Call this a belated Father’s Day or Mother’s Day gift.
In a recent interview on the state of the world markets legendary investor Jim Rogers offered his perspective. His views are always worth pondering.
Here are some highlights.
First, on the Federal Reserve and the bond bubble:
Mr. Bernanke believes you can expand the central bank balance sheet infinitely, and suffer no ill effects. Anything you do to diminish demand for the thing will cause the price to drop. Same thing here. Bond prices will drop, which causes interest rates to rise. We are in a global bond bubble. When it pops is anyone’s guess. I have tried to short bonds a few times. The French tried money printing in the 50’s, the Italians in the ‘60s. At some point, the market won’t take it, and bond prices will go down and rates will rise. We have more money than Bernanke and the central banks do. So at some point this will happen. …
As I said, bond markets worldwide are in a bubble for the reasons you just stated. Bubbles can go on and on. Hard to tell when it pops. But at some point markets won’t take central bank policies anymore, and interest rates go up regardless of how much bond buying they do. Market timing is tough. As for the fix income market, I’m short junk bonds. In any market, the marginal stuff goes first. This could precede problems with sovereign debt.
Next, Rogers offers an interesting contrary opinion on natural gas:
Regarding natural gas, the fundamentals on the ground are not nearly as good as the hype. The number of rigs on the ground has gone down 75% the last couple of years, as the wells are very short-lived, and it takes an enormous amount of money to keep them up. A number of companies have had to lower estimates of their reserves. As for oil shale, typical wells deplete at 38 percent the first year. Thus you need a lot of drilling, money, and a high price to keep up production rates. All you have to do is go out in the oil patch. I believe the investment world will be disappointed with the notion that supply is so great that oil will collapse.
Finally, Rogers on Japan. Keep in mind that the Japanese stock market has collapsed over the past few weeks and that Paul Krugman has declared Prime Minister Abe to be pursuing just the right policies.
The Rogers vision:
Japan has a very serious problem. When we look back, Mr. Abe will have ruined Japan. Huge debt levels, horrible demographics, they won’t let in foreigners, the population is declining. Mr. Abe comes along and says he’ll ruin the currency. It is a disaster in the long term, and not guaranteed to work in the short term, either.