crude oil

Jim Rogers: ‘We’re All Going To Pay A Terrible Price’ When ‘Artificial Ocean Of Liquidity’ Ends

Tonight, I want to talk about well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers. The former investing partner of George Soros- who I recently heard is worth approximately $300 million (Soros $23 billion)- recently shared his thoughts about the global financial system and potential investment opportunities.

On May 27, Nina Xiang of the China Money Network contributed the following on the Forbes website:

Legendary investor Jim Rogers has been warning about “the ocean of artificial liquidity” as a result of the unprecedented money printing by central banks around the world for quite some time now.

But with the U.S. stock market at an all-time high, his cautionary words seem to have hardly been heeded…

“When it ends, we will all pay a terrible price,” says Rogers…

Read it as an advocacy for an alternative attitude that is unpopular at the moment: the attitude of awareness that we are in this “artificial period” and it will end one day; the attitude of fearfulness that there will be more turmoil in the next ten years; the attitude of preparedness, that includes stocking up some extra food, a spare flashlight, and gold coins — instead of gold bars — for when the time of emergency comes…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Jim Rogers: We Will All Pay A Terrible Price For Today’s Artificial Liquidity”
YouTube Video

Note that in the Chinese Money Podcast that was uploaded onto YouTube the same day as that Forbes piece, Xiang and Rogers talked about regional conflicts and the Singapore-based investor predicted:

I would suspect that sometime in the next ten years, the world’s going to have a bigger conflict.

On May 26, the text of another interview with Jim Rogers was published on the website of The Economic Times (India). Rogers, who correctly predicted the commodities rally that started in 1999, talked about the following investment opportunities:

• Gold and silver- “If it goes down, I assure you I will be buying more gold and more silver.”
• Crude oil- “Remember, all the other known reserves in the world are in decline, even if the supply from the US is rising. Everywhere else, there has been declining reserves, because there have been no great oilfield discoveries in over 40 years.”
• Sugar- “I am bullish on sugar.”
• U.S. dollar- “I own the US dollar and have not sold any. In fact, probably I would have bought some more, if I weren’t talking to you.”

Rogers concluded this discussion by sharing that:

I am still trying to find some more things to buy in Russia, maybe some Chinese shares and maybe some more Japanese shares…

Nice job by The Economic Times getting this information from Rogers.

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.)

Sources:

Xiang, Nina. “Why We Should All Take A Moment To Listen To Jim Rogers.” Forbes. 27 May 2014. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/ninaxiang/2014/05/27/why-we-should-all-take-a-moment-to-listen-to-jim-rogers/). 29 May 2014.

“Will be excited about investing in India if Narendra Modi delivers: Jim Rogers.” The Economic Times. 26 May 2014. (http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-05-26/news/50098911_1_jim-rogers-commodity-space-gold-imports). 29 May 2014.

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Sino-Russian Natural Gas Deal Blow To U.S. Dollar Supremacy?

“The Obama administration is playing down an increasingly warm relationship between its main global rivals, China and Russia, that it may have inadvertently encouraged.

U.S. officials maintain there is nothing to fear from the growing alliance between Moscow and Beijing, even as each throws its weight around in neighboring regions like Ukraine and the South China Sea and at international forums like the United Nations, where on Thursday they double-vetoed the latest in a series of Security Council resolutions on Syria.

Yet when coupled with growing cooperation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in other areas- notably, a new $400 billion natural gas deal and apparent agreement on the crisis in Ukraine- many believe Russia and China may now or may soon represent a powerful new alliance challenging not only the United States, but also the Western democratic tradition that the U.S. has championed globally…”

-Associated Press, May 23, 2014

You may have heard about that $400 billion natural gas deal that was just struck between China and Russia. Or maybe you didn’t, as I’ve noticed the mainstream media hasn’t really been talking about it too much. Most of the outlets that did neglected to talk about the potential ramifications for the U.S. dollar.

There were exceptions. From the BBC News website on May 22:

Some papers are also analysing the impact of the deal on the world currency market.

A commentary in the Beijing Youth Daily says the deal will probably encourage more countries to not trade in US dollars if China and Russia decide to switch to clearing payments in Russian roubles and the yuan.

“The world economy and finance will then embark on a process to get rid of the US dollar, and the dominance of the dollar will gradually lose its support. The US will then face more challenges in its ability to control global economics and politics,” it says…

From Liam Halligan on The Telegraph (UK) website yesterday:

The real danger, in my view, is rather more abstract — but deadly important nevertheless. If Russia’s “pivot to Asia” results in Moscow and Beijing trading oil between them in a currency other than the dollar, that will represent a major change in how the global economy operates and a marked loss of power for the US and its allies.

With the dollar as the world’s petrocurrency, it also remains the reserve currency of choice for central banks globally. As such, the US is currently able to borrow with “exorbitant privilege”, as it has for decades, simply printing money to pay off foreign creditors.

