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    Gavekal Research

    Inflation And The Stock Market

    Despite a roiling US bond market sell-off, equity investors had until Thursday taken comfort from the Federal Reserve saying it would stay easy for longer. They were also fairly relaxed about a gentle rise in inflation, which seemed to be part of a "normalization" process as Covid-19 vaccines do their job and activity picks up. Charles and Didier are not so sure, and in this paper test the notion that limited inflation can, in fact,...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: Bitcoin—Money Or Snakeoil?

    Will Denyer examines the forces behind the eye-watering run-up and eye-popping volatility of bitcoin, and delves behind the near-term moves in crypto-currency markets to ask whether bitcoin and its ilk will ever gain traction as a unit of account, means of exchange or store of value.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Emerging Markets And Rising Yields

    As 10-year US treasury yields have pushed higher, investors have begun to reassess their enthusiasm for emerging market assets. Historically, rising US yields has seldom been accompanied by emerging market outperformance. Yet rising US yields are not necessarily negative for EMs, and there are reasons to think this time may well be different, at least for some EMs.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Fate Of A Liquidity-Driven Rally

    The writing is on the wall for China’s post-Covid bull market as the underlying credit and profit cycles that typically drive prices over the medium term are turning down in 2021. In this report, Thomas explains why liquidity flows can trump these fundamentals for a while, but not indefinitely.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    It’s A Policy-Driven Market

    US bond yields are rising as the growth outlook is boosted by the vaccine roll-out and sustained monetary and fiscal stimulus. US value stocks and the sectors hit by Covid restrictions are ripping. Growth investors, in contrast, are spooked about this situation, as much of their worth comes from earnings discounted far into the future. The investors' reactions to Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell’s Congressional testimony on Tuesday reminded...

    0
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    Beautiful In Heaven

    Like the players on a rugby team, assets in a portfolio should both be all-rounders and excel at a specific job. For four decades, US treasuries both offered a stream of positive real yields and provided an anti-fragile portfolio hedge in times of market turbulence. Now however, Louis argues that US treasuries are at risk of falling from the position of anti-fragile favor.

    18
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    Gavekal Research

    No Exit

    “We are not here to close spreads,” proclaimed European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde last March. “This is not the function or the mission of the ECB.” After the market took her at her word, Lagarde hastily back-tracked, and the ECB duly spent the following months doing exactly what Lagarde had said it would not.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    To Hold Back The Tide Of De-Industrialization

    China’s government is focusing on a new economic metric: the manufacturing share of GDP, which looks to feature in the next five-year plan. Rather than accept de-industrialization, it wants “stability” in manufacturing. In this piece, Andrew explains why China is worried about the fall in the manufacturing share, and whether it can be stopped.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Can Covid Vaccines Cure The Pound?

    The British pound has been the strongest major currency so far this year, contrary to Anatole’s expectations at the end of 2020. In this piece he outlines three reasons for sterling’s outperformance, but maintains that in the long term the pound will be forced lower.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    The Changing Composition Of US Inflation

    Investors are all in a tizz about US inflation as the economy begins to normalize and the effect of a huge fiscal stimulus is factored into calculations. Inflation expectations are above the Federal Reserve’s target at 2.2% and energy base effects mean the personal consumption expenditure reading is sure to rise from December’s 1.3%. So far, market action has been focused in the bond market (see A Discussion On Treasury Yields) but equity...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Draghi’s Reform Plan And Asset Prices

    Newly installed as Italy’s prime minister at the head of a broad coalition, on Wednesday Mario Draghi outlined an ambitious agenda of structural reforms. Notably, the former European Central Bank chief wants to oversee a root-and-branch overhaul of Italy’s tax system, while investing in the education system and streamlining public administration. His first task will be to steer Italy through the pandemic. But beyond that, Draghi’s plans could...

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    Gavekal Research

    A Discussion On Treasury Yields

    In recent days, long-dated US treasury yields have made a clear move higher. Unless there’s a violent turnaround in the coming days, February will mark the seventh consecutive month of flat-to-negative returns for treasuries This is an important development, with potentially far-reaching investment implications. Anatole and Louis discuss the outlook for yields, and the consequences for asset prices.

