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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q2 2012 - Private firms

    For years, China’s vibrant private sector firms have faced all sorts of dis­crimination: difficulty getting bank loans, high interest rates on the loans that are available, extortion by corrupt officials, outright nationalization, bans from investing in certain sectors, and rapacious competition from subsidized state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Despite all this, the private sector has steadily increased its share of economic output. But many...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q2 2012 - Consumer demographics

    On summer evenings, once every other week, central Beijing grinds to a halt. Around the Workers Stadium—erected in 1959 to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic—the gray capital turns green, as thousands of Beijing Guo’an football fans throng the streets. More than 40,000 emerald-shirted supporters regularly watch Guo’an, the Chinese Super League’s best-supported team. In most respects, the scene is unremarkable: any...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q2 2012 - Labor Force

    China’s population is aging. After more than three decades of force­ful family-planning policies, including the one-child policy, the share of children and young adults in China’s population is shrinking. At the same time, the population growth rate has slowed and people are living to much older ages. Conventional wisdom holds that this dramatic demo­graphic shift bodes ill for China’s economy: a growing labor shortage will damage...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q2 2012 - Capital Markets

    After a whirlwind start, is Guo Shuqing’s reform tornado blowing out? No. The new chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) continues to push ahead with long-needed policies to re-ener­gize China’s stock market. The plan to allow foreign companies to list on a new international board may have stalled—but that was always going to be hard to sell to China’s nationalistic leaders, and was of dubious value in any case. Instead,...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q2 2012 - Property

    For the past two years, the broad of aim of China’s restrictive property poli­cies has been simple—to make housing more affordable. The government’s approach has been to squeeze demand at the top of the market and boost supply at the bottom. Have these measures succeeded? For the vast major­ity of native urbanites, the answer is yes. In 2010, the price-to-income ratio in big cities exceeded nine; this year it should fall to near seven. The major...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q2 2012 - Metals Man: Screwing Up In Foreign Climes

    When China launched its “Go Out” policy in 1999, leaders hoped state-owned enterprises (SOEs) would snap up valuable foreign assets and transform themselves into successful multinationals. In the mining sec*tor, China’s national champions have become powerful international investors—yet they have also wasted billions of dollars on ill-conceived projects, often exacerbated by poor management. To take three examples, the cost of CITIC Pacific’s...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q2 2012 - Chinese Exports

    As any casual visitor to the “Made in China” aisles in Wal-Mart or Car­refour can attest, China’s prosperity has relied heavily on the export of cheap consumer goods to rich countries. But the image of China’s export­ers as a phalanx of sweatshops churning out T-shirts and toys for Ameri­can and European shoppers is outdated. Most of the growth in Chinese exports now comes from industrial goods—earth movers, telecoms net­work gear, construction...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q2 2012 - Economic Survey

    China’s economy continued to slow noticeably in the early part of 2012. Headline GDP growth of 8.1% year on year in the first quarter, down from 8.9% in the final quarter of 2011, was lower than market forecasts—though close to our own more modest expectations. In quarter-on-quarter terms, annualized real growth probably slowed to 6-7% in the first quarter from around 9% in the second half of 2011. On either metric, this was China’s weakest GDP...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    DragonWeek - Weak Currency, Weak Growth

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ: Demographics

    Profound demographic changes are redrawing the parameters of China’s future. These changes have already begun to affect the Chinese economy, and pose a serious risk to future economic growth, social harmony and political stability. How serious are the demographic challenges facing China, and what can be done to lessen their impact?

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Demographic Transition: Racing Toward The Precipice

    China’s demographic bullet train is racing into the unknown. Its carriages are already full, but more passengers squeeze in every minute. Most are not young, productive workers, but older travelers who cannot pay for their ride. No one knows where the train will stop, nor whether it will arrive safely.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q2 2012 - Family-planning policy

    For thousands of years, Chinese women were expected to raise large families. In the 1950s and 60s, this cultural expectation became national policy: as Mao Zedong called for “more people, more power,” China’s population surged from around 400m to 700m. Yet that all changed in the 1970s, as tough family-planning policies were introduced to curb excessive population growth. These policies hardened into the biggest demographic experiment of all...

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    Fathom China

    CEQ Q2 2012 - Sany Heavy Industry

    If you still think China’s role in global trade is to produce all the stuff at Wal-Mart, then it is time to reconsider. Last year, heavy industry accounted for 39% of China’s exports, up from 29% a decade earlier, and Chinese heavy industrial products increasingly challenge the status quo in international markets. Nowhere is this more the case than in construc*tion equipment, where a spunky private enterprise called Sany Heavy Industry just...

