Europe

Jim Rogers: Buy China, Japan, Russia, Agriculture

Last Thursday, I talked about a recent interview I listened to of well-known investor Jim Rogers. Robert Williams, the founder of the Baltimore, Maryland-based investment research/market commentary service Wall Street Daily, was asking the questions.

Apparently, I didn’t hear the entire exchange between the two. Williams got the former investing partner of George Soros in the legendary Quantum Fund to share with listeners what stocks he’s buying/intends to buy these days. From the Wall Street Daily website last Friday:

WILLIAMS: Do you have confidence in the U.S. stock market?
ROGERS: Well Bob, the U.S. stock market is making an all-time high. As you know, it’s up more highs this year than any year since 1929. That’s not a bottom. I’d rather buy – I’m buying shares in other markets around the world. I mentioned Russia… China, I bought more Chinese shares yesterday… Japan, I want to buy some more if I get time off the phone to buy more Japanese shares. You know the Chinese and Japanese markets are down 60% from their all-time highs. America’s making all-time highs as it did in 1929. I don’t know if these other markets are better, but I know buying low and selling high often turns out to be right.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

China, Japan, Russia. Check.

And agriculture.

On November 25, Jim Rogers appeared on the Bloomberg Television show Countdown. Host Mark Barton noted the chairman of Rogers Holdings is now an independent director of PhosAgro, Europe’s biggest phosphate fertilizer maker. Rogers shared with viewers:

So I started investing in Russia. I found this company. I’m bullish on agriculture. I’m bullish on these guys. They’re young, smart people. So here I am.

When asked what else he was bullish on in Russia, Rogers said:

I’ve been buying shares of the Moscow Stock Exchange… The easy way is the index, so I bought the ETF, as well. There are various ways to play Russia. Russia’s hated. In my view, wrongly so. And I hope, that all this is going to pass and I’ll make a lot of money.

On China, the Singapore-based investor noted:

I’m buying shares in China… Since the economic plenum of November of 2013- you know the Chinese said, “These are the areas of the economy we’re going to emphasize.” Mark, if the government is going to put a lot of money into those areas, I am too. They’ve got more money than I do. They’re smarter than I am. So I’m investing with them.

When pressed about other areas he was investing in, Rogers pointed out:

The markets that I have been investing in this year- new things- are Japan, Russia, China, agriculture. That’s where I’ve been putting my- those are all depressed markets. Why would you buy the U.S. at an all-time high, when you can buy Japan 60 percent below its all-time high, or China, 60 percent below its all-time high?

He added the following about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and “Abenomics”:

He’s going to ruin Japan. But in the next two or three years, I hope he’s going to make me a lot of money. And the investment community. He’s making stocks go up.


YouTube Video

You can listen/read (transcript provided) to the rest of that Rogers interview by Robert Williams on the Wall Street Daily website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Marc Faber: Young Americans Will Earn Less, Have Less Wealth Than Their Parents

I wrote on Survival And Prosperity a couple years ago:

Back in 2006 when I was working at a suburban fire department, a battalion chief came into my office, saw the local paper on my desk, and asked, “Did you read that piece about how kids these days might be the first generation who won’t be better off than their parents?” I replied, “Yeah, it was depressing.” The fire officer confided, “That stuff scares me. I’m worried they might be right about that.” I’d be concerned too, especially if I were the parent of a couple of young kids like this chief was.

Fast forward almost nine years after that discussion took place. Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager Marc Faber was interviewed by Barron’s last week. The publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report talked with editor Jack Otter about a number of financial topics, including how younger people in Western societies will be less well-off than their parents. From their exchange:

OTTER: You always find new ways to depress me. And today you told me that for the first time in 200 years of history, we will bequeath to our children less wealth than their parents had.
FABER: Yes. I meant that with respect to Western societies and Japan, where essentially the younger people, today’s generation, will earn less than their parents. And they will have less wealth than their parents, inflation-adjusted, because we will have wealth taxes, we’ll have more estate taxes, and we have essentially declining real median incomes in the Western world and Japan. But the good news is that we have essentially have in the countries that opened up post-breakdown of the socialist, communist ideology- China, Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and so forth, and India, of course- we have entire generations that will earn much more and have a much better standard of living than their parents had.

On India, “Doctor Doom”- as the financial media likes to call him- thinks that India’s stock market could rise by 15 percent in 2015.


“Dr. Doom Offers 2 Stocks Picks, But Gloomy Outlook”
Barron’s Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Pope Francis Inviting Assassination Attempt?

This week I intended to dive back into some series of posts I haven’t done in a while- “In Print,”, “Signs Of The Time,” and “Resource Of The Week.”

