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    Gavekal Research

    India Macro Update: A Fragile Stabilization

    The Reserve Bank of India's rescue of troubled private sector lender Yes Bank highlights the feedback loop between India’s bad-loan-burdened financial system and its stuttering economy, which is now facing its lowest growth rate since the financial crisis. The current steep prices of Indian equities and the rupee are increasingly hard to justify.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Audio & Transcript — Gavekal Research Call March 2020

    In Thursday’s conference call, Louis-Vincent Gave, Andrew Batson and Cedric Gemehl discussed the policy and market reactions to the Covid-19 outbreak.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Unfolding Rotation

    Last Friday, the markets rallied hard into the close as investors anticipated a coordinated policy move over the weekend. With policy responses in the rear view mirror, this weekend will likely prove different. Markets will continue to be choppy in the immediate future. Even so, amid all the volatility, some interesting developments are emerging.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Behind The A-Share Rebound

    Although China is ground zero for the coronavirus outbreak, its onshore stock markets are the world’s best performing major markets so far this year by a considerable margin. For the most part this is due to mood-enhancing domestic policy support, which is likely to continue to counteract the catastrophic near term earnings outlook.

    0
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    Video: What Can The ECB Do?

    This week the US federal Reserve cut interest rates to counter the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, and the European Central Bank promised to follow suit with “appropriate” measures of its own. But eurozone policy rates are already negative, which severely limits the scope for further cuts.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Exponential Optimization

    The bull market of the last few years has been built on the twin assumptions that globalization will continue, and that interest rates will remain low for years to come. These convictions have propelled an exponential wave of optimization. As the coronavirus calls key assumptions into question, the worry is that the giant bubble which sits at the heart of the system may be about to burst.

    9
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    How To Ride The Liquidity Wave

    On Tuesday the US Federal Reserve made good on its promise to counter the “evolving risks to economic activity” posed by the coronavirus, cutting its key policy rate. Monetary easing will neither cure the virus nor fix disrupted supply chains, but it will provide cheap funds for companies while they weather the storm.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Month Of Lost Wages

    As the rise in new cases of Covid-19 in China has slowed, provinces are easing their drastic restrictions on movement and businesses are reopening. But the extended shutdown has already imposed great costs on migrant workers. Ernan estimates lost wages will be 3-4% of annual household income, though with a smaller impact on total consumption.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Real Threat To The US Health Care Industry

    As Democrats choose a presidential candidate, much of the debate has centered around proposals to introduce universal health care coverage, how much that would cost, and the damage it would inflict on the US health care sector. But in fact, the biggest potential threat to the health care industry comes from a different quarter altogether.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Buy The Dip, Or Sell The Rally?

    When the market falls -10% in a week, and then rallies 5% in a day, investors face a question: Do I buy the dip, or sell the rally? An investor selling the rally would in essence be making a bet that the negative impact of the coronavirus will outweigh the central bank support and G7 finance ministry action that has been promised.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    When To Catch A Falling Knife

    Now that the Federal Reserve has hit the panic button, is it time to try to catch the falling knife on Wall Street? Technical analysis and investor sentiment suggest that equity prices may still have somewhat further to fall before they find a sustainable floor, even if the viral threat is probably overstated and stimulus by major governments will eventually outweigh the temporary economic collapse.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Global Virus, Local Reactions

    In the last week of February, global investors woke up to the massive effect of China’s coronavirus lockdown and the risks of a global pandemic. The resulting disruption to global supply chains will be widespread and long lasting. But not all is bleak. The Fed has promised to support the US economy, and many emerging markets have room both for expansionary fiscal policies and interest rate cuts.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Still Dollar Bears (Humbly)

    The Covid-19 outbreak has sparked a flight to safety, reversing an incipient weakening of the US dollar. This is hardly unfounded, as the US so far has been spared a major outbreak and its economy is decently insulated. Yet most of the factors weighing on the US dollar late last year remain valid. Thus Will and KX advise a negative dollar bias.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Worst Is Yet To Come For Steel

    Steelmakers have continued production despite a precipitous drop in demand, resulting in a short-term inventory glut. As Rosealea explains, this will lead to continued downward pressure on steel prices, at least until the construction sector recovers from the coronavirus crisis and drives demand back up to meet supply.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Last Shall Be First

