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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Completing The Bond Connection

    The southbound channel of the Bond Connect program linking mainland China and Hong Kong debt markets started trading on Friday. In this Quick Take, Wei explains that although outflows are unlikely to be large in the early stages, the program should eventually carry major flows and help grow Hong Kong’s offshore bond market.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Times They Are A-Changin’

    Despite widespread fears that the troubles of property giant Evergrande will cause China's "Lehman moment", the renminbi's exchange rate against the US dollar has barely blinked, while Chinese government bonds continue their strong outperformance. Louis examines the facts and outlines the likely consequences that matter for investors.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Webinar: The Evergrande Crisis

    Markets have reacted violently to China Evergrande Group starting to default on US$300bn of obligations. The worry is that a disorderly failure causes a systemic crisis that dents Chinese growth and upends other emerging markets. Our team of analysts think such a chaotic denouement is unlikely and a managed solution remains the most likely outcome. In this webinar, they explain their thinking.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Don’t Call It A Tech Crackdown

    China’s regulatory onslaught against companies like Ant Group, Didi Chuxing and Tencent has been widely referred to as a “tech crackdown.” In this piece, Dan argues that the government’s actions are less a sign that it has turned against tech than they are a rejection of the idea that the consumer internet is the peak of technological achievement.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Evergrande’s International Risks

    The troubles of debt-laden Chinese property developer Evergrande are no Lehman moment, but they do pose a significant risk of international contagion across emerging markets, which investors would be rash to ignore.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Reversal In Iron Ore

    Over the past two months, iron ore prices have tumbled as China’s property market slows and local authorities expand restrictions on steel output. In this report, Rosealea explains why falling steel demand should cause prices to continue their decline, eventually settling at around levels of US$70-80/ton.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Anglosphere Doubles Down

    The “Aukus” security partnership sparked a diplomatic explosion when it was unveiled by Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States last week. As the smoke clears, America’s strategy to counter China is becoming clear. But the diplomatic fallout from Aukus also reflects a new reality. How does Europe fit into this brave new world, and how will China respond?

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    Investing In Today’s Inflationary Environment

    Investing in a topsy-turvy macro environment can feel like a crapshoot. One way to seek order among chaos is to draw lessons from economic history. Louis examines the underlying causes of financial crises since the late 1990s and applies the lessons to consider the way in which the global economy and markets emerge from the pandemic.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    No Escape From The Evergrande Effect

    Fears about the potential systemic risks posed by troubled property developer Evergrande reverberated through global financial markets on Monday. Unless China’s regulators seriously mismanage the situation, a systemic crisis in the country’s financial sector is not on the cards. Nevertheless, lenders will not be able to escape the costs.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    No Profits From Payments

    Online payments were one of the first and most prominent victims of China’s regulatory onslaught against internet platforms. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains how a combination of both tighter oversight and the pending launch of the digital renminbi is limiting platforms’ ability to monetize their payments businesses.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Window Is Closing For Structural Reform

    China’s dismal August economic figures suggest that the “window of opportunity” identified by the Politburo in April, when officials hoped to take advantage of China’s post-Covid rebound to focus on longer-term structural priorities, is now closing. However, it is still too early to expect policymakers to shift gears into a supportive stance.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The High Cost Of Free Money, Revisited

    It’s now more than 10 years since Charles published a seminal paper titled The High Cost Of Free Money, in which he argued that free-market capitalism could not function properly without a free-market-determined cost of capital. Today it’s clear that capital markets, at least, can continue to operate, but Charles argues this has created very little new wealth.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Internet Platforms Versus Policy Darlings

    China’s offshore internet platform stocks saw fresh falls in Asia on Monday morning after reports that the Chinese authorities will break up Ant Group’s Alipay business. In recent weeks, some investors have been advocating a rotation to “safer” segments of China’s tech sector, such as hardware companies favored by policymakers. But Thomas writes, these carry risks of their own.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Webinar: Understanding China's Regulatory Crackdown

    Even by China’s high standards, 2021 has seen an extraordinary amount of government intervention in the economy, as top leader Xi Jinping moves aggressively to implement his vision of national greatness. In this webinar our China team assess the impact on the economy and markets, and discuss what could cause this crackdown to pause or reverse.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Next Level Of Activist Government

    Even by China’s high standards, 2021 has seen an extraordinary level of active government intervention in the economy. With foreign investors spooked and growth slowing, how much longer can it go on? In this chartbook, Andrew takes stock of the many aspects of the current policy activism and assesses the prospects for a course correction.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Covid, Markets And What Happens Next

    Over the last 18 months, Covid developments have been a key driver of financial market performance. Louis contends that this period can be split into four distinct phases. In this piece, he asks whether we are now entering a fifth phase. To do this he weighs up both encouraging and concerning developments within the pandemic and economic policy choices that flow from them.