Regrettably, that will have to wait until next week as I still had a few more things I needed to get off my chest. Including the following which seriously concerns me.

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember me mentioning that I’m of the Roman Catholic faith. I attended a Catholic kindergarten, grade school (three different ones), high school (all boys- what did I do to deserve that punishment?), and even graduate school, to give you an idea of how big a role the Church has played in my life. Last year, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected by a papal conclave to head the Roman Catholic Church. As Pope Francis, he has been making headlines on a regular basis. Now comes this out of Rome. Nick Squires reported on The Telegraph (UK) website Wednesday:

He has dismissed and demoted cardinals, bishops and the Vatican secretary of state, and now Pope Francis’s reformist zeal has claimed a new scalp – the head of his own private army, the Swiss Guard.

In a dispassionate one-sentence notice, the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, announced on Wednesday that Daniel Anrig will no longer serve as the commandant of the 500-year-old corps after the end of next month.

No official explanation was given for the decision, but it was widely rumoured that the Argentinean Pope, who has established a warmer, more inclusive style of governance since being appointed pontiff in March last year, found the commander’s manner overly strict and “Teutonic”…

The Jesuit pontiff, nicknamed “the people’s Pope”, is said to want the Swiss Guard to be less rigid in its rules, even “less military”, according to Il Messagero, a Rome-based daily.

That is in line with the Pope’s dislike of security in general.

On trips abroad, including his visit to Turkey at the weekend, he asks to be driven around in a modest hatchback, rather than a shiny, armour-plated limousine.

He has chafed at the restrictions to his freedom of movement imposed by the Swiss Guard and the Vatican gendarmerie, the tiny city state’s police force…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Now, going back a few months, readers may have heard the following. Natasha Kulzac wrote on The Independent (UK) website on September 16:

The Islamic State (Isis) is intent on killing the Pope, the Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See has warned the Vatican.

Habeeb Al-Sadr, who has been the ambassador since 2010, has advised that one of Isis’ goals is to assassinate the Pontiff and warned that the jihadists “don’t just threaten”, according to Italian newspaper La Nazione.

Mr Al-Sadr confirmed he did not have any specific intelligence on an impending attack but said that their “genocide” of Yazidi Christians and destruction of holy Islamic sites was an indication of their intent.

“What has been declared by the self-proclaimed Islamic State is clear – they want to kill the Pope,” he told La Nazione on Tuesday, adding: “The threats against the Pope are credible.”

The threat against Pope Francis, 77, was widely discussed earlier this year after he had endorsed the ‘stopping’ of Isis and its persecution of 40,000 Christians in northern Iraq.

It was reported in August that security in Rome had been heightened after Israeli officials warned that the Pope’s censure of Isis had led the militants to target him.

The Vatican played down this risk with spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi SJ telling the Catholic News Agency: “There is nothing serious to this. There is no particular concern in the Vatican. This news has no foundation.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Readers may recall what I blogged back on September 22:

Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani looks to have released a new speech in which he threatens Americans and its European allies. From “Indeed Your Lord Is Ever Watchful,” which was distributed on social media yesterday… the Vatican is threatened:

And so we promise you by Allah’s permission that this campaign will be your final campaign. It will be broken and defeated, just as all your previous campaigns were broken and defeated, except that this time we will raid you thereafter, and you will never raid us. We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us; He is glorified and He does not fail in His promise. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“There is no particular concern in the Vatican.” There should be, as the newly-minted caliphate and its fighters tend to be overachievers, so to speak. And Pope Francis just got done blasting the Islamic State (again). From Reuters on December 2:

Francis several times condemned Islamic State’s insurgents during his three-day trip. On the plane, he said some Christians had been forced to abandon everything: “They are driving us out of the Middle East.”

In an address at a Mass on Sunday, he said Islamic State were committing a “profoundly grave sin against God” and called for inter-religious dialogue and action against poverty to help end the conflicts in the region.

