crude oil

Jeremy Grantham Identifies 10 ‘Potential Threats To Our Well-Being’

Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (oversees $117 billion in client assets as of June 30, 2015), just released his latest investment letter on the GMO website. Writing about the second quarter of 2015, Grantham, whose individual clients have included current Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney, focused on ten “potential threats to our well-being” (echoing a Morningstar piece I blogged about on July 14). These threats are (in his own words):

1. Pressure on GDP growth in the U.S. and the balance of the developed world: count on 1.5% U.S. growth, not the old 3%
2. The age of plentiful, cheap resources is gone forever
3. Oil
4. Climate problems
5. Global food shortages
6. Income inequality
7. Trying to understand deficiencies in democracy and capitalism
8. Deficiencies in the Fed
9. Investment bubbles in a world that is, this time, interestingly different
10. Limitations of homo sapiens

Grantham talked about each threat in detail. I’ll be focusing on those items I think would interest Survival And Prosperity readers.

Regarding pressure on U.S./developed world GDP growth, Grantham wrote:

Factors potentially slowing long-term growth:
a) Slowing growth rate of the working population
b) Aging of the working population
c) Resource constraints, especially the lack of cheap $20/barrel oil
d) Rising income inequality
e) Disappointing and sub-average capital spending, notably in the U.S.
f) Loss of low-hanging fruit: Facebook is not the new steam engine
g) Steadily increasing climate difficulties
h) Partially dysfunctional government, particularly in economic matters that fail to maximize growth opportunities, especially in the E.U. and the U.S…

On “plentiful, cheap resources” being gone:

All in all I am still very confident, unfortunately, that the old regime of irregularly falling commodity prices is gone forever…

On oil:

Oil has been king and still is. For a while longer… Now, as we are running out of oil that is cheap to recover, the economic system is becoming stressed and growth is slowing…

Grantham added:

The good news is that with slower global growth and more emphasis on energy efficiency and a probability of some carbon tax increases, global oil demand may settle down to around 1% a year for the next 10 to 15 years. At that level of increase in demand, even modest continued increases in recovery rates will keep us in oil even if no new oil is found for the next 15 years.

Beyond 15 years, the resource and environmental news gets better because cheaper electric vehicles and changes in environmental policy will enable steady decreases in oil demand…

On global food shortages, Grantham referred to some recent research. He wrote:

I was completely gruntled by a report last month from the Global Sustainability Institute of Anglia Ruskin University in the U.K. This unit is backed by Lloyds of London, the U.K. Foreign Office, the Institute of Actuaries, and the Development Banks of both Africa and Asia – a grouping with a very serious interest in the topic of food scarcity and societal disruptions to say the least. The team of scientists used system dynamic modeling, which uses feedbacks and delays, to run the business-as-usual world forward 25 years. Without any new and improved responses from us, the results are dismaying: Prices of wheat, corn, soybeans, and rice were all predicted to be at least four times the levels of 2000. (They are currently about double.) The team concluded, “The results show that based on plausible climate trends and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots. In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.” And you thought my argument on food problems of the last three years was way over the top!

Grantham is still not impressed with the Federal Reserve. He predicted:

And what of the current Fed regime – the Greenspan-Bernanke-Yellen Regime – that promotes higher asset prices and lower borrowing costs, which facilitate stock buybacks amongst other speculative forces? Well, this regime, too, will change. Regression of regime, if ou will. Painfully, politicians, the public, businessmen, and possibly even some economists will recognize the current regime as a failed experiment.

And on the “limitations of homo sapiens”? Grantham observed:

Not only does our species have a strong predisposition to be optimistic (or bullish) – it is probably a useful survival characteristic – but we are particularly good at listening to agreeable data and avoiding unpleasant data that does not jibe with our beliefs or philosophies. Facts, whether backed by 97% of scientists as is the case with man-made climate change, or 99.9% as is the case with evolution, do not count for nearly as much as we used to believe. For that matter, we do a terrible job of planning for the long term, particularly in postponing gratification, and we are wickedly bad at dealing with the implications of compound math. All of this makes it easy for us to forget about the previously painful market busts; facilitates our pushing stocks and markets on occasion to levels that make no mathematical sense; and allows us, regrettably, to ignore the logic of finite resources and a deteriorating climate until the consequences are pushed up our short-term noses.