    11
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Emerging Markets In The Next Phase Of The Pandemic

    Emerging markets have had a strong run, fueled by floods of stimulus in developed markets. Much of that money has flowed to Asia, where export sectors have thrived on rich-world consumers’ demand for electronics and other goods. The question is whether Asian EMs will be able to keep up this outperformance as they lag far behind in the vaccination race. Our team addressed these issues, and considered whether commodity-based EMs can again have...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Stuck At Home For The Holidays

    China spent the Lunar New Year indoors and online. Travel over the seven days of the holiday declined 77% from 2019 levels, but sales of major retailers increased by 4.9%. In this Quick Take, Ernan explains how holiday restrictions and the January Covid outbreak in north-eastern China has depressed services and boosted retail sales.

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    Gavekal Research

    Geared To Global Recovery

    Since the global recovery trade got going at the beginning of November, Japanese equities have performed respectably, returning some 24% in US dollar terms. But they have not outperformed. This is disappointing. With high operating leverage—the ratio of fixed to variable costs—and more than half their revenues generated overseas, Japanese corporates should be a clear play on global recovery. Indeed, the consensus-beating 3% QoQ rise in Japan’s...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Optimization And Fragility

    I have played rugby for most of my life, but in recent years I have seldom been injured. This is because I have grown heavier and slower. It is the guys who are fast and agile that tear knee ligaments and strain hamstrings. Why do I bring this up? Because investors need to ask whether the global economy is a slow but resistant lumbering beast of burden. Or is it a finely-tuned machine in danger of spinning off its axis? Gavekal has touched on...

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    China Versus The Anglosphere

    Beijing’s ability to weaponize its global trade power is concentrating minds from Washington to Canberra. On Tuesday it was reported that China has proposed controls on the production and export of rare earths. This threat is the latest example of why reducing critical dependence on Chinese trade is now a strategic priority for many countries, in particular those in the Anglosphere.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Next Steps On Hidden Local Debt

    In 2021, China’s central government is gearing up to once again tackle the hidden debts of local authorities, toughening its stance after a couple of lax years. As Wei explains in this piece, the solution is likely to be a mixed one, combining limits on new borrowing, partial bailouts of some debt, and a lot of kicking the can down the road.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Long Bond Bait And Switch

    Ultra-long bond issuance is back in vogue in Europe. This month Spain has sold €5bn of 50-year bonds at a yield of 1.45%, while Belgium snapped out a 50-year issue at 0.69%. In January it was France, which sold a 50-year at 0.59%. Next up is likely to be Italy, which is expected to take advantage of the tightening in spreads following the appointment of Mario Draghi as prime minister (see Draghi’s Return) to come to market with a 50-year of its...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Importance Of Taiwan

    Across Europe and the US, car plants are getting shuttered because of a shortage of microchips from Asia. This storm is centered on Taiwan, which for decades has been an unsung contract supplier of electronics and chemicals. For those who had not noticed, its firms now dominate high-end global chip production and current industry dynamics mean this grip is only likely to intensify.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Game Theory, With Complications

    Devotees of game theory are set to enjoy a rare drama playing out in front of their eyes in the oil market over the coming months. Since April last year the price of Brent crude has more than tripled. Now, with production constrained, inventories being drawn down, and vaccines promoting hopes of a return towards normal economic activity, expectations are high of further near-term price gains.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A New Super-Cycle?

    A surge in commodity prices has led to hopes for a new “super-cycle”. Bulls say that commodities have been in the doghouse for a decade, ensuring limited new capacity additions, yet demand is now getting supercharged globally by easy monetary and fiscal policies. Bears retort that commodity investors have a case of the vapors, as the next phase of global growth, especially in China, will be less resource-intensive.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    The Trouble With Biden's Climate Plan

    In a frothy market, few sectors are as pumped up as green plays. Since US markets bottomed last March, the Nasdaq composite has generated total returns of 105%. Over the same period the Nasdaq Clean Edge green energy index has returned 403%. Moreover, the outperformance has accelerated since early November, which suggests the green sector’s gains are being driven in part by hopes of a favorable policy environment under Joe Biden’s administration...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Vaccines, Efficacy And Variants

    Despite volumes of new information and the lightning creation of vaccines promising a path out of the pandemic, uncertainty remains. Almost daily we are bombarded with a mix of good news (the vaccines work really well!) and bad (new mutations resist vaccines!) that make it hard to know whether we should rejoice or despair. This note provides a framework for assessing these persistent uncertainties.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: The Economic Impact Of A New Era