With China now the world’s biggest oil importer and the US increasingly stressing domestic production, the days of dollar-priced energy, and therefore dollar-dominance, look numbered. Beijing has recently struck numerous agreements with major trading partners such as Brazil that bypass the dollar. Moscow and Beijing have also set up rouble-yuan swap facilities that push the greenback out of the picture.

If Russia and China now decide to drop dollar energy pricing totally, America’s reserve currency status could unravel fast, seriously undermining the US Treasury market and causing a world of pain for the West. This won’t happen tomorrow or next year. It’s unlikely even by 2020. But by announcing this deal, Russia and China turned the screw half a twist more…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Then there’s this from Max Keiser, an American filmmaker and host of the Keiser Report, a financial show on RT. From The Washington Times website earlier today:

He said the $400 billion, 30-year deal will further the strategic goals of Moscow and Beijing to diminish the status of the U.S. dollar by conducting world trade in critical commodities such as oil and gas using other currencies.

Russia is the world’s biggest producer of commodities such as crude oil, gold and titanium. China is the world’s biggest consumer of these commodities.

Both countries have chafed for years at having to conduct purchases and sales in dollars, as is customary worldwide. The gas deal announced in Beijing on Wednesday would be the first major commodities contract to be settled in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan rather than dollars.

“This means the U.S. dollar’s days as the world reserve currency are numbered,” said Mr. Keiser, noting that Russia and China have been investing heavily in gold.

Many analysts question whether Moscow and Beijing can succeed in displacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If that happens, however, it likely would usher in a period of global financial instability and force Americans to pay much more for the massive amounts of imported energy, Mr. Keiser said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit- the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, the sister company to The Economist newspaper- on May 22, it has been reported payments for the gas will be made in Chinese yuan rather than U.S. dollars.

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

Sources:

“China media: Russia gas deal.” BBC News. 22 May 2014. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-27514395). 25 May 2014.

Halligan, Liam. “Russia-China gas deal could ignite a shift in global trading.” The Telegraph. 24 May. 2014. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/liamhalligan/10854595/Russia-China-gas-deal-could-ignite-a-shift-in-global-trading.html). 25 May 2014.

Hill, Patrice. “Russia’s Putin gains strategic victory with Chinese natural gas deal.” The Washington Times. 25 May 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/25/russias-putin-gains-strategic-victory-with-chinese/). 25 My 2014.

“The Sino-Russian gas deal.” Economist Intelligence Unit. 22 May 2014. (http://www.eiu.com/industry/article/431836627/the-sino-russian-gas-deal/2014-05-22) 25 May 2014.

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Russia To Attack Petrodollar?

Here’s another story that’s not getting much attention this week:

Russia threatening to replace U.S. dollar-denominated transactions for their exports

Gleb Stolyarov reported on Reuters.com this morning:

Russia, keen to dodge threatened Western sanctions on its companies over the Ukraine crisis, said on Wednesday it was looking at ways for major state-owned exporters such as energy giants to be paid in roubles.

The idea of major exporters being paid in roubles rather than dollars has been gaining ground in recent weeks in response to sanctions imposed by the West on officials and companies over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and an uprising in Ukraine’s east.

“There are certain risks, but we are preparing a mechanism, we are working on it,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters during a visit to Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So exports would be paid for in rubles rather than dollars. So what?

Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog highlighted what could be at stake. Snyder wrote yesterday:

This would essentially be like slamming an economic fist into our nose.

You see, Russia is not just a small player when it comes to trading oil and natural gas. The truth is that Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of oil in the world.

If Russia starts asking for payment in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, that will essentially end the monopoly of the petrodollar

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Snyder continued:

So why is the petrodollar so important?

Well, it creates a tremendous amount of demand for the U.S. dollar all over the globe. Since everyone has needed it to trade with one another, that has created an endless global appetite for the currency. That has kept the value of the dollar artificially high, and it has enabled us to import trillions of dollars of super cheap products from other countries. If other nations stopped using the dollar to trade with one another, the value of the dollar would plummet dramatically and we would have to pay much, much more for the trinkets that we buy at the dollar store and Wal-Mart.

In addition, since the U.S. dollar is essentially the de facto global currency, this has also increased demand for our debt. Major exporting nations such as China and Saudi Arabia end up with giant piles of our dollars. Instead of just letting them sit there and do nothing, those nations often reinvest their dollars into securities that can rapidly be changed back into dollars if needed. One of the most popular ways to do this has been to invest those dollars in U.S. Treasuries. This has driven down interest rates on U.S. debt over the years and has enabled the U.S. government to borrow trillions upon trillions of dollars for next to nothing…

So if Russia really does pull the trigger on a “de-dollarization” strategy, that would be huge – especially if the rest of the planet started following their lead…

So would the rest of the planet follow Russia’s lead? Consider the following from the website for The Voice of Russia, the Russian government’s international radio broadcasting service. Valentin Mândrăşescu reported yesterday:

Of course, the success of Moscow’s campaign to switch its trading to rubles or other regional currencies will depend on the willingness of its trading partners to get rid of the dollar. Sources cited by Politonline.ru mentioned two countries who would be willing to support Russia: Iran and China. Given that Vladimir Putin will visit Beijing on May 20, it can be speculated that the gas and oil contracts that are going to be signed between Russia and China will be denominated in rubles and yuan, not dollars

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Stay tuned. This could get ugly.

