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    Gavekal Research

    Do Bubbles Predict Or Project?

    With the second quarter data season now in full swing, the rebound in equity prices that followed the Covid-19 panic seems to have stalled. So, what happens now? In this piece, Anatole follows up on Louis’s recent efforts to define reasons for the surge in equity values and proposes a fresh explanation centered on the nature of bubbles.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Direction For Europe

    Anatole Kaletsky, Cedric Gemehl and Nick Andrews joined Louis Gave to talk about what lies in store for the European Union in light of Tuesdays agreement on a €750 billion Covid-19 recovery fund.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe's Deal

    Most of the attention paid to the European Union’s recovery fund deal, secured in the early hours of Tuesday morning, focused on how much of the agreed €750bn would be distributed as grants and how much as loans. That’s understandable. Haggling over this balance was one of the main reasons the talks dragged on into their fifth day. But as far as investors are concerned, the relative size of grants and loans is among the least significant aspects...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Consequences Of ‘Worthless Cash’

    In the second quarter of this year, global equity markets registered their best quarterly performance in two decades. In this, the third paper of a series about the record-breaking rebound, I will consider the possibility that the present growth in monetary aggregates is leading investors to conclude that they have no alternative.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Unpicking The Tourism Effect

    Despite a worsening Covid-19 situation in many big developing economies and concerns over central banks’ monetization responses, emerging market investors continue to climb the wall of worry, betting that a putative “second wave” does not stymie the recoveries of developed economies and China. But another challenge for EM economies is a collapse in foreign tourism.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    From Temporary To Permanent

    “Nothing,” Milton Friedman famously declared, “is so permanent as a temporary government program.” He was right, which is one reason Wednesday saw the euro climb to its highest against the US dollar since the first days of the international Covid outbreak in early March, while 10-year Italian government bond yields fell to their lowest. Investors are betting that the European Union’s €750bn “Next Generation EU,” proposed as a temporary facility...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Simmering War Over Digital Taxes

    The US and Europe are in a standoff over how to tax digital companies. The US Trade Representative on Friday announced tariffs on French cosmetics and handbags, to take effect next year unless France drops plans to tax American tech giants. The worry is that such a dispute spirals, causing a further degradation of the global trade architecture.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Pick Your Side

    The British government’s decision to block Huawei from the UK’s 5G mobile network, confirmed yesterday, is further evidence that the post-Covid world is splitting into two opposing security blocs. International distrust of China is hardening along ideological lines, spurring liberal nations to prioritize national security over economic growth.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Buy Europe, Sell The UK

    In past crises the UK has emerged more quickly than the eurozone. In 2008-09, it restructured its banks, slashed interest rates and embraced quantitative easing before European policymakers had eaten breakfast. As a result, UK domestically-focused stocks outperformed those in the eurozone. Don’t count on a rerun in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Have Equities Become A Bubble?

    Two weeks ago, Louis proposed three possible explanations for the exceptional performance of equity markets in the second quarter, one of which was that investors have taken leave of their senses. In this, the second paper of a three-part series, Louis asks if equity markets are in a bubble. And if so—crucially—what sort of bubble is it?

    13
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: What To Make Of Britain’s £30bn Stimulus

    This week UK Chancellor of the Exchequer “Dishy” Rishi Sunak lived up to his media nickname, dishing out an additional £30bn in fiscal support and stimulus measures. In this short video interview, Nick assesses their likely impact.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Germany's Moment

    Could this be Germany’s moment? The prospect of a disgruntled Italy walking away from the European Union spurred a German move towards new burden-sharing arrangements, but the conditions have been brewing within Germany for a few years as it became clear that its old export-led development model was cooked. Such existential fears are driving a newly creative approach to Europe at a time when the EU’s biggest economy may be set to benefit from...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: A New European Dawn?

    Yesterday Nick and Cedric presented on the topic of their latest Strategy Monthly: A New European Dawn. In this they argue that Europe is finally embracing fundamental reform that should change the investment environment. Anatole offered his take on why the European Union is heading in a “Hamiltonian” direction.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    An Upgrade For The Jeep Portfolio

    In the Covid-19 crisis, Charles’s “Jeep” portfolio, introduced at the end of 2017 and expounded on in mid-2019, has amply demonstrated its worth, outperforming a pure equity portfolio, but with much lower volatility. In this paper, Charles reviews the Jeep portfolio once again, upgrading its components to navigate a post-Covid world.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: A New European Dawn?

