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E.g., 18-11-2019
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    Gavekal Research

    What If The Yen Falls Another 20%?

    Japan’s woeful third quarter performance—the economy contracted at an annualized 1.6% rate, pushing the economy into a technical recession—has killed any remaining expectations that the government of Shinzo Abe will proceed with its original plan to raise the country’s sales tax for a second time next year to 10%. In the absence of further fiscal consolidation, this will leave the prime minister’s ‘Abenomics’ policy to revitalize Japan’s economy...

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    Here Comes The Melt-Up

    Back in mid-October as stock markets around the world plunged faster than at any time since 2011, many investors and economists feared a meltdown. But with the US economy steadily expanding, monetary and fiscal policy becoming more stimulative in other parts of the world and the autumn season for financial crises now over, a melt-up seems more likely than a melt-down.

    0
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    Gavekal Japanese

    Japan's Genki Grandparents!

    Aged 94, Susumu Yamamoto thought about a career change, but he didn’t want to rush the decision. Two years later, he is still mulling it over. Meanwhile, his daughters are on his case for doing too much. Recently an argument broke out with his youngest daughter (aged 72). She took the duvet to the cleaners. He said he could have washed it himself. On top of all that, his eldest daughter (76) is nagging him to eat more vegetables. But Yamamoto-...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Bank Shares And Deflation Risks

    Over the years, I have learnt the hard way to pay a good deal of attention to the behavior of bank shares. Simply put, when interest rates and bank shares fall in tandem the market is offering a clear signal that very bad news is on the way.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (12 November): The Commodity Fallout

    Overview: Louis Gave Considers the poor performance of gold mining stocks and wonders if energy companies are set to go the same way.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    China's Geostrategic Ambition

    Xi Jinping is making good on his promise to restore China’s position on the world stage. On Monday, China agreed to slash tariffs on high-tech imports, breaking almost 18 months of deadlock with the US over how to update the WTO’s Information Technology Agreement. In coming to terms, China showed it is willing to work with the US in support of multilateral trade frameworks. But China’s President Xi also used his chairmanship of this year’s Asia-...

    1
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    Gavekal Japanese

    Japan’s Hydrogen game Changer

    Japan is often described as lacking domestic energy sources, but this is not quite fair. In addition to geothermic energy galore (108 volcanoes) it has untapped natural gas encased in sheets of ‘fire ice’ buried beneath the sea bed. Japan has spent years working on test production sites with the aim of moving to mass production. Such a commercial operation looks increasingly tenable in what could be an energy game-changer for Japan, just as...

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Soft Commodity Prices Provide A Profit Cushion

    Are weak commodity prices good or bad news for Asia? Most Asian countries are net commodity importers, so common sense dictates that they will benefit from lower input costs. What’s more, just as rising prices represented a transfer of wealth towards commodity producers, so weaker prices will support consumer demand by lifting real incomes.

    0
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    Gavekal Japanese

    When Beta Fades

    A week ago Haruhiko Kuroda surprised the market with a new and aggressive quantitative easing plan. In response most brokers surprised absolutely no-one with calls to ‘buy exporters, buy banks and buy real estate plays’. Of course, such trades might work for the macro tourists looking to give their capital a two-week sightseeing trip in Tokyo. Which brings to mind Charlie Munger’s words of wisdom of: ‘show me the incentives and I will show you...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Two Things That Matter In India

    Indian equities yesterday registered a new peak even as emerging markets remain almost 10% off their early September high. Resurgent optimism toward India’s prospects has been ramped up by a belief that Prime Minister Narendra Modi can return the economy to its high growth path of the mid-2000s. Udith is not convinced of this simple story line, but his contention is that global investors do not need to fret over each twist and turn in India’s...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Growth & Markets Monthly (November 2014)

    In this edition of our monthly report we note that economic activity continues to register weaker momentum while deflationary pressures remain stubbornly present. On the primary liquidity side, the Fed has ended its quantitative easing program, while the Bank of Japan has committed to a more aggressive policy, which may yet inspire the European Central Bank into similar action. Private sector credit multiplication, or the velocity of money, has...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Japan Is More Than Just A Macro Trade

    The market’s reaction shows that most investors were taken by surprise by Friday’s announcement from the Bank of Japan. They should not have been. BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda has declared time and again that he watches growth numbers closely, and would act on any signs of a deterioration. Those signs were officially acknowledged on Friday when the central bank published its three-year growth forecasts, halving the outlook for this year.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    The True Meaning Of The September October Sell-Off

