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    Gavekal Research

    Learning To Transact Through Covid

    The Covid-19 flare-up in the southern and western United States threatens to slow the country’s recovery, but it is unlikely to be a rerun of the severe economic contraction seen in March and April. Since Americans are learning to maintain economic activity during Covid-19, a Nike swoosh or “stairstep” recovery seems more likely than the feared W-shaped outcome.

    2
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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 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

    Behind The Bull Run In Chinese Stocks

    Chinese equity markets are bounding higher on ebullient animal spirits. The CSI 300 index is up some 12.5% YTD in renminbi terms Monday morning. While the sequential rebound in profits from the first quarter’s dire situation has been heartening, the prospects for year-on-year earnings growth cannot justify this exuberance.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    An Upgrade For The Jeep Portfolio

    In the Covid-19 crisis, Charles’s “Jeep” portfolio, introduced at the end of 2017 and expounded on in mid-2019, has amply demonstrated its worth, outperforming a pure equity portfolio, but with much lower volatility. In this paper, Charles reviews the Jeep portfolio once again, upgrading its components to navigate a post-Covid world.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Time To Run With The Herd?

    When a herd of cattle is being hunted by a pack of wolves, the worst thing any cow or bull can do is show individualism and originality by running off in a different direction from the rest of the herd. In financial markets, “the trend is your friend” expresses the same evolutionary logic. Are markets now displaying non-rational herd behavior?

    4
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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 Research

    The Rising US Covid Risk

    In the coming weeks, the headlines about Covid-19 in the US are all but certain to get much worse as case numbers rocket in many southern and western states. Higher case numbers will be accompanied by more hospitalizations, stories of overloaded hospital systems and (probably) rising death tolls.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: A New European Dawn?

    European nations have managed to lay the ground for a putative fiscal union. In a change of tack, Germany has changed tack by embracing demand management policies. Its new approach should drive a more balanced and domestically-focused recovery that may lift the eurozone-wide return on invested capital. Nick and Cedric argue that this changed dynamic is likely to attract foreign capital and lift the euro against the US dollar.

    0
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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 Research

    Competing Reserves Of Value

    In order to function properly, any economic system must have one or more trusted reserves of value, so that participants can factor time into their calculations. In recent decades the world has offered investors three principal reserves of value:

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Singapore Beyond July's Election

    Although a new opposition political party is making Singapore’s current election season somewhat more interesting than past campaigns, the outcome is not in doubt: the ruling People’s Action Party will be confirmed in power for another five-year term. In this short video interview, Vincent looks beyond the July 10 poll to survey the economic and market outlook for the island republic.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Rare Growth Story

    Economic good news stories are almost as rare as hens’ teeth these days—almost, but not quite. On Tuesday Vietnam’s General Statistics Office released its advanced 2Q20 GDP estimate showing 0.36% YoY growth, meaning Vietnam is likely to be one of the very few countries in the world to register any growth at all during the second quarter.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, June 2020

    Yesterday Louis Gave, Will Denyer and Andrew Batson joined Arthur Kroeber at the Global Investment Roundtable. They discussed the economic growth and market situation in the US, the state of the Chinese recovery, and what a post-Covid-19 world might look like.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    From Bullish To Neutral

    There has been a lot of talk about how the rally in US markets has been driven entirely by irrational sentiment. We disagree, and have since late March argued that the rebound in risk assets was rational. Our assessment rested on four financial and economic pillars. Today a reexamination of these pillars suggests a moderation of our bullish stance.

    0
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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 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 Research

    What's US$1.6trn More Or Less?

    As three months ago, the prime case for holding US risk assets is the liquidity support provided by policymakers. But while liquidity conditions remain extraordinarily easy, and will continue to do so as long as inflation expectations remain depressed, in one respect at least the potential of surplus liquidity to push asset markets higher may have been exaggerated.

    6
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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

    Please May I Have €10bn Too?