    Just a week ago, the S&P 500, Nikkei 225 and Eurostoxx 50 were all looking healthy. But over the past week, every major market has fallen by anywhere from -6% to -12%. This is highly unusual. The S&P 500 has only fallen by -10% or more four times in its post-1945 history. Each of these drops ended up having hugely important investment ramifications.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    The Fragility Of A Complex World

    The question investors must confront is whether the global economy is a slow but resistant beast of burden, or a finely tuned machine which has now been thrown off its axis.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Next Infrastructure Stimulus

    As size of China’s growth shock from the coronavirus shutdown becomes clear, yet another infrastructure stimulus looks to be on the way. In this piece, Wei assesses the scale of the possible boost. The most likely outcome is that public-works spending accelerates to 8-9% in 2020 from just 3.3%, a nice boost but still well below historical peaks.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Still The Safest Port In A Macro Storm

    It took a while, but fear of contagion is gripping Wall Street. In the last week, the S&P 500 has fallen -8%, while 10-year US treasury bills have hit a new all-time low. Yet the risk-off move in US asset markets triggered by worries the coronavirus epidemic is turning into a global pandemic is at odds with underlying US fundamentals.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Velocity Of Money In The Time Of Covid-19

    Most serious investors know MV=PQ, where M is the money supply, V is the velocity of money, P is the general price level and Q is output. The typical approach is to wait for M, P and Q to be published and so derive V, which renders the equation a mere tautology. In contrast, Charles has long thought V to be an independent variable whose variations impact P and Q.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Covid-19 Cost To Corporate Cashflow

    The shutdown of normal economic activity during the coronavirus outbreak is going to mean a huge hit to corporate cashflow in Q1. In this piece, Thomas outlines the difficult road ahead for Chinese firms: many will have no choice but to default on cash obligations to staff, banks and suppliers, as well as curtail their capex plans for the year.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Doing On Monday What We Wish We’d Done On Friday

    Monday was the epitome of Charles’s observation that in a down-market, the temptation to sell on Monday what you wish you’d sold on Friday can become overwhelming. As markets sold off on Monday following a weekend of bad news, the following developments seemed especially relevant.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Far From Priced In

    Asian markets switched to risk-off mode Monday as investors reacted to further coronavirus news outside of China. Yet in onshore markets, investors are optimistic that the economy will quickly normalize as the spread of the virus comes under control, and that the central bank will provide policy easing. Neither belief looks well-founded at the moment.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What Will End The US Dollar’s Run?

    Among the confounding effects of the coronavirus has been its impact on foreign exchange markets. The last few weeks have seen heavy flows into the US dollar, on the grounds that the US economy is relatively insulated from the ill-effects of the outbreak. As fears have grown of a dismal first quarter for the eurozone on diminished external demand (see Just When Things Were Looking Up), the euro has slumped to a near three-year low against the US...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Problem In US Equities

    As US equities power to new highs, investors have brushed off geopolitical ructions and fears of a global pandemic. It is less clear that weak earnings are incidental to the US bull market. With 420 firms in the S&P 500 having reported for 4Q19, earnings are only up 1.6% on the previous year.

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Looming Private Liquidity Squeeze

    A March spike in maturing bonds is going to mean significant liquidity challenges for many companies, particularly as they continue to grapple with the coronavirus and its economic fallout. The government has announced some supportive policies, but as Xiaoxi explains these measures are likely to favor large and state-owned companies, leaving smaller firms at risk of going under.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Multinationals Take The Long View

    The coronavirus outbreak has undoubtedly had a significant impact on multinational companies’ operations in China. Nonetheless, drawing from a dozen interviews with China-based executives, Lance argues there is little evidence the outbreak will cause firms to rethink their long-term China strategies.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Will The Economic Contagion Hit Europe?

    Europe’s financial markets are sending mixed signals. On one hand, fears about the eurozone's exposure to China’s coronavirus-hit economy have pushed the euro to a 21-month low against the US dollar. On the other, euro-denominated stocks are hitting record highs. In this interview Nick examines the mixed message.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Time And Risk

    The financial world is organized around two axes: time and risk. If some authority manipulates the time axis, the effect will be to compromise the risk axis. This is not an abstract formulation. It has the potential to threaten portfolios and the solvency of major institutions.