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    What Kind Of Easing Cycle?

    It’s been clear for a couple of months now that China has begun a monetary easing cycle. What has been less clear is what kind of easing cycle will happen under the central bank’s new “cross-cyclical” policy framework. The PBOC’s guidance indicates it could start cutting rates this year, but will try to keep credit growth next year roughly flat.

    5
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How Markets Multiply Subsidies

    China’s government has vast ambitions for its industrial policy, yet it spends surprisingly little on subsidies and tax breaks. Instead, it relies on domestic capital markets for funding. In this piece, Thomas explains how markets can multiply those initial subsidies into much larger spending in the government’s favored industrial sectors.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Implications Of Afghanistan

    In the same week that the US military completed its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden outlined a more contained doctrine for US foreign policy. In this video interview, Yanmei argues against a declinist view of the Kabul dash for the exit, contending that the longer-term impact may be a much-needed reset of the American imperial project.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How To Create A High-Yield Bond Market

    China’s central bank has now endorsed the creation of a domestic high-yield bond market in an attempt to reverse the increasing exclusion of private-sector borrowers from existing debt markets. In this piece, Xiaoxi outlines how financial regulators are trying to increase both the supply of and demand for high-yield corporate bonds.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Earnings Top Out

    China’s non-financial listed companies reported strong sales, profit and capital expenditure growth for Q2. Thomas explains why listed earnings should decelerate into Q3 as the housing cycle turns down and export demand moderates. High retained earnings and low funding costs will continue to support capex, but appetite is likely to weaken.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: How To Hedge Tighter Liquidity

    So far, markets have not panicked over the prospect of the Federal Reserve tapering its asset purchases. But when it comes, the taper will materially tighten global liquidity conditions. In this calm before the storm, investors running global portfolios should focus on their hedges.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Flows Favor A Weaker Renminbi

    The renminbi has been strong in 2021, with the central bank largely tolerating a steady march higher in the trade-weighted CFETS index. But this trend will turn in coming months, as inflows of foreign currency on both the current and capital accounts decline. With the PBOC easing as the Fed prepares to taper, the renminbi will weaken modestly.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Who Is Copying Who?

    When China joined the WTO in 2001, western governments hoped that closer economic integration would pull China towards a more democratic system of governance. Yet two decades on, that hasn’t happened. In fact, argues Louis, recent years have seen governments in the West increasingly infringe on individual liberties for the benefit of the common good.

    17
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    Gavekal Research

    The Evolution Of China Risk

    It has been a busy summer for China watchers, with rapid shifts in underlying risks. With that in mind, a quick recap of recent events, and where those leave investors, might make sense. Let me start with the obvious increased risks:

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    China’s Interest In Afghanistan

    The western media have been full of warnings over the last week about how the US loss in Afghanistan is China’s gain, with Beijing poised to step into the vaccuum left by Washington’s withdrawal. But while China is anxious to protect its own security, it has no wish to bury itself in the graveyard of emires and will be extremely circumspect about pouring large investments into such a volataile country.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Never-Ending Chip Shortage

    Nine months after the world’s carmakers began to complain about difficulties sourcing the silicon chips they need to make their automobiles, it is becoming clear these shortages are not just the result of short-lived disruptions. Sure, the pandemic has played havoc with global hardware supply chains. But Covid is worsening underlying shortcomings baked into the semiconductor manufacturing industry. This means there will be no early end to the...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Drivers Of The Regulatory Crackdown

    What is driving China’s regulatory crackdown on internet and other companies, and what will happen next? In this piece, Ernan explains how four overlapping political campaigns by top leader Xi Jinping are behind the upheaval of recent months, and how those campaigns will guide the government’s enforcement priorities in coming years.