    Vaccines, fiscal stimulus and cheap money are working together to bolster the outlook for growth and inflation in the United States. The US is also under new leadership with new priorities. Our US team of analysts explained what this all means for the economy and asset markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Propping Up Property Sales

    Housing sales growth is holding up well despite financial tightening and hawkish policymaker rhetoric. In this report, Rosealea explains why regulators are pressuring developers to cut prices, while increased household savings means more families can take advantage of these discounts. 2021 will therefore likely be a strong year for housing sales.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Canary Chirps

    In late January, just as the GameStop squeeze was beginning to attract attention, Louis advised investors “to keep European banks on their screens.” As the canary in the coal mine of global financial markets, eurozone banks would signal broader trouble ahead if they continued to fall. But if they rebounded, it would be a sign the global inflation trade was back on (see Third Time The Charm?).

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    US Inflation Has Many Fathers

    As the economics adage goes, inflation happens when “too much money chases too few goods”. This is an oversimplification but it does contain a core truth: the monetary price of goods is dictated by supply and demand factors that impact both the goods in question, and money itself.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    US Banks And The Steepening Curve

    The brightening of the US economic outlook and the steepening of the US yield curve over the last three months have been positive for the shares of US commercial banks. The prospect of a return to normal as vaccination quells the pandemic means banks are more willing to extend credit. According to the Federal Reserve’s January senior loan officer survey, far fewer banks are now tightening their lending standards. Experience suggests this will...

    5
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Profit Cycle Has Peaked

    China’s corporate profits rebounded in 2H20 after a horrific start to the year, but the profit cycle is now close to its peak. Looking past huge base effects, Thomas believes underlying growth will fade toward 10% in the first half of this year and zero in the second—not a bad macro outcome, but slower profits usually weigh on equity markets.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: An Indian Blowout?

    Indian risk assets have ripped in response to last week's big-spending budget, and reports that a collapse in Covid-19 cases points to the country having achieved "herd immunity" ahead of max vaccinations. In this video, Udith considers both India's public health situation and the chances of fiscal stimulus kick-starting growth without spurring an adverse financial reaction.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Will Stimulus Cause US Overheating?

    The US Democrats are declining to cut the size of their stimulus proposals enough to secure bipartisan support, and are instead proposing to push the bulk of their US$1.9trn package through Congress using the reconciliation process (see The State Of Biden’s Stimulus). Their determination has raised fears that pressing ahead with such a large fiscal stimulus at a time when the US output gap appears to be closing fast could prove uncomfortably...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Uncharted Territory And Portfolio Construction

    Charles has sought to codify his many investment rules into a rigorous portfolio construction framework, which includes identifying periods when returns stop being normally distributed and move into the "tails". Right now markets could be going through a phase change, and in this webinar, he explained why. He was joined by Didier, who who heads the quant team in Paris, and Louis.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    After GameStop

    Yesterday saw Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen chair a meeting of US financial regulators to assess the fallout of recent frenzied trading in “meme stocks”. There is unlikely to be a Dodd-Frank type response to this episode but a new administration may be motivated to act decisively. Yet the effect of GameStop may go wider, so consider the effect on the four key actors in the saga.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Six Reasons To Stay Bullish

    Is the recent speculative mania the beginning of the end of the post-2009 bull market in stocks? Or is it only the end of the beginning? Anatole argues that today’s speculation is reminiscent of the later stages of dot-com bubble, but he remains a confirmed bull on global equities. In this paper he offers six reasons why this is no contradiction.

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    Gavekal Research

    The Other Emerging Markets

    Until hit by a wobble in late January, emerging markets enjoyed heavy portfolio inflows over the last several months, and there are signs the risk aversion wobble is fading. Although the macro picture favors the currencies of Asia’s manufacturers, other less prominent forces could cause the currencies of non-Asian, commodity-exporting emerging markets to outperform.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Falling Behind On Vaccination

    Despite its early successes in containing Covid-19, China is lagging Western countries in rolling out a mass vaccination program. In this report, Ernan explains why Chinese policymakers are not treating mass vaccination as an urgent issue and why a slow vaccine rollout could result in a drag on economic growth in late 2021.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Draghi’s Return