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Kinks Appear In The Tech Supply Chain

    Chinese electronics manufacturers are struggling to get their operations back to normal amidst the coronavirus outbreak. Dan outlines how this might lead to larger disruptions in the tightly scheduled mobile phone production cycle, and why smaller companies are more likely to postpone launching new products than their larger counterparts.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Surfeit Of Money

    The fruits of the US Federal Reserve’s swing to monetary easing are ripening. In the last couple of months the about-turn in monetary direction has triggered a dramatic rebound in aggregate US money supply growth, which is outpacing GDP growth. This suggests excess cash may be piling up. If so, the excess is likely to further bid up US asset prices.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Q&A On The Coronavirus Situation

    Louis spent last week meeting with clients in the US and discussions centered on the coronavirus situation. His starting point is that the Chinese authorities now have every incentive to overstate, rather than understate, the severity of the viral outbreak. He explores the impact on growth in the rest of the world and asset price movements.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Risk Of Falling Behind The Epidemic Curve

    China’s government was slow off the mark in responding to the initial outbreak of the new coronavirus. Although the government is now fully mobilized to fight the outbreak, it risks falling behind the curve again—this time in responding to the economic damage wrought by its extended shutdown of normal life and business activity.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    The Long Term Risks That Matter, And Those That Don’t

    In the third paper of his series about the risks that threaten asset markets in both the short and long run, Anatole turns his attention to four longer term risks that are widely discussed—and even more widely misunderstood. Investors should worry about demographics and climate change, although not for the reasons many believe. In contrast, they can sleep relatively easily about debt and productivity growth.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Downing Street Putsch

    Ever since turning negative on sterling and the UK economy when Boris Johnson dropped his post-election bombshell announcing a new “No Deal” deadline of December 2020, I have been waiting for a chance to double-down on this bearish position. On Thursday, Johnson provided such an opportunity to extend short positions in sterling.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Hong Kong's Viral Woes

    For Hong Kong’s economy, already in recession after eight months of anti-government street protests, the Chinese coronavirus outbreak comes as a fresh blow falling on the existing bruise. Inevitably, the effect will be painful. Yet as Vincent explains, the Hong Kong economy has considerable resilience.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Hit To Consumer Durables

    The government’s drastic measures to contain the coronavirus are certain to deliver major blows to the auto and smartphone markets. Fortunately, Thomas, Ernan and Dan report that a V-shaped recovery is the most likely scenario for both sectors. Neither will meet pre-virus growth expectations, but both will likely still see an improvement from 2019.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Paying Your Way In The UK

    A triumphant Boris Johnson is set on consolidating a new electoral coalition through big infrastructure projects that help “level up” forgotten regions, but he faces a weak economy and tough negotiations with the European Union over Britain's trading relationship. The worry is that investors begin to balk at funding a gaping current account deficit.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    The Dial Moves Against US Growth Stocks

    The outperformance of growth over value continues, yet an increasing number of serious US managers are making the case for value. On the macro front the worry is of a strong economy that continues to have an inflationary vibe. Over the last five years, I have taken an equity growth bias. Now I’m shifting towards the value camp.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Lingering Impact On Property

    While the 2003 SARS outbreak had only a transitory impact on China’s housing market, the 2020 coronavirus episode is proving to be much more serious. In this piece, Rosealea argues that the big hit to housing sales will leave developers short of cash and limit their ability to keep projects going. This points to a lingering drag on construction.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Opportunities In Asian Easing

    Economists are still trying to assess how severe the economic fallout from China’s coronavirus outbreak will be for the rest of the region, but local central banks are not waiting to find out, and are already either cutting interest rates or promising to cut them. As policymakers cut rates, some will offer opportunities for emerging market investors.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Fiscal Fallout Of Germany’s Political Ructions

    On Monday the uncertainty quotient in German politics jumped dramatically when Angela Merkel’s chosen successor quit as leader of the CDU. Her departure will trigger a new CDU leadership struggle which will further fragment an already fractured German political scene. The upheaval is likely to lead to a more expansionary German fiscal policy in the medium term.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Back To Work, Not Back To Normal

    China’s businesses are starting to get back to work, but the economy is still very far from normal. On Monday, the extended holiday declared by the government to help contain the coronavirus outbreak came to an end (except in Hubei province). But most businesses still face great difficulty in resuming their normal activities.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Sweet Spot For US Jobs

    US non-farm payrolls came in stronger than expected in January. Examining more forward-looking data, such as job openings, many observers suspect the US jobs market may be heading for slower job creation and weaker wage growth in the coming quarters. These worries are likely misplaced.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    A Quant View Of The Virus, Updated