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Developers Feel The Squeeze

    The steady drumbeat of tightening on China’s property developers is taking its toll on construction activity. In this report, Rosealea explains why this weakness in construction will not unduly worry policymakers and should even help them achieve their goal of reducing steel production. Developers will therefore continue to feel the squeeze.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Building A Science Superpower

    As China’s global rivalry with the US intensifies, it has focused strongly on improving science and technology. This push is not just about prestige, but also reflects a recognition that it can’t always lag behind the US in creating novel ideas. For this piece, Dan interviewed 22 scientists to evaluate the capabilities of China’s science system.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Huarong Comes Up For Air

    Huarong Asset Management announced in a press conference on Wednesday that it had reached a recapitalization agreement with government-backed investors. In this Quick Take, Wei and Xiaoxi explore the consequences for Huarong investors and the government’s wider battle against the implicit guarantee.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Loan Demand Becomes A Problem

    China’s restrictions on borrowing by the property sector and local governments are proving so effective that total demand for credit is weakening. It now looks like loan growth could undershoot official expectations in the remaining months of 2021, which is raising pressure on the PBOC to cut reserve requirements or policy rates.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Saigon, Mosul Or Suez?

    The images of US diplomats scrambling onto jets at Kabul airport, of Afghan refugees fleeing to Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan, and of the Taliban entering Kabul with barely a shot fired are disturbing viewing. For investors, the question is which is the closest historical parallel. The flying helicopters and evacuated embassies recall Saigon in 1975. The speed of the humiliation evokes the 1956 Suez Crisis. And the images of the Taliban parading...

    7
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Bumpy Slowdown

    Chinese economic data weakened across the board in July as disruptions caused by extreme weather exacerbated the country’s wider economic slowdown. In this report, the Dragonomics team explain why policymakers are expected to offer limited support in H2, support which will likely be insufficient to counteract the slowdown in exports and property.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Don't Count On An Infrastructure Boost

    With China’s government sounding more worried about growth, hopes are rising that infrastructure spending will get a boost in coming months. In this piece, Wei explains why new funding for projects will be slow to arrive. More of a boost will come by early 2022, but the upside will still be modest by historical standards.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Understanding Asia’s New Monetary Order (Part II)

    Last month, Charles reviewed the efforts China has made to build an alternative to Asia’s US-dollar-based trading system. Today, he peers into the future, and looks at what China is doing, not just to offer an alternative to the US dollar or euro, but to build a new monetary order for Asia.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Delta Stress Test

    The rapid spread of the Delta variant across China is posing the biggest challenge yet to the government’s zero-tolerance policy toward Covid-19. In this report, Ernan explains why officials are confident in the policy and will likely keep it in place for the indefinite future—at the cost of depressed travel and consumer services.

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    The Consequence Of The IPCC Report

    The quote I over-use most is probably Charlie Munger’s “show me the incentives and I will tell you the outcome.” With this in mind, it is no surprise that the IPCC report makes for a harrowing read. Whether you agree with its conclusions is neither here nor there. The key question is this: what will policymakers do, or want to be seen to do, in response?

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, August 2021

    The US growth outlook may be softening as the reopening boom weakens but equity markets seem relaxed as this outcome could delay the day when monetary stimulus is withdrawn. In our sign-off webinar for August, Gavekal partners asked if markets are right in their benign assessment, or whether a nasty surprise could emerge over the usually quiet summer months.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Another Squeeze For Steelmakers

    Steel futures are on the rise again after several provinces announced plans to cut production. This might sound familiar: prices spiked in April and May following similar announcements. Rosealea writes that this time is different, as slowing construction activity in 2H21 should lower steel demand, making production easier to control.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Getting Kids Off Screens

    Digital gaming stocks tumbled yesterday after an editorial published in state media criticized the social consequences of video games. In this Quick Take, Ernan explains how regulators are tackling the perceived social ills of China’s youth, and why the dramatic market reaction underscores how sensitive investors have become to official guidance.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Capital Markets Balancing Act

    The pace of financial decoupling between the US and China has quickened, with regulators in both countries tightening requirements for Chinese firms seeking to list in US markets. With the SEC likely to push ahead with the delisting of Chinese firms, Thomas writes that Chinese companies will rely on Hong Kong to access global capital.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Is The Reflationary Trade Back On?

    Forget the recent easing signals sent by the Chinese Politburo (and consequent drop in Chinese bond yields). Forget fears about the “Delta variant” giving Western central banks cover to keep extremely loose monetary policies even as inflation rises. Forget also the upcoming US stimulus bill, or the unleashing of European fiscal expansion. A positive signal that no one is yet talking about is the deflationary signal that could have materialized,...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: The Global Monetary Divergence

    As the world’s three big economies—the US, the eurozone and China—recover at different speeds from the shock of Covid, their monetary policy paths are diverging. This divergence will have major implications for bond investors and foreign exchange markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    When Will The Regulatory Rout End?