    Say what you like about Mario Draghi, but he’s not one to shirk responsibility in a crisis. Almost 10 years after he took the helm at the European Central Bank to steer the eurozone through its debt crisis, on Wednesday he is due to meet Italian president Sergio Mattarella, who will ask him to form a government and take over as prime minister.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Cherry On The Cake

    After GameStop's wild ride, hedge fund managers must figure out where they can find "safe" shorts to counter-balance a portfolio’s longs positions. The effect of this quandary may be to change the investment environment in a way that either skews risk-taking, or just reduces it. This comes as a range of other factors, inside and outside of the US, are starting to flash red. For Louis, this all adds up to a new market mood that...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    India’s Go-For-Broke Budget

    Indian equities have risen 7.6% in the last two days, after the government of prime minister Narendra Modi threw fiscal caution to the winds in the 2021-22 budget it presented on Monday. India will attempt to spend its way out of economic crisis, with a five-year plan for deficit-fueled growth. “We have spent, we have spent and we have spent,” said finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, after announcing big increases in capital expenditure with no...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Real Effect Of The Vaccine Row

    The fiasco of Europe’s vaccination plan and Brussels’ retreat from its standoff with the UK and AstraZeneca have has caused the euro to weaken. While this reaction makes sense, the euro is, in fact, unlikely to fall much more against sterling, while the euro-dollar exchange rate will depend on how politicians behave in Washington, more than bureaucrats in Brussels.

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The State Of Biden’s Stimulus

    After Joe Biden set out plans for a US$1.9trn mega-stimulus, US Senate Republicans have countered with proposals for a relatively meager US$600bn package. In this video interview, Yanmei examines the options and weighs the possible outcomes.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Crackdown On Fintech

    Finance has been an exciting new frontier for China’s internet companies, as lax regulation and technological changes enabled a few years of rapid growth. This frontier era for fintech is now over. As Xiaoxi explains in this piece, China’s financial regulators are set on controlling what they now view as the overly risky growth of the sector.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Europe’s Troubled Trajectory

    For the eurozone, it seems everything went wrong at the end of 2020—and things have only got worse at the beginning of 2021. Unfortunately, hopes for recovery are pinned on a vaccination program which has been late to start, slow to gather speed, and beset by problems. Nevertheless, despite this gloomy prognosis, there will still be opportunities for investors.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Vaccine Slippage

    It is looking likely that most countries will miss their Covid-19 vaccination targets for 2021. This creates a risk of slower than expected economic growth, especially in Europe which take half a year to emerge from its double-dip recession. Moreover, any activity dependent on international travel or large-scale gatherings will remain severely depressed until well into 2022.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Explaining The Interbank Spike

    Short-term interbank rates surged to their highest levels in more than two years on Thursday after a surprising move by the central bank to drain liquidity from the market. In this Quick Take, Wei explains why this liquidity tightening does not signal a change in monetary policy, and why rates should return to normal over the coming weeks.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The US Turns A Corner

    It was not surprising that the US economy grew at a mere 4% quarter-on-quarter annualized in the final period of 2020, but there was a grim recognition that the next phase of the recovery will be hard fought. There are, however, reason to be optimistic.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Uncharted Territories And Portfolio Construction

    In 2015, Charles turned 73 and felt it was time to decide what he wanted to be when he grew up. But before turning his back on finance, he decided to “download” as many of the rules and experiences that had guided his steps in the financial world, over the previous 50 years. He built a small “quant” team in Paris, whose goals were to filter the very best of his rules and distill these into simple software solutions. In this piece he shows how...

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: French-Language Webinar, January 2021

    With Europe being hit hard by a second wave of Covid-19 and facing fresh lockdowns, Charles and Cedric assessed the outlook for the region’s growth and inflation in both the short and medium term. The webinar also focused on portfolio construction work being done by our Paris team: quantitative head of research Didier and Charles trained their sights on behavioral finance and suggested a route map for managing money in a “post-Keynesian” world.