He added that ending poverty was crucial, partly because it gave rise to “the recruitment of terrorists”…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If what Squires said about papal security is true and it’s being tinkered with to make it less intrusive and more representative of a “people’s Pope,” I would share the following with Pope Francis if the opportunity ever presented itself:

I get that you think your security detail is a real drag. But look at what happened to John Paul II. There’s a reason why they bust out the Popemobile whenever you require a set of wheels- and his name is Mehmet Ali Agca and others who wish to emulate him. You of all people know that evil- real evil- exists in the world. And taking out the head of the Roman Catholic Church would be quite a victory for the bad guys. The world is on the verge of some real dark times. And there are already a number of issues within the Church that need serious attention. So Catholics need their Pope now more than ever. To lead. Not be in a position to join the ranks of the Church’s martyrs- God bless their souls. Work with the Swiss Guard. Don’t weaken time-tested security measures that were implemented out of necessity. You shouldn’t feel like you have to inject your physical presence among us, the Catholic masses. Our faith is already strong enough to survive yet one more intangible aspect of our religion. That boast by the Islamic State about “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women”? Who’s not to say this proclaimed caliphate- sensing an opportunity here- won’t try sending gunmen to Italy to take your life? I fear the threat is real. Don’t play into their hands. “Deliver us from evil”- not into it- right?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Squires, Nick. “Pope sacks the head of his Swiss Guard for being ‘too strict’” The Telegraph. 3 Dec. 2014. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/11271618/Pope-sacks-the-head-of-his-Swiss-Guard-for-being-too-strict.html). 5 Dec. 2014.

Culzac, Natasha. “Islamic State: Pope is ‘being targeted by Isis’, Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns.” The Independent. 16 Sep. 2014. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/islamic-state-pope-being-targeted-by-isis-iraqi-ambassador-to-the-holy-see-warns-9736110.html). 5 Dec. 2014.

“Pope blasts Christian, Muslim fundamentalists while leaving Turkey.” Reuters. 2 Dec. 2014. (http://www.jpost.com/Christian-News/Pope-blasts-Christian-Muslim-fundamentalists-while-leaving-Turkey-383405). 5 Dec. 2014.

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Friday, December 5th, 2014 Crime, Europe, Middle East, Religion, Security, Terrorism No Comments

Peter Schiff: Swiss ‘No’ Vote May Signal Gold’s Bottom, Return Of Bull Trend

“Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected an initiative on Sunday that would have forced the country’s central bank to hold one-fifth of its assets in gold, a move that would have eroded its ability to conduct monetary policy.

Citing projections from results in 19 of the country’s 26 cantons, Swiss television said roughly 78% of voters opposed the initiative, dubbed ‘Save Our Swiss Gold.’ The gold initiative would have also barred the Swiss National Bank from selling gold in the future…”

-The Wall Street Journal website, November 30, 2014

I hadn’t been paying too much attention to that Swiss vote on gold. But after the mainstream financial news outlets cheered the Swiss citizens rejecting the initiative, I thought this could rank right up there with the United Kingdom selling off half its gold reserves in 1999 when the precious metal was valued at only $300 an ounce- a 20-year low at the time.

In other words, a move the Swiss may very well come to regret in the coming years.

To each their own, I always say.

And Wednesday, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, shared his thoughts about Switzerland’s rejection of the yellow metal. From his December 3 SchiffGold “Gold Videocast” entry on YouTube.com:

I actually believe that the “no” vote- from the long-term perspective- is even more bullish for the price of gold than had Switzerland voted to back their currency with 20 percent gold…

Thinking about it from a historical perspective, if there’s a chance that we saw the lows for the entire gold move on Sunday night, it would be ironic, and then I think makes a lot of sense, that the Swiss “no” vote on adopting even a modified gold standard would mark the low point for gold. Just like you have the Bank of England dumping a bunch of gold at the lows, I mean, central banks or actions around central banks sometimes mark key points. And the fact that the Swiss said “no” to gold, “we don’t want it,” that may be the day that gold actually bottomed out and now we’re resuming the bull trend. Only time will tell whether that is the case. But again, if it’s not the absolute bottom, I think it’s close enough not to worry about it, and I think that people need to be buying the gold that the Swiss citizens just told their bank not to buy. And not only the gold, silver. Because if gold goes up, silver’s going up. So buy both metals.


“Gold Videocast: Swiss Franc No Longer a Safe Haven
and a Possible Bottom in Gold”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Islamic State May Now Have A Dirty Bomb, But What About A Nuke?

“Militants in Iraq have taken hold of nuclear materials at university science facilities near the northern city of Mosul, the Iraqi government has said in a letter to the United Nations.

But two U.S. officials told CNN on Wednesday that the small amounts of uranium aren’t enriched or weapons-grade, prompting only minimal concern…”

-CNN website, July 10, 2014

I remember reading about the Islamic State getting their hands on that nuclear material near Mosul this summer. And I also remember the American response to it happening- which was basically “who cares?”

Now, I distinctly recall what I was thinking when I heard the news:

The caliphate is going to build themselves some dirty bombs.