    Indulge me for a moment in a flight of fancy. Last week, the European Central Bank lent out €1.31trn to eurozone banks at a negative interest rate of -1%. Now, I am not a bank, but it is diverting to imagine that I might qualify for a small crumb of this funding, say a modest €10bn—because I know exactly what I would do with the money.

    16
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    Gavekal Research

    US Regional Outbreaks Hit A Key Threshold

    The southern United States is in the grip of a major wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Until now, Arthur has taken the view that rising case numbers alone would not be enough to convince state governments to slow down or roll back economic reopening plans. However, the risks to this core scenario are mounting.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The US Approaches A Cliff Edge

    As the US starts to resume normal economic activity, a concern is that fiscal support is ended too early and the recovery is snuffed out. While European economies have extended many of their job protection schemes, the US faces a cliff edge at the end of July. If incomes suddenly crater, the worry is that spending plunges and the recovery takes on the feared W-shape.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Update (French), June 2020

    In yesterday's webinar for our Francophone audience, Charles and Louis Gave, Cedric Gemehl and Didier Darcet updated viewers on their views of asset markets and government responses to the economic calamity caused by Covid-19.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Behind The Resilience Of Hong Kong's Markets

    Hong Kong has been beset by a string of bad news, from mass street protests, through Covid-19, to national security legislation of unknown scope and severity imposed by the mainland. Yet you wouldn’t guess it from looking at the city’s property market—the world’s priciest—or its stock market where several mainland tech companies are lining up to do their initial public offerings. Vincent explains the disconnect.

    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

    The Club Med’s Cruel Summer

    France, Italy and Spain suffered the deepest contractions in their economic activity in the first quarter and through April. Yet government programs have successfully supported both business cash flows and household incomes. Beyond the immediate bounce-back from lockdown, however, their economic trajectories are set to diverge.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    China Legislates For Hong Kong

    The summary of Hong Kong’s national security law released on Saturday is a tough read for advocates of a common law system. It represents a hybrid of China’s and Hong Kong’s legal systems that effectively ends the separation of powers between the executive and judiciary. How quickly the city changes as a result depends on the severity of enforcement.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Most Cautious Of Central Banks

    China’s medium-term lending facility rate and the loan prime rate were left unchanged in June, while short-term market interest rates have risen. In this Quick Take, Xiaoxi argues that, though the PBOC is likely to cut policy interest rates further this year, the pace of rate cuts is likely to be slower in the second half than in the first.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Next EM Policy Mistake

    Since bottoming out in late March, emerging market equities and bond markets have risen significantly. This snap-back stemmed from massive liquidity injections by global central banks. Investors were also cheered by a new paradigm of fused monetary and fiscal policy in economies which rarely had such flexibility. The worry is that this proves a trap for EMs.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    From A Tax To A Subsidy

    There will be some hard bargaining ahead when the European Union’s 27 heads of government meet by video conference Friday in an attempt to thrash out details of the bloc’s proposed €750bn recovery fund. German chancellor Angela Merkel is urging a quick deal. But with the “frugal four” countries led by Dutch premier Mark Rutte holding out for strict conditions, a final agreement could yet take several months, with the fund unlikely to start...

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Explaining The Iron Ore Surge

    Chinese iron ore prices have surged by 30% since May due to growing Chinese demand, shrinking Brazilian supply and increased logistics costs. In this Quick Take, Rosealea explains why prices are likely to remain elevated in the coming months but might fall precipitously in the second half of the year.

    0
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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

    Video: High Stakes In The Himalayas

    In this video, Udith argues that the mayhem seen on the India-China border this week will provide another catalyst for Indian nationalists who want to lessen the country’s reliance on China, even if that means accepting far slower economic growth.

    0
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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

    The Market’s Perception Of Scarcity

    It is a long-running trope of Gavekal’s research that assets can have value either as tools or as jewels. Tools have efficiency value and jewels have scarcity value. The rule that seemed to govern the relative performance of these over the last 50 or so years appears to have broken down. Louis wonders if this is because investors have reversed their perceptions of what is "scarce" and what is "abundant".