    Investors in China’s offshore-listed stocks have suffered multiple regulatory shocks. But with both onshore and Hong Kong equities now suffering, the crackdown is hitting domestic investors. Thomas explains why this will likely change the calculus for China’s policymakers, and why regulators are now likely to adopt a more constructive tone.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Evergrande Drama Plays Out

    Investor confidence in Evergrande Group, China’s second-largest property developer, has been pummeled in recent weeks. While Evergrande has managed to put out the latest round of fires, and a collapse is unlikely, Rosealea argues in this piece that market volatility for developers will probably continue as financial regulators keep on squeezing.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Behind China’s Corporate Clampdown

    Private education is the latest sector to draw fire from the Chinese authorities. Their action has precipitated an abrupt slide in Hong Kong’s equity indexes as international investors bale out, alarmed at what they see as official caprice. It has also triggered a spate of questions about what lies behind the crackdown, and what the action means for the future of investing in China.

    9
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The WMP Countdown

    The clock is ticking for China’s banks to restructure the wealth-management products they have long used to evade financial regulations. Progress has been slow, but regulators have signaled they will not extend the end-2021 deadline again. However, as Xiaoxi argues in this piece, regulators will end up having to grant banks plenty of exceptions.

    5
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Class Is Over For Tutoring Firms

    Policymakers launched a massive crackdown against Chinese education companies over the weekend that will likely mean the end of these companies as they are currently structured. In doing so, Ernan writes that China has signaled it is not afraid to simply shut down a large and profitable industry in order to achieve its social and political goals.

    14
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Macro Update: Easing Into The Slowdown

    China's post-Covid boom peaked in H1 and the beginnings of a slowdown are now obvious. Although growth momentum is still quite solid, policymakers have moved pre-emptively to start a monetary easing cycle. In the latest edition of our regular chartbook, the Dragonomics team explains the outlook for the economy and markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The State Of Global Growth

    The reflation trade has ebbed in recent weeks as investors have gotten more comfortable with the trajectory of US monetary policy and concerns have risen over the Delta variant of Covid disrupting economic opening. At the same time, China continues to crack down on its high-growth internet sector. Our team assessed the market implications of these trends.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    China’s Afghan Quandary

    For China, the only thing worse than having the United States Army on your border is not having it there at all. When the US completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan this summer, China will have to fill the ensuing power vacuum to stave off terrorism and Islamic extremism at home, as well as protect its Belt and Road Initiative investments.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The PBOC’s Pre-Emptive Strike

    China’s surprising decision this month to cut banks’ reserve requirement ratios has upended the consensus on its policy trajectory and sown confusion in the market. In this piece, Wei explains the move was neither a panicked attempt to jump-start growth, nor a minor technical adjustment, but a pre-emptive start to a different kind of easing cycle.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Rotate Back To Taiwan

    Korea and Taiwan have lately been the twin star performers among East Asia’s equity markets. Over the 12 months to the end of June, MSCI Korea returned 70% in US dollar terms, and Taiwan 69%. Both markets were supercharged by the strongest local export growth in decades. And while shipments were flattered by base effects, there was strong underlying support from the robust demand for East Asia’s exports as developed markets reopened. In addition...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: What's Behind China's Internet Crackdown?

    China's authorities have aggressively tightened regulation of the formerly free-wheeling internet sector. In this webinar, Gavekal RedTech principal Michael Clendenin joined Gavekal Dragonomics's Ernan Cui and Thomas Gatley to analyze the government's motives in the ever-widening crackdown, forecast the next regulatory moves and explain how investors can navigate the risks.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The China Piece Of The Puzzle

    On Monday, Louis identified three possible culprits for the rally in US treasuries, the consequent abrupt shift from value to growth, and the outperformance of US equities. Of these three, Chinese overtightening seemed the best explanation for what has unfolded in financial markets over the past couple of months. Louis explores what this could mean for investors.