    European nations have managed to lay the ground for a putative fiscal union. In a change of tack, Germany has changed tack by embracing demand management policies. Its new approach should drive a more balanced and domestically-focused recovery that may lift the eurozone-wide return on invested capital. Nick and Cedric argue that this changed dynamic is likely to attract foreign capital and lift the euro against the US dollar.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, June 2020

    Yesterday Louis Gave, Will Denyer and Andrew Batson joined Arthur Kroeber at the Global Investment Roundtable. They discussed the economic growth and market situation in the US, the state of the Chinese recovery, and what a post-Covid-19 world might look like.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Towards More Of The Same?

    Investors looking at the impressive rally in global equities since mid-March have been forced to come to one of three conclusions: (i) the Covid-19-induced halt to our economies will soon fade away like a bad dream, (ii) equity investors are crazy, or (iii) a growing number of investors think the cash they hold is bound to become worthless.

    13
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    Gavekal Research

    Please May I Have €10bn Too?

    Indulge me for a moment in a flight of fancy. Last week, the European Central Bank lent out €1.31trn to eurozone banks at a negative interest rate of -1%. Now, I am not a bank, but it is diverting to imagine that I might qualify for a small crumb of this funding, say a modest €10bn—because I know exactly what I would do with the money.

    16
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Update (French), June 2020

    In yesterday's webinar for our Francophone audience, Charles and Louis Gave, Cedric Gemehl and Didier Darcet updated viewers on their views of asset markets and government responses to the economic calamity caused by Covid-19.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Club Med’s Cruel Summer

    France, Italy and Spain suffered the deepest contractions in their economic activity in the first quarter and through April. Yet government programs have successfully supported both business cash flows and household incomes. Beyond the immediate bounce-back from lockdown, however, their economic trajectories are set to diverge.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    From A Tax To A Subsidy

    There will be some hard bargaining ahead when the European Union’s 27 heads of government meet by video conference Friday in an attempt to thrash out details of the bloc’s proposed €750bn recovery fund. German chancellor Angela Merkel is urging a quick deal. But with the “frugal four” countries led by Dutch premier Mark Rutte holding out for strict conditions, a final agreement could yet take several months, with the fund unlikely to start...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Market’s Perception Of Scarcity

    It is a long-running trope of Gavekal’s research that assets can have value either as tools or as jewels. Tools have efficiency value and jewels have scarcity value. The rule that seemed to govern the relative performance of these over the last 50 or so years appears to have broken down. Louis wonders if this is because investors have reversed their perceptions of what is "scarce" and what is "abundant".

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    A Dismal Best Case

    The crowds that Monday swarmed British shops, allowed to open for the first time in 12 weeks, at first sight bodes well for a V-shaped recovery. Yet despite plentiful accumulated savings and considerable pent-up demand, the UK’s consumption-driven economy faces formidable post-lockdown headwinds, with consequences for equities and sterling.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Froth Comes Off

    Recent weeks saw telltale signs of markets getting silly: firms with no sales reaching U$26bn valuations; airline-focused exchange traded funds jumping from US$50mn in size in January to US$1.5bn, and bankrupt firms becoming five and 10 baggers. This kind of activity may lead to one of three conclusions.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    The Derating Of The Dollar

    In the last four weeks as market participants have reassessed relative risk premiums, they have found it increasingly easy to identify currencies which at the margin are looking more attractive than the US dollar. As a result, the dollar has weakened both against developed world and emerging market currencies. This weakness is acquiring momentum, and may have further to run.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Accelerating Into Inflation

    Long-time readers will be familiar with Gavekal’s Four Quadrants framework, which describes how the economy alternates between periods of inflation and deflation, and cycles from boom and bust and back again, and which we use to illustrate which asset classes investors should favor and when. Although this is one of Gavekal’s oldest frameworks, it provides an extremely useful way to think about how the macroeconomic environment is set to evolve...