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

Sources:

Stolyarov, Gleb. “UPDATE 2-Russia, wary of sanctions, wants exporters to be paid in roubles.” Reuters.com. 14 May 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/14/russia-exports-rouble-idUSL6N0O01RI20140514). 14 May 2014.

Snyder, Michael. “De-Dollarization: Russia Is On The Verge Of Dealing A Massive Blow To The Petrodollar.” The Economic Collapse. 13 May 2014. (http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/de-dollarization-russia-is-on-the-verge-of-dealing-a-massive-blow-to-the-petrodollar). 14 May 2014.

Mândrăşescu, Valentin. “Russia strives to exclude the dollar from energy trading.” 13 May 2014. (http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_05_13/Russia-strives-to-exclude-the-dollar-from-energy-trading-5138/). 14 May 2014.

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Jim Rogers: ‘This Is The Time To Buy Russia’

Investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers has been bullish on Russia for some time now. In fact, by the time I first blogged about his optimism for the country back in February 2013, he had already invested there.

Despite the recent crisis in the Crimea and subsequent sell-off of Russian assets by international investors, the former investing partner of George Soros hasn’t changed his mind about the former Communist nation. Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Daniel Bases reported on the Reuters website Sunday:

“Russia’s stock market right now is one of the cheapest in the world, and probably one of the most hated,” said investor and commodities guru Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, in Singapore. “This is the time to buy Russia.”

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Chavez-Dreyfuss and Bases added later in the piece:

Rogers, who has been investing in Russia for the last 1-1/2 years, said he bought Russian stocks last week. He said if more sanctions are imposed and the equities market declines further, there would be more buying opportunities in Russia.

Rogers said he is looking for non-energy companies – a tall order considering the RTS Index of 51 leading Russian companies is heavily skewed toward energy (58 percent of the index) and basic materials (13 percent)…

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

In January 2013, the Singapore-based investor identified Russia as one market holding the best prospects for investors. Next month, Rogers made it known he had bought Russian bonds and currency. By September, he revealed he had also bought Russian ETFs, but explained:

I don’t want to buy their oil and gas plays because I own enough oil and gas. I’m looking for other kinds of companies in Russia.

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.)

Source:

Chavez-Dreyfuss, Gertrude and Bases, Daniel. “Analysis: Russia sell-off spurs hunt for bargains.” Reuters.com. 30 Mar. 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/30/us-emergingmarkets-russia-investing-anal-idUSBREA2T03720140330). 31 Mar. 2014.

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Retired BP Geologist Warns Global Oil Production Declining Over 4 Percent Annually

It’s been a long time since I last talked about peak oil production. Peak what? Yeah, the mainstream media would rather run stories about alternative energy and “unconventional” oil production, as if it will somehow make up for declining “conventional” oil production before we’re hit with another energy crunch.

I’ve been following this topic for close to a decade now. And some pretty informed individuals have deduced not only is the era of “cheap” crude oil gone, but global oil production is in the midst of a steady decline. Dr. Nafeez Ahmed wrote on The Guardian (UK) website on December 23:

A former British Petroleum (BP) geologist has warned that the age of cheap oil is long gone, bringing with it the danger of “continuous recession” and increased risk of conflict and hunger.

At a lecture on ‘Geohazards’ earlier this month as part of the postgraduate Natural Hazards for Insurers course at University College London (UCL), Dr. Richard G. Miller, who worked for BP from 1985 before retiring in 2008, said that official data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), US Energy Information Administration (EIA), International Monetary Fund (IMF), among other sources, showed that conventional oil had most likely peaked around 2008.

Dr. Miller critiqued the official industry line that global reserves will last 53 years at current rates of consumption, pointing out that “peaking is the result of declining production rates, not declining reserves.” Despite new discoveries and increasing reliance on unconventional oil and gas, 37 countries are already post-peak, and global oil production is declining at about 4.1% per year, or 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d) per year

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Dr. Miller, who used to prepare the annual BP in-house projections of future oil supply, not only agrees with the conservative conclusions of an earlier study by the government-funded UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) which predicted “a sustained decline in global conventional production appears probable before 2030 and there is significant risk of this beginning before 2020,” but is dismissive of shale oil and gas preventing a decline in global oil production.

Dr. Ahmed wrote an incredibly insightful piece, which you should read in its entirety over at The Guardian website here, since this really isn’t on the radar of the American press despite EIA data showing it should be a concern.

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

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Jim Rogers Bullish On Base Metals, Cocoa, Coffee, And Crude Oil

Another “crash prophet” was recently interviewed by The Economic Times (India). Well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers appeared on their business/financial news channel ET Now and talked about a number of financial and investing topics. Rogers, who correctly announced the start of the latest commodities boom in 1999, told viewers:

I own sugar. I bought sugar not long ago… I am optimistic about coffee, cocoa… Coffee is certainly down a lot, and it’s one that one should consider buying.