    The World MSCI stands marginally higher than its position on August 1st. So someone who went on holiday for three months might conclude that not much has happened. Yet, in doing so, our Frenchman (for who else takes three month holidays?) would have overlooked an important question that is highly relevant to the here and now. Specifically, why did markets unravel so aggressively in a six week period from early September to mid-October? To this...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    London Seminar October 2014 - Anatole, Francois, Tom, Will & Charles

    We held our autumn seminar in London on October 28 with Anatole, Francois, Tom, Will and Charles offering their take on the state of the world economy and the outlook for financial markets.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    In Japan The Era Of QE Continues

    Just two days after the US Federal Reserve ended its program of quantitative easing, and with the world still waiting to see if the European Central Bank will ever launch effective action, the Bank of Japan stepped up to the plate, stunning markets by announcing a major expansion of its own balance sheet. The acceleration of the BoJ’s “quantitative and qualitative easing” will markedly widen the divergence of monetary policy between Japan and...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (October 29): The Fiscal Imperative

    Overview: Anatole Kaletsky explains why monetary policy has become an effective irrelevance and fiscal policy is really the only game in town.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Japan's Fiscal Debate

    Japan’s fiscal policy has been the exception among developed economies this year. While others sought to avoid austerity, Japan hiked its sales tax rate from 5% to 8% in April, sending the economy into contraction. The weaker-than-expected recovery from this slump has prompted a series of growth downgrades, with the International Monetary Fund cutting Japan’s forecast growth rate for 2014 in half to just 0.9% and predicting a 25% chance of...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Travels Along The New Silk Road: The Economics Of Power

    China’s economic expansion overseas is one of the defining geopolitical shifts of our time. Chinese firms have already invested in excess of US$500bn abroad, and the annual flow of overseas investment is set to overtake the flow of foreign direct investment this year (see More Deals, More Players). The push into Africa has captured most attention, but China’s economic tentacles are spreading across developing Asia, too—not least in Central Asia...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Buying The Dip? Choose Asia

    Markets remain jittery, but the last week has at least seen a break in the downward momentum. Hence it may be worth taking stock of relative performance by the big regions. Looking across the MSCI benchmarks, the All Country World index is down –4.7% since its peak in early September, while the US, Eurozone, Emerging Markets (ex-Asia) and Emerging Asia declined respectively by –3.9%, -5.2%, -8.4% and –5.4%.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Waiting For The Japanese Pay-Off

    Back in December 2012, as it became clear Japan was moving towards an all-out attack on deflation, I argued that if Tokyo’s shock and awe campaign drove the yen into undervalued territory, it would have a powerful deflationary impact on the rest of the world. My view at the time was that the devaluation of the Japanese currency would reintroduce a formidable competitor into the world’s economic system, and that it would take roughly 18 months...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Blood And Bazaars On The New Silk Road

    After more than three decades of passive foreign policy, China has a strong leader unafraid of articulating a vision of expansionism. Like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping wants to re-establish his country’s historical sphere of influence—but Xi’s vision is based on economic logic rather than political machismo. Across Asia, China is using its enormous domestic market, financial power and prowess in building infrastructure to suck its neighbors into...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Give Last Week Back To The Indians

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Torschlusspanik!

    The Germans, it is said, have a word for everything—and their word for what we saw in European and US markets on Wednesday and in Asia on Thursday morning is Torschlusspanik. Literally ‘gate-shut-panic’, this describes the nasty crush that develops when everyone rushes at once for an exit that is fast closing; inevitably someone gets injured.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (October 15): The Equity Rout

    Overview: François Chauchat asks whether a US recovery is enough to drive global equity markets or has the world changed.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    An Exemplary Emerging Market

    The combination of a strong US dollar and weak commodity prices would usually spell misery for emerging markets. Yet the benchmark for this group has lost only 4.5% since the dollar started rising in July, compared to a 15% fall in the month that followed Ben Bernanke saying “taper” last May. To be sure, the EM benchmark is down as much as 6% in the last month, but it's worth noting that the main eurozone equity index has shed 10% in the...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Behind The Equity Market Meltdown

    Why are stock markets around the world falling? The surest explanation is one that works whenever the markets move in a big way: there are more sellers than buyers after a long period without a meaningful correction (it is three years since the 20% decline that ended in October 2011). A more sophisticated account of the correction might point to the collapse of oil prices and its impact on natural resource shares. While falling oil prices are...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Normal Or Systemic Markets?