The take-away from all of the above?

• Grantham forecasts U.S./developed world GDP growth to slow to 1.5 percent
• Investment opportunities may exist in commodities, agriculture, and other things food-related
• The outcome of the Fed’s current monetary policies will be painful
• Human nature- in particular, our unbridled optimism and focus on short-term gratification- will continue to result in asset bubbles and longer-term problems outside of the financial markets/economy/larger financial system

You can read Grantham’s latest investment newsletter on the GMO site here.

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 Predicts Crude Oil, Russian Ruble Comeback But Warns On U.S. Dollar

On Tuesday, The Economic Times (India) released an interview of well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers on its website. Discussing weakness in the crude oil market in light of the recent nuclear “deal” with Iran, the former investing partner of George Soros said:

Not here to stay, but certainly when you have a big collapse in anything, it hits a bottom, then there is a big rebound. We call it in America a dead-cat bounce. Then you have a test, a second test to the low.

This is going to lead to the second test to the low. There is always a reason for the second test and now we are having it, but is oil going to stay down forever? No. Remember that known reserves around the world are in decline, except for fracking. This is good news for people who consume, bad news for people who produce. But it is not the end of the story…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Rogers thinks the Russian ruble, a currency he’s been bullish about for some time now, will benefit from a crude oil comeback. Sputnik, the international news service owned and operated by the Russian government, referenced a recent interview of the Singapore-based investor on Gazeta.ru. From the news outlet Tuesday:

Concerning the current rouble situation Rogers said, “Russia has low debt, unlike Greece, as well as convertible currency, which is quite unique for the new markets. So fundamentally its position can be called normal. It is being pressured by lower oil prices, but as soon as the black gold finds the stable point the situation will improve for the rouble.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Sputnik added:

He also mentioned the dollar saying that the US currency is in a terrible situation as the US national debt and trade deficit are huge.

“If we simply write out on paper the facts that lie behind the ruble and the dollar, without naming the currency, then everyone will want to buy rubles and no one will buy dollars. But as soon as you name them then, of course, people buy dollars.”

He added that he hopes he will be smart enough to get rid of dollars before the collapse happens. “Everything seems perfect, until one day it ceases to be so. It was the same with Britain, France, Spain and Greece. Often stocks manage to go up for a few years before hitting bankruptcy.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Last I heard, Rogers still owned greenbacks. I blogged back on November 11, 2014:

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.

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:

“Crude prices may sink on more Iran oil, but will rebound as known reserves are declining: Jim Rogers.” The Economic Times. 14 July 2015. (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/interviews/crude-prices-may-sink-on-more-iran-oil-but-will-rebound-as-known-reserves-are-declining-jim-rogers/articleshow/48066869.cms). 17 July 2015.

“US ‘Shot Itself in the Foot’ by Pushing Russia Toward China – Jim Rogers” Sputnik. 14 July 2015. (http://sputniknews.com/business/20150714/1024625814.html). 17 July 2015.

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Marc Faber Doubts Fed Rate Hike In 2015, Buys Crude Oil Stocks

Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager Marc Faber was recently interviewed by Latha Venkatesh and Sonia Shenoy at CNBC-TV18 (India). The publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report talked about a number of financial/investing topics- including a potential rate hike soon by the Federal Reserve. From a transcript of the discussion published on the Moneycontrol.com website on April 13:

Sonia: So, you are not expecting a rate hike from the US Fed this year?

A: What I said is in my view the Fed will not increase rates this year unless there is really a very sharp pick up in the economy or there is a colossal pot-hole developing in stocks. But otherwise I doubt it because the dollar has been strong. Okay, it may weaken somewhat, but I do not think it will collapse against the euro and against the yen and the British pound and so forth. So, the dollar is relatively strong. The economy in the US, the latest say, ten indicators that came out were all on the weak side. And under these conditions I doubt the Fed will increase rates. But that is an academic debate. What is important is I think the Feds and other Western Central Bankers will keep interest rates at a very low level for a very long time and will try to keep interest rates in real terms negative. In other words below the rates of cost of living increases.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Dr. Faber shares the belief of fellow “crash prophet” Peter Schiff concerning an increase in the federal funds rate in the near future. However, Schiff has added that if the U.S. central bank does raise interest rates anytime soon, it will be miniscule.