The former investing partner of George Soros also talked about base metals. Rogers said:

I’d rather buy base metals now than gold, for instance… The base metals are down substantially. There is all this money printing. And some of it is working its way into the economy. Some of that money will go into base metals as a way to protect ourselves against inflation and currency debasement. So, yes- I’d much rather buy base metals that precious metals.

Finally, the Chairman of Rogers Holdings touched on crude oil. Rogers pointed out:

Well, there is a certain excess supply in the crude market at the moment because of the shale boom in the U.S. I’m not sure how much longer that’s going to last because those wells are very short-lived wells and the production declines pretty quickly. But, at the moment we certainly do have a glut, and we could very well see lower prices. But don’t sell your crude, because if prices go lower, first of all it cuts back on the shale, because shale has to have high prices in order to bring it to market. And second, oil is going to go much higher over the decade. Other reserves around the world- known reserves- are in decline. Every other country in the world has declining reserves. So, this is a temporary thing.

You can view the entire interview with Jim Rogers on The Economic Times website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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: Crude Oil Probably ‘The Most Attractive Commodity’ Among Industrial Commodities

“Doctor Doom” Marc Faber was recently interviewed by The Economic Times (India). In a November 8, 2013, video segment on the Times website, the Swiss-born investment advisor and fund manager shared his thoughts on gold and crude oil:

The price of gold at this level is not terribly high compared to the wealth creation in the world compared to the expansion of the central banks’ balance sheets compared to the tech explosion and so forth and so on. So ja, I continue to recommend people that they allocate some of their money to gold. I prefer physical gold, but I have to say that numerous gold mining shares are now very inexpensive. Crude oil is probably, among the industrial commodities, the most attractive commodity because the supply of oil could be interrupted at some point.

Source:

“Prefer buying physical gold: Marc Faber.” The Economic Times. 8 Nov. 2013. (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/et-now/commodities/prefer-buying-physical-gold-marc-faber/videoshow/25453685.cms) 10 Nov. 2013.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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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Jeremy Grantham’s Latest Investment Advice

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about Jeremy Grantham, the co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (GMO). To be fair, the British-born investment advisor has been taking a break from his popular quarterly investment letter that’s published on the GMO website. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mr. Grantham, he’s designated one of this blog’s “crash prophets” along with Marc Faber, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff due to his special talent for correctly-calling the direction of the financial markets. He so good that individual clients have included Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Grantham was the subject of a September 20 article in The Wall Street Journal in which Ian Salisbury asked him about investment-related topics, such as the depletion of natural resources on Earth. From the Q and A session:

Q: What are investors supposed to do?
A: The investment implications are, of course, own stock in the ground, own great resources, reserves of phosphorous, potash, oil, copper, tin, zinc—you name it. I’d be less enthusiastic about aluminum and iron ore just because there is so much. And I wouldn’t own coal, and I wouldn’t own tar sands. It’s hugely expensive to build coal utilities, and the plants they have to build for tar sands are massive, and before they get their money back I suspect that the price of solar and wind will have come down so much.

So I wouldn’t use that, but I think oil, the metals and particularly the fertilizers, I would own—and the most important of all is food. The pressures on food are worse than anything else, and therefore, what is the solution? Very good farming, which can be done. The emphasis from an investor’s point of view is on very good farmland. It’s had a big run. You can never afford to ignore price and value, but from time to time you can get good investments in farmland, and if you’re prepared to go abroad, you can do it today. I wouldn’t be too risky. I would stay with distinctly stable countries—Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Brazil, Canada, of course, and the U.S. But I would look around, in what I call the nooks and crannies. And forestry is the same. Forestry is not a bad bargain, a little overpriced maybe, but it’s in a world where everything is overpriced today, once again, courtesy of incredibly low interest rates that push people into investing. A wicked plot of the Federal Reserve.

Grantham also shared with Salisbury where he thought stocks were heading. Basically, not only does he think equities can go “a lot higher than this” with Fed backing, but they could even reach bubble territory.

It’s a really good, insightful interview, capped-off with a discussion about unbridled American optimism, which you can read in its entirety here on The Wall Street Journal website.

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

Source:

Salisbury, Ian. “Our Chat With Jeremy Grantham.” The Wall Street Journal. 20 Sep. 2013. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323665504579032934293143524.html). 24 Sep. 2013.

(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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AAA Predicts Falling Gas Prices, Except In Great Lakes Region

Usually around this time of year, I commute more often between my pad in Chicago and my family’s place in southeastern Wisconsin. While that won’t be happening as much in 2013 due to everything that’s going on around here, I still like to keep on top of gas prices to get an idea of how much I’ll be shelling out to enjoy the open road.