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    The US Consumer Has Legs

    Another day, another upside surprise from the US data. For investors, the key question is whether this recovery will continue, or whether May’s bounce-back in consumption will prove a one-off flash in the pan, extinguished by a second wave of infections and long term unemployment. Happily, there are good reasons to expect the consumption recovery to have legs.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Emerging Market Update, June 2020

    In yesterday’s webinar, Udith Sikand, Vincent Tsui and Tom Miller joined Arthur Kroeber to present the general outlook for emerging market assets and currencies, as well as discuss the situation in India.

    0
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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 Research

    A Dismal Best Case

    The crowds that Monday swarmed British shops, allowed to open for the first time in 12 weeks, at first sight bodes well for a V-shaped recovery. Yet despite plentiful accumulated savings and considerable pent-up demand, the UK’s consumption-driven economy faces formidable post-lockdown headwinds, with consequences for equities and sterling.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Features Of Market Madness

    Examining the frothy market action of last week, Anatole argues that crowd psychology is now driving moves in the US stock market. Five important lessons from the dotcom boom and bust of 1998-2000 indicate that if the Nasdaq composite breaks decisively through its recent high, there may be pots of money still to be made from the current bubble.

    19
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    Gavekal Research

    Rotating Into US Small Caps

    Despite some states seeing a worrying rise in Covid-19 cases, a US economic recovery is gaining strength as lockdowns are lifted. Barring unforeseen setbacks, there are reasons to think that the US recovery sustains itself and the equity rally continues. There is, however, a solid macro argument for rotating to a different class of US stocks.

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Beginnings Of A Plateau

    China’s economic data for May continued April’s wider recovery; however, Thomas, Rosealea and Xiaoxi argue that this upward momentum is losing steam. Weak external demand, tapering industrial production and Beijing’s aversion to further monetary easing all support the idea that China’s post-Covid bounceback is starting to plateau.

    2
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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 Research

    Wicksell And The Market Logic Of A New Inflationary Era

    On Wednesday, Charles argued that policy responses to the Covid-19 crisis may be forcing the US economy into an inflationary boom. In this piece, he deploys the Shiller P/E as a tool for assessing US equities. He connects these findings with his tried-and-tested Wicksellian macro approach to reach a set of portfolio construction recommendations.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Can Small-Business Lending Be Fixed?

    As China tries to get the economy back to normal, it is focusing more on the plight of small businesses, who have lost weeks or months of revenue to the pandemic. Yet it has resisted offering the loan guarantees other countries have employed. In this piece, Xiaoxi assesses the other tools China is using to boost lending to the smallest firms.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    The Derating Of The Dollar

    In the last four weeks as market participants have reassessed relative risk premiums, they have found it increasingly easy to identify currencies which at the margin are looking more attractive than the US dollar. As a result, the dollar has weakened both against developed world and emerging market currencies. This weakness is acquiring momentum, and may have further to run.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Threat To Chinese Tech

    The US is deepening its effort to limit Chinese technology giant Huawei’s access to components that rely on American design, which may prevent Huawei from rolling out 5G networks. The US is also broadening its efforts to constrain Mainland tech firms by using sanctions that impact suppliers to China’s government and military.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Property Balancing Act

    Local governments are balancing between encouraging housing construction and containing excess housing inventory. Although they have struck a balance so far, Rosealea argues that the growing vacancies in lower-tier cities coupled with depressed household consumption render current policies unsustainable in the long run.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    US Reopening Tested By Regional Covid Outbreaks

    Many US states begun to re-open their economies without getting their Covid-19 outbreaks firmly under control. They initially did this without experiencing a spike in infection levels, but the situation has now changed, writes Arthur. The question is whether this new wave of the epidemic proves severe enough to compel states to roll back economic reopening.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Accelerating Into Inflation

    Long-time readers will be familiar with Gavekal’s Four Quadrants framework, which describes how the economy alternates between periods of inflation and deflation, and cycles from boom and bust and back again, and which we use to illustrate which asset classes investors should favor and when. Although this is one of Gavekal’s oldest frameworks, it provides an extremely useful way to think about how the macroeconomic environment is set to evolve...

