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E.g., 26-05-2019
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    Gavekal Research

    Not So Bad In Japan

    Japan, as of Monday, was back in recession after GDP in 3Q15 shrank by -0.8% YoY, a second successive quarterly contraction. Such weakness supports a growing consensus that the economic renewal program of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe—based on the idea that monetary easing would spur domestic reflation—is a busted flush. For the bears, the question is when, not if, Japan tilts back into full-blown deflation. We are not so sure about this view, and...

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    Gavekal Research

    A Happy Apologist

    At Gavekal the conversation with clients never stops and from time to time we like to offer up a taste of debates that strike us as interesting. Louis got into just such a discussion earlier this week with one of our smarter, free-market embracing US clients. The topic of discussion was China and why Louis is such an apologist for the Chinese Communist Party when he clearly has little time for governments meddling with markets elsewhere?

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    Gavekal Research

    The Limits Of Xi Jinping’s Grand Plan

    As China’s growth slowdown deepens, making even the government’s reduced growth target of 6.5% a year for the rest of this decade look less and less realistic, policymakers are increasingly pinning their hopes on Beijing’s much-touted “Belt and Road Initiative”. Not only do they hope that the plan to build new trading networks across Central Asia and the Indian Ocean will boost China’s flagging exports, but that the demand for commodities and...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Chinese Dream (II): Great Leap Outward Along The New Silk Road

    The Belt-and-Road Initiative promises an infrastructure bonanza for Asia’s least-connected regions. How much it will extend China’s political influence is an open question.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Chinese Dream (III): Should We Fear It?

    As a ‘peace-loving’ China flaunts its military, political and economic might, Asia and the US puzzle over how to respond.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ: China Reshapes Asia

    In the last two years China has made a bold push to expand its influence in Asia, using both the carrot of well-funded infrastructure diplomacy and the stick of forceful assertion of territorial claims in the South and East China Seas. What explains this newly assertive foreign policy, and what are its effects likely to be? This special issue of the China Economic Quarterly tries to answer these questions.

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    Gavekal Research

    Now Or Never For Vietnam

    Vietnam is South East Asia’s standout economy with growth likely to hit 6.5% this year, the fastest pace since 2010. It has emerged as a low-cost export-processing powerhouse and a gradual revival in domestic demand points to a generalized upswing in the cycle. There are also reasons to think that Vietnam may be about to embark on significant market-based reforms, driven by its inclusion in free trade groupings. The problem is that the current...

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    Gavekal Research

    Video: "Now Or Never For Vietnam"

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    Gavekal Research

    The Danger Of Further BoJ Easing

    There is growing speculation that the Bank of Japan may follow the European Central Bank, which last week signaled additional easing, and the People’s Bank of China, which cut rates on Friday, and surprise the markets with further credit easing. But while extra action from the BoJ could be a short term shot in the arm for the equity market (or not, given the underwhelming response to China’s easing), it is doubtful whether additional easing will...

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    Gavekal Research

    London Seminar Audio And Slides

    We held our main fall seminar on October 27 in London, where Anatole Kaletsky, Francois-Xavier Chauchat, Neil Newman, Tom Miller and Louis-Vincent Gave presented their views on the global economy. Anatole discussed the implications of recent developments in financial markets; Francois examined Europe’s resilience to global headwinds; Neil outlined three major investment themes in Japan; Tom explored China’s regional foreign policy ambitions, and...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    London Seminar: The Aggresively Friendly Giant

    What sort of country is China, and what sort of power does it want to be? In this presentation to our seminar in London, Tom Miller explains how to understand the signals China’s leaders have been sending. China wants to pursue great-power status, a process that may alienate its neighbors and will require adjustments from the US.

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  • Gavekal Research

    The Myth Of Secular Stagnation

    When the European Central Bank meets today, discussion will center on whether it should expand quantitative easing in an attempt to stave off deflation and support the eurozone’s painfully slow growth. In Japan too, talk is about whether the Bank of Japan needs to step up its stimulus efforts. And in the US, the Federal Reserve last month decided to delay calling an end to its own zero interest rate policy amid evidence that US growth is in...

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    Gavekal Research

    Excerpt From Anatole Kaletsky's Hong Kong Seminar Presentation

    Excerpt From Anatole Kaletsky's Hong Kong Seminar Presentation

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    Gavekal Research

    Japan's Deal Of The Decade

    Today will be a day of celebration for many Japanese investors, as they find out whether they have hit the jackpot with an allocation of shares in the initial public offerings for Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance. Together with the IPO of Japan Post Holdings, which will be priced next Monday, the three deals are expected to raise some ¥1.4trn (US$11.7bn), making the joint offering Japan’s largest since the 1998 IPO for telecommunications...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Fallacy Of Containment

    Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hailed this week’s deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership as evidence that “the curtain is finally rising on a new Asian century.” The TPP is the biggest trade agreement for 20 years, its 12 members accounting for a full 35% of global trade (see The Big Winner From The TPP). Yet it is hard to get excited about a trade deal that deliberately leaves out the world’s biggest trading nation: China. The TPP is designed...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Birth Of A Pain Trade?