    In The Crucible Arthur Miller wrote “until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven”. Granted, equity markets have not exactly suffered Lucifer-like de-ratings lately. Nonetheless, the price action in stock markets around the world is looking less and less healthy by the day. Let me explain: when examining the performance of a given index over a very long period of time, one typically finds that, like most things in...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    If You Keep On Doing What You’ve Always Done...

    ...you'll keep on getting what you’ve always got. At least, that's what any sports coach worth his salt would tell a losing team in the half-time huddle. And perhaps this is the problem facing the big developed economies. Not enough of today's bien-pensants (Hollande, Merkel, Yellen, Bernanke...) or their advisers (Summers, Piketty, Krugman...) have spent time chasing a ball around a field. Let me explain.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Seek refuge In The US

    Markets have suffered a significant risk-off move in the last month. US equities have fallen as much as –3.8%; European stocks are down -6% in euro terms and –8% in US dollar terms, and government bonds have been bid up while credit spreads have widened. Readers are surely wondering what to do now: Buy the dip, or sell everything before this turns into a full-on bear market? Hold steady, or adjust portfolios? To answer these questions, we have...

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Overview: Waiting For The Regional Rotation

    After years of doubt about the efficacy of US economic policies, the revival of confidence in America stands out as one of the key developments of 2014. This turnaround has been attested by the recovery of capital investment, by the resilience of the US economy to the Federal Reserve’s tapering process, and more recently by the strength of the US dollar.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Finding Real Growth In Emerging Markets

    US dollar strength and weakening commodity prices have knocked the wind out of global equities in recent weeks, and EMs have not been immune. Intuitively, the emerging market experiencing relatively larger losses could be broadly classified into three somewhat inter-related buckets: (i) markets where idiosyncratic factors add to geopolitical risk premiums (e.g., Russia, Argentina, etc.); (ii) markets facing a loss of growth momentum as the China...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Growth & Markets Monthly (October 2014)

    This month produced another visible deterioration in our growth indicators. A large part of this downshift stems from Europe which remains the major economic region of particular concern. On the risk side, most of our indicators weakened slightly; interestingly our own proprietary velocity indicator was the lone positive outlier. On the asset allocation side, equities generally hover around fairly valued, while bonds look expensive. However,...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (1 October): The Energy Selloff

    Overview: Louis looks at the decline in oil prices and wonders whether the genesis can be found back in May when the leaders of China and Russia met for an historic summit.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Japan: Where Bad News Is Good

    At first glance recent data flows from Japan appear deeply at odds with the market action. Factory output, consumer spending and real wages all fell in August, while Japan’s economic surprise index has spent most of the last month deep in negative territory, an exceptional occurrence, even when viewed through the lens of Japan’s recent lost decade. Yet in a dismal third quarter for global equity markets, Japanese stocks stood out for their...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Muddled Mission Statement

    The public relations machine of Narendra Modi, a one-time pariah in respectable political circles, is currently in overdrive. India’s charismatic prime minister grabbed the plaudits for India’s low cost Mars orbiter pipping China to the Red Planet last week, and in recent days he’s been getting the full blown celebrity treatment during an official visit to the US, something which is rare for a foreign leader. In between these triumphs of...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    An Irish Outlier?

    The Irish economy looks to be making a faster than expected recovery from its grim 2010 nadir. Growth is running at an annualized 6.5% which is more reminiscent of the “Celtic tiger” era than the grinding recession conditions still typical in Southern Europe. Ireland seems sure to emerge as a paradigmatic case study between the rival policymaking camps of so called Austerians and those advocating more conventional Keynesian responses. But for...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: It Pays To Restart

    Japan has a clear economic interest in restarting its nuclear power program since the high cost of replacing its cheapest source of power has had a direct negative impact on the government’s hoped for reflation—most of the price rises generated in the last two years have come not from improving domestic demand, but higher power bills. And now that Japan has learned to live without nuclear power (and accept the costs) policymakers must be...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia Can Handle A Strong Dollar

    Can emerging markets handle a strong US dollar? This is a crucial question for investors in emerging Asia since an appreciating dollar has often spelt trouble for the region’s markets. The worry is that the dollar now looks to be on a secular strengthening trend with the DXY up 6% since July 1. For its part, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index has lost 3% in less than two weeks.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Can Working Women Revitalize Japan?