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Webinar: The Outlook For China In 2021

    China enters 2021 having achieved a world-leading recovery, but now faces a tricky balancing act to secure its economic trajectory. Ernan, Rosealea and Wei discuss how the authorities are responding to the rebound in Covid cases, what their strategy is for a frothy property market, and how they will balance growth with financial stability.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    What The VIX Spike May Mean

    On Tuesday, Louis noted that among ill tidings for global equity markets was a rollover in European bank stocks. I want to build on this idea using portfolio construction work done by our Paris team and specifically the insight that when the VIX exceeds a critical threshold, markets globally tend to seize up.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The UK — At The Center Of The Maelstrom

    It’s been an especially stormy start to the year for the United Kingdom, which finds itself at ground zero for the spread of a new and highly infectious strain of the coronavirus, even as it struggles to cope with withdrawal from the European Union’s single market and customs zone. Yet the UK’s financial markets are performing relatively respectably year-to-date as investors focus on the UK’s strong vaccination performance and look ahead to the...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Sinification Of The Hong Kong Market

    Even though the Hang Seng index fell -2.55% on Tuesday, Hong Kong is still the world’s best performing major stock market year-to-date. In Hong Kong’s media the run-up is attributed to waves of mainland Chinese money flowing into the city’s equities. In reality, Connect flows have not been the biggest force driving Hong Kong stocks higher in recent weeks. But structurally, flows of mainland capital are only going to become increasingly important...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Robinhood Versus The Sheriff Of Nottingham

    A large US hedge fund has received a reported US$2.75bn liquidity injection from Citadel and Point72 after it became subject to apparent short-squeeze attacks organized in internet chat rooms. In this piece, Louis asks why the regulators seem to be standing back from such episodes and wonders where markets are going if even big players can easily fall prey to "flash mobs".

    22
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    Gavekal Research

    Supply-Chain Risks For The Covid Vaccine

    The race to vaccinate the world in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic will be one of the most complex projects ever attempted. Most developed economies aim to fully vaccinate their adult population by year’s end. Dan outlines the manufacturing and logistical challenges involved the vaccine rollout

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Third Time The Charm?

    Wherever you look, it seems there are signs of market froth, and evidence abounds that we are in an environment of “more money than fools”. Yet amid all these signs, one is especially troubling: last year US investor margin debt rose by a record US$200bn. This is sobering because the two previous record-setting peaks in margin debt growth did not end well.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    A Tactical Turn In The Dollar?

    Neither the United States nor the European Union got off to a flying start, but the US is out front with its vaccination program. This points to longer Covid disruption in Europe, which—in the short term—should support the US dollar versus the euro. Yet, in the longer term there remain many reasons to underweight the dollar, certainly against cheaper “risk-on” currencies.

    2
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Macro Update: Beyond The Boom

    China’s unbalanced, industry-driven recovery from Covid has been very strong but is probably close to its peak. Meanwhile, renewed outbreaks are further delaying the normalization of consumer spending and services. In the latest edition of our regular chartbook, the Dragonomics team explains how these tensions will affect the economy in 2021.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Where Europe Went Wrong

    Mass vaccination programs were always going to suffer teething troubles. But the rollout of Covid vaccination campaigns in European Union countries has been especially slow and troubled compared with the UK and US. This has left investors wondering about the reasons for the vaccine underperformance, whether it will persist and what the economic impact might be.

    7
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Restraining The New Fad In Tech

    The Chinese government has responded quickly and negatively to community group buying platforms, the latest business-model fad among China’s consumer internet companies. In this report, Ernan explains why subsidized pricing on the platforms has drawn regulatory attention and how this will affect future growth prospects for China’s big tech firms.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Risks In The Biden Era

    In December, Anatole outlined 10 disparate risks that could derail the bull market in 2021. That was before the Democrats won full control of the US government, paving the way for approval of Joe Biden’s new super-size stimulus package. In light of the developments over the last month, Anatole reassesses his 10 risks.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Global Investment Roundtable, January 2021

    A Democratic US administration is set to control all arms of the US government for the first time since 2010. Will this mean a fiscal blowout, causing big changes in the pricing of treasuries and the US dollar? Louis, Anatole and Will assess the possibilities.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Turn In Asian Inflation

    Over the last year, a collapse in oil and commodity prices slashed inflation in Southeast Asia and buoyed real interest rates. As a result, regional central banks were able to cut policy rates and mitigate the impact of massive Covid disruption. However, this disinflationary tailwind is set to abruptly reverse in the coming months as inflationary pressure inevitably builds up. Ultimately, this rise in prices may wash through the system as a “...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Video: The Good And Bad News For Emerging Markets