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe’s Big Guns

    If the worry was that European Central Bank activism was threatened by German judicial chastisement, Christine Lagarde yesterday showed no sign of being cowed. The Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program was topped up to an almost bazooka-qualifying €1.35trn from €750bn and extended a further six months to June 2021. The move added fuel to the rally in euro assets. Rightly so.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe Flexes Its Fiscal Muscles

    Another day, another big fiscal expansion from Germany. Yesterday, Berlin outlined a €130bn stimulus package, representing 3.8% of GDP. If there was any doubt, Europe has clearly ditched its decade-long infatuation with austerity and is back in the Keynesian camp. This situation is bullish for eurozone stocks and in time could yet spur a long-forgotten problem—inflation.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Case For Commodities

    For most of the last decade, we have been in a period of low investment in the commodity sector. Yet, over the next 20 years the global population will grow by almost 2bn—a 25% increase. Migration into cities will continue, with the world’s urban population growing by almost 50%, creating enormous demand for infrastructure.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Recovery And Its Risks

    As economies have begun to emerge from their coronavirus lockdowns, there remain two big near-term macro risks that could derail a recovery. On one hand, solid demand on top of massive central bank monetary expansion could fuel rising inflation. On the other, a big round of permanent job losses could dent demand and slow the economic recovery.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    As The World Reopens

    A few weeks ago, I outlined three scenarios that could unfold as the world reopened for business. Since then, it looks like the market is starting to tentatively position scenario #3 in which the world economy rips and inflation rises due to pent-up demand, budget deficits, low oil prices and money printing. This makes sense, but the rotation may soon face a number of challenges.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, May 2020

    Yesterday Louis Gave, Charles Gave and Anatole Kaletsky joined Arthur Kroeber at the Global Investment Roundtable. They discussed different scenarios for how and when the world’s major economies can exit the Covid-19 crisis and what it means for investors.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Will The Bank Of England Go Negative?

    Having long resisted the lure of negative interest rates, policymakers at the Bank of England have recently admitted that they are considering a cut in the UK’s main bank rate to below zero.Nick examines the pros and cons of negative interest rates, and weighs the probability that the Bank of England will indeed enter negative rate territory for the first time.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    It’s Looking Hamiltonian

    It wasn’t quite the dawn of a new epoch, but the European Commission’s plan to boost its seven-year budget with €750bn of borrowing certainly ranks as a moment for the European Union. The plan needs unanimous backing from all member states and is far from a done deal. Yet it is likely to pass and in so doing it will change the nature of financial risk in Europe.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Kitsune Market (Part IV)

    Over recent weeks, Louis has examined in detail nine “Kitsune” tail risks which could blindside financial markets in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. But in contemplating these tail risks, Louis has been forced to wonder if he has missed the forest for the trees, overlooking perhaps the greatest risk of all for investors: that the 40-year inverse correlation between equities and bonds may be breaking down.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Future Of Hong Kong

    Louis Gave, Simon Pritchard and Vincent Tsui joined Arthur Kroeber to talk about the national security law which China's National People's Congress announced it will implement in Hong Kong, and what this could mean for Hong Kong's future as a global financial center.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Hong Kong And The Ethic Of Responsibility

    German sociologist Max Weber made the distinction between the ethic of conviction, based on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and the ethic of responsibility, based on consequentialist philosophy, a grandchild of Aristotelian logic. The distinction between the two may help investors to determine their response to developments in Hong Kong.

    10
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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

    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.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Europe Update (May 2020)

    In yesterday's webinar, Anatole Kaletsky, Cedric Gemehl and Nick Andrews joined Louis Gave to assess policy measures to deal with Covid-19 in Europe and discuss the significance of a €500bn coronavirus Recovery Fund.

