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    Gavekal Research

    New York Seminar June 2014 - Louis, Anatole & Andrew

    We held our summer seminar in New York on June 10, with Anatole, Louis and Andrew offering their take on the state of the world economy and financial markets. We were also joined by Henrik Christensen who is director of Robotics at Georgia Tech. Audio recordings of their discussions are available below:

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ: Investment Abroad — The Dragon Steps Out

    China is now the world's third biggest source of outward direct investment, and the things it is buying are rapidly changing. Gone are the days when Chinese outward investment was all about state-owned enterprises buying oil wells and iron ore mines. There are still plenty of state-driven resource deals, but 40% of Chinese direct investment is now conducted by private firms, who are mainly interested in consumer, technology and service...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How Much Pain For How Much Gain In China?

    Xi Jinping and his colleagues have been running China for a year, and they face a crucial set of decisions. They have reined in runaway credit growth and intimidated opponents of structural reforms with an anti-corruption drive of remarkable ferocity. Now the economy is growing at its most sluggish pace in 15 years, and a further slowdown is certain. How much more economic pain are the leaders willing to endure, and how much structural gain can...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Culprits Behind The Housing Correction

    With this year’s correction in the Chinese housing market spreading, the search for the villain of the piece is on. Most market analysts were primed to expect problems in the numerous small, isolated cities that have overbuilt housing and are swimming in excess inventories. Both our own research and much other analysis has shown that smaller cities have serious problems, thanks to an unhappy combination of weak population growth and government-...

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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (14 May 2014)

    In the latest bi-weekly review of global economics and investment:

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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: Clouds Gather Over Property Outlook

    China’s economic indicators for April showed growth holding steady, albeit at sluggish rates, in manufacturing and consumer spending. Exports are even picking up once the data problems are dealt with. But while growth may be stable for the moment the risks of a further downturn are rising, as sales and sentiment worsen in the housing market.

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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Hong Kong’s Diminished Prospects

    Even as Chinese growth has ebbed, Hong Kong has defied the downturn. The territory effectively has full employment and real wages have risen nicely. Over the last year, hot money flows continued to enter Hong Kong and tourists from across the border kept arriving. This, at least, was the case until recently when cracks started to appear in the prosperity of China’s preferred haven for tax-avoidance and luxury shopping.

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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (30 April 2014)

    In the latest bi-weekly review of global economics and investment, Arthur Kroeber considers the implications of Asian deflation. Will Denyer & Tan Kai Xian consider the strong rental market for US homes and wonder what this means for the broader housing sector. Nick Andrews looks up close at reduced liquidity in the eurozone’s financial system. Chen Long looks at a favorable convergence between national GDP numbers and the growth claims made...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Supply-Side Correction In Property

    The supply side of China’s property market is looking surprisingly weak. Indicators of property developers’ desire to expand future housing supply are turning down: construction starts have fallen outright by more than 20% YoY for each of the first three months of 2014, and land purchases swung to a sharp 17% decline in March from slow growth in earlier months. This deterioration in the supply side looks out of proportion to the more gentle...

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    Gavekal Research

    In Laos, All Roads Lead To China

    Two thousand years ago, in the days of the Roman Empire, it was said that “All roads lead to Rome.” Rome’s might was built on the back of metaled roads constructed by an army of 180,000 legionnaires, who pushed the expansion of the empire to its geographic limits. China’s expansion over its modern-day borders is primarily economic, not military. But as China’s massive domestic road-building program extends over its borders into Southeast and...

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    Gavekal Research

    A Good Scalping In Hong Kong

    Massive rains and golf-balls sized hail pelted Hong Kong this weekend, but the weather did not stop the throngs from showing up and cheering on the annual Rugby Sevens. Yet surely it was a tough year for the scalpers, who gather outside the stadium on game days to sell coveted tickets at huge mark-ups to official prices. The rain and dark skies must have given the buyers the upper hand in this year’s price negotiations.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ: China And Japan

    In this issue, we focus on the increasingly tense relationship between China and Japan. Frictions over disputed islands in the East China Sea have stalled bilateral trade and driven the confidence of Japanese businesses in China to the lowest level ever. China's increasing assertiveness, and Japan's election of strongly nationalist leader Shinzo Abe, have sparked worries over a damaging Sino-Japanese conflict. Yet the news is not all...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Neither Boom Nor Bust For Housing

    The pattern has become all too predictable: when Chinese house prices rise, the media cries bubble. When prices slow, we are warned of a crash. In recent weeks the crash warnings have been piling up, as housing sales and price growth have decelerated. The more boring truth is that China’s housing market has its cyclical ups and downs. The year 2014 is shaping up to be cooler than the surprisingly torrid 2013. But collapse is not on the horizon,...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q1 2014 - Data

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Tearing Down Mountains, Building Up Castles

    For buildings to go up, some buildings must also come down. As anyone who has walked down a city street in China can attest, the construction boom of the past decade was also accompanied by the destruction of many older buildings. But getting a handle on the precise scale of this activity has always been difficult. Our estimates based on census surveys suggest the volume of housing demolished over 2005-10 was much larger than we and other...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Hangover From China's Urbanization Boom

    As China’s leaders in recent weeks have laid out an ambitious agenda for market-driven economic reforms, one element has been strangely lacking: urbanization. Premier Li Keqiang made this his signature issue during his years as deputy to the former premier, and has frequently talked up the potential for urbanization to drive China’s future growth. Yet a coherent urbanization policy has been nowhere to be found, as Li’s desire for a healthier,...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    China Economic Quarterly December 2013 - Internet Companies

    In the December issue of the China Economic Quarterly, we examine the state of the Chinese internet, with a focus on the Big Three internet companies: Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. Despite continued government crackdowns on online discussion, China’s internet is booming: 600m people are online, including approximately 450m using mobile devices, and ecommerce may account for close to 10% of total retail sales in 2013. Nearly all this economic...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q4 2013 - Urban Development

    For three decades China’s cities have grown by gobbling up fields and chopping down trees. But in a country that must feed one-fifth of humanity with just 8% of the world’s farmland, land is a scarce commodity. The government believes that it must maintain a minimum 120m hectares of cultivated land to ensure basic food self sufficiency. And since the current area is already very close to this so-called “red line,” cities must somehow grow...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q4 2013 - Property

    Forecasting future construction volumes is a tricky business, as any calculation must be based on a number of different moving parts. One of those parts is the volume of demolition: the more shoddy old flats that are torn down, the greater the volume of construction needed to replace them. Over the past decade, demolitions proved a significant driver of construction demand, as millions of home owners demanded newer and better apartments. But...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Property After The Plenum

    For ordinary Chinese, high housing prices remain one of their biggest concerns, and for economic analysts, the risk of a construction slowdown one of their biggest worries. For our part, we have argued that China’s housing market is moving into structural oversupply, after a decade of structural undersupply, and that significant adjustments are necessary. So it is surprising that the 60-point reform plan from the Communist Party’s Third Plenum,...

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