    Last week, Didier applied his quantitative risk management tools to model the spread of the coronavirus, setting a bound on catastrophic risk. Thankfully that bound appears to have been undershot. In this update, he models the probable trajectory of the epidemic from here and finds reasons to hope the spread of the virus has been contained.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    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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    Gavekal Research

    Audio & Transcript — Gavekal Research Call February 2020

    In yesterday’s research call, Vincent Tsui and Tom Holland joined Arthur Kroeber to discuss the coronavirus outbreak, what it means for Chinese and regional economic growth, and how investors should position themselves during this period of rapid news flow and high market volatility.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Viral Monetary Policy

    China’s central bank has moved quickly to demonstrate its readiness to support an economy battered by the coronavirus outbreak. But Wei argues that it is too early to assume the PBOC is going to abandon its policy of selective easing and aggressively cut rates, as it still has reasons to hold to its its conservative policy stance.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Just When Things Were Looking Up

    It seems the European economy can’t catch a break. After a grim year in 2019, especially for the manufacturing sector, the old continent entered 2020 with reasons for cautious optimism. Survey-based indexes of business optimism appeared to bottom out late last year. Then the Wuhan coronavirus hit China.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: When Oil Hits The Floor

    No financial market has been hit more heavily by the Wuhan coronavirus than oil, with the price of crude falling by more than -20% from its early-January high on fears the outbreak will crush China’s demand for fuels. In this short video, Tom examines the global implications of the oil price slide, and asks “where next?” for the price of the world’s key commodity.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Don't Count On Oil To Fall Further

    Nowhere in markets has the impact of the Wuhan flu made itself felt as forcefully as in the oil price. The price of Brent crude has fallen -24% in just four weeks to US$54.58/bbl on Wednesday morning in Asia on fears of massive demand destruction in disease-hit China. WTI has fallen by a similar amount. This slide has great immediacy for investors in the energy sector.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Quant View Of The Virus

    There is now enough data on the spread of Covid-19 to permit a useful quantitative analysis of its likely evolution. In this paper, Didier notes that while the spread of the virus continues to accelerate, the “jolt” of that acceleration is now slowing. This suggests the outbreak is likely to peak by early March.

    11
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    After The Rout

    The Chinese authorities’ attempts over the weekend to shore up confidence among domestic investors came to naught on Monday as prices plummeted when the onshore stock markets reopened after their 10-day lunar new year shut-down. Yet, once signs emerge that the outbreak it is contained, the resulting relief rally should combine with underlying tailwinds to propel stocks higher again.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Long And Short Of Covid-19

    There is now enough information available to begin to make useful judgments about both the short term and long term impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. In this extensive analysis, Arthur examines the health risks posed by the virus, its economic impact, and likely political fallout.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    The Threat To US Equities

    On Friday the US equity market succumbed to coronavirus jitters, with the S&P 500 sliding -1.77% to wipe out its year-to-date gains for January. The sell-off was accompanied by a surge in the VIX volatility index, which could continue to rise. Happily, however, there are five good reasons to think any such elevated volatility will prove short-lived.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Covid-19 And Emerging Markets

    The rapid spread of Covid-19 has spooked investors and triggered steep sell-offs in Chinese and Asian markets. But there are good reasons to hope the spread of the disease will be contained in the coming weeks, at which point Chinese and regional equities can recover.

    0
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    Britain’s Soggy Prospects

    Despite a worsening coronavirus situation and worries that a Brexit bounce could be short-lived, the Bank of England defied the expectations of many by not cutting interest rates. The UK’s weak medium term growth outlook and difficult impending trade talks with the EU means that policy will remain dovish and sterling’s upside prospects are likely capped.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Don't Fret About The Fed's Balance Sheet

    As if investors didn’t have enough to worry about just now, many have been spooked by this month’s dip in the size of the US Federal Reserve’s balance sheet. Happily the Fed is one thing investors don’t need to fret about. The Fed’s statement and press conference on Wednesday confirmed that US monetary policy remains clear and predictable—and accommodative.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Huawei Comes Out Ahead, For Now

    American attempts to kneecap Huawei have run into several setbacks. Internationally, Europe is pushing back on demands to exclude Huawei from 5G networks; domestically, further sanctions have been stymied by bureaucratic infighting. Dan reports that the war is hardly over, and we are likely to see broader rules limiting Chinese access to US tech.