(Editor’s note: Open road my butt. This is the Chicago metropolitan area, where if bumper-to-bumper gridlock isn’t taking place, you’re dealing with drivers who are distracted, in a hurry to go nowhere, or who really just don’t care about the rules of the road. And a “good drive” is one where you don’t lose a hubcap/wheel cover from a pothole that goes all the way to China.)

Venting process complete.

Anyway, here’s some highlights from the “AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: April 2013 Trends and Summer Outlook” that’s just been released on the “NewsRoom” section of the AAA website:

• Gas prices nationally averaged $3.55 per gallon in April, which was the least expensive average for the month since 2010. Gas prices dropped about 13 cents per gallon in April (3.5 percent), which was the largest percentage decline for the month in ten years. In comparison, gas prices in 2012 averaged $3.89 for the month, while the average price in April 2011 was $3.79 per gallon.
• Gas prices should drop to $3.20 to $3.40 per gallon by mid-summer if current trends continue in regards to oil prices, motorist demand and refinery production. Gas prices in recent years have declined in early summer after reaching a springtime peak as refineries ramp up gasoline production in anticipation of the summer driving season.
• The cheapest gas prices are predominately in the Southeast where extensive refinery production and lower-than-average taxes have helped keep prices low in comparison to the rest of the country. Gas prices in the Great Lakes region have increased in recent weeks because of planned refinery maintenance and unscheduled outages following recent heavy storms.
• The five states with the highest averages today include: Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($3.97), Ill. ($3.91), Calif. ($3.90) and Mich. ($3.79). The five states with the cheapest gas price averages today include: S.C. ($3.23), Tenn. ($3.26), Ala. ($3.27), Ark. ($3.27) and Miss. ($3.28).

As for me in Chicago? Prices at the pump have not only been brutal this spring, but are expected to go higher. Samantha Bomkamp reported on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

AAA said Tuesday that motorists nationwide are paying the lowest springtime gas prices in three years, but don’t tell that to drivers in Illinois.

Despite a recent dip, drivers here are paying the highest average price in the lower 48 states. With a statewide average on Tuesday of $3.91 a gallon, Illinois drivers are paying more than every state except Alaska at $3.97 and Hawaii and $4.34.

Costs are even higher in Chicago where the average price was $4.32 per gallon Tuesday, according to AAA. Prices averaged $4.14 in the suburbs…

While AAA predicts that drivers nationally should see gas prices fall even lower, motorists in Illinois and other Great Lakes states should see even higher prices as maintenance continues on refineries that provide most of the region’s gas supplies.

It’s a good thing I fill up in Wisconsin, where the price of gas is routinely cheaper.

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’…

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

Sources:

“AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: April 2013 Trends and Summer Outlook.” AAA. 29 Apr. 2013. (http://newsroom.aaa.com/2013/04/aaa-monthly-gas-price-report-april-2013-trends-and-summer-outlook/). 1 May 2013.

Bomkamp, Samantha. “Gas prices ease nationwide while Ill. marches higher.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Apr. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-gas-prices-ease-nationwide-while-ill-marches-higher-20130430,0,3861102.story). 1 May 2013.

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Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 Energy, Transportation, Travel, Vehicles No Comments

Peter Schiff: Stock Market Rally ‘An Illusion’

Marc Faber. Jim Rogers. Peter Schiff.

Three “crash prophets” who correctly predicted the 2008 financial crisis in the United States.

I’ve already blogged today about what Faber and Rogers think of rising U.S. stock prices- and what they suspect is behind it.

How about Schiff, the CEO/Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital and CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals, LLC?

From his February 1 entry on the The Schiff Report YouTube video blog:

Well the Dow Jones closed above 14,000 today. That’s something it hasn’t done since November 2007. Of course, the media is going to make a big deal about Dow 14,000, the economy is coming back, the markets are coming back.

But, of course, all of this is an illusion created by inflation.

When you debase your currency- when you have inflated dollars that you use to measure stock prices- of course stock prices are going to go up. The price of everything is going up. The government denies there’s inflation. But prices prove it. As if we even need that. The money supply going up is the sheer definition of inflation. And we’re creating a lot of money. And prices are responding by rising, and stock prices are no exception.

But remember, the last time the Dow Jones was at 14,000 back in ’07, gold was about $700 an ounce. Today, gold’s about $1,600 an ounce. So the Dow would have to double from here, and it still wouldn’t be where it was in terms of real money five-and-a-half years ago.

So this rally is an illusion.

But the people on Wall Street don’t even want to acknowledge that.

And going forward? Schiff pointed out:

We’re already at 0 percent interest rates, we’re already at 8 percent unemployment- 14 percent if you use the U-6 number. And that’s as good as it gets during a recovery. And now we’re already trending down.

