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Author, Andrew Sheldon

Global Mining Investing is a reference eBook to teach investors how to think and act as investors with a underlying theme of managing risk. The book touches on a huge amount of content which heavily relies on knowledge that can only be obtained through experience...The text was engaging, as I knew the valuable outcome was to be a better thinker and investor.

While some books (such as Coulson’s An Insider’s Guide to the Mining Sector) focus on one particular commodity this book (Global Mining Investing) attempts (and does well) to cover all types of mining and commodities.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The global economic super cycle

These are interesting times. We are told that this is an inflationary cycle. True enough. But its not exactly clear just how significant this credit squeeze is. My personal opinion is that this is just a medium term correction, that within 18 months we are going to see a new period of credit growth. My reasons for believing this are that this 23-years growth period (1984-2007) has been too limited or regional. It was in Asia ('the tiger economies'), then it was the West, then the commodity countries. I am looking for a period when it is everywhere, when all markets are booming. I know that we will be at the top of the economic cycle when the developing countries are having property booms, when there is an excess of industrial capacity rather than a shortage. You might say that over-supplies start with shortages since they are what ignite all the new capacities. But this is what differs. This is a super-cycle where the bottlenecks run so deep that there is no chance for sufficient supply to meet demand. For this reason, I think the current credit squeeze is a period of debottlenecking. That the relaxed demand will see softer prices, particularly in assets, but it will be a period of rebalancing. Everyone is going to be relatively rich because of the huge productivity gains that are going to come from technological change.

My understanding is that this is one of those economic cycles that come around every century or so, the last being the 1880s through to the 1920s, when the world goes through a economic revolution of soughts. The Modern Era started in the Rennnaissance in the 1570s, with Leonardo Da Vinci and others. Invention of the printing press and global exploration driven by news ideas and technology. This is such a period with global inter-connectedness which will do the following:
1. Allow people in third world countries to catch up on technical skills faster than at any time in the past. Every day more & more of the information we need is on the internet and its going to grow. So how does one differentiate oneself? By having better, more useful, more insightful information.
2. The culmination of that trend is going to be global outsourcing of services. It will start with basic things like accounting, bookkeeping, technical support for call centres, but eventually it will include sales roles and project management.
3. This of course has to push a lot of productivity incentive upon the Western countries who need to stay relevant. The key is for the West to appreciate their strengths.
4. The globalisation of markets will change the way we relate. The distinctiveness between cultures will die. The market will become global. already markets are aligning. Sadly there is no competition between governments so it looks like they will align themselves in their common goal of screwing taxpayers.

The big feature of this credit expansion is that its going to move to Asia. The ASEAN region is currently creating a framework for economic integration which I believe is going to make this a region not just of savings to finance the West, but a region of conspicuous consumption. We are going to see more Indians and Chinese holidaying in the Philippines, Indonesia, whilst these countries reform to embrace the benefits of capital inflows. China and India will continue to rapidly urbanise their populations, with those new pools of labour providing part of the productivity gains, the rest coming from better organisation and technology. Organisation will mostly mean more outsourcing and specialisation.

So what are the implications for markets and commodities?

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Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com
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The Philippines property market remains one of the strongest in Asia thanks to rising incomes, rising population and rapid rates of urbanisation. The administrative reforms of the Arroyo government have given way to improved administration under Aquino. ASEAN countries can be expected to achieve even greater price gains than Western markets, demonstrating that this super cycle is far from over.

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Investment Strategy

If you are investing for the long term, you still need an investment strategy. Dont be fooled by the rhetoric of fund managers. The reason they advise you to 'buy & hold' is because they dont want to compete with you in sell-offs. Markets and industrial sectors are cyclical, so they demand trading to get the best returns. Fund managers actually cant hope to match the performance of small investors (if you are half good) because they have to manage huge amounts of funds and charge you a fee besides.
MY ADVICE is (i) look at a range of market indices and decide upon what level of correction would give you the justification you need to get in & out of the market. It might be a 5-10% retracement or a break of trend. (ii) Diversify if you dont have an intimate knowledge of the company or management. More than 30% in one company is aggressive.

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The NZ property market is shaping up as one of the most attractive property investment markets for the next few years. High yielding property and the collapse of the NZD make NZ the perfect counter-cyclical investment if you buy right! In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

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