    0
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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

    Phase Two Beckons

    Europeans have spent big to freeze their economies as if held in suspended animation since mid-March. On the whole, this plan is working quite well but EU member states must now agree to a post-pandemic plan for demand stimulus if they are to avoid an all-too-predictable double-dip downturn. They will get a shot next week, when the blueprint for a “recovery fund” is unveiled.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: China And The US Race Toward The Precipice

    The rivalry between the US and China has taken a turn for the worse during the Covid-19 pandemic. In yesterday’s webinar, Tom Miller talked about how China has attempted to use the pandemic in its global influence strategy. Dan Wang updated viewers on the technology rivalry. And Arthur Kroeber outlined how the US-China relationship got to this point.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The World Has Changed, Quick! Buy More Of The Same

    As countries around the world, and some US states, are starting to emerge from their enforced Covid-19 hibernation, investors have to choose between one of three potential outcomes. Either the virus re-emerges and causes new lockdowns, the post-Covid-19 world is not growth friendly, or pent-up demand and supportive policies leads to global growth ripping.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Kitsune Market — Tail Risks In An Unnatural Time

    Most of the world’s big economies have been shut down in response to a pandemic disease—a truly unprecedented event. This led to extreme market moves and also generated an unusually large array of tail risks. Louis likens these to the nine tails of the magical kitsune or fox of Japanese mythology. In yesterday's webinar he elaborated on this idea.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Kitsune Market (Part III)

    In this third part of a series assessing risks thrown up by massive government interventions to stop Covid-19 lockdowns turning into an economic depression, Louis turns his sights on efforts to prevent bankruptcies at all costs. He also considers the rapidly fraying US-China relationship and existential choices faced by Saudi Arabia as it decides how to handle a collapse in oil prices.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Sovereignty And That German Court Ruling

    Tuesday’s ruling by Germany’s constitutional court on the legitimacy of asset purchases by the European Central Bank hits at the heart of a political project whose ultimate aim has been usurp the sovereignty of historical states in favor of a new super state. I am no lawyer but I have studied political science and the issue now in play is of a fundamental nature.

    1
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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.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    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.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    ‘No Limits’ Now ‘No, Limits’

    Markets have largely taken in their stride Tuesday’s decision by the German Constitutional Court that the European Central Bank exceeded its mandate by launching quantitative easing in 2015. The euro's move against the US dollar and the 10bp uptick in Italian 10-year yields were modest by the standards of recent volatility. This may be overly complacent.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: What Does Covid-19 Mean For Emerging Markets?

    So far the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have been a less significant health event in most emerging markets. Yet EMs are bound to suffer a lot of economic damage not only from their own lockdowns but also from the demand collapse in Europe and the US. Udith Sikand and Vincent Tsui analyzed where the investment opportunities lie, and Tom Miller offered the prognosis for India.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Emerging Markets Under Pressure

    Aside from China, emerging markets have not been hit as hard as rich countries by Covid-19, but their asset markets have been hammered. An optimistic view holds that undervalued EM assets can now bounce back. Udith and Vincent are more cautious: a dollar-squeeze could yet hurt markets that have otherwise decent fundamentals and attractive valuations.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Truth About Banks And Bonds

    As I elucidated last week Knut Wicksell’s key idea was that in any market economy there are not one, but two key interest rates, whose relative position drives the cycle. The theory makes good sense, but computing the two rates is tricky. My insight is that I don’t need to compute these two rates but instead measure the structural performance of bank equities in each market.

    10
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, April 2020

    Markets are showing both signs of dislocation (in negative oil prices) and impressive stability (the S&P 500 is only down -4.1% over the previous 12 months). Is this stability a Federal Reserve-induced illusion? Are there more shocks to come? If so, where? In our monthly investment roundtable, Louis, Charles and Anatole discussed market scenarios for the months ahead.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Modeling Projections For The Covid-19 Epidemic

    Gavekal Intelligence Software is collaborating with ETH Zurich and Shenzhen's Southern University of Science & Technology to track the spread of Covid-19. GIS principal Didier Darcet presented the findings in a conversation with Louis Gave

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Italy’s Debt Sustainability Question

    In the short term, Italy’s sovereign spreads are unlikely to be greatly troubled by the decision late Tuesday from Fitch to downgrade the country’s debt rating. In the longer term, however, in the absence of some form of eurozone fiscal union, Italy will remain caught in a vicious debt trap, which must call its continued membership of the single currency into question.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Kitsune Market (Part II)

    Last week, Louis introduced the Kitsune, Japan’s mythical nine-tailed fox, and outlined four tail risks which could upend investment after Covid-19. Today he examines two more important tail risks: that the pandemic might not prove deflationary but inflationary, and the risk that the market’s “don’t fight the Fed” mentality could collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.

