week’s market action confirmed three longstanding ideas that I have been presenting to clients. Firstly, there's no sign of a US recession. Secondly, bond market "signals" no longer convey useful information about economic growth prospects. Thirdly, there's no conflict between bearish bonds and bullish equities—they tell different stories.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Not Such A Dystopian Market

    Although Donald Trump's lifting his threat to impose new tariffs on Mexico was good news, raising the chance of a US-China trade climbdown, betting good money on the US president getting up on the right side of the bed is ill advised. So, to maintain our sanity we should focus on US economic data and monetary policy, which turned positive last week.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    May's Last Stand

    When something unexpected happens and the market moves against you, it is usually best to cut your losses. But sometimes it is worth indulging the contrarian instinct. This month most of the pound's gains in the first quarter have been given up and sterling’s position looks dicey. But sterling bulls should not cut their losses. In fact, they should consider doubling down.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Why The Bulls Are Back In Charge

    Now that the S&P 500 has hit a new all-time high and other stock markets have recovered most of the steep losses they suffered last summer, it seems a lifetime since the financial panics of 2018. Investors who bought the dip have enjoyed Wall Street’s strongest quarterly performance in this bull market. After being so well rewarded, how should bullish investors who kept the faith now respond?

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Brextension And The Gilt-Edged Opportunity

    The latest act of the Brexit tragicomedy has played as expected—and market reactions should follow, as the risk premium on sterling and UK assets is substantially reduced. The six and a half months remaining between now and the new Brexit deadline is plenty of time for Britain to decide between the three possible outcomes I have repeatedly discussed.

    10
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    Gavekal Research

    The Hard Logic Of A Long Brexit Extension

    By removing the hard deadline for Brexit negotiations the EU has avoided the disaster of a 2008-style sudden stop in business with its second largest trading partner. This decision reinforces the bullish momentum for sterling, which remains undervalued especially against the US dollar. Ending the risk of a “No Deal” Brexit should also improve the dismal economic outlook and help stabilize political conditions in Europe as a whole.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    The Brexit Impasse

    Political commentators and European leaders are bewailing Britain’s descent into ungovernability after the UK parliament again rejected the new and supposedly improved Brexit deal. But markets reacted calmly. In fact, for investors, the seemingly chaotic Brexit saga is unfolding roughly along the bullish lines suggested here since early January.

    12
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    Gavekal Research

    The Biggest Investment Story Of 2019

    Now that stock markets around the world have recovered from the year-end panic of December 2018, it is worth returning to the question I posed here on the first trading day of 2019: was the disappointing performance of equities and other risk assets in 2018 the prelude to a deep and protracted bear market, or a contrarian opportunity to “buy the dip”?

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Gaming Out Theresa May’s Gamble

    Given that the UK prime minister has apparently outfoxed her opponents, why has the pound fallen back below US$1.30? The obvious reason is that Theresa May’s unexpected wins in the UK parliament last week look to have increased the chances of a disorderly “no deal” rupture. In reality, however, the chances of “no deal” are no higher today than they were a week ago as the EU and UK opposition are yielding to May’s pressure.

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    Brexageddon

    It should have been no surprise that sterling rallied after the overwhelming defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit plan. The disorderly “no deal” rupture with Europe rightly terrifies the markets and the business community is now much less likely. As a result, sterling is likely to rise eventually back towards its long term average real exchange rate.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    The Market Weighing-Machine

    If there is one useful conclusion for investors from the crazy year that has just ended, maybe it is this: as they say in Hollywood, “Nobody knows anything.” The equity market predicted a boom while the bond market predicted recession, and then reversed positions. The consolation for investors should be that the market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Brexit Game Of Chicken

    The Brexit roller coaster seemed to come off the rails on Monday with Theresa May’s effort to prevent parliament voting on what looked like her doomed plan to leave the European Union. May’s decision, which had been denied by her most trusted senior ministers right up to the moment it was leaked to the BBC, initially looked like a typical case of the can being kicked down the road. Yet by the time she had finished her parliamentary statement,...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Reasons To Believe In Détente

    Should we take seriously President Donald Trump’s prediction of “a deal” at his summit with President Xi Jinping on November 30? Nobody can be sure—not even Trump himself—since the outcome may depend on whether Peter Navarro or Steven Mnuchin manages to catch his attention before Air Force One lands in Buenos Aires next week. There are, however, four reasons which I have discussed here before to justify continuing to increase long positions in...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Winding Road To Vassalage