    In his reshuffle earlier this month, prime minister Shinzo Abe appointed five women to Japan’s cabinet. By more than doubling the number of senior ministerial posts held by women, Abe was hoping to lend some extra impetus to the ‘third arrow’ of his ‘Abenomics’ program to revitalize Japan’s economy. The first two arrows—fiscal and monetary stimuli—have succeeded in weakening the yen to a six year low against the US dollar, returning Japan to...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (17 September): World Bond Markets

    In our latest bi-weekly review of global economics, we take a searching look at the state of global bond markets. As the US Federal Reserve inches closer to a tightening bias, bond investors must climb a wall of fear. Recent weeks have seen yields rise globally. The issue is whether this represents a nervous short-term move or a bigger shift in the cycle. Gavekal Dragonomics analysts consider the picture from the major economic regions.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Japanese Equities' Surprise Potential

    After spending most of this year range-trading against the US dollar, the Japanese yen has moved decisively lower since July. Yet—unlike the last time the yen broke out in 1H13—equity investors have mostly yawned. Despite a mild pick-up in economic growth and inflation since it took office in late 2012, Shinzo Abe’s government has failed to deliver meaningful structural reform. As a result, equity investors have been left trying to game the...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Overview: Weatherproofing Bond Portfolios

    For much of this year bond investors have been in ‘risk-on’ mode. When in April the European Central Bank first hinted it was preparing to embark on its own unconventional easing measures, investors concluded that with all the world’s major central banks now offering a put on growth, it was safe to head out in search of extra yield. Global bond markets duly rallied across the board, with volatility falling to near-record lows.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Whether To Bet On A Permanent BoJ Bid

    We do not like Japanese government bonds. In our view their return on capital is simply too low to justify an allocation. Local players, however, disagree.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Korea Thriving In China's Chilly Investment Climate

    Many multinational companies are under pressure in China, facing a slowing economy and slowing sales, as well as increased regulatory scrutiny. This is beginning to show up in business plans: annual surveys of American and European businesses by their Beijing-based chambers of commerce show that while China still ranks as a top-three global investment priority, more and more companies are scaling back their expansion plans. For Japanese...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s New Credit Cycle

    The US dollar’s renewed strength has seen most major currencies swoon before it in recent weeks. A notable exception has been the emerging Asia basket which has seen declines of less than 1% against the dollar compared to falls of up to 5% for the euro, yen and sterling. We don’t think this is a case of emerging Asia being the next shoe to drop. Instead, under-owned Asian markets look to be in an early phase of a new credit cycle following the...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (3 September): World Labor Markets

    In our latest bi-weekly review of global economics, we take a searching look at the forces affecting labor markets in the world’s major economies. How robust are the medium term prospects for wage growth? And how will the longer term forces of ageing populations and increasing automation affect the outlook for jobs? Overview: Arthur Kroeber examines how the wage-positive influence of developed world demographics will balance the job-negative...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Market Review: A Summer Series

    In late July and early August Anatole went up the mountain so to speak and penned a series of articles that aimed to explain where we were in the current market cycle, and more importantly where we are likely headed. With most major asset classes continuing to head higher we thought it worth republishing Anatole’s consolidated thinking in a single document. Please click on the pdf link above, or, alternatively, the articles can be read...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Eurozone Funk Deepens

    Europe’s political leaders may be talking about fresh sanctions on Moscow, but the continent’s remaining economic optimists are fast capitulating in the face of Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine. Both the European Commission’s eurozone economic confidence survey and the INSEE French business confidence survey, released late last week, deteriorated in August, with the EC survey slumping to its gloomiest reading this year. This decline in...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Japanese Labor Market Dilemma

    Japanese policymakers face a dilemma that at first glance looks extremely welcome. A labor market which has reached its tightest point since the early 1990s should help the Bank of Japan achieve its inflation target. The issue is that an absence of appropriately skilled workers threatens Japanese companies’ ability to expand their operations.