    0
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    The Utility Of A ‘Jeep’ Portfolio

    Back in December 2017 I published a warning for portfolio managers. Sometimes it makes sense to have a turbocharged portfolio, at others investors should seek out something more suited to rough going. Two years on, and with market volatility again on the up, this seems a good time to review how my Jeep portfolio has fared over the last two years.

    11
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    Gavekal Research

    Ten Long Term Risks For The New Decade

    Two weeks ago, Anatole looked at the risks that could derail markets in 2020. This week he puts on his long term forecasting cap, and examines the big risks that could play out over the next 10 years. The good news? While there are some risks investors do need to worry about, there are other concerns they can dismiss entirely.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    It’s Not The Disease, It’s The Treatment

    The economic costs of the Wuhan virus are not simply a function of how deadly it is, but of the measures China’s government takes to contain it—which have rapidly escalated to an unprecedented severity. The shutdown of normal travel and business now in place across much of China is certain to deliver a hit to growth in the first quarter of 2020.

    2
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    Cardiac Arrest In India’s Body Economic

    Bad debts are clogging the arteries of India’s financial system. Two policy developments at the end of 2019 raised hope of recovery. A Supreme Court judgment set a precedent for resolving bankruptcies more quickly. And the insolvency code was extended to cover non-bank financial companies. However, the reality is that India’s financial system could worsen before it gets better, especially if the government goes ahead with a mooted finance bill.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Fourth Horseman?

    It is unlikely Xi Jinping has spent much time studying Christian eschatology. But if he has, the Chinese president might be forgiven for thinking that after (trade) war, conquest (in Hong Kong) and famine (African swine fever), he now has to deal with the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse: Death (in the unwelcome shape of the Wuhan coronavirus).

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Playing The ECB Strategic Review

    When a government agency announces a “strategic review”, the presumption is that some knotty issue is being kicked into the long grass. That was the vibe yesterday when Christine Lagarde kicked off the European Central Bank’s year-long navel gazing exercise. In this case, however, investors would do well not to check out entirely from ECB watching.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Video: On Target In China?

    In 2015 the Chinese government set out its 13th five-year plan, with economic and social targets that it aimed to hit by the end of 2020. The five-year plans are important because the government derives legitimacy from improving people’s livelihoods. The Dragonomics team has examined seven such targets and their impact on the economy.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Italy Gets Interesting Again

    After almost five months of calm, there is a quickening in Italian politics. Luigi Di Maio yesterday stepped down as head of the governing Five Star movement as it faces the prospect of a drubbing in a regional election this weekend. The man most likely to capitalize on his troubles is Matteo Salvini, whose Lega Party is the most popular in Italy, polling 30-35%. The result may be more volatility in Italian assets, but a return to crisis...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A-shares Beyond Wuhan Volatility

    Although the Wuhan coronavirus has the potential to whipsaw Chinese equities in the near term, it makes sense to assess the prospects for China’s A-share market this year should the current nervousness quickly abate. Thomas argues that market sentiment is likely to turn favorable provided the virus is contained given the trade war truce, easing deflationary pressure and a profit cycle upturn.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    How Sturdy Are The Zeitgeist's Five Pillars?

    The investment zeitgeist can be thought of as a set of assumptions that investors hold about structural growth drivers, key prices and policy approaches. An investment manager should understand what makes up the zeitgeist and how it is changing. Louis outlines five foundational pillars that he considers integral to the current situation.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Lessons From Last Time Around

    Beijing shops have sold out of high-spec surgical masks, scared customers are stockpiling medicines, and financial markets are looking shaky. The parallels between the current coronavirus outbreak and the 2003 epidemic of Sars are obvious. But there are also important differences, especially in the backdrop against which today’s outbreak is occurring.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Oil Again

    Less than two weeks after the price of oil briefly spiked to a four-month high on fears of a war between the US and Iran, crude has again been looking bid on trouble in the Middle East. This time, the bulk of Libyan shipments have been cut off amid the country’s civil war, while in Iraq anti-government protests have reportedly caused two minor fields to curtail production.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Year Of Many Targets

    2020 is a big year for China’s central planners. Beijing has set a wide range of targets to be achieved by the year’s end, and the policies enacted to meet these objectives have had far-reaching effects. In this report, the Dragonomics team examines seven such targets, the policies implemented to reach them, and the consequences for China’s economy.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Dark Side Of A Strong US Economy

    The US’s growth outlook has been bolstered by easy financial conditions and trade deals being reached with China and its near neighbors. Yet, those prospects are also hampered by a tight labor market that threatens corporate profits. What recent data releases highlight is both the enduring strength of the US economy and niggling late-cycle factors that could yet undo it.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Better Lucky Than Good

    China’s government has done its part to steady the economy and markets: it has agreed to a rather one-sided trade deal with the US, and softened the tone of its financial de-risking campaign. But December’s data show that good luck has mattered more: turns in the autos and electronics cycles are what’s really behind the stabilization of growth.

