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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Turn Too Soon

    The biggest surprise in China’s latest data was the rally in property: housing sales surged and real estate investment picked up in the first two months of 2016. But this improvement is unlikely to be sustained: the turn in property has come far earlier than fundamentals warrant, and suggests the government does not have a firm grip on the market.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Embracing Housing Debt

    China’s latest wave of supportive policies for the housing market won’t generate a huge bounce, but they do show the government is happy to use easy credit to keep housing sales going. Helping the market digest the oversupply of new housing is clearly a major priority. But the consequences will be rising household leverage and frothy prices.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Say Goodbye To Coal Imports

    China’s coal imports dropped a stunning 30% in 2015—and all signs indicate more declines are coming. Imported coal is taking the brunt of the adjustment in the nation’s energy demand, as the domestic transportation bottlenecks that made imports attractive have eased. We think China will stop being a major net importer of coal in about two years.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Turning Point For Excess Capacity

    2015 saw historic declines in China’s output of coal and steel—which are far from over. Falling commodity prices have brought the excess-capacity sectors to a turning point, finally forcing them to cut output. More producers will cut in 2016, at a pace similar to or faster than in 2015; the government is talking tough but prefers a gradual process.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Five Macro Questions For 2016

    For our first China research piece of the new year, we offer a guide to the economic outlook in the form of short answers to some big questions: Will China derail the global economy? Will the government step up policy easing? Will housing prices collapse? Will industrial profits recover? Will troubled companies lay off more workers?

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Year Of Peak Everything

    2015 should go down as a turning point in China's economic history: coal demand is having its biggest drop for 15 years, steel for 20, cement for 25. The previous declines in materials use were one-offs that were quickly forgotten in the ensuing boom; this time, they will be longer lasting.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Finding The Missing Coal

    This year statisticians decided China has actually been using about 600mn more tons of coal than previously estimated. The news is a bit awkward for official pledges to cap coal consumption and carbon emissions. But actually these new figures only reinforce our conviction that China is already very close to its peak level of coal demand.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Housing Recovery Is Fading

    One of the few recent bright spots in China’s economy has been the recovery in housing sales. Unfortunately, a number of indicators show that recovery losing steam: gains in sales and prices will slow in coming months. This turn in the cycle reinforces our view that construction activity will be weak in 2016, and that more rate cuts will come, says Rosealea.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Gavekal Monthly: A Possible Return Of US Inflation

    The Gavekal Monthly outlines our highest conviction ideas and summarizes the key economic, market and thematic views held by the firm’s partners and analysts. This report is an attempt to answer a question that we are often asked, but find it hard to answer: "What does Gavekal think?".

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Housing & Construction Review 2015

    Our annual overview of China’s housing and construction markets summarizes the short- and long-term outlook for these crucial economic drivers. In this concise chartbook, Rosealea explains the structural challenge from stagnant demand, the new focus of housing policy, and the role of inventories in shaping the construction cycle.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    When Will Construction Rebound?

    Given the huge role that real estate plays in China’s economy, we can’t expect growth to rebound much until construction recovers. In this piece we propose scenarios for how this could happen, focusing on the inventory cycle. We conclude that construction starts will decline again in 2016, with a cyclical rebound not arriving until 2017 or 2018.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Spreading The Urban Wealth

    President Xi Jinping is promoting a plan for integrating Beijing and Tianjin with poorer Hebei province, ev even declaring it a national strategy to drive future growth. If successful, the plan will spread some of the resources in central Beijing more evenly around the region. This in turn will push up property prices in suburbs and smaller cities.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    No New Coal: Power Sector Crosses Green Energy Threshold

    The combination of structural shifts under way in the economy and new regulations mean that future growth in China’s electricity demand growth can be met entirely from clean energy sources. The implication is that over the coming years, China will no longer need to build new coal-fired power plants.

    0
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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

    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.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Housing: From Suppression To Support

    After two rounds of relaxing housing policies, China’s authorities have almost run out of ammunition within the existing policy framework. As a result, the authorities are eyeing new tools to support demand: a greatly expanded market in mortgage-backed securities and a housing policy bank to help finance home purchases.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Inventories Still Weigh On Housing

    Many Chinese cities are still working off the overbuilding of recent years, so developers have little reason to start new housing. Until this is resolved, improving housing sales will do little to boost the economy. This excess supply will continue to weigh on construction for at least another year.

    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 Dragonomics

    A New Market For Power

    China’s government has a new plan to reform the electricity sector, introducing a more competitive, market-based pricing system and encouraging cleaner power. If the reforms are successful, the big winners will include end-users and greener, more efficient producers. The losers will be the grid companies, which face a future of squeezed margins.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: Why The Crude Buying Spree?

    China’s economic growth may be slowing, but its appetite for oil imports is undiminished. In the first quarter of 2015, China imported a record 589mn barrels of crude, up 7.5% from the first quarter of 2014. Last month alone, China imported 222mn barrels of oil, overtaking the US, which imported a relatively modest 216mn barrels, as the world’s biggest importer.

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