    US president Joe Biden’s planned US$1.9trn fiscal support package for the American economy may provide a metaphorical shot in the arm for at least some emerging markets, partially offsetting the negative economic effects caused by the delayed rollout of actual coronavirus inoculations. Udith assesses the conflicting forces affecting emerging economies.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Webinar: Europe’s Cruel Winter

    As the pandemic intensifies across Europe growth prospects in the first quarter are dimming, but investors are focused on a potential economic reopening by the spring. In yesterday’s webinar, Anatole Kaletsky, Nick Andrews and Cedric Gemehl discussed whether markets are overly optimistic since the European Union seems to have botched its vaccine procurement strategy.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Logos, Idiotes And Demagogues

    Charles revisits the idea of the Greek "logos", "idiotes", demagogues and citizens, and how the Greeks believed that those who controlled the logos—the language used to describe the world—ipso facto controlled the political system. Problems arise when a new, competing logos started to emerge.

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    Towards Stealth Debt Cancellation

    The grand panjandrums of the European Central Bank meet Thursday amid growing calls for them to cancel the vast sums of eurozone member governments’ debt they have bought over the last year. There is zero chance they will formally agree to any debt cancellation, but the ECB may do so by stealth.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    Flows Will Still Favor Indian Equities

    Indian cows tend to be scrawny beasts, but India’s equity bulls have rarely looked fatter. Stocks scaled record highs last week after a 10-week binge on easy foreign money. The feeding frenzy has faded since Friday, but local benchmarks remain up 25% in US dollar terms since the start of November, and foreign investors’ appetite for Indian assets does not yet look sated. While the vigorous rebound in India’s economy from last summer’s slump may...

    0
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    Follow The Money

    After last spring’s lockdowns, the Federal Reserve undertook a huge liquidity response and the US government borrowed hand over fist to keep a range of economic actors afloat: US companies got forgivable loans, households received cash grants and the jobless were offered enhanced unemployment payments. Even after this splurge, the Treasury is still left with wheelbarrow-loads of cash. In the year ahead, how these record sums of money are...

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Small Borrowers Still Struggling

    Even after a dramatic economic recovery, many of China’s smallest businesses are still struggling. In this piece, Xiaoxi shows how the government’s financial-support measures did little to improve small businesses’ access to financing, which is already tightening. But the policies are helping banks avoid a potential spike in bad loans.

    0
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    Biden’s United Front Against China

    As the outgoing Trump administration exits with a flurry of executive actions directed against China, Beijing is not sitting around hoping for Joe Biden to spark a new era of détente with the US. The recent tightening of control in Hong Kong shows that President Xi Jinping has no intention of giving an easy early ride to a leader who has pledged to build a “united front of US allies and partners” to constrain a resurgent China. The European...

    1
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    Europe’s New Political Cycle

    After a six-month respite, European political risk is back on the radar screen. Last Wednesday, ministers from the Italia Viva of former prime minister Matteo Renzi walked out of Italy’s cabinet in a dispute over how EU Covid recovery funds should be spent, leaving the coalition government of prime minister Giuseppe Conte scrabbling to survive. On Friday, the cabinet of Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte resigned over a scandal involving the over-...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Two-Speed Recovery

    China’s Q4 GDP growth surpassed pre-Covid rates, with housing and manufacturing leading while services lagged and infrastructure investment slowed. In early 2021, this divergence is likely to continue as consumers stay home for the Chinese New Year and poor credit growth drags on infrastructure investment.

    0
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    Biden’s Spending Plan

    In a speech late Thursday, US President-Elect Joe Biden called on Congress to approve an additional US$1.9trn of federal spending to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and support the US economy. If approved, Biden’s package will bring US government stimulus spending since the start of the pandemic to more than US$5trn. Heavy on support for households, Biden’s proposal would avert the risk of a first quarter contraction in the US economy and prime the...

    0
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    The First, And Last, Line Of Defense

    US equity valuations are stretched and bond yields are rising. This has always proved an ominous combination. What’s different this time is that the Federal Reserve continues to inject vast amounts of liquidity into the system. But will the Fed’s infections continue? And if they do, as the pandemic recedes will they prove big enough both to finance economic reopening and to keep asset prices afloat?

