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    Gavekal Research

    Asia’s Winners In The US-China Tech War

    The US government has stepped up its campaign against China’s leading technology companies, and already the measures against Huawei are taking effect. This threatens to severely disrupt global electronics supply chains, but creates opportunities for companies elsewhere in Asia. Vincent assesses who stands to benefit.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    When Export Strength Is A Sign Of Weakness

    China’s manufacturers are back to normal, and then some. Exports and manufacturing output are running faster than their pre-pandemic trend in 2019, even as global trade is contracting. In this piece, Andrew and Thomas explain what’s driving those strong numbers, and why they are actually a sign of continued weakness in the global economy.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Dimensions Of Decoupling In 2020

    The “decoupling” of the US and Chinese economies that began with a trade war has now spread to almost all aspects of the relationship, with the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating the process. In this chartbook, Andrew and Dan show what decoupling looks like so far in 2020, using data on flows of trade, investment, technology, finance and people.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Caution Prevails In US Attack On Apps

    Last month President Trump issued orders that threatened massive disruption to two of China’s biggest technology companies. But the Commerce Department’s final decision on WeChat was less extreme than feared, and Trump’s blessing of a deal to avert a ban on TikTok signals a promising shift in the political calculus.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    A Simmering War Over Digital Taxes

    The US and Europe are in a standoff over how to tax digital companies. The US Trade Representative on Friday announced tariffs on French cosmetics and handbags, to take effect next year unless France drops plans to tax American tech giants. The worry is that such a dispute spirals, causing a further degradation of the global trade architecture.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Death, Taxes And Covid-19: Things That Cannot Be Avoided

    Six months after the first western countries went into lockdown, data suggest that unless imposed very early on, lockdowns did little to avert excess deaths. With weekly death rates in many western countries now running close to decade lows, Louis argues that this leaves politicians in an awkward spot, with one of three possible policy paths.

    39
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    Gavekal Research

    The First Meeting Of The Fed’s New Era

    On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee concluded its first meeting after Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell last month revised its strategic policy framework. The new framework boils down to a temporary increase in the Fed’s inflation target to “make up” for past shortfalls.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Pained Tales From The Hills

    On Monday, for the first time since 1975, gunshots were fired on the disputed Himalayan border between India and China.Hundreds of incidents occur along the undemarcated Line of Actual Control every year, but this year’s skirmishes are the most dangerous for at least five decades.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Tech As The Battlefield Of The Unfolding Cold War

    Despite technology issues sitting at the heart of the great-power struggle between the US and China, tech stocks continue to brush off geopolitical tensions. Louis is concerned that the market's assumptions don't line up with reality on three counts. It all adds up to a bad brew for tech.

    16
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    Gavekal Research

    Edging Toward A New Cold War

    The US decision to close China’s consulate in Houston is a big deal. The precise motivations are obscure but the story is not: the Trump Administration is turning up the heat on China before the US presidential election. In the next few months Washington is likely to make new moves pushing the US closer to a Cold War posture against China.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    US Profits In The Pandemic

    My preferred “NIPA profits” measure fell by -14.4% during the second quarter of the year, according to US national accounts data released late last week. That follows a similarly bad -13.3% fall in the first quarter. Both declines are on par with the worst quarters in post-war history. And like previous low points, US corporate profitability is likely to recover from here. But what does the data tell us about the investment environment and what...

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Restraint And Retaliation

    As the US government has rolled out ever more actions targeting Chinese firms, China has exercised restraint and has mostly opted not to retaliate in kind. As Dan explains, the government is taking the long view on the economy rather than pandering to nationalist outrage. But China is also developing legal tools that could be used to hurt US firms.

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Open-Source Moment Arrives

    Most of the US government’s efforts to hinder China’s technological progress have focused on hardware, mainly semiconductors. But software is also now a front in the US-China tech conflict. As Dan explains in this piece, those tensions could make open-source software, which is free from most legal restrictions, even more globally important.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    After The ‘Pump And Dump’

    August was an odd month in the US equity market. It saw Apple, the world’s largest company by market value, add US$650bn to its market-cap despite a string of troubling news. Yet for most investors, the biggest head-scratcher may have been the continued rise in the VIX, even as stocks, led by the Nasdaq, continued to make new highs.