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    A Fed Reality Check

    Ahead of the FOMC meeting that concludes Wednesday, there has been a growing volume of chatter that the Federal Reserve is moving to scale back its easing measures. The talk has been further amplified by May’s surprisingly strong employment report, with some commentators even warning of an imminent taper tantrum in the markets.

    0
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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

    What US Payrolls Do And Do Not Mean

    May’s US payrolls report clearly came as a shock to many. Non-farm jobs climbed 2.51mn month-on-month, and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%. Wrong-footed by the stronger-than-expected figures, investors rushed to bid up US equities. But while the payrolls are good news at the margin, it should not be taken as a reason to rush into equities.

    0
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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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    Gavekal Research

    Europe’s Big Guns

    If the worry was that European Central Bank activism was threatened by German judicial chastisement, Christine Lagarde yesterday showed no sign of being cowed. The Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program was topped up to an almost bazooka-qualifying €1.35trn from €750bn and extended a further six months to June 2021. The move added fuel to the rally in euro assets. Rightly so.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Picking Winners In Asian Currencies

    A terms of trade improvement and the relative resilience of electronics demand have helped support Asian currencies through the coronavirus crisis despite the deep contraction in world trade. Now as the world emerges from lockdown, any recovery in external demand, coupled with any revival of risk appetite that sees capital flow out of the safe haven US dollar, will be positive for Asian currencies.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Upsurge In Oil

    The price of Brent crude oil has doubled in the past six weeks, supported by the beginning of a recovery in demand as economies come out of lockdown and by expectations that the Opec+ cartel will extend the deep production cuts it agreed in April. Tom weighs the forces likely to drive the oil market over the coming months.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe Flexes Its Fiscal Muscles

    Another day, another big fiscal expansion from Germany. Yesterday, Berlin outlined a €130bn stimulus package, representing 3.8% of GDP. If there was any doubt, Europe has clearly ditched its decade-long infatuation with austerity and is back in the Keynesian camp. This situation is bullish for eurozone stocks and in time could yet spur a long-forgotten problem—inflation.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    To Rotate, Or Not To Rotate?

    This week readers have heard a variety of views from Gavekal partners on the outlook for equity markets. What is not in doubt is that since hitting a peak on February 20, US growth stocks have outperformed value plays by a whopping 17%. Wherever one stands on the macro situation, there certainly seems to be an argument for rotating.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: End Of The Growth Story

    India has experienced a draconian lockdown that could result in output shrinking by -25-45% in the second quarter of the year. The result will be a sharp worsening in the fiscal deficit and a low structural growth rate that leaves India as just another emerging market rather than a growth story to rival China’s. Udith and Tom consider what it means for asset markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Webinar: China's Economic Outlook After The NPC

    China research director Andrew Batson was joined by China macroeconomist Wei He and Asia analyst Vincent Tsui to discuss the news from the National People's Congress and what it means for China's economic recovery, the likely direction of fiscal and monetary policy, and the consequences of Hong Kong's national security law.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Property Rebound In May

    Property sales are quickly recovering from their Covid-19 crash, with upward momentum that should continue for several months to come. However, Rosealea argues there are growing risks that China’s property market will start overheating, forcing policymakers to step in and leading to a downwards drift by July/August at the earliest.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Case For Commodities

    For most of the last decade, we have been in a period of low investment in the commodity sector. Yet, over the next 20 years the global population will grow by almost 2bn—a 25% increase. Migration into cities will continue, with the world’s urban population growing by almost 50%, creating enormous demand for infrastructure.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Recovery And Its Risks

