Asia

Macrobites

Monetary mayhem in the policy petri dish

The Hong Kong dollar is tied closely to the US dollar. Monetary policy made in Washington therefore applies directly in Wan Chai and Kowloon. In recent months, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority has been obliged to shrink its balance sheet rapidly to maintain the fixed exchange rate. This serves as a real-life policy experiment of the effects of quantitative tightening in a financial system. So far, nothing has blown up, but Hong Kong equities have been under pressure as financial conditions have tightened.

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Strategy

What's 20 trillion yen between friends?

The Bank of Japan is trying to convince the market that there is “nothing to see here” despite a sharp drop in its asset purchase flow from ¥80 trillion to ¥60 trillion per annum. Add this to the list of reasons to worry about potential yen appreciation, but don’t think of it as a leading concern for global rates or risk assets.

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Strategy

Up the stairs, down the elevator

During times of uncertainty investors tend to gravitate toward the Japanese yen. This makes the yen a good tail hedge within a portfolio context, as the yen will appreciate when you need it the most.

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Economics

Another dispassionate look at India

They say that idealists don’t care about the short run, while cynics don’t care about the long run. We like to think of ourselves as realists who believe that what you do in the short run determines the long run. This is how we look at India.

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Economics

Cashless in Calcutta

The consensus remains bullish on India even after, or perhaps because of, recent currency reforms. We beg to differ. While Modi’s reform efforts have been impressive, only rivalled by Mexico following the global financial crisis, India still faces significant cyclical headwinds.

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Strategy

Anything you can do, I can do better

When the global financial crisis broke, central banks in the West copied from the Japanese playbook and introduced quantitative easing to boost growth and inflation. Now it is Japan's turn to borrow from the West with NIRP (negative interest rate policy) - are they running out of options?

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Macrobites

The yuan and only

The significance of the IMF’s decision on including the RMB in the SDR is in the detail. The headline should not be a surprise to anyone, but the reshuffle of the SDR weights is quite telling.

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