    The question we have received most in recent days is whether this week’s counter-trend rally in commodities, deep cyclicals and emerging markets can morph into a “melt-up” akin to that seen in 4Q98. Seventeen years ago the blowback from the Asian Financial Crisis culminated in late September with the failure of Long Term Capital Management. Within days of a hurriedly agreed creditor bailout, the Federal Reserve had made the first of three...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Big Winner From The TPP

    After a tough summer with little to cheer about, investors finally got some good news yesterday. After five years of negotiations, culminating in six days of round-the-clock talks in Atlanta, the US, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim economies finally struck a deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If ratified by the signatories’ parliaments, the TPP will be the biggest liberalization of global trade since China’s entry into the WTO, and the...

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    Gavekal Research

    Asia's Good For A Bounce

    Financial markets offer a real-time snapshot of how humans, and increasingly computer programs react to new information. When they collectively engage in a fit of irrationality the opportunity arises to extract profits. With Hong Kong equities rallying hard in this morning’s session, it seems that enough investors reckon such a moment has arrived in Asia.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Gavekal Monthly: More Questions Than Answers

    With the Fed having put its rate hike decision on hold, investors face an uncertain environment of weak global growth and inflation, tottering emerging markets and continued worries about China. In this edition of The Gavekal Monthly, Louis-Vincent Gave surveys the crucial questions investors must grapple with and identifies the indicators to monitor in the coming weeks. In addition, we highlight three calls from our analyst team: Joyce...

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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Still Fertile Forest

    Earlier this week India cut interest rates by 50bp, making it one of the few emerging economies to do so in the face of an investor panic that has hit the asset class hard. The central bank’s actions contrast sharply with the 2013 “taper tantrum” when it was forced to ramp up rates to rein in inflation and prevent capital flight. The action shows that India has a fundamentally better macro-economic positioning than its EM peers, and in our view...

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    Gavekal Research

    QSCB: What Is The Trade Slowdown Telling Us?

    For the first time since the 1970s global trade is growing more slowly than global GDP, and if anything this growth is decelerating. One explanation is that slower world trade is a symptom of weak global demand, and perhaps a harbinger of worse economic news to come. That is possible, but in this Quarterly Strategy Chartbook we argue that the trade slowdown reflects structural changes in the world economy, and signals that a new phase of...

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    Gavekal Research

    A Worrying Set Of Signals

    Regular readers will know that we keep a battery of indicators to gauge, among other things, economic activity, inflationary pressure, risk appetite and asset valuations. Most of the time this dashboard offers mixed messages, which is not hugely helpful to the investment process. Yet from time to time, the data pack points unambiguously in a single direction and experience tells us that such confluences are worth watching. We are today at such a...

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    Gavekal Research

    Has Abenomics Failed?

    Has Abenomics failed? On paper, the answer is an unequivocal “yes”. Almost three years after the election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the “three arrows” of his economic revitalization program—stimulative fiscal policy, massive central bank monetary expansion, and far-reaching structural reforms—have missed all their declared targets. Far from accelerating to a trend growth rate of 2%, Japan’s economy has faltered, contracting at an annualized...

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    Gavekal Research

    How Much Does China Really Matter?

    How much does China’s slowdown really matter to the rest of the world? At first this might sound like a silly question. After all, China is home to a fifth of humanity, it is the world’s second largest national economy and its second largest importer, and in recent years has contributed between a quarter and a third of global growth. What’s more, the recent volatility in China’s stock markets and exchange rate caused shockwaves around the world...

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    Gavekal Research

    Is The China Panic Abating?

    For the past six weeks, global markets have been in a China-centric panic, sparked partly by bad economic data, but mostly by policy bungling from China’s policymakers. Having spurred a huge expansion in equity margin debt, regulators turned tail in June and cracked down on the practice. As an equity market crash unfolded, policymakers took to swinging a big stick: price-keeping operations were tried, stock trading was halted and speculators...