    0
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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 Research

    Dialing Back Our India Bullishness

    As India’s new government reaches the 100-day mark it remains unclear whether the improved political mood music is enough to kick-start a fresh investment cycle. Investors are, for now, keeping the faith as inflation moderates and growth stabilizes. Narendra Modi’s government has avoided grand initiatives but is creating the impression of administrative competence. The wrinkle in this nicely spun tale of emerging market redemption remains the...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Stagnation, Default Or Devaluation

    Last week’s Jackson Hole meeting helped to highlight a simple reality: unlike other parts of the world, the eurozone remains mired in a deflationary bust six years after the 2008 financial crisis. The only official solutions to this bust seem to be a) to print more money and b) to expand government debt. Meanwhile, Europe’s already high (and rising) government debt levels and large budget deficits raise the question whether we should worry...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Is Korea Turning Japanese?

    History may not repeat itself, but as we know it does sometimes rhyme. Today South Korea is burdened with heavy private sector debts and dismal demographics—the same macroeconomic forces that plunged Japan into its lost decades. In the absence of any major consolidation in the bloated and inefficient domestic service sector, and without any large scale clean up of non-performing loans, Korea will face similar deflationary pressures as the...

    1
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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 Research

    Japanese Reflation's Broken Link

    Japan’s gross domestic product shrank -6.8% in annualized terms in the second quarter; a reflection of the contraction in domestic demand following the hike in Japan’s sales tax from 5% to 8% at the beginning of April. The good news is that the headline figure was not quite as bad as economists expected. But the list of bad news is a long one. The second quarter saw the biggest decline in output since the 2011 earthquake, and the slowdown in...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Japan, India And The Velocity Of Money

    There are two ways to look at the evolution of monetary velocity: (1) how much additional GDP can you get for each additional unit of currency circulating in the economy; and, (2) market responses to the change of velocity, which can be measured by, for example, bank shares’ relative performance. The latter can be viewed as a more timely velocity indicator.

    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...

    0
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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 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 Research

    5C Japan: No Turning Back

    Caught in a liquidity trap and beset with chronic deflation, Japan cannot rebound because real interest rates are too high. To escape the trap, policymakers must reverse expectations of price declines. This is why a credible Bank of Japan, fully committed to its 2% inflation target, is the first plank of Abenomics.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Monetary Policy Is No Threat To Markets

    In the first two articles of this series, I argued that the US economy has now clearly reached ‘escape velocity’ and that, with little prospect of a renewed recession in the next year or two, investors are forgetting their earlier fears of secular stagnation and becoming increasingly confident about the extraordinary monetary and fiscal policies adopted by all the major world economies (see The Case For A Structural Bull Market and The Global...

    1
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    5C Overview: Central Banks Are Happy With Their Balance Sheet Bloat

    With the end of the US Federal Reserve’s QE3 round of quantitative easing scheduled for October, this is a good time to consider the ‘exit strategies’ central banks might follow as they think about normalizing monetary policy. While the technicalities of each country’s monetary management are different, there are two broad questions that all central banks have to answer: Can monetary policy rely solely on interest rate management, as in the pre-...

    0
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    No Honeymoon For Indonesia's Jokowi

    In the next few days Indonesia’s Constitutional Court will rule on a challenge mounted against Joko Widodo’s victory in this month’s presidential election. All the indications are that the court will dismiss the complaint filed on Friday by defeated candidate Prabowo Subianto, who alleges massive electoral fraud. Yet if the court does throw out Prabowo’s challenge for lack of evidence as expected, Joko’s difficulties will not be over. In all...

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    Gavekal Research

    Playing Emerging Asia's New High

    Some 18 months after US stocks regained the ground lost in the 2008-09 crisis, emerging Asia has finally made a new high. Yesterday the MSCI emerging Asia US dollar total return index closed above its 2007 peak for the first time, having risen 10% year-to-date. That makes emerging Asia the best performing major regional market in the world so far in 2014. If you invest equally in the countries in the index’s universe, your gains are even better...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Future History Of China’s Deleveraging

    If there’s one thing almost everyone can agree about on China, it’s that its rise in debt has been very rapid, and is not sustainable. But where does China go from here? In this chartbook, we use historical examples to think about how a future deleveraging process might occur.