    14
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    Gavekal Research

    A (Short) History Of Central Banking In The US

    Gavekal readers will be familiar with Charles's distinction between tools and jewels as a way of thinking about markets. He notes that today we have negative real interest rates while gold has outperformed both cash over the last 12 months and the US stock market since 2018. Today, he asks if we are at the start of a new counter-trend rally in gold relative to US equities.

    7
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    Gavekal Research

    The Dollar Still Has Downside

    Has the great US dollar correction of 2020 run its course? After all, the DXY index is down -10% from its March 19 top and -4.4% lower year-to-date. There have been good reasons to sound Cassandra-like warnings on the US currency and while some negative drivers have moderated, the balance of evidence implies more downside.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Understanding Dual Circulation

    Top leader Xi Jinping is now promoting a new slogan—dubbed “dual circulation”—to manage China's significant dependencies on the global economy. In this report, Gilliam explains how this does not mean the country is turning inward, but rather trying to gain more control over its long-term growth without losing its role as an international hub.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A New FDR?

    Joe Biden has accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for the US presidency. Invoking Franklin D. Roosevelt, who responded to the Great Depression with huge public works, Biden promised big fiscal programs to “build back better” after the Covid-19 recession. He also vowed to combat climate change, reduce wealth disparities and advance liberal causes.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Tech War, Meet Trade Deal

    Plans enacted by US national security hawks to toughen sanctions on Huawei and other Chinese tech firms have run into stiff resistance from both American tech firms and President Trump himself. Dan reports that, amidst this stalemate, both factions are mobilizing for a protracted fight over the fate of restrictions on exports to China.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Does Warren Buffett Know Something We Don't?

    The sage of Omaha made an interesting change of tack recently. Warren Buffet sold most of his shares in Goldman Sachs and bought positions in Barrick Gold. Goldman is often held up as the very epitome of the Wall Street financial engineering firm. Meanwhile, Barrick represents the kind of company you would buy if you no longer trusted financial engineering—or the currency in which the financial engineering is taking place.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Will A Keynesian Phoenix Arise From Covid?

    Two months ago, Anatole dismissed the rebound in equity prices as an outbreak of “market madness” among bored small-time gamblers deprived of the opportunity to bet on horses and sports. He now admits that call was wrong and in this piece explains what has driven the market to new highs. The turnaround likely reflects the largescale reconversion of leading economies to Keynesian demand-management policies and the fact that these seem baked-in...

    17
  • Gavekal Research

    Why I Was Wrong To Turn Bearish

    Yesterday, Anatole suggested that stock markets may be soaring to new records because the Covid-19 crisis could indirectly produce a stronger world economy in the coming decade. Today, he seeks to explain his damascene conversion from post-March bearishness in order that readers can better judge the merit of this view.

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    What US-China Decoupling Means For The US Dollar

    Almost all of the world’s commodity trade is done in US dollars, so any commodity-importing country must keep much of its central-bank reserves in US currency. The fact that China, the world’s largest commodity importer, pays for these imports using another nation’s currency was an anomaly even when the US and China got along. As US hostility towards Beijing increases, this raises four possible scenarios.

    9
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Climbing Up The Smartphone Smiling Curve

    Chinese advances in hardware technology have increased the country’s contribution to the global smartphone supply chain. In this report, Dan explains how Chinese firms have increased their value-added in both innovation and branding. Now, he suggests, the main headwinds for Chinese smartphones are no longer technological, but geopolitical.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Leading The Way In Export Recovery

    Chinese exports have outperformed expectations due to booming sales of goods related to Covid-19 and Chinese manufacturers staying open when their international counterparts were forced to suspend production. In this report, Thomas explains why China's export growth will continue to flatten in H2 as global trade catches up.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Hawks In The Driver’s Seat

