By Chris Berry (@cberry1)
For a PDF copy of this note, please click here.
In reading the Berkshire Hathaway annual letter this weekend, I was reminded of a response Charlie Munger gave to an investor on how he tests the validity of his investment thesis. Munger’s response was, “Invert. Always invert.” The meaning here is to consciously take the other side of your thesis and try and disprove your beliefs/biases.
I’ve spent the past month or so on the road at conferences and meeting with investors to take a temperature check and “invert” our investment philosophy. We’ve also witnessed a huge increase in our subscriber base in recent weeks and so an outline of our view of the world and how we’re positioning is in order and likely overdue.
While the content here may be repetitive for long-time readers, I welcome any (constructive) comments as they can only help refine and strengthen our outlook.
Despite the overwhelming complexity of the global economy, we see a huge struggle against two headwinds. Though we’ve been involved in commodity investment for over a decade, we view the commodity super cycle (2001 – 2011) as definitively over. The end of the super cycle has left the economy with additional supply of commodities now coming on stream just as demand continues to soften.
Mike recently presented the attached paper (here) at the Association of Quebec Mineral Exploration (AEMQ) Conference in Montreal. In it, he looks more closely at where we are in this bear market for resources and more importantly, why we're here. Finally, he looks at some possible solutions and time frames for recovery.
We are gearing up for two trips to Europe in November (Munich, Geneva, Zurich, and Frankfurt) and December (London) and will be back shortly with details.
By Chris Berry (@cberry1)
For a PDF version of this note, please click here.
By the time you read this, I’ll be in London attending Mines and Money as a speaker and hosting a roundtable on Energy Metals. I think it’s fitting that I’ll be in the city which was at the heart of the last Great Game, the name for the geopolitical and strategic rivalry between the British and Russian empires in the 19th century. After last week’s events in the financial markets, it appears that a new Great Game has begun. The carnage last week made two issues abundantly clear.
First, OPEC has thrown down the gauntlet and is serious about asserting its dominance in the global oil markets.
By Chris Berry
For a PDF version of this note, click here.
- To call Q3 “challenging” is an understatement. Growth momentum is increasingly absent.
- Most metals were relentlessly forced downwards in Q3. Gold declined .13% (almost wiping out its gains YTD), silver fell .11% (down 13% YTD), and copper swooned 4.96% (down 9.42%YTD).
- Rather than pinpoint an “elephant in the room”, there are multiple negative catalysts including slower growth in China, a relentlessly stronger US Dollar, and excess commodity supply.
- Geopolitical events including the downing of Malaysian airline’s MH17, the potential spread of the Ebola epidemic, and the “rise” of ISIS have not had a significant effect on metals prices. The “metals” disconnect has many analysts, myself included, puzzled.
- It raises the question of whether or not the current downturn is structural rather than a “normal” cyclical downturn from which we always expect to recover.
- Q4 themes and catalysts may include a stimulus package in China aimed at boosting consumption, continued US Dollar strength (negative for gold and a deflationary precursor) , an announcement of QE in the Euro Zone, and the end of QE in the US.
In Deflation’s Grasp?
We have discussed the inflation/deflation debate many times in the past. It now seems clear that deflationary forces are predominant. Falling commodity prices, sparked by excess global supply and muted demand, aging societies, a stagnant velocity of money, and the ubiquity of technology continue to conspire to suppress and overwhelm the Federal Reserve’s attempts to stoke inflation.