by ZH, via Lew Rockwell:
One week after RealVision brought us the latest Jeff Gundlach interview, in which the DoubleLine bond king explained why he is now “100% net short”, on Friday Grant Williams interviewed Jim Rogers, in which George Soros’ former partner (the two co-founded the Quantum Fund in 1973), is about as gloomy, warning “the next time the world comes to an end, it’s going to be a bigger shock than we expect.”
Nonetheless, since an interview talking about canned foods, radioactive fallout shelter and guns would be relatively brief, Rogers presents several non-traditional ideas, most notably as relates to various frontier markets he is looking at currently, as well as Russia, a market where he has notoriously been invested since the start of 2015 when he went long Russian stocks, and which recently – and very much under the radar – hit all-time highs. So Rogers takes a well-deserved victory lap.
The investing legend, who doesn’t belong to any economic school of thought, also touches on China and reminds RealVision subscribers that “Beijing has said we’re going to let people go bankrupt, which I hope they do.” He then emphasized, “they don’t do that in the West. The communist Chinese are going to let people go bankrupt because they’re good capitalists.” China has amassed debt and will not be able to help countries as they did the last time the world fell apart in 2008. “The next time the world comes to an end it’s going to be a bigger shock than we expect,” says Rogers. Still, while China will face problems, Rogers assures it “will be the most important country in the 21st century.”
Throughout the interview, Rogers describes unconventional investments including government bonds in Russia, where he proclaims, “the yields are astonishing.”
My three shareholdings are all making all-time highs. I own shares of Aeroflot, going through the roof. Moscow Stock Exchange, going through the roof. PhosAgro, big fertilizer. I’m a director. Big fertilizer. Making all-time highs. I mean, how can this be? A country which is a disaster, which everybody hates.
I own Russian government bonds in rubles. The yields are astonishing. And as long as the ruble doesn’t collapse or disappear, which it’s not doing, at least not at the moment. The yields are beyond comprehension. If I could just have those yields for the rest of my life, I’d be in hog heaven.
To be sure, Rogers’ extreme investing is not for the faint-hearted, as he predicts a bear market and bankruptcy for the US, waxes lyrical on the decline in Western Europe and forecasts more pains for China, which is still his greatest hope for global growth.
For profitable investing, Rogers is advocating Russia and the astonishing yields he’s getting there while opening the debate on putting money to work in North Korea, which now has 15 free trade zones. With Rwanda, also up for discussion – which resources wise could be the Singapore of Africa in time – and even Zimbabwe considered, there are trading ideas here you won’t see anywhere else.
Some of the bigger picture highlights from the interview:
First, on Rogers’ current take on China, he does not see a simple solution to China’s debt problem, as the country will have to let companies go bankrupt, and a shock will be the ultimate outcome.
China is going to have problems too. It’s just the way the world works. In 2008, when the world fell apart, China had a lot money saved for a rainy day, and they started spending it when it started raining. This time, China has a lot of debt themselves. It’s amazing how much debt has built up in China in just a few years. And so this time, while China’s in better shape, or less bad shape than most of us, China’s got a lot of debt, and they’re not going to be able to help us like they did before.
Beijing has said we’re going to let people go bankrupt, which I hope they do. They don’t do that in the West. The red Chinese, the communist Chinese are going to let people go bankrupt, because they’re good capitalists. Americans won’t let anybody– and the Europeans won’t let anybody go bankrupt so they can save the world.
But China has said they will let people go bankrupt. It’ll be a shock for the people who go bankrupt. It’ll be a shock for the world. But it will certainly be good for China, and for the world, if they do let mistakes get cleaned up. But it will mean that they will not be able to save us as much as they did before. So the next time the world comes to an end, it’s going to be a bigger shock than we expect.
While explaining his view on the fate of currencies, Rogers thinks “safe haven” FX such as the US dollar, the Japanese yen and the Swiss Franc, will continue rising as most other currencies fall:
the US dollar is strong and will continue to be strong, because everybody’s panicked about the world. And when there’s panic, people look for a safe haven… [People] think the US dollar is a safe haven. It’s not. It is certainly not. I own a lot of US dollars, though. Not because it’s a safe haven, but because people think it’s a safe haven. And when the world falls apart, people will put their money into the dollar. That’s going to mean the dollar’s going to go up, so that means a lot of currencies will go down, including the Chinese currency, including the European currency, the British currency. Many other currencies will go down. The dollar is going to get overpriced, and the dollar might even turn into a bubble, depending on how bad the turmoil is. If there’s no place to go– at the moment, people are also going into the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen.
On the dollar and gold rising together:
There have been times in the past when the dollar and gold have gone up together. So it can happen and it will happen. People looking for a safe haven. They think the US dollar’s a safe haven. They don’t know what else. They think gold is a safe haven. Therefore neither are a safe– nothing is a safe haven. But that’s what’s going on. I’m not the only person who knows there’s turmoil coming. And people are looking for ways to protect themselves. I am not buying gold at the moment. I’m not buying dollars, either, but I own plenty of both.
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