    As economies have begun to emerge from their coronavirus lockdowns, there remain two big near-term macro risks that could derail a recovery. On one hand, solid demand on top of massive central bank monetary expansion could fuel rising inflation. On the other, a big round of permanent job losses could dent demand and slow the economic recovery.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    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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    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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    Gavekal Research

    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.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    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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    Gavekal Research

    Excess Money And Where To Find Value

    US cash balances have exploded in recent months and at some point a portion of this “excess” is likely to be deployed into financial markets. That may help push asset prices up further, but Will argues that fairly extreme valuations mean not all asset classes will rise together.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, May 2020

    Yesterday Louis Gave, Charles Gave and Anatole Kaletsky joined Arthur Kroeber at the Global Investment Roundtable. They discussed different scenarios for how and when the world’s major economies can exit the Covid-19 crisis and what it means for investors.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Will The Bank Of England Go Negative?

    Having long resisted the lure of negative interest rates, policymakers at the Bank of England have recently admitted that they are considering a cut in the UK’s main bank rate to below zero.Nick examines the pros and cons of negative interest rates, and weighs the probability that the Bank of England will indeed enter negative rate territory for the first time.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    It’s Looking Hamiltonian

    It wasn’t quite the dawn of a new epoch, but the European Commission’s plan to boost its seven-year budget with €750bn of borrowing certainly ranks as a moment for the European Union. The plan needs unanimous backing from all member states and is far from a done deal. Yet it is likely to pass and in so doing it will change the nature of financial risk in Europe.

    2
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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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    Webinar: The Future Of Hong Kong

    Louis Gave, Simon Pritchard and Vincent Tsui joined Arthur Kroeber to talk about the national security law which China's National People's Congress announced it will implement in Hong Kong, and what this could mean for Hong Kong's future as a global financial center.

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    The Return Of TINA

    All bull markets start as unloved beasts, but the one that began in US equities on March 23 has been especially despised. The news in the intervening two months has been dreadful, and it is still not really clear who is doing the buying, and why. So in seeking to understand if a market that is up 33% from its bottom can go further, KX considers four possible drivers.

    8
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Infrastructure Faces Fiscal Constraints

    Hopes for an infrastructure boom are rising after China’s legislature approved a record amount of bond sales. But as Wei explains, the Ministry of Finance’s conservative budget targets will still limit how much localities actually spend. Infrastructure investment is headed for around 10% growth in 2020, not enough for a very strong recovery.

    2
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    Hong Kong And The Ethic Of Responsibility

    German sociologist Max Weber made the distinction between the ethic of conviction, based on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and the ethic of responsibility, based on consequentialist philosophy, a grandchild of Aristotelian logic. The distinction between the two may help investors to determine their response to developments in Hong Kong.

    10
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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 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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    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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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Aiming For Stability Without A Target

    The coronavirus has made a mockery of China’s annual growth target, so the leadership has done the only sensible thing: given up on it. In this Quick Take, Andrew explains how that decision, and the fiscal measures rolled out at the National People’s Congress, show how China is not trying to drive a rapid rebound to its previous growth trend.

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    Boris Will Pile Pelion On Ossa

    No country has matched Britain’s dismal combination of currency and equity losses so far this year. Making matters worse for Britain than other DMs is Boris Johnson's refusal to extend the post-Brexit transition period beyond December, precisely the time when the Covid-19 recession might otherwise be expected to start lifting.

    14
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    Saudi's Peso Problem

    Two weeks ago in early May, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency issued an unusual statement. Sama, it insisted, is committed to maintaining the Saudi riyal’s exchange rate peg at SAR3.75 to the US dollar, and has the resources to do so. Stress signals don’t come much clearer.

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    US Reopens Without A Covid Spike—So Far

    As the US moves to reopen its economy from Covid-19 lockdowns, a key question is whether these reopenings will engender a resurgence of the epidemic, thereby retarding the pace of economic recovery. The risk cannot be ruled out, and the large uncertainties about how the coronavirus works means we should be wary of definitive forecasts. Yet so far, about a month after the initial reopenings, there is not much evidence of a resurgence.