And I think if the Federal Reserve wants to slow down the rise in interest rates- which we know it does- it’s going to have to accelerate the QE. I don’t think $85 billion of money printing is enough to keep interest rates from rising. And so they’re going to have to print even more. That means the dollar is going lower. Commodity prices going higher. Looks what’s happened to oil prices- they’re almost at $98 a barrel. Look at Brent- Brent Crude is really up. It’s almost at a $20 premium now over North Sea. Gold prices have been stable, but I think gold’s about to take off. I think on Wall Street they’re rationalizing. They’re selling gold and selling gold stocks because they claim that the crisis is over, there’s nothing to worry about anymore, Europe isn’t falling apart, the U.S. economy is getting better, so there’s no reason to own gold. And so you sell gold and you sell your gold stocks. But they don’t understand. People weren’t buying gold because of the European crisis or because of even the U.S. financial crisis. They were buying gold long before those crises began. Look at how gold was doing from 2000 to 2007, 2008. It did better before the crisis than it did during the crisis because the real crisis that worries the gold buyer is a currency crisis. People aren’t buying gold because they’re worried about political uncertainty. They’re buying gold because the politicians are printing too much money. Well, the cheap money policies that were in place prior to the 2008 financial crisis are still here, only, it’s worse. It’s more excessive. The monetary policy is easier. Rates are lower. Central banks are printing money even faster. So, instead of there being no more reasons to buy gold, the reasons have never been better. There have never been more reasons to buy gold, it’s just that Wall Street doesn’t understand this yet. But they will.


“Dow 14,000, GDP, Jobs, Fed, inflation, treasuries, & gold.”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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 Talks About Potential Investment Opportunities In Commodities, His Portfolio

I don’t like to buy things that are moving up. I like to buy things that are moving down… I don’t want to buy anything for a 5 to 10 percent move- that’s not the way I invest. Now, there are many short-term traders who make brilliant amounts of money as short-term traders and a 5 or 10 percent move up is great for them. It’s not my way of investing. I like to find things that are going to go up for many years and go up many many percentages.

-Investor Jim Rogers, on CNBC Awaaz (India) in early September

Legendary investor Jim Rogers recently appeared on the Indian financial news channel CNBC Awaaz. On their Market Leaders show, Rogers talked primarily about commodities, potential investment opportunities in hard assets, and what his portfolio looks like these days.

When asked if the commodities bully market is over, the Singapore-based investor who correctly predicted its beginning back in 1999 told viewers:

Oh no no no, not at all. It will be over eventually. It will be over someday. All bull markets have come to an end. But Gorica (spelling?), it will not come to an end until a lot of supply comes on-stream.

On the topic of supply, Rogers said:

I don’t expect world economic conditions to get better anytime soon. I would suspect that 2013 and 2014 will see worse economic conditions after the American election is over, and after the German election is over. I think you’ll see worse conditions. Which means, of course, that there’s not much supply. Now Gorica, if the world economy gets better, then obviously they are going to be shortages of commodities because we don’t have much supply. But, let’s assume I’m right, and the world economy doesn’t get better, then you’re going to have most governments printing a lot of money- that’s not good for the world. But unfortunately, that’s what politicians do. And when people debase currencies, when they print money, the way to protect yourself is to own real assets.

The creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI) back in 1998 said there were potential investment opportunities in agriculture, precious metals, and crude oil. On agriculture, Rogers said:

If I were an investor looking to invest in commodities, I would start by looking at the things that are most depressed…

Sugar, for instance, is 65 or 70 percent below it’s all-time high… You know, sugar is down 65 to 70 percent from where it was 38 years ago Gorica. That’s astonishing…

Cotton had a big run-up two or three years ago. Made all-time highs. It has come down sharply since then because people planted more cotton. But I would be optimistic about cotton because the prices are down dramatically from where they were. They still are not high enough to bring in lots of new production yet. The world economy has not collapsed yet. China is a net importer of cotton. So, I would be looking favorably at cotton. If someone were looking for a potential place for new investments in agriculture, I would suggest cotton as a place to start looking, because the prices are down from historic highs.

Regarding precious metals, the Chairman of Rogers Holdings repeated a lot of what he’s been saying lately about gold. Rogers said:

I own gold. I am not selling gold. Whenever gold goes down, I buy more. If it goes down a lot, I hope I’m smart enough to buy a lot more, because the price is going to go up much higher over the next decade. Gorica, politicians around the world are printing a lot of money. That’s the wrong thing to do but that’s what they’re doing. And whenever they print money, the way to protect yourself is to own gold, silver, platinum, palladium. Any precious item will protect you in periods like that.

The former investing partner of George Soros likes the prospects of silver more than gold. Rogers explained:

Well, of the two, if I had to buy one today, Gorica, I would buy silver… Silver is about 40 percent below its all-time high. Gold is about 10 or 15 percent below its all-time high. I usually prefer the things that are cheaper. I’m not buying either today, but if I were buying one today, Gorica, I would buy silver on a valuation basis. I own them both. I’m keen on both. Both will go much higher over the next decade. Silver, at the moment, happens to be the cheaper of the two.