From the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission website:

A “dirty bomb” is one type of a radiological dispersal device (RDD) that combines conventional explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive material. The terms dirty bomb and RDD are often used interchangeably in the media. Most RDDs would not release enough radiation to kill people or cause severe illness – the conventional explosive itself would be more harmful to individuals than the radioactive material. However, depending on the situation, an RDD explosion could create fear and panic, contaminate property, and require potentially costly cleanup… A dirty bomb is not a “Weapon of Mass Destruction” but a “Weapon of Mass Disruption,” where contamination and anxiety are the terrorists’ major objectives

A “weapon of mass disruption.” Cute.

On Saturday, the Daily Mirror- a British tabloid- ran the following:

Islamic State fanatics have built a dirty bomb, it has been claimed.

The fighters are said to have made a device using radioactive uranium stolen from Iraq’s Mosul University after seizing control of the city last June.

And this week they were boasting of the damage it would cause if blown up in London, although sources insist security measures would make it almost impossible to transport here…

If the bomb does exist, militants are far more likely to use it in Syria or Iraq, rather than trying to smuggle it into a Western country.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Although sources insist security measures would make it almost impossible to transport here.”

“Militants are far more likely to use it in Syria or Iraq, rather than trying to smuggle it into a Western country.”

Not sure I agree with those statements. First off, you don’t need to “transport” the components required to construct a dirty bomb. There’s a good chance the bad guys would be able to source that locally in the U.K.

Second, going back to that NRC statement about dirty bombs being “weapons of mass disruption” rather than “destruction”- it’s my understanding that Iraq and Syria are way past being “disrupted.” Why would the Muslim extremists waste such fear-inducing devices there? New York City makes more sense as a potential dirty bomb target. Think Wall Street during the business week or Times Square on New Year’s Eve. That’s what I’d be trying to prevent if I were still in government and in the counter-terrorism field.

So the caliphate may have a dirty bomb. Not shock there if this turned out to be true considering the relative ease of constructing one. More of a concern should be the Islamic State getting their hands on a nuclear weapon. Why’s that? Because these guys have proven themselves to be hard-chargers and probably wouldn’t hesitate to detonate the damn thing among their enemies. Joe Cirincione, an expert on nuclear proliferation, penned on the Huffington Post website on November 28:

It is impossible now for ISIS to build a nuclear bomb from scratch. Doing so would require large, industrial facilities to enrich uranium, billions of dollars and gigawatts of energy. But if they could get the highly-enriched uranium — about 100 pounds would do, about the size of a soccer ball — it is possible that they could assemble the equipment and small technical team to build the bomb.

Jeffrey Lewis described in the superb documentary, Countdown to Zero, how few people are actually required to do this and how little it would cost. But it does require a sophisticated operation. ISIS has the capabilities required.

We have never encountered a terrorist group like ISIS. Their demonstrated brutality and willingness to kill large numbers of innocents is shocking, but is now the kind of terrorism that we have become familiar with over the past 20 years. ISIS adds three capabilities that catapult the threat beyond anything seen before: control of large, urban territories, huge amounts of cash (perhaps as much as $2 billion), and a global network of recruits.

With these assets they could illicitly acquire the nuclear material for a bomb from vulnerable storage sites in Russia or Pakistan, and possibly nuclear expertise as well

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Remember that phrase “if you build it, they will come” from the 1989 film Field of Dreams?

It’s seems like “if they build it, they will blow s**t up” as it concerns these particular jihadists.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Dorman, Nick and Doyle, Neil. “British ISIS fanatics have built a dirty bomb and boast of the damage it could inflict on London.” The Mirror. 29 Nov. 2014. (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/british-isis-fanatics-built-dirty-4721561). 2 Dec. 2014.

Cirincione, Joe. “Preventing a Nuclear ISIS.” Huffington Post. 18 Nov. 2014. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-cirincione/preventing-a-nuclear-isis_b_6180120.html). 2 Dec. 2014.

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Al-Qaeda European Passenger Jet Attack Plot Latest

On November 30 I blogged about the Sunday Express (UK) reporting Al-Qaeda was plotting to blow up five European passenger jets before Christmas.

Monday a FOX News Alert elaborated on the supposed plot:


“Experts warn of ‘spectacular’ Al Qaeda plot for Christmas”
FOX News Video

Two things to keep in mind while watching the video featuring FOX News terror analyst Walid Phares:

1. Phares warned:

Al-Qaeda is determined to do something to compete with ISIS against us.

As I blogged back on August 29:

Much of the mainstream media is playing up the threat to the U.S. from the Islamic State. Personally, I’m more concerned about Al-Qaeda beating them to the punch. I’ve already talked about Ayman al-Zawahiri needing to establish his “street cred.” But the emergence of the other band of terrorists formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) puts even more pressure, I suspect, for bin Laden’s standard bearers to carry out a successful major operation against the U.S. homeland, and with haste.

