Peter Schiff, the ardent critic of the Federal Reserve and its easy-money policies, appears today at IndexUniverse’s Inside Commodities conference in a panel on precious metals to discuss how the Fed’s latest round of quantitative easing is affecting gold prices.
In addition to Schiff, the head of Euro Pacific Capital, other luminaries in the world of commodities investing are set to appear at the event, with Geert Rouwenhorst, the Yale finance professor and brains behind the SummerHaven commodity indexes, set to deliver a keynote address at lunch. Rouwenhorst’s academic work helped validate the idea of commodities as a distinct asset class.
Another important figures in the world of commodities who is participating is Dennis Gartman, the macro trader and editor of “The Gartman Letter.” Gartman took part in a panel examining the outlook for commodities in 2013 and beyond, and argued, among other things, that while it's sensible to buy gold right now, concerns surrounding the Fed's ultra-loose monetary policy are overblown and that he's definitely not a gold bug.
IndexUniverse’s fifth annual Inside Commodities conference is taking place when the world of commodities investing finds itself at a critical juncture. On the one hand, China’s growth is easing, putting a damper on demand for sundry materials. On the other hand, the Fed’s third round of quantitative easing is fueling renewed concern about inflation and a new rally in gold prices.
While some investors aren’t yet fully on board with the idea that futures-based commodities investing is for real and merits a place in their portfolios, it’s clear that the idea is catching on since Rouwenhorst and Yale colleague Gary Gorton published their seminal work, Facts and Fantasies about Commodity Futures, in 2005.
The success of certain ETFs speaks to a changing mindset.
The broad futures-based PowerShares DB Commodity Tracking Fund (NYSEArca: DBC), for example, has gathered $6.67 billion in assets since its launch in February 2006, and the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO) has pulled in $1.23 billion since it came to market in April 2006.
“Inside Commodities: Long-Term Growth, Immediate Opportunities” is a one-day event being held at the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago.
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