    10
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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

    The Kitsune Market

    The Kitsune, the mythical Japanese fox which portends a change of fortune, has nine tails. Inspired by the unnatural conditions in markets, Louis has identified nine tail risks which could upend the investment world over the short to medium term. In the first installment of a two-part series, he outlines four tail risks that investors should consider hedging against.

    12
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Investing In A Time Of Covid-19 (French)

    Charles Gave Louis Gave, and Cedric Gemehl, along with principal of Gavekal Intelligence Software Didier Darcet, participated in a French-speaking webinar. They discussed the global investment outlook in light of the latest Covid-19 tracking data, and how to invest in a world dominated by central banks.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Trouble With Eurozone Banks

    European leaders trod a fine line on Thursday, opening the way for a hefty “recovery refund”, but not committing to one and not saying how the money may be spent. Eurozone capital markets—except for bank stocks—have been fairly calm, and so do not need a hasty bailout. That exception, however, is a problem that may end up consuming a big part of any rescue fund.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Outlook For China Consumption, Labor Markets And Supply Chains

    In Thursday's webinar, Michael Clendenin, principal of Gavekal RedTech, presented the findings of RedTech's consumer surveys in China. Gavekal Dragonomics's Ernan Cui outlined the status of China's labor markets and how they relate to consumption, and Dan Wang spoke on what the Covid-19 crisis is doing to supply chains both in China and globally.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    On The Next Banking Crisis

    For Charles, the last 100 years has seen three standout banking crises; the 1930s depression in the US, Japan’s post-1990 bust and the slow-motion implosion of the eurozone, which has yet to see a denouement. In this piece, he dusts off one of his favorite frameworks for assessing economic cycles and asks what can be learned from these episodes.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: North Korea's Succession Question

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un failed to show up to last week’s celebration of the birthday of his grandfather, North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung, sparking vivid speculation about his health and the chain of succession in the isolated country. In this video interview Yanmei breaks down what could happen in a power vacuum left by the supreme leader.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Some Details On The Shape Of Things To Come

    On Monday, Arthur laid out the core scenario for the exit from social lockdowns in both Europe and the US: a gradual relaxation of the most severe restrictions between now and mid-June, followed by several months or more of significant, but less onerous, restrictions. In this piece he offers more detail on how things might play out in individual countries and states.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Outlook For The US Economy And Global Markets

    In Tuesday's webinar, Will Denyer reviewed the economic situation in the US and suggested how investors should position their portfolios, and Louis Gave presented his global macroeconomic view, taking into account the remarkable developments in the oil market.

    0
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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

    The Shape Of Things To Come

    As the US and Europe prepare to enter their second month of lockdown, the good news is that social controls, where they are imposed, are working. The less good news is that the exit from lockdowns is going to be long and arduous. It is likely that in most major Western nations, economic activity will remain at levels significantly below normal until well into the fall.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Markets Outlook For The World And China

    In Thursday’s webinar, Thomas Gatley explained why China’s corporate sector is weathering the country’s downturn with relative ease and Louis Gave offered a global strategy view for investing in a Post Covid-19 world.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Europe's Unfinished Business

    Eurozone finance ministers attempted to put a positive spin on the no strings €500bn Covid-19 relief package they agreed last week. But everyone is unhappy with the deal. With Italy’s debt to GDP ratio set to soar, Rome is calling for the mutualization of debt among eurozone economies; something Berlin and the Hague have ruled out.

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    Heading In The Right Direction, Slowly

    The Covid-19 epidemic now seems firmly under control in most major economies, and the direction of the disease data is consistently positive. From an infection-control perspective, the outlook is much more positive than when we did our last major review. The path to economic recovery, however, still looks slow and rocky.

    3
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    Webinar: Will Covid-19 Tear Europe Apart?

    Anatole Kaletsky, Cedric Gemehl and Nick Andrews discussed the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe and the unprecedented poilcy responses taken both to combat its spread and help the economy.

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    The Revenge Of The Little Grey Men

    There is a strange contradiction in most developed economic systems as they have been driven by freely assembling entrepreneurs who operate on the basis of money, which is the ultimate tool of state coercion. Charles is worried that the private, risk-taking element of our economies may be fully extinguished by responses to the Covid-19 crisis.