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    Gavekal Research

    Dim Sum On A Diet

    The “dim sum” bond market has been one of the world’s hottest since China stepped up development of this overseas renminbi fixed-income platform. Last year saw issuance soar to US$14bn, nearly triple the amount in 2010, and this year began with similar momentum. More recently enthusiasm has waned, which is hardly surprising, given the storms blowing through global markets. But it seems fair to ask whether expectations for this burgeoning market...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Great Affordability Question

    For the past two years, the broad aim of China’s restrictive property policies has been simple: to make housing more affordable. The government’s approach has been to squeeze demand at the top of the market and boost supply at the bottom. Have these measures been successful? For the vast majority of native urbanites, the answer is yes. In 2010, the price-to-income ratio in big cities exceeded 9; this year it should fall to near 7. The major...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Still Waiting For China's Grain Drain

    Many analysts and investors think China is on the brink of massive and sustained corn imports. The nation is running out of the land, water and farmers needed to produce large quantities of the grain, they say. And while official statistics show steadily rising domestic corn harvests, they think those rosy figures are probably manipulated. The conclusion seems simple: China must soon import lots of corn, and world markets will shake.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    DragonWeek - Wanted: Private Sector Investment

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Slow Retreat Of China's State Sector

    Just how big is China’s state sector, and is it getting bigger? These are simple questions to pose, but difficult ones to answer. China’s state-owned enterprises clearly play a uniquely large and powerful role in its economy. No other major economy in the world manages to have both so much dynamism, and such a massive and pervasive collection of SOEs.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    DragonWeek - First Steps To More Stimulus

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    Gavekal Research

    More Questions Than Answers In China

    Three months ago, we wrote about the widening valuation gap between domestically listed China shares, and their overseas counterparts (see The China A– vs H-Share Gap Widens). Today the gap is largely closed: H-shares, listed in Hong Kong, have almost lost all their year-to-date gains while A shares have fallen only slightly. This convergence shows that foreign investors, who had been preparing for a substantial easing, adjusted to the less-...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Healthy Debt-Free Diet

    The pendulum seemed to swing against private companies in China following the global financial crisis in 2008, as the massive stimulus program handed state-owned enterprises the leading role in supporting the economy. The trend of funneling funds and projects to state firms was so pronounced that it sparked a national debate over whether the private sector is being forced into a “retreat” from the center of the economic stage.

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Chilled, Fracked, Or Piped?

    The new investment in aspiring US gas exporter Cheniere Energy, which plans to open its first liquefied natural gas terminal in 2015, will bring cheap US gas one step closer to ravenous Asian consumers. Cheniere’s Sabine Pass project, which has already signed contracts for the majority of its output, now looks nearly certain to succeed, after the infusion of US$468m in capital from Temasek Holdings and private equity firm RRJ Capital. Others may...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    DragonWeek - The Future Of Infrastructure Investment

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    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Spurs For A Reluctant Horse

    All major indicators of China’s economy slowed further in April, dashing hopes that the signs of improvement in March meant an early recovery from the current downturn. The relatively weak first quarter now looks likely to be followed by a weak second quarter, though we expect more counter-cyclical policy moves to steady growth by the second half of 2012.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Very Messy Bunch Of Tea Leaves

    Chinese politics, very unexpectedly, has gotten exciting. Few of our readers will now need an introduction to the tale of ousted Communist Party leader Bo Xilai and his wife’s alleged involvement with the death of a British businessman. Bo had been considered a rising political star by many, but his attempts to build a regional power base in the inland metropolis of Chongqing were also viewed with suspicion. When one of Bo’s henchmen flirted...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Will India Be The Next China?

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    10
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    DragonWeek - Wages Just Keep On Rising

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    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Visible Chinese Recovery

    The maxim of "sell in May and go away" has worked well in the past two years, and many investors are likely planning to revisit this strategy for a third year. After all, we have had soft economic data around the world, from weak exports in Asia to record unemployment in Europe, and there are quite a few uncertainties on the horizon, from fiscal cliffs in the US to Debt Traps in Europe. However, against these murky seas, we see high...

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    China Macro Chartbook May 2012

    China may have already seen the worst of this cyclical downturn.

    0
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    Fathom China

    Profile: Yurun Food: How Piggy Gets To Market

    In an increasingly carnivorous nation, you would expect China’s biggest private pork producer, China Yurun Food Group, to be in hog heaven. Instead, a series of food-safety and other scandals have left consumers afraid to buy Yurun’s meat and investors afraid to buy its stock. Given that Yurun’s marketing message has always emphasized that its sausages and meat cuts are safer than unbranded meat, the company’s safety problems will remain hard to...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Chinese Equities: Value Does Matter!

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Why Has Gold Failed To Move Higher?

    We at GaveKal have never really been full-paid up members of the buried kruggerrand investment society. In fact, what we have written on gold over the years hardly covers us in glory. To put it bluntly, we have mostly missed the massive gold bull market. And not because we didn’t see the expansion in central bank balance sheets (that one has been hard to miss). Nor because we were turned off by the zeal of most gold bulls, who tend to display a...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Unregulated Finance Moves Out Of The Shadows

    China’s dodgy markets for informal lending have been a source of worry for investors and, increasingly, regulators. As so-called “shadow finance” surged in 2010 and 2011 amid tight quotas on traditional bank lending, many worried that it was a new source of risk for an already-strained banking system. A crisis in the underground lending capital of Wenzhou helped spark a regulatory crackdown that sharply curbed growth in shadow finance last year...