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Manageable Decline

    Chinese economic data for June showed cyclical sectors beginning to decline from a strong peak, while consumption growth is still struggling to regain pre-Covid levels. In this Quick Take, the Dragonomics team explains why China seems on track for a manageable decline in H2.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Data Security Is National Security

    With the dramatic punishment of ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing immediately after its IPO, China’s government has opened a new front in its regulatory crackdown on internet companies: data security. In this piece, Ernan explains why regulators are escalating and what these new concerns mean for Chinese internet platforms.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Understanding Asia’s New Monetary Order

    China’s program to dedollarize Asia must overcome two sets of problems: the problems inherent in trade between countries, and problems related to the financial risks posed by the passage of time. In this paper, the first of a major two-part report, Charles examines the progress Asia has made towards replacing the dollar as a reliable means of exchange for intra-regional trade.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Making The Implicit Guarantee Explicit

    To keep access to bond markets amid rising defaults, many of China’s financially stressed local governments are offering stronger support for their companies’ debts—making the implicit guarantee more explicit. This won’t stop all local government financing vehicles from defaulting, but it means the defaults may come from less obvious places.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Is The Chinese Growth Sector Still Investable?

    First China’s regulators came for the fintech companies. Next, it was antitrust investigations into successful internet companies. Then it was a crackdown on private education. Now regulators’ ire has focused on ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing. Has the specter of harsh and unpredictable regulation made China’s internet and other high-growth companies uninvestable?

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: China's Conflicting Pressures In The Second Half

    China is entering the second half of 2021 with its strong post-Covid economic momentum still intact, despite policymakers staying consistently hawkish on debt and property. In this webinar Wei He, Rosealea Yao and Thomas Gatley outlined how these conflicting pressures will play out over the rest of the year, and discussed the potential for an easing of the policy stance.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Surprise Easing Signal

    China’s State Council issued a statement calling for “using monetary policy tools, including cuts in the reserve requirement ratio” to reduce financing costs for enterprises. In this Quick Take, Wei explains why policymakers are trying to lower corporate borrowing costs without pushing down interbank rates.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Year Of Policy Divergence

    A year into its recovery from the Covid-induced collapse of 2020, the world’s largest economy is stimulating final demand to an extent rarely seen before. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, the picture in the world’s second largest economy is starkly different. As a result, for the first time, broad money growth in the US is rapidly outpacing that occurring in China.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    The Inflation Quandary

    Markets seem to be comforting themselves that incipient inflation is, as the Federal Reserve has argued, a transitory phenomenon. Louis is skeptical that this is the case. He sees no evidence of any deflationary shocks that could squeeze price pressure, while at the same time, Western policymakers are doing all in their power to pump up demand.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Another Go At The Property Tax

    After two years of silence, the Chinese government has signaled it is making a new effort to implement a residential property tax by expanding local trials. In this report, Rosealea explains why, against a better economic backdrop and with less organized opposition, the property tax is likely to stick this time around.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Impact Of Didi’s Smackdown

    Just two days after raising US$4.4bn from US investors, China’s largest ride-hailing platform, Didi Chuxing, has been placed under investigation by Chinese authorities and told to stop registering new users due to alleged violations in the handling of users’ data. Ernan and Thomas assess what this signals for the uncoupling of US and Chinese equity capital markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Can Things Really Keep Getting Better?

    The US economy continues to break growth records as it reopens and other big regions may be set to go the same way, while Asia continues to prosper from a strong export outlook. The question is not whether the world economy slumps back into a funk, but whether growth expectations are now set too bullish.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A User's Guide To The Chinese Bond Market

    The expansion and opening of China’s onshore renminbi bond market is one of the biggest changes to the structure of global financial markets in recent years, one that investors are still grappling with. In this comprehensive 30-page DeepChina report, our analysts present a guide to the nature and functioning of this important market.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Cryptos’ Many Damocles’ Swords

    Since peaking in mid-April at US$63,500, bitcoin has almost halved in value, making a series of lower highs and lower lows . For such a high-beta asset, this roll-over is interesting given that risk assets like equities have powered on to new highs. So has the overall environment for cryptos materially changed?

    5
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Disciplining Deposit Rates

    China is changing the way bank deposit rate ceilings are calculated, the first such change in five years. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains how the change, which will flatten bank deposit yield curves, has some of the same effects as a deposit rate cut: it will reduce cost pressures on banks and widen their margins, although not dramatically.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The G7’s Rival To The Belt And Road

    With the launch of “Build Back Better World,” the world’s rich democracies want to take on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The G7 sees the initiative as a chance to re-energize international development finance. The plan is worthy, but the nuts and bolts of providing such projects in poor countries suggests that China does not face serious competition.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    No Need For Passports

    One of the most dramatic shifts within the global consumer market since Covid-19 has been the sudden termination of Chinese overseas tourism. In this report, Ernan explains why Chinese tourists will likely decide to remain grounded even as other countries open their doors, leaving households with extra money to deploy at home.