    5
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    An Anti-Fragile Beauty Contest

    Following the 2008 crisis, the S&P 500 bottomed on March 9 2009. Since then, an investor in physical gold would have gained 82.2% while an investor in 10-year US treasuries would have made gains of 65.6% (with coupons re-invested). But with both assets testing their pre-crisis highs, there are several reasons to believe that gold is now set to outperform structurally.

    9
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    New Concerns For A New World

    We are in uncharted policy territory. Never before have we seen the kind of GDP contractions now being projected for most OECD countries, and never before have investors had to deal with such extremes of uncertainty. Against this backdrop, Louis attempts to answer 10 of the most burning questions posed by clients about the shape of the post-Covid-19 world.

    7
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    Destroying The Economy To Save It

    Remember the American military officer in Vietnam who explained US tactics by saying “it became necessary to destroy the town to save it?” Well in the not too distant future, we may have to accept that our economic policymakers have adopted the same tactics in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

    3
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    Rearranging The Deckchairs For Profit

    When everything is falling apart around you, the urge to do something—anything—becomes irresistible. A good solution is to start rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It may not change the bigger picture, but it keeps you busy and does no harm in the longer term. In this spirit, allow me to suggest a little rearrangement that should do no harm, and could even be very profitable.

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    The Atlantic Divide

    Second order economic effects from the Covid-19 outbreak are ripping through industrialized economies, with soaring unemployment, shuttered industries and a fall in corporate profits. While China has eschewed large-scale government support, Europe and the US have adopted massive fiscal and monetary responses. These Western initiatives do, however, differ in key respects and when lockdowns finally end, one or other approach will likely have...

    1
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    Waiting For Godot (21st Century Edition)

    For years, investors have been waiting for China’s massive accumulation of debt to lead to a “Minsky moment”. Instead, in the Covid-19 crisis it is Western central banks that are blowing out their balance sheets in a desperate attempt to stabilize financial markets and their economies—while Chinese government bonds have proved “anti-fragile”.

    2
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    Breaking Down An International Liquidity Crisis

    These are hard times for the global system as big economies are effectively shuttered and risk appetite craters. The US dollar has surged and many leveraged countries face trouble servicing their debts. As these factors become self-reinforcing, Charles thinks it is worth standing back to assess what is causing what. He does this by explaining the dynamics of an international liquidity crisis and suggests specific investment strategies to handle...

    1
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    The Truth In Trump’s Tweets

    Oil market pundits were quick to dismiss Donald Trump’s tweeted claim Thursday that Saudi Arabia and Russia are ready to agree crude production cuts of 10-15mn bpd as “absurd” and “incredible”. But oil production cuts of the magnitude flagged by Trump are certainly in the pipeline—whether as the result of a new Opec+ agreement or not.

    1
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    Strategy Monthly: Lockdowns And Lost Output

    Markets have been upended by the twin uncertainty of Covid-19’s rapacious spread and the economic effects of stopping it. Massive policy responses have convinced investors that a V-shaped recovery is possible, but this is far from certain. As the outbreak in Europe and the US hits its peak phase over the next month, markets will swing on the timing of any proposed exit from lockdowns.

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    Another Crisis, Another Euro-Fudge

    “Europe will be forged in crises, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted in those crises,” wrote European Union “father” Jean Monnet in his 1976 memoirs. Today Europe is once again facing a crisis. And once again the solution adopted by Europe’s fractious leaders is likely to be a short term fudge that defers hard decision-making to another day.

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    Who Will Win The War On Covid-19?

    In recent weeks leaders around the world have deployed all the rhetoric of wartime to declare hostilities against Covid-19. Louis examines which, if any, of the three major global powers—the US, Europe and China—is likely to emerge from the war a relative “winner”, and draws the appropriate investment conclusions.

    11
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    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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    What You See, And What You Don’t

    In economics there is what you see and what you don’t see, and “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” As the world economy suffers a spasm the likes of which has rarely been seen in peacetime, it may help to go back to first principles to figure out what we are not seeing about this crisis, and who is going to end up paying for it.

