The Gold Report: Mike, we often hear that the current generation doesn't realize how good they have it compared to when you had to walk uphill both ways through snow to make a trade. Is it easier to invest today with all the resources online and pundits around every corner or is it harder to cut through the noise and find the best opportunities?
Michael Berry: While the Internet makes it easier to do research and make a trade, that doesn't mean it is easier to make a good trade, or better still, a smart long-term investment. I think it's challenging today. It's easy to trade, but much more difficult to create real wealth. A P/E multiple used to have real meaning. Today, the pace of the market is so fast, there are so many flash traders, so many games being played and so many nickels being minted, that it is difficult to figure out what is real. There are debt and equity bubbles out there that have been being created for the past two decades. They can be difficult to take advantage of because investors have to go against the prevailing thinking.
"Quaterra Resources Inc.'s Yerington property could become a major world-class copper resource."
Hedge funds can't make it today; only the private equity players seem to be successful and they have tremendous advantages. Almost all central bankers are in the investment game now. The Federal Reserve owns 25% of the Treasury bond market. What do they plan to do with their investment? There is US$9 trillion sloshing around the world today and a global exchange rate devaluation. These issues make central bankers powerful new players and make the market more challenging for individual investors.
TGR: Chris, did the boomers and the flash traders wreck it for the rest of us? Continue reading "What The Boomers Got Wrong And Right About Natural Resource Investing"
The Gold Report: After months of financial media coverage, investors are suffering from quantitative easing (QE) overload. At this point, what's important for investors to know about QE?
Chris Berry: QE appears to be one of the last arrows in the quiver of central bankers in the U.S., the Eurozone and Japan to try and resuscitate the global economy. Successive rounds of QE have failed to ignite demand, which was the stated purpose. Currently, a great deal of economic data supports a deflationary rather than inflationary view.
The Federal Reserve would love to create inflation, as this is the intended effect of easy money from the QE programs. So far, however, the most prevalent inflation we have is asset price inflation rather than in wage growth. This is not what the Fed wants. We're not seeing the "demand pull" inflation typically found when demand is outpacing supply. The two biggest overhangs in the U.S. economy right now are structurally high unemployment and a cratering velocity of money. Continue reading "Strategies for Profiting from a Distorted Reality: Investing After QE"
The Energy Report: In your Morning Notes in January, you defined much of the energy mining industry as an oligopoly. What do you mean by that?
Chris Berry: Industries like uranium, lithium, vanadium, rare earths or potash typically have a few players at the top that control production and hence pricing. This is a huge barrier to entry for juniors looking to join the ranks of producers.
TER: If the majors are producing enough material to meet today's demand, what are the prospects for the juniors in this market?
CB: It's challenging in the near term because I see supply and demand in balance in many of the metals markets. This is why companies with ample cash on their balance sheets should attract attentionthey can survive until demand recovers. Economic growth has slowed across the globe, which implies lower demand and less need for the many juniors out there. Continue reading "Chris Berry: Energy-Metals Juniors with Derisked Projects Are Takeout Bait"
China's export quotas triggered the investment rush for rare earth elements (REEs). John Kaiser of Kaiser Research Online summarized the first chapter of the REE story in his no-nonsense April 24 interview, "Rare Earth Juniors Have a Five-Year Window."
John Kaiser: Historically, REE prices have been very low due to China's abundant resources and its ability to produce them very cheaply. China is aware that it could become the world's biggest polluter when its economy eclipses that of the U.S. China is very concerned about making sure it has the raw materials on hand to assure its clean-energy future. The supply restrictions China introduced a couple of years ago were part of a campaign to clean up and consolidate its high-pollution industries. Those restrictions resulted in spectacularly high REE prices for export and substantially higher prices within China. Since July 2011, the drop in demand and China's inability to control smuggling resulted in a pullback in REE prices. To some degree, I think China wants its monopoly to end. China's ambitions go far beyond squeezing a few profits out of a market it controls. Continue reading "A Critical Year in Review: What's Next?"