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ENG United States

The US 2020 Presidential Election (1/3): The Social & Racial Issue

The 2020 US presidential election will probably be remembered as one of the most tense electoral contests in the nation’s history. […]

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ENG Macro Focus ENG United States

Macro Focus: US Federal Debt and Deficits to 2050

The Congressional Budget Office published this week its annual Long-Term Budget Outlook presenting its projections of what federal deficits, debt, spending, and revenues would be for the next 30 years if current laws governing taxes and spending generally did not change. Federal deficits are projected to increase from 5% of gross GDP in 2030 to 13% by 2050. The projected budget deficits would boost federal debt to 104% of GDP in 2021, to 107% of GDP – the highest in US history – in 2023, and to a whopping 195% of GDP by 2050.

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Business & Geopolitics Business Intelligence ENG GCC MENA ENG

Business & Geopolitics: The Abraham Accord and the future of the Middle East

For someone with a such a personal and professional interest in the future of the Middle East and North Africa […]

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Business Intelligence China ENG Future of Money & Finance

Future of Money: An update on China’s Digital Yuan Project

Known as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DC/EP), the CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) project piloted by the People’s Bank of China is so far the most advanced projet of its kind in the world. The introduction of a CBDC in the world’s most populous country and second largest economy may have far reaching consequences.

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China ENG Macro Flash

Macro Flash: Surveys show China’s recovery is strong but uneven

The released Official China NBS/CFLP PMI and the Caixin/IHS Markit PMI for August showed both that the Chinese economy was undergoing a robust growth recovery in August. However, the Official PMI shows that the economic recovery is uneven and is driven first and foremost by large manufacturing enterprises and by the construction sector., which benefited the most from the fiscal and monetary stimulus measures. Export orders continued their recovery initiated in June but the major driver of growth was domestic demand. Employment remained muted as companies still face uncertainties related to the COVI19 pandemic and its impact on economies across the world. Expectations remain anchored at a high level, although they edged lower compared to July and June.

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ENG Eurozone Macro Flash

Macro Flash: Eurozone recovery slowing down in August

The pace of recovery of the Eurozone economy following its sharp contraction in 2Q 2020 slowed down significantly in August. The Eurozone PMI Composite Index came up at 51.9, still largely in positive territory but significantly down from the 54.9 level reached in July. The Manufacturing Index remained on a healthy recovery trajectory thanks to the strong rebound observed in Germany (cf. our Macro Flash on German Manufacturing PMI) and despite the stagnation observed in France. However, the Services headline index came almost flat at 50.5, due to a marked growth slowdown in France and a return to contraction in Italy and Spain. Regardless of the softness observed in the Services sector, Confidence about the future continued to peak up reaching its highest level in two years. This confidence will need to be supported by additional monetary and fiscal stimulus, else it could fade out. Indeed, Eurozone inflation moved into negative territory for the first since 2016 and unemployment continued to grow across the Eurozone which bodes ill for domestic demand, especially given the record savings growth due to precautionary motives.

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ENG Eurozone Macro Flash Switzerland United Kingdom

Macro Flash: Jobless recovery for the German industry

The final German Manufacturing PMI for August was up at 52.2 from July’s final 49.0. The figure was less upbeat than originally thought as it came 0.8 points below its earlier published Flash estimate. The New Orders improved sharply at 59.1 alongside Future Output (Expectations) at 60.8. However, some weaknesses remain as factory jobs were cut again although the rate of job shedding was the weakest in five months. This indicates that a reversal could happen as the initial Business output and confidence upturn observed in July-August comes following a plunge in manufacturing activity in 2Q 2020. The mechanical “rise from the abyss” effect may fade out in the coming months and the recovery may peter out if the underlying drivers of growth – i.e. domestic demand and external demand – do not live up to their current expectations.

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Business Intelligence ENG Russia & FSU

Business & Geopolitics: A Welcome Stimulus for Russia’s Sovereign Tech Sector

The Russian Tech sector has witnessed a remarkable development over the last twenty years, moving out of a soviet state-led institutional and technological matrix into a beacon for flagship tech companies such as Kaspersky Lab, Telegram, Yandex and Ozon. The COVID-19 pandemic and recession presents both challenges and opportunities for Russia’s tech players.

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ENG Equities Market focus ENG Markets United States

Market focus: How smart is smart beta?

Professional Investors are familial with the Fama-French Factor model developed by Nobel Prize Laureate Eugene Fama with his colleague Kenneth French in the 1990s. According to this model, the expected return on a stock is the combination of the general equity market premium – the so-called beta of the single risk factor model – to which they added a “size premium” – on the premise that small cap stocks are expected to generate higher returns than large caps – and the value premium which is a reflection of a stock’s lower valuation compared to other stocks which trade higher on the basis of their expected earnings. This academic theory is at the heart of the so-called “smart beta” strategy based on ETFs – Exchange Traded Funds – which seek to replicate an exposure to the risk factors identified by Fama-French and by other pundits. However, since the beginning of the year, here have been a puzzling disconnect between “Growth stocks” and “Value stocks”.

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Economy ENG Eurozone

Market focus: European Banks from resilience to consolidation

– Most European Banks are resilient to the economic fallout from the Coronavirus crisis as they enter into the crisis with significantly improved solvency indicators, compared to a decade ago.
– However, this resilience masks structural weaknesses which translate into lower performance and market valuations amid persistent banking fragmentation alongside national markets within Europe
– The Banking sector in Europe seems ripe for another wave of consolidation. The big question is whether regulators are also ready for that. The ECB seems to welcome this process but the challenge comes from other market regulators.