    2
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    How Long For The Costly Cure?

    Is the cure worse than the disease? This question is already being asked about the economic lockdowns being imposed in response to Covid-19. It will be asked a lot more in the coming weeks as the economic pain gets worse. The short answer is that the cure is costly, but needed; and well-designed policies can enable a transition to a much lower-cost approach by mid-May if not earlier.

    7
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    Video: What's Up With The Pound

    Along with other second-tier currencies the British pound fell steeply between early and mid-March as investors dashed to get their hands on US dollar cash. That US dollar liquidity squeeze has now eased, and sterling has found a near-term bottom. But the outlook for the British currency remains clouded amid the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.

    0
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    Why Europe Can Survive The Storm

    Economic activity indexes in Europe have collapsed to never-before-seen levels, yet markets have rallied as investors have become persuaded that policy responses are enough to avoid a full blown euro crisis from unfolding. Europe for once appears to be more decisive in managing a crisis situation than the US and it is possible it may manage a swifter pick-up once the public health situation stabilizes.

    1
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    Four Baskets For Four Quadrants

    As investors survey the shattered remnants of the past decade’s bull market, they can reasonably assume that the winners of the future will not be those who dominated in the last decade. Louis applies the Gavekal Four Quadrants framework to address the question of which asset class will emerge victorious in a new macro environment.

    0
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    Lockdowns Loom; What’s The Exit Strategy?

    We are heading into another difficult week. Covid-19 case numbers and fatalities outside China continue to grow rapidly. Social lockdowns are spreading to more US states and European countries. In the short run, fiscal support is on the way. Longer term, governments will have to start asking the uncomfortable question of when the economic pain outweighs the public health gain.

    1
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    After The Perfect Storm

    While most media attention is focused on the Covid-19 outbreak, the energy industry simultaneously faces a solvency crisis and a liquidity seizure of epic proportions is unfolding before us. In short, these events have created a perfect storm. What comes next depends on how this three factors driving markets play out

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    Money, Value And The Markets

    Above all, economics is the study of why goods and services have value and why these values are constantly changing. This study is greatly complicated by the fact that there are two different sources of value. In Gavekal-speak, we call these “scarcity” value (think jewels) and “efficiency” value (think tools). So the key question becomes not only “why do things have value?” but also “why do the relative values of scarcity and efficiency change...

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    A Bad Prognosis

    The US and Europe are moving towards Hubei-style societal lockdowns. Arthur sifts through the latest epidemiological research, and concludes that while the worst case public health scenarios will be avoided, the coming lockdowns will be severe and last long enough to have an economic impact possibly more damaging than in China.

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    Fiscal Intubation

    “This is not a time for ideology or orthodoxy,” said UK chancellor Rishi Sunak on Tuesday. Policymakers across Europe and in the US agree. They have now thrown orthodoxy out of the window in an all-out attempt to support economies hammered by Covid-19 countermeasures. In the US, the administration announced fiscal support worth as much as US$1.2trn, or 6% of GDP, complete with the immediate mail-out of a US$1,000 check to each and every member...

    2
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    Solvency Crisis Or Liquidity Crisis?

    Collapsing equity markets, rising bond yields, widening spreads, falling gold—in recent days, there have been few places to hide. When markets act so sick, it usually pays to take a deep breath (in a socially distant manner) and ponder whether we are facing a solvency crisis, or a liquidity crisis.

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    Video: Time For A Fiscal Union?

    The coronavirus pandemic, with its calls for a coordinated European Union-wide fiscal stimulus to counter the inevitable economic ill-effects, would appear to be the ideal opportunity to press forward with the next big step towards European integration by forging a eurozone fiscal union. But things are not so simple.

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    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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    What I Know

    In fraught times, Charles has decided to keep it simple and focus only on what he knows. In this piece, he considers changing relationships between oil prices, long-bond rates, US equities and the dollar and offers various approaches that could help investors survive the bear market.

    1
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    The Conditions Needed For A Bottom

    Financial markets are now in full-blown panic mode. For investors, the key question is: What will it take for markets to form a bottom, and when will this happen? No one can answer with any precision. However, it is possible to discern the broad conditions needed to allow the markets to find a bottom. We are nowhere near them yet.

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