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    Gavekal Research

    5C Overview: Demography vs Technology

    We have written a lot about two trends with big potential impacts on the balance of power between labor and capital. The first is demography, which since World War II has been a tailwind for growth, but is now turning into a headwind. Virtually every major economy faces a steep fall in its worker-to-retiree ratio, even the US which is often thought to be exempt from demographic destiny because of its relatively high birth rate and openness to...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ Q3 2014 - Small Business To The Rescue?

    Premier Li Keqiang’s most successful economic reform so far is deregulation that has led to a surge in registrations of new private businesses. The next step will be to let these little companies become big ones.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    China Avoids A Summer Soft Patch

    Has China’s growth hit yet another soft patch? Growth disappointed early in 2014 as a property downturn led to severe pain in construction and heavy industry, prompting the government to ease up on fiscal and monetary policy. Better data in May and June seemed to show that looser policy had succeeded—until a suite of surprisingly weak readings in July raised the prospect that the mini-recovery had just been a mirage. Particularly concerning was...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The US Dollar Breaks Out

    Is there a more consensus trade then being bullish on the US dollar? With a) the US economy outperforming those of Europe and Japan, with b) the Federal Reserve looking to withdraw some of the extra-ordinary stimulus that it has deployed in the past five years, just as the need for the European Central Bank, and possibly the Bank of Japan, to become a lot more aggressive becomes ever starker, with c) the Pentagon limiting its defense spending...

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Iron Ore’s Battle Of Attrition

    Iron ore prices in China are down almost 30% this year, and have languished below US$100 a ton for three months—an unusually protracted downturn in a volatile market. Last year I argued that the iron ore price would stay around US$120 for the next three years, with a relatively high floor set by the rising production cost of Chinese ore, and the reluctance of global miners to invest in new supply capacity. Is this year’s price plunge a temporary...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (20 August): Velocity Of Money

    In the latest bi-weekly review of global economics and investment we focus on the velocity of money and the credit cycle in the major economic regions: Overview: Charles Gave notes with concern the downturn in the Gavekal Velocity Indicator. US: Will Denyer looks where the US is in the credit cycle and argues it looks more like 2004 than 2007. Europe: François Chauchat argues that contrary to popular belief Europe’s long credit crunch is...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Spectacular Eur-Asian Divergence

    Financial markets are nothing if not a real time survey of real people playing with real money. Hence, no one can seriously doubt that markets contain a huge amount of highly pertinent information. The problem for the investor is how can this be profitably extracted?

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Mystery Of Provincial GDP

    Among all the criticisms on the accuracy of Chinese statistics, the most famous and obvious one is that the sum of China’s provincial GDP is always substantially higher than the national figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics. This reflects the fact that GDP is the most important criterion used to evaluate local government officials, so they have a strong incentive to gussy up their numbers.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Beijing Eyes The Bay Of Bengal

    Under President Xi Jinping, Beijing is pursuing a foreign policy with one grand aim: to restore China’s historical status as the dominant power in Asia. In the South China Sea, this shift towards a muscular, “proactive” diplomacy has intimidated and angered its neighbors (see Perilous Seas). Yet Beijing knows that it cannot simply bully its way to Asian domination: it must offer carrots as well as sticks. So along its southern and western...

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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: Uneasy Easing Undermines Market Reforms

    How do you ease without easing? That is the conundrum China premier Li Keqiang has set for himself. After a disappointing round of July data made clear that economic recovery was still fragile, Li’s cabinet, the State Council, issued a document asking the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and other ministries to “lower borrowing costs.” But it stopped short of signaling an interest-rate cut.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Beijing's Misguided Antitrust Game

    Is Xi Jinping’s China friendly to private enterprise? The answer seems to be yes, if you are a Chinese private company, and no if you’re a foreign one.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Enduring Hatred Of Big Cities

    China’s government has been promising a “new-style” urbanization policy that will remedy some of the past decade’s many ills. But the ideas behind it are old: planners still seem convinced that the growth of big cities growth must be controlled, and are continuing wasteful efforts to shift resources to smaller and less productive cities.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Momentum Shifts From Europe To Asia

    European equity markets have taken a beating in the last 50 days. The average eurozone stock is down 6%, while Portugal and Austria are both down more than 10%, putting them in correction territory. Germany and France are not far behind, down almost 9%. However, this broad underperformance masks a lot of intense individual pain: 20% of eurozone companies have fallen more than 20%. As always with a large sell-off, there are two approaches one...

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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (6 August): Central Bank Balance Sheets

    In our latest bi-weekly review of global economics and investment, we examine the bloated balance sheets of the world’s major central banks. We ask what exit strategies the central bankers have prepared to slim them down again, or whether expanded balance sheets are here to stay. If so, how will central bank bloat will affect investors in the coming years? Overview: Anatole Kaletsky argues persuasively that the US Federal Reserve and other...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The RMB's Depreciation Is Over

    After falling by 4% from mid-February to April, the renminbi has now appreciated for three months in a row, gaining 1% against the US dollar. Since February, we have argued repeatedly that the renminbi’s depreciation was stage-managed by the People’s Bank of China in order to curb speculative capital inflows and that it would prove relatively short-lived. Following the recent gains, we are now convinced the renminbi’s depreciation episode is...

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    Gavekal Research

    Growth & Markets Monthly (August 2014)

    This month saw a further improvement, albeit a small one, in our growth indicators. Risk appetite, on the other hand, now looks much more mixed compared with last month’s strong positive tendency. Also noteworthy is the recent spike in our diffusion index of US CPI components, which highlights the abatement of US deflationary pressures. On the asset side, government bonds continue to look expensive, especially in France. Meanwhile, equities are...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Wider Spreads And Weaker Equities

    Over the past five weeks, the spread between US high yield debt and US Treasuries has widened by almost a full percentage point. Admittedly, this move could be dismissed as an overdue correction after spreads for high yield debt narrowed to unsustainably tight levels. Unfortunately, it seems that equities markets are no longer in such a forgiving mood. In the past week, the widening of high yield spreads has weighed heavily enough on equity...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How Resilient Are Consumers?

    It’s increasingly clear these days that China has not one economy but two: the investment-driven complex of housing, infrastructure, materials, and the consumption-driven complex of services and consumer goods. Investment was the leader for many years, but since 2009 growth in capital spending has slowed very sharply. Heavy government stimulus and easy credit has smoothed rather than stopped this slump, which does not yet look to be over. The...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: Sticking To A Conventional Monetary Policy

    Is China’s monetary policy even looser than it seems? In July, central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said that in preparation for interest rate liberalization, he will introduce a new tool called pledged supplementary lending (PSL) to guide medium-term interest rates. Soon after that, local papers reported that the People’s Bank of China had used PSL to hand RMB1trn to China Development Bank to support loans for slum redevelopment programs....

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Last Tiger

    The big game hunter has now bagged his finest trophy. On Tuesday, the Communist Party officially announced a corruption investigation into Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the ruling Poliburo Standing Committee. Over recent months investigators have already detained many of Zhou’s relatives and associates. But no official of Zhou’s rank has been formally disciplined for corruption in the reform era, and it has been uncertain when or if he would...

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