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Commodities comeback depend largely on China

October 23rd, 2008 · 1 Comment

Where is that next bubble going to come from? As we have argued before, there is really only one candidate, in our view. Commodities. Jim Rogers, the motorbiking emerging market investor, agrees. He’s even predicting it will happen soon.

Rogers: Commodities Bull Run Ahead
By: Greg Brown

  • Global crisis aside, commodities will roar again, and soon, says Jim Rogers, CEO of Rogers Holdings.
  • We have had eight or nine periods of forced liquidation over the past 100 to 150 years wherein everything was liquidated without regard to fundamentals. This is such a period,” Rogers told the Web site Commodity Online.
  • A slowdown in China and economic malaise in the United States and Europe have hit commodity prices short term, Roger says, but nothing about the basics of supply and demand have changed.
  • “Historically, the things which have come out best on the other side are things where the fundamental have been unimpaired. Commodities are the only thing I know with unimpaired fundamentals,” Rogers said.
  • Speaking on CNBC, Rogers built on the forced liquidation theme, saying he was heavy in cash and buying currencies, including yen and Swiss francs, as well as more agricultural commodities.
  • “There’s a liquidation phase going on, where everything is being liquidated. They’re selling everything in sight,” Rogers said.
  • “In a period like this, the way you make money coming out of it is to own the things where the fundamentals have not been impaired.”
  • One theory among economists is that commodity prices are still at the beginning of a steep fall as the credit squeeze takes the world economy into a deep recession.
  • As usual, it’s all about time horizon.
  • “When you have a seven-year bull run, you are going to have more than a four-month correction, and we are just beginning our fourth month,” Richard Feltes, senior vice president and director of commodity research at MF Global Research, told the International Herald Tribune.
  • “We have got more deflation coming in the housing sector, in capital assets, and it’s going to continue in commodities as well.”
  • True enough, but only if demand stalls in the emerging capitalist economies of Asia. China’s growth has slowed, but only to 9 percent, still an amazing rate of expansion.
  • “The underlying fundamentals of strong demand for energy, food, and industrial commodities will come back,” Michael Lewis, global head of commodities research for Deutsche Bank, told the IHT.

The crucial link is that growth in emerging markets, especially China and India, is not affected too much. Not everybody is convinced of that, however:

Faber: U.S. Credit Fix Will Not Work
By: Julie Crawshaw

  • Recent moves by the U.S. Treasury will bring some confidence back into the market temporarily, says Marc Faber, Swiss fund manager and publisher of the Gloom Boom & Doom Report. But the longer term looks much worse.
  • “The global economy is decelerating at an unprecedented pace. Governments in the Western world are trying to re-ignite credit growth, and I think they will fail,” Faber told CNBC.
  • The United States produces very little, Faber points out. Asia is the producer for the United States, he says, and it is also a region that has very large capital spending.
  • “When there is a slowdown in the United States, it’s basically a disaster for Asia, and reduced demand in Asia is an even greater disaster for the resource producers of the world,” Faber says.
  • Faber thinks China’s economy has been decelerating very rapidly, not growing at 9 percent as Chinese officials have stated.
  • The Chinese learned one thing from the U.S. government: How to doctor economic statistics,” Faber says. “Growth in China, in my opinion, is 5 percent at best,” he says.
  • U.S. capital markets, Faber notes, are relatively better off than the rest of the world. “From 2001 to 2007, the U.S. stock market underperformed, but for the last nine months it has outperformed emerging markets,” he says.
  • Zhang Fan, an economist for Tebon Securities in Shanghai, told the U.K. Business Times that China will in fact slow. “Economic growth will continue to trend down,” Fan said.
  • “It’s very obvious now that economic growth is slowing quickly, although some indicators, such as exports, are holding up due to lagging effects.”

India just had a rather surprising rate cut, and China is stimulating domestic demand, so it remains to be seen who’s right. But this is a matter of timing. If Roger is right, and China slows down only to 8-9%, then commodities could come back fairly soon. If not, it will take considerably longer

Tags: Commodities · Credit Crisis

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Commodities » Commodities comeback depend largely on China // Oct 23, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    […] Financial Blog – BusinessWeek wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWhere is that next bubble going to come from? As we have argued before, there is really only one candidate, in our view. Commodities. Jim Rogers, the motorbiking emerging market investor, agrees. He’s even predicting it will happen soon. Rogers: Commodities Bull Run Ahead By: Greg Brown Global crisis aside, commodities will roar again, and soon, says […] […]