The investment guru gives his latest views on commodities, including gold and oil.
[This interview originally appeared on HardAssetsInvestor.com last week and is republished here with permission.]
When Jim Rogers talks, investors listen. Rogers may be the world’s best-known commodity investor, with his Rogers International Commodity Index and best-selling books, including “Hot Commodities.” HAI Managing Editor Sumit Roy recently spoke with Rogers from his home in Singapore about commodities, including whether he’s ready to buy gold after the recent plunge in prices.
HardAssetsInvestor: A lot of investment banks have recently called an end to the commodities supercycle that began more than a decade ago. Do you think they’re wrong?
Jim Rogers: I'm delighted to hear that. Bull markets climb a wall of worry. I'm not quite sure where the supply is coming from that would cause the bull market to end. Maybe they know something I don’t. But when you look back at the stock bull market from 1982 to 2000, stocks collapsed in 1987, ’89, ’90, ’94, ’97, ’98. And every time, people said the bull market is over. But it wasn’t. This bull market in commodities will definitely come to an end someday. But someday is not here yet.
HAI: What signs do you look for to determine when the bull market is close to ending or has ended?
Rogers: Well, when there’s massive new supply coming on stream, then we’ll have the end of the bull market. But the world has consumed more agriculture products than it has produced for a decade now. But worse than that, we’re running out of farmers. The average age of farmers in America is 58; in Japan, it’s 66. Many of the industrial metals are now below the cost of production.
And nearly everybody has cut back dramatically on their expansion plans and investment plans. Oil reserves are declining pretty steadily around the world. We do have shale oil, which has caused a rise in supply. But that’s only in the U.S; the rest of the world has declined. Moreover, it remains to be seen how long the oil boom in the U.S. will continue.
HAI: All the talk recently has been about the recent plunge in gold. You’ve been saying, for a long time now— even when prices were hitting record highs—that you weren't going to buy until prices corrected to $1,200. Are you still planning on buying there?
Rogers: Yes, if it gets there. I bought more today [June 18], as a matter of fact. I bought a little bit, not much, over the last few days in case this was the bottom. I would not be surprised if there's another chance to buy lower later on, but I'm buying and I own it. I haven't sold any.
HAI: How do you determine whether gold is a good value or not? What has to happen for you to get completely out of gold and say out?
Rogers: All these things will end in a bubble some day. Long bull markets always end in a bubble or mania before it’s over with. And when there's a bubble in gold, I hope I'm smart enough to get out. We haven't seen a bubble yet. Until recently, if you went around any U.S. city, you would see signs outside many jewelry stores saying “We buy gold.” And the American people line up to sell gold. Later there’ll be signs there saying, “We sell gold,” and people will be lining up to buy it in big ways. That hasn’t happened yet.