Faber, who correctly forecast the rise of commodities, emerging markets, and China last decade, shares something else with a different “prophet.” From the transcript:

Latha: Yes, I note your exasperation. Therefore let me come to another asset class: commodities. Do you think they have bottomed or is it that there would be a long trough for this asset class?

A: We have to distinguish because the price of oil has very little to do with the price of orange juice or coffee. So each commodity has its own price dynamics driven by global production and global demand. Now industrial commodities have performed miserably along with emerging markets over the last couple of years because the demand was slowing down especially from China. So, you have prices of iron ore and steel and copper and oil that have collapsed. I happen to think that at this level a lot of commodities are reasonably priced, does not mean they will go up right away. But they come now into a buying rate and I have been buying some oil stocks recently.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Last Sunday, I noted Yale economics professor Robert Shiller, who spotted the U.S. housing bubble last decade and the dot-com bubble a few years earlier, had purchased a crude oil ETF.

You can read the transcript of the entire exchange between Dr. Faber and CNBC-TV18 on Moneycontrol.com here.

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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Robert Shiller Buys Crude Oil ETF

It’s kind of quiet on the “crash prophet” front this weekend. That being said, back on March 29 I blogged about original “prophet” Robert Shiller being bullish on crude oil. I wrote:

Yale economics professor Robert Shiller spotted the U.S. housing bubble last decade and the dot-com bubble a few years earlier. And these days, the “crash prophet’s” observations have led him to think crude oil may be a good investment. According to an Agence France-Presse article from March 23:

Asked how he would invest his money, Shiller replied: “It’s difficult. But I think now could be a good time to invest in oil or in a rise in oil prices,” he said.

“Prices are very low and there are a lot of reasons to assume that they won’t stay low. That’s what I’ve bet on,” Shiller said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

On April 2, MarketWatch’s Anora Mahmudova provided insight into what may have been Dr. Shiller’s “bet.” She reported:

As for his own investments, Shiller said he reduced his stock holdings in light of various indicators, but that does not mean he has abandoned equities.

But he is hedging his bets. He told MarketWatch that he’s purchased an oil ETF. Shiller said few understand the value of commodities like oil as an asset class. “It is uncorrelated to stocks, and prices are low. But if you look at oil-futures contracts, they indicate that prices will be higher,” the economist noted, referring to forward-month contracts…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Wonder what else, if anything, Shiller likes these days besides oil?

Stay tuned…

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)

Source:

Mahmudova, Anora. “Why Robert Shiller is calling this U.S. stock market ‘a great enigma.’ MarketWatch. 2 Apr. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-robert-shiller-is-calling-this-us-stock-market-a-great-enigma-2015-04-02). 12 Apr. 2015.

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Robert Shiller: ‘I Think Now Could Be A Good Time To Invest In Oil’

Yale economics professor Robert Shiller spotted the U.S. housing bubble last decade and the dot-com bubble a few years earlier. And these days, the “crash prophet’s” observations have led him to think crude oil may be a good investment. According to an Agence France-Presse article from March 23:

Asked how he would invest his money, Shiller replied: “It’s difficult. But I think now could be a good time to invest in oil or in a rise in oil prices,” he said.

“Prices are very low and there are a lot of reasons to assume that they won’t stay low. That’s what I’ve bet on,” Shiller said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Dr. Shiller repeated his belief that European stocks were more reasonably priced than U.S. equities. From the AFP piece:

Shiller said European stocks, including German stocks, were still a bargain, compared with US stocks.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I blogged back on February 19:

The Nobel Prize-winning economist was on CNBC’s Squawk Box TV show Wednesday and talked equities (among other things) with Becky Quick, Andrew Ross Sorkin, and Brian Sullivan. From their exchange:

SHILLER: The things that is really striking- and maybe not today- is the low-level, long-term interest rates. It is just stunning how low they have gotten. Recently, the 30-year TIPS real rate was at half-a-percent. That’s incredible for 30 years. And that is pushing the stock market up. But it’s not the kind of euphoria that we saw notably in 2000.
SORKIN: What percentage do you have in equities?
SHILLER: It’s about half.
SORKIN: Half?
SHILLER: Yeah.
SORKIN: Have you changed it recently? Will you change it?
SHILLER: Yeah. I’m thinking of getting out of the United States somewhat.
SORKIN: You are?
SHILLER: Yeah. I think Europe is so much cheaper.
SORKIN: And you’d buy big multinationals based in Europe? You’d buy smaller companies in Europe? What would you do?
SHILLER: Well, what I have done is I’ve invested in Italy indexes. Spain index.
SORKIN: Are you hedging currency?
SHILLER: No, I’m not.

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)

Source:

“ROBERT SHILLER: It’s not euphoria driving this stock market boom- it’s fear.” Agence France-Presse. 23 Mar. 2015. (http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-fear-behind-current-stock-market-highs-nobel-laureate-2015-3?utm_source=gatehouse&utm_medium=referral). 28 Mar. 2015.

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Chicago Tribune: ‘As Many As 40 Oil Trains Come Through Chicago And The Suburbs Each Week’

My girlfriend likes the popular getaway destination of Galena, Illinois (never been there myself). So she was concerned last week when breaking news appeared on the TV screen about a BNSF Railway train carrying 103 tank cars laden with crude oil derailing and exploding in that northwest part of the state.

Luckily, the incident occurred in a sparsely-populated area (no injuries reported).

But it’s been revealed that the tank cars that burst into flames had already been retrofitted with protective shields to meet a higher safety standard than federal law requires.

Richard Wronski reported in my Sunday paper (the Chicago Tribune) yesterday:

The fiery train derailment Thursday near Galena should serve as a wake-up call for the state and the Chicago area to be better prepared in the event of a similar incident in the metropolitan area, officials said…

Had the incident occurred in the city or suburbs, it would have forced the evacuation of thousands of people and caused enormous damage, officials said…

Documents filed with the state and obtained by the Tribune last year show that as many as 40 oil trains come through Chicago and the suburbs each week

Few Chicago-area fire departments have enough firefighting foam and equipment to respond effectively to the kind of roaring infernos that have resulted from tank car derailments, the Tribune reported last year…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Well that’s disturbing to read (hat tip Wronski and the Tribune for digging this info up).

As regular readers may remember, my girlfriend and I moved out of the city a year-and-a-half ago to one of the northwest suburbs, where a set of railroad tracks (frequently used by freight) is located about a half-mile away.

This event has indeed been a “wake-up call.” I really need to investigate if a potential hazardous materials incident exists with that rail line. And plan accordingly.

Chicago-area readers might want to do the same if they haven’t already.

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

Source:

Wronksi, Richard. “Galena derailment should put Chicago on alert, officials say.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Mar. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-crude-oil-train-derailment-met-20150306-story.html). 8 Mar. 2015

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Jeremy Grantham Explains Oil Price Decline And How He’s Playing It

Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (oversees $120 billion in client assets as of September 30, 2014), has just released his latest quarterly letter on the GMO website. Grantham, whose individual clients have included current Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney, focused on plummeting crude oil prices this time around. He wrote:

The simplest argument for the oil price decline is for once correct. A wave of new U.S. fracking oil could be seen to be overtaking the modestly growing global oil demand. It became clear that OPEC, mainly Saudi Arabia, must cut back production if the price were to stay around $100 a barrel, which many, including me, believe is necessary to justify continued heavy spending to find traditional oil. The Saudis declined to pull back their production and the oil market entered into glut mode, in which storage is full and production continues above demand…

Why did the Saudis choose this route? To drive prices down and force the U.S. fracking industry to put a cork in their operations, Grantham argued. He added:

In my opinion, no economic implosion is likely just yet and, even if the pessimists are right eventually, that crunch era will be ushered in by very volatile and rising oil prices, not three years of abnormal stability followed by a sudden bust! Right now the mad rush to produce fracking oil in the U.S. (one might reasonably say “overproduce”) has given us a global timeout from the inevitable oil squeeze, which in my opinion is now likely to arrive in about five years but which, without U.S. fracking, was already upon us

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So the “inevitable oil squeeze” comes in approximately five years. But a decade out from now, Grantham penned:

Most likely though, beyond 10 years electric cars and alternative energy will begin to eat into potential oil demand, threatening longer-term oil prices….