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    For Exports, It’s Stronger For Longer

    China’s exports have been boosted by two side effects of the Covid-19 pandemic: a shift of consumer spending to goods from services, and the failure of manufacturing in other countries to get back to full capacity. How long can those advantages last? Thomas argues they will continue to boost exports through the first half of 2021.

    2
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    Video: China's Post-Pandemic Roadmap

    A year after Covid-19 was first revealed in China, the country has emerged as one of the key economic winners of the global pandemic. In this video interview, Arthur assesses how it did this and looks at the new priorities for Chinese industrial development in a world that has become less open and more suspicious of Chinese intentions. He seeks to answer these questions with reference to US trade and technology policy toward China as a new...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A Debate On The US Dollar

    In investment, few things can prove as dangerous as a “safe bet” in the foreign exchange market. So, when 2021 began with a firm consensus that the US dollar was destined to fall, only for the DXY index to rally 1% over the last week, people quickly began to question the prevailing consensus. Within Gavekal, this sparked a spirited debate on the direction of the dollar. Readers will not be surprised to learn that there was a range of views, with...

    12
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    New Ceilings For Property Financing

    China’s policymakers are expanding their restrictions on bank financing of the property sector, imposing limits on mortgage lending in addition to curbs on borrowing by developers. In this report, Rosealea explains why the new regulations do not shift her expectations of flat property sales and a modest decline in construction activity in 2021.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Squeeze Of Old Hong Kong

    Last Wednesday Hong Kong police arrested scores of pro-democracy activists for joining forces to try and win a local parliamentary election and thereafter block government legislation. The use of a tough new national security law to suppress routine political organization threatens more international opprobrium that will further cut the city off from the Anglosphere.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    The Paradox Propelling Asian Currencies

    This year, the world is likely to see a sharp bifurcation in economic performance. In developed economies, mass vaccination programs enable a return to economic normality, while in emerging markets, vaccine supply and distribution problems will slow recovery. Paradoxically, EM economic underperformance will favor the outperformance of emerging Asia’s currencies.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Did Big Tech Just Jump The Shark?

    For investors, the last decade has been the era of Big Tech. But since September, US social media and consumer-related stocks essentially went nowhere. The unexciting performance belies all the attention these companies have been attracting lately. Following last week’s upheavals in Washington, several Big Tech firms took action to block people and services.

    6
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    Gavekal Research

    The UK After Brexit

    Four and a half years after the vote, Britain is properly out of the European Union and moving into a new era. It will surely be a freer nation, says Charles, but in this piece he asks: will it be a richer one? Spoiler alert, he thinks the upshot will be the City of London emerging as the world’s über financial capital.

    9
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    Gavekal Research

    The Road Ahead For US Yields

    Friday’s US labor market figures showing a surprise 140,000 contraction in December’s non-farm payrolls emphasized just how tough the winter months are going to be for the world’s largest economy as coronavirus infection rates and resulting hospitalizations continue to accelerate. Yet the grim near-term economic outlook notwithstanding, the first week of 2021 saw inflation expectations push higher, with the 10-year breakeven inflation rate...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Covid Headaches Continue

    China diagnosed 527 new cases of Covid-19 in the first 10 days of 2021, mostly in Hebei province, in the biggest local outbreak since July 2020. In this Quick Take, Ernan explains why this outbreak is challenging China’s Covid-19 playbook and why its timing is particularly concerning ahead of the Chinese New Year.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Bitcoin, Gold Or Fiat?

    Governments and central banks are giving users of fiat money reason to consider alternative mediums of exchange and stores of value. And it seems entirely possible that Bitcoin can rally even harder than it already has. But are there the makings of a good money? Because if the answer is “no”, then bitcoin is running on fumes.

    29
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    Gavekal Research

    Strategy Monthly: Darkness Before Dawn? The Covid Vaccine Outlook

    As a new wave of Covid infections grips major economies, and social restrictions return, the hopes for a return to pre-pandemic normal rest on the rollout of vaccines. With vaccine production ramping up, most developed economies could reach herd immunity by late in 2021. But many emerging economies will take longer, and several risk factors could still derail the rollout.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Portfolio Construction Over The Next Two Years

    On Thursday, Anatole set out his view that undivided Democratic Party control of both the executive and legislative branches of the US government opens the door for unconstrained Keynesian stimulus, which will be highly positive for the US economy and equities. It will probably come as little surprise to Gavekal clients that I should dispute whether such unconstrained Keynesianism will be good news either for the economy or for US equities