The commodities guru sees crude oil going over $150 a barrel in the coming decade. Rogers told viewers:

If America goes to war with Iran, crude’s going to go to $200. If Spain goes bankrupt next month, or somebody, some big surprise occurs in the market, then crude could go to $80 or $70. Who knows where it would go with some sort of sudden bankruptcy. It depends on world conditions. When crude goes down, I buy more. If it goes up, I sit and watch, because I do know that crude is going to go over $150, over $200 a barrel- U.S. dollars a barrel- over the course of the decade…

But I own it, and I don’t plan to sell it for a long time to come.

Talking about his investment portfolio, Jim Rogers revealed:

I mainly am long commodities and long currencies. And I’m short stocks in my portfolio…

I happen to be very bullish on commodities. I think I know what I’m doing. I think that the big shortages are developing, as I said. Whether the economy gets better or doesn’t get better, I want to have my money in commodities.

Great interview.


“Market Leaders: Jim Rogers”
YouTube Video

(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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Peter Schiff Claims QE3 Attempt To Inflate Another Housing Bubble, Shares Investment Advice

Anyone who’s visited Survival And Prosperity over the last two weeks probably noticed all the housekeeping items and other topics besides finance I’ve been blogging about. Whew! Time to move on. And who better to get back on track with as it concerns economics, finance, and investing than one of the original “crash prophets,” Peter Schiff. In his September 14 entry on the The Schiff Report YouTube video blog, Schiff, who correctly-predicted the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and 2008 global economic crisis, explained to viewers what QE3 was really about:

This is the plan that Ben Bernanke has. Ben Bernanke’s plan to revive the U.S. economy, and create jobs, is to inflate another housing bubble. That’s it. That’s what the Fed’s got. That’s what it came up with. As if the last housing bubble worked out so well for the economy, that the Fed wants an encore…

How is another housing bubble going to solve anything. Now one thing that Ben Bernanke hasn’t figured out yet- it ain’t gonna work. No matter how much he tries, no matter how much air he blows in to that housing market, he’s not going to reflate that bubble. There are simply too many holes in it, and there is no precedent for relating a busted bubble. More likely, all that cheap money is going to go someplace else…

So where is all this money going to go? Commodities. It’s going to go to gold. It’s going to go to silver. It’s going to go into oil. It’s going to go into agriculture. It is not going to make the economy better. It’s going to make the economy worse. It’s not going to create jobs. But what it is going to create is a higher cost of living for everybody, whether you have a job or whether you’re unemployed. And believe me, if people are spending more money on food, and more money on energy, they’re not going to have any extra money left over for discretionary spending. None of this is going to work.

The President/Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital and CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals shared the following investment advice:

You’ve got to look through all this smoke. You got to buy gold, buy silver. Get out of dollars. Get out while you can. Get into real things. Own stocks outside the United States, in currencies with dividends and income that are not U.S. dollars.

This is the most important thing that you can probably do. You’ve got to save yourself first if we’re going to save our country… We’re going to go over a real fiscal cliff. We have a real crisis coming because of the Fed, but we’ve got to protect ourselves.


“Operation Screw: The Fed goes all-in on QE”
YouTube Video

(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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Post Number 1,000

Well here we are.

Post number 1,000 on Survival And Prosperity, “Protecting and Growing Self and Wealth in These Uncertain Times.”

It feels like it was only yesterday when I launched this successor to Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street.” In fact, it’s been almost 22 months since its debut. My how time flies. Especially when bad economic news keeps piling on. The Pollyanna gang might argue that Keynesian strategies pursued by Washington and the Fed successfully ended the “Great Recession” and have put the United States on a sustainable path to recovery. I’m of the approach that when a lot of money is poured into the financial system you’re bound to see some sort of pick-up in activity. At least initially. And, as we’ve witnessed, only temporarily, as more “stimulus” is required to keep the whole thing afloat.

But where has that left the country? As of last week, over $16 trillion in debt. And on the verge of yet another “quantitative easing.” And anyone who really believes debt doesn’t matter is in for a rude awakening when the nation’s “financial reckoning day” finally does arrives.

Since the launch of Boom2Bust.com back in May 2007, I’ve been warning about a coming U.S. financial crash. As much as some might credit me for calling it, the maelstrom that blew through the U.S. and global economies back in the fall of 2008 was only a part of the collapse that I still see heading our way. Somewhat surprisingly, Washington and the Fed have managed to “kick the can down the road” for the time being. But the road only goes so far. Will the crash happen all it once, or will it be drawn out over several years? I don’t know. I just know that my interpretation of the available data leads me to believe its coming.

To complicate matters, these days Americans must take into account other threats besides an economic crash. Depending on what one believes, these could include:

• Global warming
• Nuclear terrorism
• Overpopulation
• Pandemic
• Peak oil production
• Resource shortages
• Solar flares

There are others. Nevertheless, a lot of threats exist these days which endanger our survival and prosperity.

So in 2012, are we looking at the end of the world? Probably not. But most likely the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI), particularly as it relates to the U.S. economy and larger financial system. Accordingly, life in America is about to get a whole lot tougher for most (if it already hasn’t). A number of really smart individuals who predicted the 2008 global economic crisis and “Great Recession” suggest we could see:

• Civil strife, including rioting and looting
• Currency controls
• Hyperinflation
• Martial law
• Much higher taxes and fees
• Rampant crime
• “Second Great Depression”

There’s more, but I think you get the picture.