    The China hawks are at the wheel in the Trump administration and driving as fast as they can. In this report, Arthur outlines the many tactics being employed by hardliners in the White House to lock in an adversarial stance against China ahead of the US elections. However tense things have been so far, even tenser times lie ahead.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Past Is Another Country

    With US$3trn added to the US national debt during the Covid-19 crisis and trillions more in the works should new salary replacement payments be agreed in Congress, a vital question for investors is how to think about this runaway government spending and what it means for bonds and the US dollar.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, July 2020

    In our monthly Global Investment Roundtable, US analyst Tan Kai Xian analyzed the latest US data and assessed the risk that the present economic stall-out turns into a double-dip recession. Arthur Kroeber explained why the Trump Administration has amped up its Cold War rhetoric on China. Anatole Kaletsky tied it all together and tried to explain the recent movements in global markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Huawei And The Roads Of The Future

    China is engaged in an imperial project that will not be typified by territorial conquest, but by “road building”. This is done to bring commodities to the heart of the empire at the cheapest cost, while higher value-added finished goods are pushed out to its outer realms. It is no coincidence that a common saying for Europeans is that “all roads lead to Rome’”.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Building A New System

    On Monday, Charles argued that developed economies’ moves to nationalize both the creation of money and the distribution of credit would degrade the unit-of-account function played by fiat currencies in many markets. Today, he outlines new monetary mechanisms that are likely to replace, or at least live alongside, fiat currencies.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Sticks And Stones May Break A Trade Relationship

    Monday night’s deadly face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Himalayan mountains threatens to rupture a burgeoning trading relationship between Asia’s two largest nations. Diplomats should be able to deescalate military tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries, but it may be harder to normalize economic ties.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Hong Kong Sanctions Regime

    As US-China tensions amp up, Hong Kong faces US actions in response to the national security law imposed by the Chinese government. This includes an end to preferential trade treatment and penalties for foreign financial institutions that transact with officials found to be undermining the city’s freedoms. In this video interview, Dan explains how the program will play out and addresses the question of whether the US government will target Hong...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Different Decades, Different Backdrops

    In the months after the 2008 global mortgage crisis, gold prices broke out to new highs in part driven by the belief that quantitative easing would trigger higher inflation, perhaps even hyper-inflation. Against such a backdrop investors flocked to real assets. Today, similar forces seem to be at work, although maybe in more concentrated form.

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    The Assault On Chinese Tech

    After a whirlwind of negotiations, the US government may have succeeded in forcing the sale of TikTok’s US operations to a US company. The US earlier used national-security grounds to restrict the business of Huawei. Both companies still have large domestic businesses, but US government actions over the past year may mark a peak for the global expansion by Chinese tech firms.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Quantifying Trade War Risk

    Investors seem to have grown somewhat blasé about the US-China trade war lately. Over 12 months after the outbreak of hostilities, the S&P 500 is up 2.2% year-on-year. Part of the reason for this nonchalance appears to be a belief that US growth and domestic profits are invulnerable to any escalation of the conflict. This belief may be mistaken.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Not Cheap, But Not Expensive Either

    I don’t propose to wade into the debate over whether US equities are in are in a bubble or not. I'd only point out that by one key metric—relative valuation—equities do not look excessively expensive today, at least when compared with the relative valuations seen at the height of the dot-com boom at the turn of the century.

    9
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Questions On The Digital Renminbi

    The People’s Bank of China is on the way to becoming the first central bank in the world to launch a digital currency. The idea of a digital renminbi has sparked a huge amount of interest, but confusion and speculation are rampant. In this Q&A, Xiaoxi and Wei provide clear answers to some of the big questions about the digital currency.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    In Defense Of Marxists And Communism

    Charles has often appeared on television shows in France as the token right-wing guy asked to debate a socialist or communist on the proper role of the state. He misses those days, for both he and his adversary usually agreed that the objective was improving the welfare of the average Frenchman—even if they disagreed profoundly on how to achieve this.