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Investors Should Welcome An Undivided US Government

    With undivided Democratic Party control of the White House and both chambers of the US Congress now confirmed, the Biden administration will have free rein to pursue stimulus spending. Yet the balance of power in the Senate means tax hikes are off the table for at least two years. Anatole argues this is highly bullish for US equities.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    After The Storming Of The Capitol

    The sight of a ragtag army of diehard Donald Trump supporters storming Capitol Hill unopposed and seizing the floor of the US Senate shocked observers to their core on Wednesday. Yet despite widespread fears that chaos and political violence are set to become the norm, there were important indications late Wednesday that US democracy and rule of law will prevail and endure.

    12
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Not As Hawkish As Feared

    The People's Bank of China is one of the world’s most hawkish central banks—but just how hawkish will it be in 2021? Bond market investors worry that the PBOC, eager to normalize policy, will be pushed into hiking rates by higher inflation. In this piece, Wei argues those worries are misplaced, and that bond yields have more room to fall.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Europe’s New Lockdowns

    On Tuesday, Germany followed the United Kingdom by imposing fresh restrictions on activity and movement that in effect amount to a new lockdown comparable—and in some areas even stricter—than the anti-coronavirus shutdown imposed over the second quarter of last year. With infection rates across Europe stubbornly high despite the controls already in place, and with fears mounting about the spread of new viral strains, the risk is high that other...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Senate Upheaval

    With some trepidation, Yanmei and Will offer their view on the economic consequences of Georgia, assuming that the Democrats have indeed secured a wafer-thin majority in the Senate. While the fiscal restraints will now surely be released and tax hikes are more likely, the real winners of this election will be centrists in the Democratic Party, who in effect wield veto power over its more liberal instincts.

    3
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Renminbi Races Out Of The Starting Gate

    The renminbi gained 1% against the US dollar in the first two trading days of 2021, leading China’s central bank to signal a pushback against appreciation by tweaking foreign-lending limits. In this Quick Take, Wei explains that such moves are likely to slow than stop the currency’s gains, as fundamentals still favor the renminbi.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Asch Experiment We Inhabit

    In the 1950s, US social psychologist Solomon Asch conducted a seminal experiment which showed that people were susceptible to conform with the group consensus, even when their eyes told them the answer was wrong. Looking at the Western response to Covid-19, policymakers have badly failed the Asch experiment. The conclusion must be that political risk in the Western world is now as great as it has been for a generation.

    17
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Decoding The Assault On Alibaba

    The antitrust investigation into Alibaba, following close on the heels of the cancellation of the Ant IPO, has raised big questions about the changing political environment for Chinese internet companies. In this piece, Andrew considers the best- and worst-case scenarios, and concludes that at a minimum, growth prospects have dimmed.

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    Gravity Or Liquidity? Which Will Win In 2021?

    In hindsight, 2020 showed that if three conditions are met, a stock can break free from the earth’s gravity, and lift off for destinations only sci-fi writers could have imagined. Consequently, one of the most important questions for investors in 2021 is whether such inter-galactic travel can continue. Or will the coming year instead see a shift in investor behavior, with gravity once again exerting its downward pull?

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    A Very Merry Christmas From Everyone At Gavekal

    Unless something out of the ordinary happens (and given the year we’ve had, the bar is set quite high) this will be our last Daily of 2020. It is thus a chance for me to wish our readers a very Merry Christmas and to thank you for your support, friendship and interactions over the past year. As we never tire of saying at Gavekal, ideas presented in our research usually originate with our clients; or at least, the better ones do (we come up with...

    23
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    Gavekal Research

    Goldilocks And The 10 Bears Of 2021

    In recent years Anatole has written a series of articles describing 10 key risks for investors. He readily accepts that this year’s exercise was rendered redundant by the emergence of Covid-19 in January. Next year, however, he believes that a greater range of factors could weigh on markets and in this piece assesses them one by one.

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    A “Little” Stimulus For Christmas

    Having agreed another fiscal stimulus, the US government is poised to give its population a US$900bn Christmas gift. This revives relief programs set up at the pandemic’s outset, testifying to both their success in keeping consumers and businesses solvent, and their popularity

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