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    Video: US Autos Ride Again

    A range of cyclical and structural factors have conspired to hit US auto sales in recent years. But with the US labor market remaining in rude health and US monetary policy being loosened, that may be about to change. The impact could be positive for US growth and for risk assets, argues KX in this interview.

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    Chickens Coming Home To Roost

    French workers last weekend won a reprieve from the government’s plan to nudge the retirement age higher, but that does not mean they can breathe easy, thinking their financial futures are secured. With much of pension assets invested in government bonds, an interesting question is what the return will be of a 10-year constant duration OAT in the next decade.

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    The Post-Election Upside For Taiwan

    Contrary to investor fears, the victory of Chinaskeptic Tsai Ing-wen in last weekend’s Taiwanese presidential election is unlikely to lead to a marked further deterioration of cross-straits relations between Taipei and Beijing. With that risk off the table, explains Vincent, the coast is clear for an improving electronics cycle to support the local stock market.

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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...

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    Reasons To Catch A Swedish Knife

    After Sweden's Riskbank in October said it would end negative interest rates as the dangers from the policy outweighed the waning advantages, the krona rose 5.3% against the euro and 3.8% against the US dollar until the end of the year. Since then, however, the unit has slumped -1.2% on a trade-weighted basis. This looks to be a good chance to buy the dip.

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    Asia's Currency Manipulators

    The US decided on Tuesday to drop its designation of China as a currency manipulator. Beyond the short term politics of US-China bilateral relations, the Treasury's report was also notable for the countries named on its “monitoring list” of potential currency manipulators. Among emerging Asia’s economies, these included Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

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    Causes And Consequences Of Hong Kong Dollar Strength

    Last summer, as Hong Kong’s police seemed set to run out of tear gas, betting against the Hong Kong dollar peg seemed like a safe bet. It hasn’t exactly worked out that way, and in recent weeks the Hong Kong dollar has strengthened to the strong side of its limited trading band. In this piece, Louis explains why.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Defense Drives US Decoupling

    Although US President Donald Trump has called a truce in his trade war with China, the strategic tensions in the US-China relationship still remain. Therefore, as Lance explains in this piece, the US defense sector is already taking concrete steps to reduce its reliance on China for some products with direct military applications.

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    The European Recovery Lives, Just

    On the face of it, Germany’s industrial slump is still worsening. The worry has been that a cratering of Europe’s industrial economy proves bad enough to reverse the “internal” recovery spurred by super-easy monetary policy. In fact, such a contagion is unlikely in 2020 and the eurozone should see overall growth stabilize at around its potential level.

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    A Qualified Bull On US Equities

    US unemployment is at its lowest in half a century. Yet for investors, the strength of the US jobs market is far from an unalloyed good. The biggest macro risk to the bull market in US equities this year is a sharp rise in inflation. And such a rise in inflation could have two probable causes: a steep rise in energy prices, or a marked rise in labor costs.

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    Credit Spreads: Not Worth The Risk

    US corporate bonds had a great run in 2019, and have started 2020 on a strong note. Both investment grade and high yield indexes rose by around 14% last year, with credit spreads contracting substantially in the fourth quarter to approach their narrowest for this cycle. However, as US corporate leverage has risen, considerable latent risks have accumulated in the system.

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    Video: Taiwan Chooses, Hong Kong Reacts

    Taiwan goes to the polls on Saturday in a presidential election where pro-independence incumbent Tsai Ing-wen looks like a shoo-in against the more China-friendly Kuomintang candidate. Tsai is unlikely to push China’s red lines and cross-strait relations should not be imperiled. Vincent also addresses the related issue of Beijing replacing its top representative in Hong Kong with a senior apparatchik.

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    Audio & Transcript — Gavekal Research Call January 2020

    The past few weeks have seen Chinese policymakers signaling clearly that the campaign of selective easing begun last year will be carried on into 2020 even as growth continues to slow. With trade war risk lowered, and the electronics and auto sector cycles bottoming out, the outlook for equity and bond markets is fairly benign.