2. Phares suggested the plot could just be a deception, and Americans should look out for mass shootings and other terrorist acts right around Christmas

I’ve been warning about a terrorist attack in the form of a mass shooting for a while now on this blog, the first time being way back in April 2011. It’s a real threat in my opinion.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Al-Qaeda Targeting 5 European Passenger Jets Before Christmas?

And just when you thought Al-Qaeda had been relegated to the tabloids comes this from the website of the Sunday Express (UK)- a British tabloid. Donal MacIntyre reported Sunday:

EXCLUSIVE: Al Qaeda plot to blow up 5 passenger planes in Christmas ‘spectacular’

TERRORISTS are plotting to blow up five European passenger jets in a Christmas “spectacular”, security experts say

The warning comes as Whitehall officials admit that a terror strike on the UK is now “almost inevitable” particularly with British jihadis returning from fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

An airport security source told the Sunday Express: “We’ve been told that five planes are being targeted in a high profile hit before Christmas. They’ve been waiting for the big one.

“We have many scares but this one nearly got hand baggage pulled from all airlines. The threat is still alive and real.”

According to MacIntyre, the plot was uncovered by U.S. intelligence.

Take the above for what it’s worth. That being said, I blogged back on August 29:

Much of the mainstream media is playing up the threat to the U.S. from the Islamic State. Personally, I’m more concerned about Al-Qaeda beating them to the punch. I’ve already talked about Ayman al-Zawahiri needing to establish his “street cred.” But the emergence of the other band of terrorists formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) puts even more pressure, I suspect, for bin Laden’s standard bearers to carry out a successful major operation against the U.S. homeland, and with haste.

Still feel the same way as 2014 rapidly comes to a close…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

MacIntyre, Donal. “EXCLUSIVE: Al Qaeda plot to blow up 5 passenger planes in Christmas ‘spectacular.’” Sunday Express. 30 Nov. 2014. (http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/541725/REVEALED-Al-Qaeda-plot-to-blow-up-5-European-passenger-jets-in-Christmas-spectacular). 30 Nov. 2014.

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Jim Rogers On Commodities: ‘This Is A Correction In A Bull Market’

Not sure how I missed an interview of investor Jim Rogers on the Business Insider website back on November 14- because it’s a terrific one. From an exchange between BI co-founder, CEO, and Editor-In-Chief Henry Blodget and the “guru” who predicted the commodities boom that began in 1999:

HB: You made a great call on commodities more than a decade ago. We’re in a downturn now. What is your view going forward?
JR: Great question. I certainly missed this correction. The correction has been worse than I thought. Some of it I knew — I’ve been quite vocal that gold would go down and stay down for a while during this bull market, maybe even under $1,000 dollars per ounce. But still the overall correction I got wrong. My view, rightly or wrongly, is that this is a correction in a bull market. You will remember in the bull market in stocks between 1980 and the end of the century, we had some very serious corrections. And every time people said the bull market was over, it wasn’t. It ended in a bubble. My view is that’s what’s going to happen with commodities. We’re in a correction, a serious one, but that it will turn around. Back to what we said about oil, most major oil fields are in decline. In agriculture, we’re running out of farmers. So we’re facing a serious problem worldwide. I don’t see enough new supply to say the bear market has started again, that the bull market is over. I think there will be one more big leg.
HB: So is this a buying opportunity?
JR: For sugar maybe. Rice maybe. I do own gold, I do own silver. I haven’t bought any of significance in a few years. I haven’t sold any. Gold went up for 12 years in a row without a down year, which is extremely unusual in markets. So in my view the correction will be unusual as well. Gold has not had a 50% correction in years, which too is unusual. That would be $960 per ounce. I’m not predicting it’s going to go there. I’m just pointing out to you there’s going to be another chance to buy gold and silver in another year or two or three, I have no idea why. If America goes to war with Iran, I’ll probably buy gold at $1,600, begging to get more…

The former investing partner of George Soros in the Quantum Fund also talked about:

• U.S. stocks
• Fed stimulus
• More economic “hard times” ahead
• Crude oil
• Russia
• Ukraine
• Asia
• Timing investments
• Advice for young professional investors

The Business Insider piece really is one of the best interviews of Jim Rogers in a while, which you can read on their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Jim Rogers Details Russian Investments, Shares Outlook For Developed Economies

While searching for the latest activity from the “crash prophets” this morning I came across an insightful piece on well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers on FT Alphaville. Izabella Kaminska reported on the Financial Times (UK) daily news and commentary blog today:

Rogers’ Russian investments now include stakes in fertiliser maker Phosagro, airliner Aeroflot, a Russia ETF and the Russian stock exchange, but he said was looking to expand into different sectors as well…

Rogers’ bullish view on Russia contrasts significantly with his outlook for Europe, Japan and the United States. Regarding Japan, Rogers proposed that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was doing “terrible things” to Japan and advised young Japanese to leave the country as soon as they possibly could to avoid losses. However, in the short-term, he believed there were also opportunities in the stock market as a result of the extraordinary central bank action.