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Which shouldn’t really surprise readers of “Why We Were So Surprised” when the “crash prophet” revealed:

But right now we have a substantial excess of production, and oil demand is notoriously inelastic to price in the short term – people will not be leaping into their cars to celebrate lower gas prices. But with time they may drive an extra 1-2% percent here and elsewhere and the excess will slowly clear: possibly by mid-year and almost certainly by the end of next year. After supply and demand come into balance, the price initially is likely to rise slowly, held in check by the increasing amounts of U.S. fracking oil that can be profitably produced at each new higher price level. It is this rapid response rate that will make the frackers the key marginal suppliers. This is a sensitive and, I believe, unknowable equation as to precise timing, but this phase will likely end only when fracking production, even at much higher prices, tops out, as it most likely will in the next five years. After that, I believe the equation will revert to the relatively more stable and more knowable one of the 2011 to 2013 era, in which the price of oil will be the full cost of finding and developing incremental traditional oil, which by then is likely to be over $100 a barrel. (In the interest of full disclosure I personally have been and will continue to be a moderate buyer of oil futures six to eight years out, for reasons that should be clear from the above. It should also be clear that such a bet can lose easily enough.)

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Once again, good stuff from Grantham, which you can read in its entirety on the GMO website here (.pdf format, starts page 7).

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: ‘The President, For Whatever Reason, Might Not Finish His Term’

This year’s Barron’s Roundtable convened on January 12, 2015, at the Harvard Club of New York. And one member of the Roundtable, Swiss-born investment advisor and fund manager Marc Faber, brought up some interesting scenarios for the coming year. Dr. Faber told Roundtable participants:

Many surprises could occur in the next 12 months. The president, for whatever reason, might not finish his term. China’s president, Xi Jinping, doesn’t speak as much as Obama, but when he speaks, he makes sense. He is a powerful person. In the past 45 years, China has pursued a policy of nonintervention in other countries’ domestic affairs. But that might change because of its oil interests in the Sudan. China is the largest supplier of troops to the U.N. peacekeeping forces. Its troops are conveniently placed next to Sudan’s oil facilities. China also has a large interest in the Iraqi oilfields. If ISIS moves toward southern Iraq, which it currently can’t do, China will protect its interests. The Chinese are becoming more assertive in their geopolitical ambitions. They must ensure a supply of natural resources, such as oil, copper, and iron ore. In their view, the Americans have no interests in Southeast Asia and eventually will have to move out. It is unclear how this will be achieved, or when, but it probably won’t happen peacefully

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Thailand-based Faber, like fellow “crash prophets” Jim Rogers and Peter Schiff, recognizes that the West’s economic power is steadily being transferred to the East. He added in New York City:

Even if Asia doesn’t grow much this year, economic power is shifting to Asia. The Indian economy could grow by 5%-6% in 2015, although the Indians would say I am too pessimistic. Nonetheless, a 5% growth rate is enormous, compared to zero in Europe.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


Heineken Commercial “The Date” feat. Mohammed Rafi, Jaan Pehechaan Ho (1965)
YouTube Video

You can read the entire Roundtable discussion on the Barron’s website here.

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 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 On Coming Fed Moves, Investing Opportunities

I just got finished reading an interview of well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers by The Economic Times (India) a short time ago. Published yesterday, the former investing partner of George Soros shares his thoughts on a number of topics, including:

• Investing opportunities during wartime (commodities, including crude oil, gold)
• Federal Reserve coming moves (continued tightening, then full-reverse)
• Crude oil price movement (higher and in a holding pattern)
• Gold price movement (suspected buying opportunity in next year or two)
• Other investment opportunities (industrial metals, natural gas)

Lots of good insights dragged out of Mr. Rogers by the Times crew, which you can read all about 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: ‘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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