    7
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Next Steps In US-China Decoupling

    As the US election approaches, the Trump Administration is intensifying pressure on China on all fronts. In this report, Dan outlines the executive-branch agencies tasked with implementing sanctions and restrictions, what they have accomplished so far, and what tools are at their disposal should Trump decide to further escalate the situation.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Weathering Trump’s Trade War

    It may be the dog days of summer, but investors got a truckload of news this weekend that points to a bad situation getting worse. Given President Donald Trump’s escalation of tariffs and threat to bar US firms from operating in China, the worry is that his hardline stance spurs a US recession. KX and Will think this is unlikely.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Do Bubbles Predict Or Project?

    With the second quarter data season now in full swing, the rebound in equity prices that followed the Covid-19 panic seems to have stalled. So, what happens now? In this piece, Anatole follows up on Louis’s recent efforts to define reasons for the surge in equity values and proposes a fresh explanation centered on the nature of bubbles.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    The Consequences Of ‘Worthless Cash’

    In the second quarter of this year, global equity markets registered their best quarterly performance in two decades. In this, the third paper of a series about the record-breaking rebound, I will consider the possibility that the present growth in monetary aggregates is leading investors to conclude that they have no alternative.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Pick Your Side

    The British government’s decision to block Huawei from the UK’s 5G mobile network, confirmed yesterday, is further evidence that the post-Covid world is splitting into two opposing security blocs. International distrust of China is hardening along ideological lines, spurring liberal nations to prioritize national security over economic growth.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What Will Stop The Gold Bull Market?

    The sustained outperformance of very large-cap tech stocks means that any manager who substantially underweighted the sector has likely lost clients. The exception may be those who favored gold and gold miners, which have experienced a “stealth” bull market. I say stealth because the precious metals rally has garnered limited headlines, scant investor interest and fewer reflections on either its causes, or consequences.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Unpicking The Tourism Effect

    Despite a worsening Covid-19 situation in many big developing economies and concerns over central banks’ monetization responses, emerging market investors continue to climb the wall of worry, betting that a putative “second wave” does not stymie the recoveries of developed economies and China. But another challenge for EM economies is a collapse in foreign tourism.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India Eyes Up Uncle Sam

    After the border clash with Chinese troops on June 15, India is on the verge of a strategic reorientation towards the United States that will reshape security in Asia. A full formal military alliance with the US would be a red rag to the Chinese bull, and therefore remains unlikely. But India is set to deepen its strategic partnerships with the US and other like-minded countries, especially Japan and Australia. It will also weaken its ties with...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Pharma Problem

    India, the world’s pharmacy, is in danger of running out of drugs. The source of the danger is India’s deteriorating relationship with China, which provides up to 70% of the bulk ingredients for India’s pharmaceutical industry. Most Indian pharma makers hold at least two months of stock, but if the situation is not resolved, the global pharma supply chain could be disrupted.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Japan And Korea Split On China's Rise

    Japan and South Korea have responded differently to China’s attempts to peel them away from the US. Japan continues to align closely with its ally, while South Korea is more ready to accept that China as the regional power. In this report, Yanmei and Dan explore the logic behind these decisions and what they mean for the regional power balance.

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Bumpier Road To Semiconductor Supremacy

    The Chinese semiconductor industry has made substantial progress over the last year, making credible gains in both design and production—despite attempts by the US to stymie China’s advancement. In this report, Dan explains how the US has escalated its anti-China campaign and outlines the rough road ahead for the industry.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    From Trade War To Decoupling

    Trade talks between the US and China will resume this week after a three-month hiatus, but how much do they really matter? In this piece, Arthur argues that the macro risk from the US-China trade conflict has ebbed to almost zero. What’s important now is to understand the dimensions of the decoupling between the world’s two biggest economies.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Is This What Capital Flight Looks Like?

