Global Mining Investing $69.95, 2 Volume e-Book Set. Buy here.
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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Monday, December 27, 2010

Gold outlook looks good

Here is a recent argument highlighting the upside of gold. People often look to gold as an inflation hedge. The reality however is that any tangible asset is a hedge against inflation, because whilst assets have a real value, paper is being debased in order to repay government debt, or private debt which governments are busily assuming.
Many tangible or physical assets have been falling or steady in recent times. These assets will eventually, or are already stabilising. Gold in contrast, has been a laggard because it offers no return on investment. This is why gold producers make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, because they make a lot of sense, they are already priced very high, so this takes off a great deal of the upside. I also don't like to carry the operating risk, as mines can under-perform, and there are other risks such as:
1. Governments adopting a gold tax or a mineral resource rent tax
2. Technical issues, say recoveries are bad, or grades overstated
3. Hedging issues

For these reasons, I actually prefer explorers of gold. A mineral explorer might only be capitalised at $10/oz, but once they prove up their resources, they will be valued closer to $100/oz. Add to that the spectre of takeovers or production, and you have realised a very appealing investment return. I discuss such stocks on my Speculators blog.

One of the big drivers of gold is going to be the current low interest rate environment. Governments are compelled not to raise interest rates because of the high debts, so they will be for years be trying to support property markets. They will be looking to non-rate ways of curtailing debt creation, i.e. Asking banks to only lend to solid investors. This is what happened in Japan. Its essentially fascism, but don't bother you pretty little minds about that...WikiLeaks Julian Assange is the only one who is going to be assassinated; all you common people are just going to be taxed. You will take care of the rest, as you engage in psychological repression in a vain attempt to pretend nothing is wrong. You will clammer after material evidence of your well-being to convince yourself. It is remarkable what humans will do to convince themselves that all is well. After telling my father there was going to be a financial crisis for 10 years, it was like trying to lance a boil, trying to get him to concede that I was right. Not that I needed his validation after 30 years of getting none, just I wanted to understand the nature of human delusion. Sadly, he has resumed the delusion. :)
Gold makes sense because it is a tangible and non-demand store of wealth. You might be scared to touch other precious metals like platinum and palladium because they have a strong demand component, but they have their own merits, i.e. These metals are used in battery and catalysts, so they have strong exposure to conventional petrol and electric cars. Those metals are also used in fuel cells, so the demand for these metals is good. There is no huge inventory of these metals, unlike gold. But that is part of the reason why the gold market is good. It is a large, liquid market. The reality is that the precious metals market is dwarfed by the stock market, the bond market, and the forex market. So rest assured there is going to be a bubble in precious metals. Also expect the currencies of precious metal producers to have an impact. i.e. South African platinum miners will struggle to remain profitable as their mines become uncompetitive as their currency takes off. You ought to be looking for South African producers who have unhedged precious metal positions, but fully hedged currency positions.
The argument is that 'quantitative easing' or printing money might cause inflation. The reality is that there is no question of that. In a recessed economy, such money cannot go into productive capacity because there is little demand; it can only go into assets. So one experiences a bidding way, as excess money pushes up asset prices. When asset prices are fully-priced, that money spills into debt repayment or consumption, and we get inflationary pressures. Only non-demand related assets like gold perform well, as well as property, once it forms a base. People with housing debts can struggle under interest repayments. We are not there yet, but in a few years inflationary pressures will build. It is not yet time to fix interest rates. I do not think we can get away with low interest rates like Japan because Japan had the fortunate position of loyal investors prepared to accept a 0.5% return on their Japanese bonds for years. Westerners would sell their mothers for a higher return, so this is going to bid up bond prices.
The situation is different however for countries like Australia, which are experiencing a commodities boom. The energy-precious metals boom is going to keep capital inflows strong. A strong currency will give the government some flexibility to absorb or retain relatively low interest rates. This will make Australia the flavour of the month. The question is what will happen to the manufacturing sector? Protectionism? By that point we might have a liberal government. Of well, they all sell out, when they ought to be reducing wages. Sadly, we do not have the same wage flexibility as Japan. It is sad because if we had their discretionary bonus system, we would be able to increase savings, but also allow businesses to easily withhold or cancel what is considered a right to a certain wage now. People would not be able to plan, i.e. people would not be able to develop ruinous levels of personal debts. That would be tragic. Commonsense would prevail.
"Adjusted for inflation, prices touched a high of about $2,423.8, according to figures from the World Gold Council".
Interestingly, this is the price that I got when I looked at the historical ratio of gold to the Dow Jones, which is a measure of tangible versus paper money. I am looking for a gold price of around $2,400/oz, so almost double the current price, but it will depend on future currency debasement. We might see even higher prices.
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Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com
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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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