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    Embrace The EM Rally, Selectively

    Washington and Tehran are dialing down the geopolitical tensions, at least for now. The US and China are about to sign a trade deal. Big central banks are spraying around liquidity. And the mighty US dollar is looking mortal. The fact that emerging markets have underperformed US equities the last five years surely points to a burst of catch-up growth? Yes and no.

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    Ten Bears That Could See Off Goldilocks In 2020

    With interest rates low, and growth that is neither too hot nor too cold, Anatole remains firmly in the “Goldilocks lives on” camp. But while a continued bull run is the most probable outcome for 2020, bears still lurk in the shadows. In this paper Anatole identifies the 10 main macroeconomic, political and sector risks that could derail markets in 2020.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Mortgage Rate Reset

    China’s central bank is moving forward with its interest-rate reforms, ordering mortgages to be reset based on the new loan prime rate. Rosealea explains that this shift will make monetary policy more transparent and effective by re-linking mortgage rates to official policy rates, but it does not herald a cycle of major cuts in mortgage rates.

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    The Message Behind The Missiles

    At very first glance, the Iranian missile attack on two US airbases in Iraq early Wednesday might appear to confirm worst case fears that the US and Iran are heading irreversibly towards all-out war. However, a preliminary examination of the information available suggests there are still solid reasons to believe that the tensions can be de-escalated, and that outright conflict can be avoided.

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    Strategy Monthly: China's Balancing Act Gets Easier

    In 2019, investors were cowed by the US-China trade war and Chinese policymakers’ efforts to balance growth and financial stability. This year, these factors will weigh less heavily: the US and China are set to ink a trade deal, while China is shifting more toward growth-supporting policies. Such a combination is mildly bullish for both Chinese bonds and equities.

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    Expensive And Vulnerable

    Few major economies and markets are more exposed to a possible Middle Eastern conflict than heavily oil-import-dependent India. However that's not the only thing likely to trouble investors in India this year—with the economy misfiring, Narendra Modi spending political capital on his Hindu-nationalist agenda rather than structural reforms, and local equities looking uncomfortably expensive.

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    Gold Beyond The Iran Crisis

    Gold has ripped higher in the last two days, climbing 3% since Friday. But that price spike cannot compensate for the undeniable fact that the last 10 years have been a tough decade for the yellow metal. So, what can we expect from gold going forward?

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    A Dispassionate View Of The Iran Crisis

    To judge by the tone of the media coverage and much of the analysis since Friday, the world is teetering on the brink of an apocalyptic war in the Middle East between the US and Iran. But a dispassionate examination of the US-Iran confrontation indicates that the probability of an all-out shooting war between the two sides remains small. As a result, while markets are right to price in an elevated risk premium following Friday’s strike, the...

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    Echoes Of 2017

    Global markets began 2020 on a bullish note, with the US S&P 500 climbing to a fresh record close, up a chunky 4.3% over the last month. Indeed, the US monetary backdrop at the start of 2020 is reminiscent of that in early 2017, a year which saw the S&P 500 climb 19.4%. History may not repeat this year, but there are good reasons to believe it may yet rhyme.

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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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    The Surprises Of 2019

    As the year draws to a close, Louis has decided to review the key events of 2019 that he either didn’t see coming, or whose ramifications he under estimated. Such events could cast a long shadow in the coming quarters as their impact on markets may not yet be fully digested.

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    Active Versus Passive

    Back in 2003, low interest rates were creating problems for pension funds and insurance companies which could not find enough high-quality bonds offering a decent interest rate. Not to worry, said Wall Street banks, which began to package up real estate-based bonds of varying quality; the best tranches got a triple-A stamp from the credit rating agencies, yet they miraculously offered a higher yield than other top-notch bonds. We all know how...

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    Nonsense Anatole, Boris Deserves Three Cheers

    In 2017, as the Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels got going in earnest, I wrote a paper explaining why the European Commission’s officials and their counterparts across the continent were going to do everything in their power to make the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union as difficult as they possibly could (see May’s Misguided Brexit Speech). And over the next two years, they did just that.

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    Bolsonaro’s Hard Choices

    Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has achieved notable wins during his first year in office. He has secured social security reform, overseen deregulation and secured a draft regional trade deal with the European Union. His problem is that growth remains tepid and events are moving against him, especially a US-China trade deal that may hurt Brazilian farmers.

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