    The bearish scenario for Hong Kong was that a combination of protests and Beijing’s heavy hand would trigger the flight of capital—financial and human—jeopardizing the peg and the financial system. Yet despite months of protests, and Beijing’s subsequent clampdown, the financial elements of this doomsday scenario have completely failed to materialize.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The US Takes Action Against Military Fusion

    New regulations from the US Department of Commerce which go into effect on Monday could deny US-origin technologies to a broad swath of Chinese companies. In this Quick Take, Dan explores which firms are most at risk of falling afoul of these regulations and how their supply chains might be affected.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Monetary Policy Emergency Is Over

    The Chinese government bond market has seen its biggest reversal in more than three years. Conflicting policy signals have made the priorities of China’s central bank difficult to decipher; in this report, Wei explains why it has now clearly returned to its “selective” easing mode of delivering targeted rather than broad-based economic support.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Who Will Win The War On Covid-19?

    In recent weeks leaders around the world have deployed all the rhetoric of wartime to declare hostilities against Covid-19. Louis examines which, if any, of the three major global powers—the US, Europe and China—is likely to emerge from the war a relative “winner”, and draws the appropriate investment conclusions.

    11
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    Gavekal Research

    Towards More Of The Same?

    Investors looking at the impressive rally in global equities since mid-March have been forced to come to one of three conclusions: (i) the Covid-19-induced halt to our economies will soon fade away like a bad dream, (ii) equity investors are crazy, or (iii) a growing number of investors think the cash they hold is bound to become worthless.

    13
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Uneven Rebound In Consumption

    The recovery of consumption in China is coming, but it will be an uneven one. In this piece, Thomas explains how the combination of recent negative surprises on public-health restrictions with positive surprises on jobs and income will shape the trajectories of different consumption categories, from food to autos to electronics.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Future Of Hong Kong

    Whither Hong Kong? After a year of political turmoil, uncertainty about the city’s prospects is the highest it has been in decades. This 20-page DeepChina report examines Hong Kong’s historical trajectory, and concludes the city is in long-run decline—even though it will continue to be an important financial gateway between China and the world.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Friendlier Supply Chain Required

    Covid-19 has revealed reliance on Chinese supply chains as a serious national security risk. But shifting manufacturing of vital goods to other parts will be no easy task, especially when alternatives like Vietnam remain so dependent on imports from China themselves. Meanwhile, the pandemic has made other potential locations—notably India—less attractive.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Emerging Markets After The Trade War

    Emerging markets did nicely out of the rumor, less well from the fact. As hopes grew through June for some form of trade détente between the US and China, EM assets staged a broad rally. Similarly, EM currencies pushed broadly higher, on the back of a wider US dollar softness. Over the last week, however, EM equities and currencies have pulled back.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Evolving Trade War

    There is little doubt that the US president is surrounded by advisers who see China as a genuine threat to the long term economic health and geopolitical strength of the United States. But, it is likely that Donald Trump’s most immediate concerns are more down to earth. Specifically, in order to be re-elected in 2020, Trump needs once again to carry states such as Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. And it is unlikely that he will be able to win the...

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    The Renminbi, Manipulation And The Trade War

    Monday’s actions on the Chinese currency—Beijing’s decision to let the renminbi’s exchange rate weaken past CNY7.00 to the US dollar, and Washington’s decision to label China a currency manipulator—signal that the US and China are close to throwing in the towel on a trade deal. Trade war escalation should now be the base case.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Trade War: Back From The Dead

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Trump's Trade War Calculus

    Keeping track of all the pieces of the US-China confrontation has become a full-time job. But the chaos and uncertainty of the past couple of weeks has begun to resolve itself into fairly clear patterns, even if the outcomes remain in doubt. Three main conclusions emerge from last week’s activity, and none of them are particularly reassuring.

    10
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    Gavekal Research

    The Trade War Story Lines Harden

    The US-China trade war has three potential outcomes. First, we could see a step back from brinksmanship and a deal in the next few weeks. Second, the two sides could dig in for more protracted negotiations. Third, the talks could break down and the trade war become permanent. With the probability of each outcome less than 50%, the only certainty is continued uncertainty.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Froth Comes Off

    Recent weeks saw telltale signs of markets getting silly: firms with no sales reaching U$26bn valuations; airline-focused exchange traded funds jumping from US$50mn in size in January to US$1.5bn, and bankrupt firms becoming five and 10 baggers. This kind of activity may lead to one of three conclusions.