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    Gavekal Research

    Why Malaysia’s Falling Knife Is Worth Catching

    The downgrade of Brazil’s debt last week to junk status has renewed fears that emerging markets may face another vicious sell-off. To date EM angst has mostly focused on resource exporters made fragile by the China-induced commodity bust. But the prospect of an imminent US interest rate hike has focused attention more generally on markets with heavy foreign currency debt exposure. Malaysia looks to face the worst of all worlds as its external...

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    Deleveraging In The Emerging World

    There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about the collapse in emerging market currencies, with extravagant comparisons to the 1997-98 crisis. In reality, however, there is no “crisis”. Over the last three years an equally-weighted index of major emerging market currencies has fallen no more against the US dollar than an index comprising the euro and the yen. And despite all the recent turbulence in financial markets, there have been no...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Has The Asian Currency Collapse Run Its Course?

    The past four months have seen an unprecedented divergence in the performance of developed market and emerging market currencies, with Asian units getting sucked into the EM downdraft even though their manufacturing-heavy economies should, on paper, be beneficiaries of the commodity collapse. Or to be more specific the more than 10% decline in Asian currencies against the euro over the last four months has been a near two standard deviation...

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    Gavekal Research

    The US Current Account Deficit And World Markets

    Spotting turning points in the US current account is central to Gavekal’s research method, as such shifts impact all other economic relationships. When the US dollar is strong the US tends to run a big current account deficit, providing the world with lots of “earned dollars.” Conversely, a weak dollar eventually leads to a shrunken US current account deficit and more incentive to borrow in dollars. Big moves in the dollar exchange rate create...

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    Gavekal Research

    The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse

    Markets are entering bear market territory and what vexes Charles and Louis is whether the root cause is a liquidity crunch, a solvency crisis or a deflationary bust. In this wide ranging chart book they explore the problem through the revelatory prophecy of four riders whose presence marked the coming of judgement day. We don’t mean to pile on the misery in what is shaping up as a tough week and the moderately good news is that the-end-of-times...

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    Gavekal Research

    No Light At The End Of The Tunnel

    Four years of grizzly underperformance has turned everyone into an emerging markets bear. First it was the currencies of the twin deficit countries that took a hit in the 2013 taper tantrum. Then it was the EM resource producers that faced the crunch when commodity prices halved in just 12 months. Now liquidity which had found its way into the healthier emerging markets in Asia is rushing out the door after China’s currency shock tilted the risk...

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    Gavekal Research

    A Solvency Crisis Or A Liquidity Crisis?

    Over the past five years, critics of zero-interest rate policies have typically fallen into one of two camps:

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Emerging Asia’s Nightmare

    The investment case for Asian currencies has been a tough one to make over the last year as stagnant global trade and a stronger US dollar has constrained the growth outlook. Still, until this week’s “renminbi shock”, the region’s reasonable fundamentals and decent yields continued to justify a holding in Asian currencies. After China’s “devaluation”, this risk-reward position has changed as regional currencies look like prime victims of Beijing...

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    Gavekal Research

    Sorry Singapore Patriots, You Are A Great Short

    On most matters the Gavekal house view is best explained by the fact that we don’t have one. Charles for now stands out as the house bear due to his concerns about a global system enfeebled by policymakers’ misguided efforts to ameliorate all risks. Our more bullish group, led by Anatole, reckons that “creative destruction” is afoot, but outdated national income accounting tools are not capturing the benefits delivered by digital globalization....

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Japan’s ROE Revolution

    The adoption of a UK-style “stewardship code” and an officially sanctioned index of companies that satisfy minimum corporate governance standards (JPX-Nikkei Index 400) marks a serious attempt by Japan to boost both corporate productivity and shareholder returns. This effort is integral to the economic rejuvenation plan of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and arguably failure is not an option for an economy that a few years ago had started to flirt...

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    Gavekal Research

    Growth & Markets Monthly (August 2015) – by Pierre Gave

    Our latest monthly indicators look to have taken on a somewhat schizophrenic character. On the growth side, our main indicator of global economic activity is perking up, implying a stronger second half of the year. But our diffusion index of OECD leading indicators is clearly heading south, as are commodities. A similarly bifurcated story can be seen on the risk-appetite side. Our velocity indicator has registered improvement and short term...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (July 29): The Slowdown In Trade

    Overview: After years in which the world’s major governments have been busy manipulating prices, Charles Gave finds it astonishing that anyone should be surprised by the current slowdown in global trade.

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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: No Escape From The Regional Trade Slowdown

    Asia’s trade performance has been disappointing. After a two-year post-crisis rebound in 2010-2011, export growth in the region has slowed to an annual average of 7.5% in US dollar terms and 6% in volume terms. Compare that with US dollar growth rates of 30% seen in the years before the crisis.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Overview: Why The Surprise At Slowing Trade?