Regarding the Eurozone, Rogers said he didn’t own any euros, nor did he want to because he would rather buy Russia.

As ever, his outlook for developed economies remained bleak on the basis that central banks had debased the currency and that government statistics were lying about the true state of inflation in the land…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It should come as no surprise to regular readers of Survival And Prosperity that the former investing partner of George Soros has been investing in Russia (blogged about in May here).

Rogers shared with the Financial Times his reasons for selecting the above Russian investments. Good stuff by Kaminska and FT Alphaville, which you can read in its entirety here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Obama’s Foreign Policy In A Nutshell

I’m going to roll back things a bit today. Last night, I talked about the 1-hour Huckabee TV special “Threats To America” on FOX News. In the segment about China, KT McFarland, the FOX News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com’s DEFCON 3, talked about how the Obama administration perceives our nation’s place on the world stage. McFarland told Huckabee viewers:

This administration came into office not thinking America should be the greatest power in the world. They thought if America gets taken back a peg or two, that’s going to make the world a better place. They don’t think America has necessarily been a force of good in the world. And as a result, they’re very comfortable with seeing the rising China, the rising Middle East, the rising Iran. And why? Because they think if America steps back, then somehow this global community is going to be in charge of things and we’ll all be at peace. When in fact, if it’s not America, then who is it? It’s Chinese rules. It’s Moscow rules. It’s Tehran rules. Or, even worse, it’s complete chaos.


KT McFarland on Obama’s foreign policy (starts at 2:37)
YouTube Video

I consider myself a lifelong student of U.S. foreign policy and international relations. And even have some academic and work experience in these areas as well. Having followed this administration’s dealings with the rest of the world since day one, I’d have to say McFarland- who’s held national security posts in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan administrations- seems pretty much spot-on in her assessment of Obama’s foreign policy.

“Somehow this global community is going to be in charge of things and we’ll all be at peace”

I used to think this might be possible (mostly skeptical however) back when I was a college/graduate student.

Then I wised up after observing how the real world works.

Got realpolitik? Because China, Russia, and Iran sure as hell do.

Remember what one of Barack Obama’s predecessors- John F. Kennedy- warned:

Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.

Amen to that. I’m not saying idealism is necessarily a bad thing. Just that U.S. foreign policy makers need to start “keeping it real” again, as other nations will pursue national self-interest over the “global good” when the situation arises, the two cannot be mutually-satisfied, and the perceived benefits outweigh the costs.

When America “gets taken back a peg or two,” in many cases spurning the greater good (and inviting the ire of Uncle Sam/others) doesn’t look nearly as “expensive” as it once did.

And some still wonder why China, Russia, Iran, and others have been so active on the international stage the last couple of years…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Global Economy Flashes Warning Signals

I’m picking up on a growing number of “bad vibes” about the global economy these days.

First, Rich Miller reported on the Bloomberg website Thursday about the findings of the latest Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors:

The world economy is in its worst shape in two years, with the euro area and emerging markets deteriorating and the danger of deflation rising, according to a Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors.

A plurality of 38 percent of those surveyed this week described the global economy as worsening, more than double the number who said that in the last poll in July and the most since September 2012, when Europe was mired in a recession.

Much of the concern is again focused on the euro area: Almost two-thirds of those polled said its economy was weakening…

Europe isn’t the only source of concern in the global economy, according to the quarterly poll of 510 investors, traders and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers. More than half of those contacted said conditions in the BRIC economies — Brazil, Russia, India and China — are getting worse, compared with 36 percent who said so in July.

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Granted, it’s just a poll. But there’s also this from British Prime Minister David Cameron in a piece he penned that was published on The Guardian (UK) website Sunday:

Six years on from the financial crash that brought the world to its knees, red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy.