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Range Of US Sanctions

    US President Donald Trump has pledged a response to Beijing’s decision to impose national-security legislation on Hong Kong, and has now signed legislation to sanction officials involved in the crackdown on Uighurs in Xinjiang. In this piece, Dan outlines the various legal tools that the US can bring to bear and their possible effects.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Trade War II, The Dollar And Gold

    After the opening Twitter salvo in "Trade War II" by Donald Trump in May, markets have reacted quite differently from "Trade War I" in the spring of 2018. This time, the Federal Reserve is sounding more dovish, US bond yields have fallen back to 2%, the dollar seems to be rolling over, and gold and EMs are doing well. This raises the question whether the investment environment is changing before our eyes.

    9
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Arbitrage Comes Out Of The Shadows

    The Covid-19 pandemic has shocked China’s financial regulators into allowing a substantial rebound in total credit growth. But they are not worried enough to abandon their strict control of shadow finance. As Xiaoxi explains in this piece, a recent bounce in the shadow finance numbers is due to a popular arbitrage which is now being contained.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Tourism Falls Victim To The Trade War

    The boom in China’s outbound tourism could go down as another casualty of the trade war. As Ernan explains in this piece, the combination of a weakening currency and rising political tensions is becoming a major drag on international travel by Chinese—just as the structural factors driving outbound tourism growth are shifting into a lower gear.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    How Multinationals Are Managing The Trade War

    The collapse of US-China trade talks and the ratcheting up of tariffs has intensified the challenges faced by global companies with operations that span both countries. In this piece, Lance reports on their range of responses to the trade war: some are shifting out of China, some are investing more in China, and some are not doing anything yet.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    US Politics Versus Chinese Stocks

    Financial markets are the latest field in which US-China political tensions are playing out. Thomas describes two lines of attack US hawks are pursuing against China: blocking Chinese firms from US equity markets and pressuring US asset managers to avoid Chinese equities. The risk associated with Chinese stocks has therefore materially increased.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Surviving A US$100bn Funding Gap

    Developing economies are struggling from reduced trade and harder access to capital. They also face a US$109bn cut in remittance income this year as construction sites in the rich world close, ships stay in port and restaurants are shuttered. This could spur a spiral of poverty and protest that ends with debt defaults that even suck in well-managed emerging markets.

    2
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    A Better Time For A Trade War

    For equity investors, there is a never a good time to have a trade war. Nevertheless, if there must be one, the US stock market is now better placed to ride out a US-China tariff conflict than it was a year ago. That’s just as well. Chinese negotiator Liu He is set to arrive in Washington on Thursday for the latest round of trade talks which are going down to the wire.

    5
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    The Renminbi As Collateral Damage

    The rise in US-China tensions over the past week is taking a toll on China’s currency, which has weakened to CNY7.15 to the dollar from around CNY7.10, approaching its lows of last September. This has raised a worrying question: is China about to use currency depreciation as a weapon in its widening dispute with the US?

    0
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    Bad Shocks Can Have Benign Effects

    There are few people outside Donald Trump’s administration who think the US-China trade war was a good thing. There are surely even fewer who think the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has any positive aspects at all. Nevertheless, while both last year’s trade war and this year’s viral epidemic are bad for global economic growth, they are both largely beneficial for US households.

    0
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    As The World Reopens

    A few weeks ago, I outlined three scenarios that could unfold as the world reopened for business. Since then, it looks like the market is starting to tentatively position scenario #3 in which the world economy rips and inflation rises due to pent-up demand, budget deficits, low oil prices and money printing. This makes sense, but the rotation may soon face a number of challenges.

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    The Art Of (Trade) War

    Donald Trump’s trade war against China demonstrates that the Washington consensus is dead and buried. This suggests that the world will split into three monetary zones, each with its own anchor currency and risk-free asset class. As a result, the close relationship between the renminbi and the US dollar is a thing of the past and China’s vast current account surplus will become unsustainable. Charles examines what all this means for investment...