    No one much likes Theresa May’s compromise deal that would leave Britain as a rule-taking, semi-detached appendage to the European Union. That, however, is the most likely outcome after the UK cabinet yesterday approved an exit deal that sets up a November 25 summit, where EU leaders will be asked for their assent. Shortly afterwards, the UK parliament will have its say, and despite challenging math in the House of Commons a “national interest”...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    How The Brexit Stalemate Breaks

    As the Brexit negotiations enter their endgame, a stalemate has become the most likely outcome. Theresa May’s Conservative Party is now in open rebellion against her leadership, with Britain’s weekend press reporting that her government is just 72 hours from collapse. And a “No Deal” Brexit “car crash” is now described as a 50-50 probability by many politicians and commentators in both Britain and Europe. Yet the pound has maintained its value...

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Tail Risks That Worry Me

    Yesterday I made the case that emerging markets should be superior performers in a global bull market, which I characterized as the most hated in history. What that analysis left out was the relative prospects of the other big blocks in the global equity universe; namely, Europe and Japan. My core point yesterday was that trade wars do more harm to economies that close their markets than those countries which supply them, and on this score...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Misunderstanding Today’s EMs

    Suppose that, like me, you think the global equity bull market has a few more years to run and hence the sell-off which culminated with Turkish debt being downgraded two weeks ago was a merely a correction. Where are the best opportunities to “buy the dip”? The answer depends on whether you also share my view about the underlying causes of this year’s market setbacks.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    The Bullish Logic Of Trump’s U-Turns

    The news on Wednesday that Donald Trump’s administration is considering imposing tariffs of 25%—rather than 10%—on an additional US$200bn of Chinese goods might appear to be an aggressive escalation of its trade conflict with China. But there is a high probability the proposed tariffs will never be implemented. Trump has a track record of talking tough, only to back down before it comes to the crunch; a pattern of behavior that may help to...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    The Resurgence Of Political Risk

    Political risk is now the main driving force of financial markets. In 2017 investors learned—or thought they had learned—that political upheavals just create noise, with no lasting effect on market trends that are set by economic fundamentals. But in 2018 this relationship has been reversed. Wherever we look today—at oil prices, global trade flows or conditions in Europe—politics seems to overwhelm economic fundamentals and set the market trends.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Hardly A Game Changer For Oil

    While nobody could have been surprised by the full-scale commercial warfare launched against Iran by President Trump yesterday, his announcement raised more questions than answers. The most important question is whether this action will make the world safer or further destabilize Middle Eastern and global geopolitics. The second question is whether the US enforcement of sanctions will really be as tough as Trump’s belligerent rhetoric and the...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What—Me Worry?

    What should most worry investors about the state of the US economy today? The answer is: “Total absence of worry”. That was my clear conclusion after a week in Los Angeles hobnobbing with the thousands of CEOs, financiers, technologists and politicians at the Milken Global Conference. An intoxicating cocktail of tax cuts, deregulation and record profits has transformed the post-crisis normalization of business confidence into uncritical euphoria.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The New Source Of Market Risk

    Believe it or not, there was good news, as well as bad, from the US markets last Friday. The bad news was obviously Donald Trump’s threat to escalate the trade war with China and the equally aggressive response from Beijing. The good news was the fall in March’s US payrolls growth to just 103,000 from February’s upwardly-revised 326,000. This slowdown has eliminated, at least until after the summer, the risk of an unexpected Federal Reserve...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Reasons To Buy The Dip

    After spending many years as Gavekal’s equity permabull, I joined Charles and Louis last December in warning of the risks to what was then a roaring, and accelerating, bull market. But my way of thinking about these risks was rooted in a different analytical framework, and so I have come to a different conclusion about how investors should respond to this latest sell-off (for Louis’ take, see Following Yesterday’s Pullback). With the lows of mid...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Why Aren’t Bond Investors Panicking?

    Once again, the volatility that rocked global financial markets in recent days was at least as interesting for what it didn’t tell us as what it did. Amid growing protectionism, rising rates and fiscal irresponsibility in the US government, the biggest and most important financial market of all—the US treasury market—isn’t bothered.

    7
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