    5
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Pink Capitalists In Bloom

    For years, China’s vibrant private sector firms have faced all sorts of discrimination: difficulty getting bank loans, high interest rates on the loans that are available, extortion by corrupt officials, outright nationalization, bans from investing in certain sectors, and rapacious competition from subsidized state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Despite all this, the private sector has steadily increased its share of economic output. But many...

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    The GK Asian Allocation Indicator

    Asia presents the global investor with a painful paradox. The world’s fastest growing region scores well on most economic indicators and yet Asian equity market volatility continues to be deadly. Despite out-performing over the last decade, Asian markets have not decoupled from their OECD brethren. Moreover, external shocks hit Asian equities harder as shown by their lagging performance over the last 12 months due to concerns about a Euro-zone...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    DragonWeek - Public Sector Reform And Housing Prices

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    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Chinese Exports' Second Wave

    As any casual visitor to the “Made in China” aisles in Walmart or Carrefour can attest, China’s prosperity has relied heavily on the export of cheap consumer goods to rich countries. But the image of China’s exporters as a phalanx of sweatshops churning out T-shirts and toys for American and European shoppers is outdated. Most of the growth in Chinese exports now comes from industrial goods—earth movers, telecoms network gear, construction...

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Foxconn's Journey to the West

    For nearly a decade, we have heard predictions that higher costs on China’s eastern seaboard would push exporters to cheaper climes, whether abroad or further inland. That has not happened: China’s export heartlands along the coast are shipping more goods than ever, give or take the odd consumer hiccup in Europe. Exporters continue to value easy access to efficient ports and developed supply chains. Yet since last summer, exports from three of...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Chinese Exports' Second Wave

    As any casual visitor to the “Made in China” aisles in Walmart or Carrefour can attest, China’s prosperity has relied heavily on the export of cheap consumer goods to rich countries. But the image of China’s exporters as a phalanx of sweatshops churning out T-shirts and toys for American and European shoppers is outdated. Most of the growth in Chinese exports now comes from industrial goods—earth movers, telecoms network gear, construction...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    RMB Policy & Dim Sum Bonds

    The widening of the daily trading band for the renminbi, announced over the weekend by the People’s Bank of China, sends a strong signal of short- and medium-term policy priorities for the Chinese government. The widening of the band from ±0.5% to ±1% is yet another step showing an entrenched commitment to financial liberalization and ultimately capital account convertibility. For currency traders, it reinforces our view that the RMB is on...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    DragonWeek - RMB Trading Band And Commodity Demand

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    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Soft Landing In Sight

    China’s headline GDP growth of 8.1% YoY in the first quarter of 2012, down from 8.9% in the last quarter of 2011, was lower than market forecasts, though close to our own more modest expectations. In QoQ terms, annualized real growth probably slowed to 6-7% in the first quarter from around 9% in the final two quarters of 2011. On either metric, this was China’s weakest GDP growth since the depths of the global financial crisis in late 2008-early...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Developer Results Mask Risks

    Considering the negativity surrounding the Chinese property sector, listed developers have just posted a surprisingly strong set of results. Sales are up, profits are strong (both in RMB and margin terms) and balance sheets remain solid. The decent numbers partly reflect most transactions having been negotiated 1-2 years ago under far easier market conditions. However, such a benign environment is unlikely to be quickly reproduced given the...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    A Study In Constrasts: The BoJ & PBoC

    In early February the Bank of Japan promised a monetary expansion, while China vowed that its tightening regime was far from over. But of course, equity investors do not always get what they are promised. It now looks like the roles have been reversed.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Winners And Losers In Transitional China

    Once again, China’s economy and markets are a study in contradictions. As tomorrow’s Q1 GDP report will likely show, growth is slowing from the torrid pace of recent years, but at the margin much recent economic news has been better than expected. The dramatic growth collapse long predicted by gloomsters such as Jim Chanos has failed to materialize. A friend who recently made the rounds of China forecasters found that despite their violent...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    A Shift In Wind Power Policy

    Prospects for renewable energy worldwide have gotten much darker over the past two years. Prices of solar cells have plunged as European demand flat-lines, while the US boom in cheap natural gas has weakened the economic rationale for wind power. China’s own boom in wind power construction has slowed considerably, as policymakers question why so much of the new capacity has yet to be actually connected to the grid and supplying power.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Cost Challenge For Industry

    China’s industrial sector had a rough start to 2012, with margins getting squeezed and total profits falling 5.2%, the first decline since 2009. This is hardly a surprise given the slowdown in domestic and external demand. But demand is slowing, not falling off a cliff, and much of the challenge that industrial companies face is due to stubbornly rising costs. While we expect revenue and profit growth to improve later this year as the economy...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    DragonWeek - Inflation, Growth Fears And Capital Flows

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    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Back To The Future For China's Commodity Demand

    Does history hold the key to understanding the future of China’s demand for commodities? The enormous impact that China has had on global markets for raw materials is perhaps without precedent. But while China’s size and political culture have few international parallels, its economic development has largely followed a path blazed by other Asian economies. During their rapid industrialization, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all had similar...

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    China Trade Structure Review 2012

    Our annual chartbook outlines the key features of China’s changing trade patterns. The main findings include:

    0
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