    2
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    What The Trade Deal Won't Change

    President Trump has confirmed he will sign his trade deal with China on January 15, and the PBOC has reinforced its tilt to more dovish policies. This combination of events means the macro factors that drove December’s rally—a receding trade war and a global easing of monetary policy—are still in place for January, if increasingly priced in.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Charm Offensive For Supply Chains

    As multinationals in China face growing pressure to shift their supply chains elsewhere, China’s government is doing everything it can to hold on to them. As Dan explains in this piece, China’s ability to get businesses back on their feet after the Covid-19 lockdown is a great advertisement for its attractiveness as a place to do businesses.

    6
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    A US Full-Court Press Against China

    The US-China relationship has deteriorated rapidly, and the main reason seems to be that Donald Trump has decided that a “tough on China” approach should be central to his reelection campaign. Acrimony between the two countries is likely to get much worse between now and November, and US actions are starting to spread from technology to finance.

    0
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    The Trade War’s Uneasy Truce

    The “phase one” US-China trade deal announced last week still has some hoops to pass through before it becomes real: completion of a bilingual legal text and formal signing in January. Still, both sides have incentives to avoid the economic damage from further tariff escalation, so the deal will almost surely come into force. The agreement falls far short of achieving the US goal of forcing China to change its state-led economic system; instead...

    3
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    Four Reasons To Fade The Rebound

    After advising readers not to buy into the March market rebound, Anatole has reviewed the case he made for doubting that a perfectly executed Keynesian recovery was likely—and he did this as Gavekal’s fully avowed Keynesian economist. After a dark night of the soul, he remains skeptical that economic activity will quickly return to anything resembling pre-Covid-19 normality.

    11
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    The Death Of Old Hong Kong

    On Monday morning, the streets around Gavekal’s offices in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district teemed with harried commuters rather than baton-charging police and political protesters. Unfortunately, uncertainty about Hong Kong’s future as a free society will linger longer than the tear gas that had drenched the area a few hours earlier. There is now a fair chance that China’s imposition of a new national security law in Hong Kong will cause a chain...

    2
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    Strategy Monthly: China After The Trade War

    The prospect of a US-China deal on tariffs has already boosted China’s stock market and currency. But it won’t reverse China’s growth slowdown, which is largely the result of Beijing’s efforts to de-leverage the financial system. The good news is that credit growth is rebounding, which will stabilize growth in 2H18. Chinese bonds will rally a bit more, the renminbi will move up further against the US dollar, and Chinese and EM equities should...

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    A Cold War Interglacial

    It is now almost certain that presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will restart trade talks at the G20 summit in Osaka this weekend. Moreover, discussions in Washington suggest that there is a good chance these talks will result in a deal in the next few months. Our core scenario now is that macro risk from an escalating trade war is receding. There are also signs that the US and China could negotiate a truce on Huawei, lifting the apparent...

    7
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    Trade War Escalates. What’s Next?

    With the imposition of tariffs on US$34bn of imports from China last Friday, the US has expanded the trade war it launched two weeks earlier with steel and aluminum tariffs, mostly on friendly countries. More are likely to come by the end of the year: additional tariffs on China, and possibly levies on imports of cars and car parts (which again would mainly hurt US allies). It is possible that the US could pull out of Nafta. How worried should...

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Chill On Corporate Capex

    The Covid-19 lockdown led to a historic collapse in corporate capital expenditure in early 2020, but what comes next? In this piece, Thomas introduces a new model for understanding China’s investment cycle. Private-sector capex should stay weak in the second half of 2020, lagging public-sector infrastructure spending, but rebound in 2021.

    0
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    Hong Kong Q&A (Part III)

    China has responded to prolonged political dissent in Hong Kong by proposing a tough anti-subversion law that threatens the city’s role as an international financial center. It remains unclear how this will be imposed on a common law-based legal system with a polar opposite jurisprudence to that on the Mainland. Louis tries to answer some of these questions.