    I am afraid I am rapidly turning into Gavekal’s resident bear—asleep half the time, grumpy the rest. In particular, I am amazed how some people have suddenly discovered that world trade is going nowhere, and that they are so bamboozled by this strange pattern. Where exactly have they been for the last 15 years?

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Not A People’s Republic-An Empire

    We often say that money managers are not paid to forecast, but to adapt. The challenge, of course, is knowing what to adapt to. For example, an investor picking up a copy of today’s Financial Times will be left scratching his head over the importance of the Greek crisis to the future of the eurozone, the likely impact of coming US Federal Reserve rate hikes, and how the deepening oil supply glut will affect global markets. In our latest...

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    Gavekal Research

    Indonesia: One Step Forward, Two Back

    Almost a year after Joko Widodo blew through Indonesian politics like a breath of fresh air to win the 2014 presidential election, international investors’ enthusiasm for his country has all but evaporated. Under Jokowi, as the president is known, policy has disappointed, growth has slowed further, the current account deficit has failed to improve significantly, the rupiah has slumped, and inflation has mounted—keeping interest rates high and...

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    For Beijing, It’s Goodnight Vietnam

    Vietnam recently scrapped foreign ownership caps across a swathe of industries as a spur to its stalled program to privatize state-owned enterprises. It has signed up to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a US-led attempt to boost trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific, and is pursuing a free trade agreement with the EU. Liberal-minded Vietnamese are hopeful that the reformist prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, will take over as Communist...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    For Beijing, It’s Goodnight Vietnam

    Vietnam recently scrapped foreign ownership caps across a swathe of industries as a spur to its stalled program to privatize state-owned enterprises. It has signed up to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a US-led attempt to boost trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific, and is pursuing a free trade agreement with the EU. Liberal-minded Vietnamese are hopeful that the reformist prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, will take over as Communist...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (July 15): Deflation Redux

    Overview: When governments interfere with the price discovery mechanism, most people believe the inevitable result is runaway inflation. On the contrary, argues Charles Gave, official manipulation of prices threatens to plunge us all into deflation. United States: Tan Kai Xian examines the marked divergence between goods prices and services prices and ponders what it means for the overall US inflation outlook. Europe: As the eurozone inches its...

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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Is Deflation Japan’s Disease, Or Just A Symptom?

    For a generation the words “Japan” and “deflation” have been inseparable in the minds of economists. The association is so entrenched that it is universally taken for granted that the central aim of Japanese economic policy must be to defeat deflation and, by extension, that any inflation must be a good thing. The result is the massive monetary expansion being undertaken by the Bank of Japan.

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    Gavekal Research

    Growth & Markets Monthly (July 2015)

    With the drama in Athens casting a pall over markets, what is the message from the Gavekal dashboard of economic and risk indicators? Overall, reasonably positive. Our main growth indicator suggests that the momentum of economic activity should pick up in the second half of the year. If correct, this would mark a repeat of the pattern seen in the last few years. Still, given the uncertainty associated with the Greek situation, there has been a...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Japan’s Sustainable Bull Market

    Plenty of old hands who thrived in Japan’s 1980s bubble era spent the next 25 years watching a structural bear market unfold and are starting to opine that history may repeat itself. With due respect to this grizzled breed, we are skeptical about historical comparisons and reckon that the combined drivers of the modern Japanese market offer a rare opportunity. Ironically, one of the biggest factors supporting Japanese equity values is that...

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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (July 01): Manufacturing Machinations

    Overview: Charles Gave argues that the manufacturing sector remains the last bastion of proper economic data in the US, and the message being sent is not good. United States: Tan Kai Xian somewhat demurs from Charles and argues that the US manufacturing sector is unlikely to be the fountainhead of the next US recession. Europe: Central Europe has emerged as the manufacturing powerhouse of Europe at the expense of France and the southern...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: “Make In India”, But For Who?

    Last year Indian prime minister Narendra Modi unveiled his “Make in India” initiative in an attempt to replicate the successes of the tried and tested East Asian development model in which economies pursue export-led manufacturing growth. To boost the share of manufacturing in output—currently at 16%—and its contribution to employment—around 12%, mostly in the “informal” sector—Modi outlined a number of key policies. But while developing...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Buy India On Bank Reform

    In recent months India has offered investors incrementally bad news due to bad monsoon rains, the government suffering a series of political missteps and a tougher external financing environment as higher US interest rates are contemplated. Moreover, the gradual rise in the oil price has diminished the growth-boosting dividend that India won in the second half of last year. So it was pleasing to get some “good India” news yesterday with the...

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