As I met world leaders at the G20 in Brisbane, the problems were plain to see. The eurozone is teetering on the brink of a possible third recession, with high unemployment, falling growth and the real risk of falling prices too. Emerging markets, which were the driver of growth in the early stages of the recovery, are now slowing down. Despite the progress in Bali, global trade talks have stalled while the epidemic of Ebola, conflict in the Middle East and Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine are all adding a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Cameron added the following, which I thought was pretty funny (disturbing?):

When we faced similar problems in recent years, too many politicians offered easy answers, thinking we could spend, borrow and tax our way to prosperity. Those were the wrong answers then; they are the wrong answers now. We are not going to repeat the mistakes of the past…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Sound like any country you know?

Finally, exacerbating fears about global economic health was the following “shock” announcement. Mitsuru Obe and Eleanor Warnock reported on The Wall Street Journal website this morning:

Japan Falls Into Recession

Japan’s economy shrank for a second quarter in a row, after a sales-tax increase took the steam out of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ’s bid to turn Japan into a global model of revival.

Mr. Abe, who has sought to revive the world’s third-largest economy after two mostly sluggish decades, is set to announce this week that he will delay plans to raise the nation’s sales tax next year and call elections in December…

“Two mostly sluggish decades”

Some really bright financial-types suspect Japan’s so-called “zombie economy” is what’s ultimately in store for America. While I have no doubt about a coming U.S. economic crash, I remain somewhat more optimistic for the country’s prospects upon emerging from the coming carnage.

Stay tuned…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Cameron, David. “David Cameron: Red lights are flashing on the global economy.” The Guardian. 16 Nov. 2014. (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/16/red-lights-global-economy-david-cameron). 17 Nov. 2014.

Miller, Rich. “World Economy Worst in Two Years, Europe Darkening, Deflation Lurking: Global Investor Poll.” Bloomberg.com. 13 Nov. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-13/world-outlook-darkening-as-89-in-poll-see-europe-deflation-risk.html). 17 Nov. 2014.

Obe, Mitsuru and Warnock, Eleanor. “Japan Falls Into Recession.” The Wall Street Journal. 17 Nov. 2014. (http://online.wsj.com/articles/japan-falls-into-recession-1416182404). 17 Nov. 2014.

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Peter Schiff And Axel Merk Talk Gold

I’ve been so busy lately I didn’t realize Peter Schiff’s Euro Pacific Precious Metals had been rebranded as SchiffGold. And earlier today, I spotted a new Gold Videocast published on SchiffGold.com in which Axel Merk is interviewed. The topic? Gold. From the website:

In this SchiffGold exclusive video, Peter Schiff sits with Axel Merk at the recent New Orleans Investment Conference to discuss gold investing in the midst of the currency wars. Like Peter, Axel was one of the few analysts to warn of the 2008 financial crisis and he remains one of the few analysts independent from the mainstream “recovery” consensus. Their conversation covers the history of gold’s price performance, the upcoming Swiss Gold referendum, the role of physical bullion in a portfolio, and much more.

I found their discussion about gold’s victorious outcome in a currency war and ownership of physical gold particularly interesting. Especially when Peter noted:

It’s not that people want to do something illegal but people fear that the government may do something illegal in the future, may do something oppressive in the future. They might want to confiscate gold but they can’t confiscate it if they don’t know where you have it. If you have it in a brokerage account, they know where it is and they can take it. But if you have it buried somewhere or in a safe, they can’t get at it.

Good stuff, which you can read (full transcript provided) and watch in its entirety on the SchiffGold website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Jim Rogers: ‘World Is Starting To Realize It Must Move Away From The U.S. Dollar’

Well-known investor, financial commentator, and author Jim Rogers appeared on global news network RT (Russia Today) yesterday where he spoke with anchor Kevin Owen about the state of the U.S. dollar. Rogers warned:

The dollar is a seriously-flawed currency. And people need something else to use. And whether it’s the ruble or the renminbi or what- I don’t know- I suspect it will be the renminbi, but the world is starting to realize it must move away from the U.S. dollar.

Owen asked the former investing partner of George Soros if we are any closer to a time when the dollar won’t be used as a reserve currency. To which Rogers replied:

Not this year. Not next year. But certainly by the end of this decade you’re going to see many people use other things. Kevin, people have already started. 15 years ago, the U.S. dollar was 70 percent of people’s reserve currencies. Now it’s down to 62 percent. People are already moving away. Slowly, but they are moving.

The Singapore-based investor who predicted the commodities boom that began in 1999 also confided with viewers:

I bought rubles on Friday.


“Jim Rogers: By the end of this decade US dollar will lose world dominance”
YouTube Video

Despite the above warning, Rogers shared with Reuters back on October 23 that he still owned the U.S. dollar. He explained:

I have no confidence in the long-term strength of the U.S. dollar. I only own it because I expect all this turmoil to happen. And in times of turmoil, people flee to the safe-haven of the U.S. dollar. It’s not a safe-haven, but they think it’s a safe-haven, so people will own it. That’s why I own it.