    14
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    Buy Indian Dips

    A week ago India’s much hailed reforming government unveiled its first budget and everyone yawned. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh got it about right when he said that the new finance minister’s program could just as easily have been presented by his own maligned Congress-led administration. For investors the problem was the absence of a credible fiscal consolidation plan or a road map to curtail boondoggles such as India’s vast subsidy...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Emerging Asia's Leverage Problem

    Aggregate debt levels in Asia (ex-China) are back to levels seen just prior to the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis. This does not pose a near term macro-economic risk since most Asian economies have large foreign currency reserves and run flexible currency regimes. Indeed, this was the mercantilist lesson most Asian economies learnt from the late '90s crisis. Still, Joyce and KX show in this chart book that the likes of China, South Korea...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: The Most Mispriced Risk

    When we are asked what is the most under-appreciated risk in Asia, one asset class jumps out: Japanese government bonds.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (9 July 2014)

    Nothing should stay the same and so we are tweaking the format of Five Corners to make the whole report focus on a key thematic issue that impacts all major centers of the global economy. We kick off with an in depth look at inflation which is again rearing its head even as the specter of deflation continues to haunt the most growth-challenged regions.

    0
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    A Political Trigger In Tokyo?

    Japan’s investment outlook was transformed in 2013 after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised a program for national renewal that relied upon “three arrows”: huge monetary expansion, fiscal stimulus, and structural reform. Phase one aimed to enrich Japan’s corporate sector through a yen devaluation and investors did not have to be geniuses to pick the coming equity rerating. The problem is that this profit-driven equity rally is stretched, and the...

    2
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    Growth & Markets Monthly (July 2014)

    Having watched our growth indicators soften over recent months, we are now witnessing a momentum shift since our economic activity indicators have perked up markedly. Moreover, the velocity of money has risen rapidly, while our price indicators continue to show lessening deflationary pressure. Hence, it was not surprising to see that bonds are getting more expensive. Unfortunately, equities are not cheap, and this makes it a challenging...

    0
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    Indonesia's Make Or Break Election

    When Indonesians head to the polls on Monday to elect a new president, voters will decide what looks on the surface like a contest between two very different front-running candidates. On one hand, they have ‘son of the soil’ modernizer Joko Widodo, or Jokowi as he is popularly known. On the other, there is self-styled strongman and former army general Prabowo Subianto. Yet though the election appears to be a clear choice between much-needed...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Overview: Gold & inflation

    An investor who bought gold upon Arthur Burns’ arrival at the Federal Reserve and held it up until the day Ben Bernanke announced the second round of quantitative easing would have done about as well as someone who bought-and-held US equities (using the S&P 500 total return as the proxy). Both assets compounded at a little over 10% a year between February 1970 and August 2011. Amusingly, most gold-bugs reacted to QE2 (and then QE3) with glee...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Cost-Push Versus Demand-Pull Inflation

    All inflation is not equal, and it is important to distinguish between the two types of price pressure: demand-pull inflation and cost-push inflation.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    An Indian Rupture

    For decades there has been a familiar rhythm to Indian policymaking. In the wake of an exogenous shock such as poor monsoon rains (the case this year) or an oil price spike, the cry goes up that vulnerable groups must be protected. Prices are controlled either through an expansion of subsidy programs or explicit trade barriers. The central bank may warn of inflation threats, but the political discourse is dominated by industrialists carping...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Perilous Seas

    Across Asia, Xi Jinping’s much-vaunted “Chinese Dream” looks more and more like a Chinese nightmare. Last week, China unveiled an official map showing the South China Sea as an integral part of the country. The new map, which is designed to enhance awareness of China’s territorial claims stretching down the coasts of Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, deepens concern that the China Seas are beginning to resemble central Europe in the early...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Buried Krugerrands Or Outperforming Emerging Markets

    Approaching 2014’s half-way mark most major asset classes have returned between 3% and 6% over the year to date. There are two outliers: Japan, which has lagged other markets following 2013’s gains, and precious metals, which have outperformed. So far this year gold is up 9.4%.

    4
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    Five Corners (25 June)

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

    0
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    Rising Velocity Is Driving Markets

    As we approach the half-year mark for 2014, it is remarkable how well asset markets have performed this year. Pretty much every major asset class has registered decent gains. US bonds? The long end of the US government bond market is up by 10%, even after the recent mild sell-off. Commodities? The CRB index is up by 8.6%. Global equities? The world MSCI is up by 6%.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: The Liquidity Risk Premium On Emerging Market Debt

    The quest for yield in a low volatility, low interest rate world has provided a favorable environment for capital flows into emerging markets. Last year’s ‘taper tantrum’ temporarily interrupted the momentum, but course corrections by EM policymakers coupled with promises of “lower for longer” from developed market central banks helped investors to shrug off their concerns. In May, portfolio flows into emerging markets reached their highest...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Indonesia Ups The Ante On Resource Nationalism

    The China-driven resource boom over the past decade has created great wealth in developing countries with big mining industries. It has also created a move toward “resource nationalism,” as countries seek to capture more of the value of their natural resources by clamping down on exports of raw ores and forcing investment in domestic smelting and processing plants. The poster child for this movement is Indonesia, which banned exports of many...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Japan's Momentum Trade

    The combination of a broadly stable macro-economic backdrop, plentiful central bank liquidity and low market volatility has been kind to investors this year. The year-to-date performance of most major equity markets has converged, regardless of any divergence in fundamentals or profit trends. If nothing rocks the boat, there is no reason to believe that the current momentum cannot continue. In that case, will Japan, which lagged other major...