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    Webinar: US Outlook (May 2020)

    In yesterday's webinar, Will Denyer, Tan Kai Xian and Yanmei Xie joined Simon to discuss the outlook for the US and answer viewer questions as the country tries to return to normal after Covid-19 lockdowns.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Corporate Bond Crisis That Wasn’t

    China’s corporate bond market has not been bothered by the biggest shock to the economy in decades. In this piece, Xiaoxi explains why, since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been no surge in defaults, spreads have barely widened and new issuance has surged. A continued bull market in government bonds will be more good news.

    0
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    Video: Pressure Points In Emerging Markets

    Emerging markets have broadly weathered the liquidity squeeze that threatened to engulf them in March, however Udith is not convinced they are out of the woods. Growth shocks associated with the Covid-19 crisis mean that many smaller markets on the frontier are at risk of debt defaults, which could end up spurring forced selling by foreign investors.

    0
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    Webinar: Europe Update (May 2020)

    In yesterday's webinar, Anatole Kaletsky, Cedric Gemehl and Nick Andrews joined Louis Gave to assess policy measures to deal with Covid-19 in Europe and discuss the significance of a €500bn coronavirus Recovery Fund.

    0
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    Beware The Charm Of Monopolistic Tech

    An equally-weighted index of monopolistic "tech" companies is up by a whopping 26% in the last year, whereas an active manager running a portfolio with 30 or 40 stocks would be down about -7% over the same period. The difference in performance may be the "cost" of holding a diversified portfolio with lower risk than a concentrated portfolio.

    3
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    Europe’s Hamiltonian Moment

    If there was a rational explanation for Monday’s global risk-on rally, it would be the genuinely exciting news from Europe. It is possible—just possible—that the Franco-German proposal for a €500bn coronavirus Recovery Fund announced yesterday will turn out to be the most important historic consequence of the coronavirus.

    14
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    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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    The Upside For Autos And Housing

    As the US begins to reopen for business, some segments of the economy will bounce back faster than others. Among the more vigorous will be the auto and housing sectors, where activity will be lifted by a favorable combination of tailwinds. Investors should consider positioning for a strong recovery in both the automobile and residential construction sectors.

    0
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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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    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.

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    Phase Two Beckons

    Europeans have spent big to freeze their economies as if held in suspended animation since mid-March. On the whole, this plan is working quite well but EU member states must now agree to a post-pandemic plan for demand stimulus if they are to avoid an all-too-predictable double-dip downturn. They will get a shot next week, when the blueprint for a “recovery fund” is unveiled.

    1
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    Webinar: China And The US Race Toward The Precipice

    The rivalry between the US and China has taken a turn for the worse during the Covid-19 pandemic. In yesterday’s webinar, Tom Miller talked about how China has attempted to use the pandemic in its global influence strategy. Dan Wang updated viewers on the technology rivalry. And Arthur Kroeber outlined how the US-China relationship got to this point.

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    India's Mini Bazooka

    India’s finance minister yesterday outlined a US$265bn fiscal package to save the economy. It looks to be just enough to stop a slide into depression but not much more. A worrying factor in its response is an apparent lurch towards protectionism, which would undermine any gains made from much-needed reforms to land and labor markets

    2
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    The World Has Changed, Quick! Buy More Of The Same

    As countries around the world, and some US states, are starting to emerge from their enforced Covid-19 hibernation, investors have to choose between one of three potential outcomes. Either the virus re-emerges and causes new lockdowns, the post-Covid-19 world is not growth friendly, or pent-up demand and supportive policies leads to global growth ripping.

    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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    Webinar: The Kitsune Market — Tail Risks In An Unnatural Time

    Most of the world’s big economies have been shut down in response to a pandemic disease—a truly unprecedented event. This led to extreme market moves and also generated an unusually large array of tail risks. Louis likens these to the nine tails of the magical kitsune or fox of Japanese mythology. In yesterday's webinar he elaborated on this idea.

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