    3
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    Decarbonization Is An Industrial Problem

    How achievable are China’s targets of reaching peak carbon emissions before 2030 and a fully carbon-neutral economy by 2060? Rosealea writes that the unusually large share of heavy industry in China’s CO2 emissions will make the 2030 target difficult to achieve, while carbon neutrality will require a massive reorientation of China’s economy.

    3
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    Flabbergasted

    When you write in a language that you didn’t learn from your mother, it is easy to fall in love with new words and then overuse them. In the 1970’s, I came across “flabbergasted” and, truth be told, I ended up being flabbergasted in that decade rather more than I actually was. Today, however, I am again flabbergasted, but am fairly confident that it is for good reason.

    6
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    Reasons To Buy The Commodity Dip

    After rising nearly 60% from its March 2020 trough, the Bloomberg commodity index fell -4.2% over the past week. This has given a headache to investors who had prepared their portfolios for imagined inflationary times by buying real assets like commodities. Do they now “buy the dip” in expectation of another leg up?

    0
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    Irresistible Force Vs. Immovable Object, Round Two

    US policy on China is now defined by an acute tension between national security and business interests. In this report, Arthur and Dan explain how the Biden administration is navigating this tension, one which will be a permanent feature of the global landscape over the next decade.

    0
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    The Consequences Of Slowing Credit

    China’s credit growth is slowing as officials take advantage of stable economic conditions to tackle excess financing. In this report, Wei explains why the downward credit pressure should have little impact on overall economic growth, but will affect liquidity conditions for property developers and local government financing vehicles.

    0
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    What’s Your Linchpin Made Of?

    Writing here on Tuesday, Louis argued cogently that energy prices will be the “linchpin” that decides the future direction of inflation. But, in asking whether governments can successfully engineer a green energy transition, it’s fair to say he was thinking in terms of years ahead. Energy prices also have a major influence on inflation and inflation expectations on the scale of months.

    1
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    The Energy Question

    Over the last 20 years, China has been the biggest buyer of most commodities. For investors, this meant that when China was tightening, easing up on commodity exposure made sense. That has not been the case in 2021, and in this piece, Louis seeks to explain why. He also raises the possibility that this cycle ends not with an inflationary blowout, but rather a whimper.

    7
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    Living In A Dual Currency World

    Let’s begin with the basic principles underlying any currency, at least according to economics 101: it should be a medium of exchange, a standard of value and a store of value. I have long argued that central banks’ determination to pursue the “euthanasia of the rentier” rather than protecting money as a store of value would lead to big problems.

    0
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    There Is No Capex Weakness

    China’s headline fixed-asset investment numbers missed expectations in Q1, but how trustworthy are they? In this report, Thomas cross-checks the headline FAI with bottom-up reporting from listed companies and concludes that the apparent weakness is a data issue, not reality. Positive conditions for corporate capex should persist through 2021.

    1
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    A Different Kind Of Inflation

    China’s producer price gauge is surging, stoking fears that the country is both succumbing to global inflationary pressures and stirring them up. However, such fears are misplaced, writes Thomas, since China does not face the kind of bottleneck problems blighting the supply-side of the US economy.

    0
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    The One For All Problem

    Now that a deal has been done on corporate taxation, this weekend’s Group of Seven summit will focus on helping low-income countries roll out Covid-19 vaccination programs. Given inevitable production and distribution problems, the world is unlikely to be fully vaccinated before the end of 2022.

    0
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    When To Fade The Chinese Equity Rally

    After officials moved against crypto-currency and commodity speculation a few weeks ago, investors jumped back into equities, perking up a market that had been moribund since March. However, on balance, this looks like a counter-trend rally that should ultimately be faded, as the corporate profit cycle is starting to roll over.

    1
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    Why Am I Hearing This Now?

    Two big storylines have recently emerged in Western media and Louis is not convinced this is down to editors stumbling on new information. In the case of the Wuhan “lab leak” theory and China’s suddenly challenged demography, he thinks that both the US and Chinese governments have an interest in spinning new narratives.