    5
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    The Kitsune Market (Part IV)

    Over recent weeks, Louis has examined in detail nine “Kitsune” tail risks which could blindside financial markets in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. But in contemplating these tail risks, Louis has been forced to wonder if he has missed the forest for the trees, overlooking perhaps the greatest risk of all for investors: that the 40-year inverse correlation between equities and bonds may be breaking down.

    4
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    An Ugly Trade War And An Inverted Yield Curve

    Will a trade war boost US growth and inflation, or instead cause a deflationary recession? The bond market is basically saying that a trade war will dent US growth and force the Federal Reserve into easing. Bear with my two-handed explanation, but there are also good reasons why it could also boost nominal growth.

    6
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    China's Options In The Unfolding Trade War

    China is widely seen as having a pretty miserable hand in its trade stand-off with China. However, Louis is not convinced that China has so few options. Here he considers Beijing’s scope for retaliation, and so leverage, from using its financial clout to spook US capital markets to winding up Kim Jong-un to start causing trouble for the US and its allies.

    10
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Truth About Unemployment

    China’s government is promising to deliver stability in employment this year, although it has not made a full accounting of how the Covid-19 lockdown affected jobs. In this report, Ernan presents comprehensive estimates of the scale of job losses: in the range of 60-100mn. This is far more than China’s social safety net is designed to handle.

    2
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    The Kitsune Market (Part III)

    In this third part of a series assessing risks thrown up by massive government interventions to stop Covid-19 lockdowns turning into an economic depression, Louis turns his sights on efforts to prevent bankruptcies at all costs. He also considers the rapidly fraying US-China relationship and existential choices faced by Saudi Arabia as it decides how to handle a collapse in oil prices.

    5
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    Strategy Monthly: Who Suffers Most In A Long Trade War?

    Markets have started to price in a long US-China trade and tech war, and we agree. The odds now favor an indefinite conflict. Damage from the trade war will vary based on a country’s trade-dependency and policy space. Big problems could emerge in Europe and in EMs exposed to China’s supply chain.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    April’s Fitful Recovery

    China released economic data for April showing a continued recovery in industry and investment as well as a surprising recovery in exports. In this Quick Take, Thomas argues that with exports headed for a substantial decline, this upwards trajectory is likely to plateau in May.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Military Fusion Sparks US Reaction

    The US government has unveiled new rules that will make it more difficult for US companies to sell high technology to Chinese firms with any military connections. In this piece, Dan explains the risks of these new rules for both US companies and the many Chinese firms participating in their government’s “military-civil fusion” campaign.

    2
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    The Chinese Bond Rally Is Not Over Yet

    China’s bond market is selling off on rising optimism about the nation’s recovery from the Covid-19 lockdown. But Wei argues that this rise in bond yields looks like a false alarm: China’s economy is not about to begin a V-shaped recovery and its central bank is not yet finished with monetary easing. The bond bull market still has some way to run.

    0
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    The Benefit Of Panicking Early

    Among industrialized nations, Taiwan stands out as the least affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Taiwan chose to “panic early” by barring entry to foreign travelers, enforcing strict quarantines and assiduously tracking potential infections. The payoff has been no material disruption to domestic activity, which should lead to continued outperformance of the Taiwan dollar.

    0
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    A Tough Ask On Trade, Trouble Brewing On Tech

    The story we’ve been telling for the past few months is that the conclusion of the US-China trade deal will reduce global macro risk in 2020, but tech-specific risk will still be an issue because of continued efforts by the US to constrain the rise of China’s technology sector and in particular Huawei. This week’s news buttressed that story: the trade deal was signed; but at the same time several US agencies are on the verge of tightening...

    0
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    Video: Pandemics, Protests And Outperformance

    Hong Kong’s GDP contracted almost -9% year-on-year in the first quarter, as the impact of the coronavirus hammered an economy already severely weakened by the last year’s anti-government street protests. In this video interview, Tom examines the storms battering Asia’s premier financial center, and accounts for the resilience of its financial system.

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