    0
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    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:

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Chinese Bretton Woods?

    Even as it plants offshore oil rigs and rams foreign vessels in disputed waters, China is wooing its neighbors with infrastructure investment. Its next step is to create new multilateral banks whose twin goals are to allay fears about Chinese expansionism and to provide an alternative to the US-dominated system of development finance.

    2
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    5C Overview: Volatility RIP

    Having weathered fears of depression, a systemic euroland failure and most recently the specter of deflation, investors can be excused for their insouciant attitude to risk. We may not be in sunlit uplands, but for the first time since 2008 the global growth trajectory looks fairly secure and the big central banks have their monetary policy settings in sync. Hence, it is not surprising that volatility across most asset classes is making new lows...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Hop Aboard The Momentum Train

    Far from worrying about policy risks or soft patches in growth, investors suddenly seem to see nothing ahead but clear blue skies—the perfect environment for momentum investing.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Overcoming The Macro Breakdown

    The financial crisis of 2008-2009 heralded a golden age for macro investors. As the wholesale market crash rendered the relative value judgments of stock pickers irrelevant, macro investors enjoyed a boom time—especially ones who had had the foresight to short US housing, global financials, or eurozone peripheral debt. Now, as the crisis recedes further into the rear view mirror, macro investors are struggling to adapt to a world in which...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Growth & Markets Monthly (June 2014)

    Having watched our growth indicators soften over recent months, we are now witnessing a momentum shift since our economic activity indicators have perked up markedly. Moreover, the velocity of money has risen rapidly, while our price indicators continue to show lessening deflationary pressure. Hence, it was not surprising to see that bonds are getting more expensive. Unfortunately, equities are not cheap, and this makes it a challenging...

    0
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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...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Interregnum

    Narendra Modi stands as India’s most powerful prime minister in 30 years with a mandate to pursue a pro-economic growth agenda. The reason to stay with the most compelling trade in emerging markets is that a clear reform impulse has been articulated while the capital spending cycle is showing signs of life. The problem for investors is that key choices on fiscal consolidation and specific reform initiatives may not be announced until a budget...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (28 May 2014)

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

    0
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    Mean Reversion In Japan

    You did not have to be an investment genius to make a positive call on Japanese equities last year. That was because corporates stood to win from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s chosen program, regardless of whether it was successful or not. Enriching Japan’s corporate sector, which has high operating leverage and so is sensitive to any yen depreciation, was effectively a transition phase of Abe’s big plan. The hope was that richer companies would...

    4
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    The Earnings Expectations Paradox

    When it comes to global equity investment, all markets are not equal. Over the last couple of years, investors have evolved distinctly different attitudes about how to discount trends in profit growth in each of the four major equity market regions.

    0
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    Why Thailand Is The Odd Man Out

    In the mid-1990s Thailand’s over-built and excessively geared economy provided a clear early warning signal for the troubles about to engulf the rest of emerging Asia. But having now suffered two military coups in eight years Thailand is less a bellwether than a regional outlier that seems to have given up serious development in favor of a struggle to subdivide existing wealth and power. The good news from Asia is that ascendant political...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Overview: Keeping China In Check

    How much should we worry about China’s increasing assertiveness beyond its borders? Provocations continue to pile up in maritime Asia, most recently a spat over a Chinese oil rig in what Vietnam considers to be its waters. And last week’s Xi Jinping-Vladimir Putin summit in Shanghai, capped by the signing of a long-delayed US$400 bn gas pipeline deal, conjured the specter of a Sino-Russian concert enabling both countries to defy the United...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Less Confidence In A More Confident Bank of Japan

    The message from Haruhiko Kuroda is clear: the Bank of Japan has done enough to reach its 2% inflation target. By extension, we should expect weak yen policies to take a back seat in driving future reflation.

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