Despite all this, I must remind you that I’m not talking about the end of the world here. Remember, even at its worst unemployment during the Great Depression ran somewhere around 25 percent. While that really sucked for those without a job, not everyone found themselves in a soup kitchen line. The economy and society, though hobbled, still functioned.

I’m a big believer that, despite the coming crash, things will turn out okay for America in the long-run.

I also believe that focusing on one’s personal and financial safety and growth right now will go a long way in helping you and your loved ones come out on the other side of the approaching storm in reasonably good shape.

Wishing you all the best now, and down the rocky road I see in store for us,

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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Citigroup: Saudi Arabia To Stop Exporting Oil By 2030

The International Energy Agency has released its World Energy Outlook for 2010, forecasting for the first time that the global crude oil production peak that so many have long feared, has in fact already been reached-more than four years ago.

-Reuters.com, November 18, 2010

Here’s something you probably won’t hear through many of the mainstream media outlets in the United States. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote on The Telegraph (UK) website yesterday:

If Citigroup is right, Saudi Arabia will cease to be an oil exporter by 2030, far sooner than previously thought.

A 150-page report by Heidy Rehman on the Saudi petrochemical industry should be sober reading for those who think that shale oil and gas have solved our global energy crunch…

From Heidy Rehman at Citi:

• Saudi Arabia Could be an Oil Importer by ~2030 — Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil producer (11.1mbpd) & exporter (7.7mbpd). It also consumes 25% of its production. Energy consumption per capita exceeds that of most industrial nations. Oil & its derivatives account for ~50% of Saudi’s electricity production, used mostly (>50%) for residential use. Peak power demand is growing by ~8%/yr. Our analysis shows that if nothing changes Saudi may have no available oil for export by 2030

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Last year, confidential cables between the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Washington, D.C., that were released by WikiLeaks suggested Saudi Arabian oil reserves may be overstated. John Vidal wrote on The Guardian (UK) website back on February 8, 2011:

The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%

According to the cables, which date between 2007-09, [geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco Sadad] Husseini said Saudi Arabia might reach an output of 12m barrels a day in 10 years but before then – possibly as early as 2012 – global oil production would have hit its highest point.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Plenty of crude oil for everyone. Nothing to see here. Move along…

Sources:

Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose. “Saudi oil well dries up.” The Telegraph. 5 Sep. 2012. (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100019812/saudi-oil-well-dries-up/). 6 Sep. 2012.

Vidal, John. “WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices.” The Guardian. 8 Feb. 2011. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/feb/08/saudi-oil-reserves-overstated-wikileaks). 6 Sep. 2012.

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Thursday, September 6th, 2012 Commodities, Energy, Middle East, Natural Resources No Comments

IMF’s Lagarde: U.S. Fiscal Cliff Is ‘Risk Number One’ To Global Economy

Washington policymakers have seen Europe’s ongoing sovereign debt crisis as a welcome distraction away from America’s financial woes. But Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, recently pointed out the danger our economic ills pose to the global economy. From MNI (a leading provider of global foreign exchange and fixed income markets news/intelligence) last Thursday:

The looming US fiscal cliff is the number one risk globally at present, followed by the Eurozone and then the threat of another oil price surge, IMF head Christine Lagarde says.

Lagarde, speaking at the Global Investment Conference here, said the Eurozone is clearly at the epicentre of the crisis right now but is far from the only risk at present.

Risk number one … is clearly the fiscal cliff in the United States of America, where the deficit and debt to GDP ratios are actually worse than in the Eurozone,” she said.

Although the US does not face the Eurozone’s challenge of trying to secure accords with a host of states, its legislators are also struggling to take action.

“There is great uncertainty as to how Congress is going to actually deal with this fiscal cliff,” she said.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

According to Reuters on Sunday, Congress will try to work something out concerning this “fiscal cliff”- after the November elections. From their website on July 29:

The U.S. Congress is unlikely to resolve looming tax and spending issues before the Nov. 6 elections, a top Senate Democrat said on Sunday, but lawmakers are working on a proposal to tackle the issue after the elections.

Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers is in talks to develop a solution to the steep tax increases and spending cuts, known as a “fiscal cliff,” that take effect at the end of the year if no action is taken.

Stay tuned…

Sources:

“IMF Lagarde: US Fiscal Cliff Key Global Risk; Oil A Worry.” MNI. 26 July 2012. (https://mninews.deutsche-boerse.com/index.php/imf-lagarde-us-fiscal-cliff-key-global-risk-oil-worry?q=content/imf-lagarde-us-fiscal-cliff-key-global-risk-oil-worry). 1 Aug. 2012.

“Durbin: US ‘fiscal cliff’ solution unlikely before election.” Reuters. 29 July 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/29/usa-congress-fiscalcliff-idUSL2E8IT1AZ20120729). 1 Aug. 2012.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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