    21
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    The Urbanization Surprise

    China’s 2020 census revealed that urbanization has been faster over the past decade than official statistics showed. That means the fundamentals for housing demand are stronger than most had realized. As Rosealea argues in this piece, the census should drive an upward reassessment of long-term trends in China’s urbanization and commodity demand.

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    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, June 2021

    The big question is still about how durable the current burst of inflation will prove to be. Anatole and Louis joined Arthur to debate this—and everything else going on in the world economy—at our monthly global investment roundtable.

    0
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    Video: Fixing China’s Population Crunch

    China’s latest census revealed a low fertility rate, pointing to the population soon topping out. In response, the government has said that couples can now have up to three children but, as things stand, there is no reason to think that they will. In this video interview, Gilliam assesses the various policy levers that the authorities can pull to stop the Chinese nation getting smaller.

    0
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    The Xinjiang Pressure Test

    The US government’s criticism of China’s treatment of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, and China’s government’s tough response, is a very public test case for multinationals with China operations. They don’t want to take sides. But as Dan explains in this piece, foreign companies will, if forced to choose, move closer to the US position.

    0
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    Striking A Balance On Steel Restrictions

    China’s steel output restrictions are softening following a sharp downward price correction. Rosealea writes that while environmental targets prevent officials from abandoning production curbs altogether, they will need to introduce demand-side constraints to match these supply-side measures and to avoid a repeat of the recent price dislocations.

    0
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    Seriously, Cool It With Currency Appreciation

    China’s central bank responded to the renminbi’s continued appreciation by raising the foreign-currency reserve requirement ratio from 5% to 7% effective June 15, the first change since 2007. Wei explains why this policy shift makes it clear that officials are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the renminbi’s trade-weighted exchange rate.

    0
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    The Slow-Motion Reverse Asian Crisis

    With hindsight, the key event impacting the global investment environment in 2020-21 may not have been the Covid pandemic but the renminbi’s strengthening. This is the first global crisis of the modern era when China has reacted by allowing its currency to appreciate. In this report, Louis outlines likely reasons for this change of policy in Beijing and the investment implications.

    6
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    The Odds Of Oil Breaking Out On The Upside

    Since January, most commodity prices have ripped higher, with materials and energy among this year’s best performing sectors. So where do we go from here? Obviously, the price of energy marks the spot where current supply meets current demand. And when looking at oil prices today, there are both bullish and bearish arguments to be made on either side.

    4
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    The China Inc. Annual Report 2021

    China’s companies are enjoying a historic boom as domestic and global demand bounces back from the shock of Covid-19. But how long will it last, and what will the longer-term effects be? In this annual chartbook, Thomas lays out the fundamentals of China’s corporate sector through a detailed examination of income statements and balance sheets.

    0
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    After The Vaccine

    China’s Covid-19 vaccination program has significantly accelerated in May, bringing it on track to reach its target of administering at least one dose to 40% of the population by end-June. In this report, Ernan explains why this achievement does not mean the country will be opening its borders or removing domestic precautions this year.

    1
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    Video: Buy The Crypto Dip?

    Crypto-currency prices have plunged in the last two weeks on a bad brew of news. Will wants to believe in crypto-currencies as an alternative form of money. However, he has struggled to see how such tokens make the jump to being “money”, with all that entails. The question is whether after such a big price drawdown, this skepticism is now discounted into the price.

    0
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    Calm Down About Currency Appreciation

    The People’s Bank of China reiterated that its exchange-rate policy has not changed, a signal to markets that they should not get too excited by speculation that officials will tolerate greater appreciation of the renminbi. Instead, Wei believes the PBOC is hoping for the currency to appreciate less against the dollar than against other currencies.

    0
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    The Consumer Recovery Is Still On Track

    April’s shaky retail sales figures have raised questions about the strength of China’s consumer recovery. Ernan explains that the figures should be taken with a grain of salt: a closer inspection of April consumption indicators reveals that these worries are unfounded, and that consumer spending is continuing to recover at a healthy pace.

    0
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    Q&A On The Inflation/Deflation Debate

    Last week Louis argued that each time inflation looked set to rear its head over the last 35 years, the global economy encountered a deflationary event. Yet today it’s not clear where a countervailing deflationary hit might come from. His report triggered some interesting back-and-forth with clients, and in this piece he replies to the key points raised.

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