Now what I expect to happen is, the dollar will go up stronger and stronger over the next year or two, at which point- some point- I’ll have to sell it. I have no idea what I’ll do with my money then because the world has got this terrible, terrible unsound foundation in all assets.


“Why Jim Rogers owns dollars printed by ‘crazy’ Fed bankers”
Reuters Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 Asia, Crash Prophets, Currencies, Europe, Investing No Comments

Jihadists Conducting Recon Of British Parliament?

Something tells me our friends in Western Europe might suffer a major terrorist attack before a strike against the United States. Sunday morning I was reading the “Travel” section of my Chicago Tribune when I spotted the following under “World watch”:

United Kingdom: Authorities warned of potential terrorist threats against the Houses of Parliament in London, prompting calls to close the Palace of Westminster to the public. The ISIS-related threat was announced after British intelligence learned of suspected jihadists visiting Parliament for tours in recent weeks. The Palace of Westminster, where the House of Lords and House of Commons meet, is Britain’s most iconic structure, with the attached tower and Big Ben clock being the nation’s most recognizable symbol. Military police are refreshing their training to prevent a terrorist attack, and tourists should follow local media for updates when planning to visit Parliament…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Kids. Big Ben. Parliament. Allahu Akbar!


“European Vacation- Roundabout”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Burlison, Dani and Habegger, Larry. “World watch: Threats may leave London travelers outside Parliament.” Chicago Tribune. 29 Oct. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/travel/ct-trav-1102-world-watch-20141029-story.html). 4 Nov. 2014.

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Chicago Transit Authority Train Passengers Now Being Randomly-Screened For Explosives

Chicago Transit Authority train riders may spot something new at the stations in the coming weeks. From the ABC 7 (Chicago) website this morning:

CTA passengers are now subject to random screening for explosives at train stations across the city.

There is no known threat to the CTA, but Chicago police said the precautionary measure is another layer of security. The screenings went into effect Monday morning.

The Multi-Mode Threat Detector is capable of finding trace amounts of explosive compounds, officials said. A team of CPD transit officers will work at one CTA station a day with the machines.

A random number of people will be selected each time. For example, if that number were 10, every tenth person would be approached by an officer and the outside of his or her bag would be swabbed. That swab is then read by the Multi-Mode Threat Detector for the presence of any explosive residue…

“One CTA station a day with the machines.” “A random number of people will be selected each time.” Not exactly airtight security, but it’s a start when it comes to protecting passenger trains and their riders against potential terrorist attacks. And when I say “start,” I mean the bare minimum.

Which makes me wonder if it’s not all just for show- certain politicians and public safety types trying to give Chicagoland the impression they’re doing something to combat potential terrorism, when the reality may be that the measures taken might not be all that effective in stopping a determined bomber.

I hope I’m wrong. But checking around cyberspace, there’s no shortage of critics of the new security screenings. Bill Savage, a Northwestern University professor, wrote in an opinion piece on the Crain’s Chicago Business website last week:

Maybe this plan will deter any terrorist who happens to pick the one station a day being staked out. That terrorist will, of course, be too nearsighted to notice the cops. That terrorist will be randomly selected. That terrorist will be too tongue-tied to refuse the swabbing and then walk the half-mile to the next station that isn’t hosting our crack one-station-at-a-time anti-terror team.

Security Theater will keep us all safe and sound, and everyone will live happily ever after.

Pass the popcorn. This is going to be an entertaining show.

If Chicago is going to perform random screenings for explosives on CTA trains going forward, my wish is that they have a plan in place to develop the program to be truly effective in thwarting a terrorist attack- while ensuring minimal intrusiveness to riders. Otherwise, “Security Theater” might not be able to stop something like this:


Madrid Train Bombings
(Warning: Violent Images)
YouTube Video

God bless those people.

In the meantime, CTA train riders should know the random bomb screenings have now started to take place. It’s probably not a bad idea for commuters to factor in a couple of extra minutes for ride times in case they’re selected to be swabbed.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“CTA Adds Random Screenings For Explosive.” ABC 7. 3 Nov. 2014. (http://abc7chicago.com/traffic/cta-adds-random-screening-for-explosives-/378414/). 3 Nov. 2014.

Savage, Bill. “It’s not CTA security- it’s street theater.” Crain’s Chicago Business. 27 Oct. 2014. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20141027/OPINION/141029821/its-not-cta-security-its-street-theater). 3 Nov. 2014.

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