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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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The emperor has no money

Have you heard the one about the 'emperor having no money'. It is a variant on the theme of 'the emperor with no clothes'. It highlights the moral relativism or 'monetary rationalism' that goes blistfully unawares in the largest economies in the world. Consider these facts:
1. Most of the world's financial resources are denominated in USD, EUR or Yen
2. Most of the world's wealthy people are located in those countries as well.
Monetary authorities in these countries need not draw attention to their economic malaise if they all sabotage their economies in the same stride. i.e. The Japanese have a bloating public debt of 220% of GDP, Europe has the indulgent southern and northern states to support, whilst the US has its twin deficits. Now, these countries account for so much of the global wealth base, that if any large public or private holder of these cuurencies decided to do anything, what difference would it make? The 'rest of the world' is too small to account for significance.
The implication is that currencies like the Australian, Canadian dollars, South African Rand, etc can become priced very high in USD terms, and these currencies will remain in-sync, and thus relatively attractive by virtue of the size of these economies. None of the monetary authorities will question the strength of these commodity currencies.
So what is the next step? The problem is that these 'strong' currencies will be forced to sabotage their economies too so that their currencies weaken. After all they have to remain competitive against the major currencies....otherwise they will simply become miners of commodities, which employs only 3-5% of any labour force directly. Clearly they are not going to allow that. So expect commodity producers to sabotage their economies, i.e. Expect them to increase taxes and welfare, so that a greater piece of the cake goes into unproductive welfare. Expect them to keep interest rates artificially low to drive their currencies down.
This is where perceptions become more important than facts. That is why the 'emperor has no clothes'. People care not about the long as the illusion of comparative advantage or the illusion of wealth is preserved. In the meantime, the global wealth creating potential of the globe will be sabotaged. Collectivists around the world can rejoice....they are extending tyranny to the strongest nations in the world. The good will be forced to discard financial discipline. Morality or fiscal responsibility will become irresponsible or impractical by this standard of value. Welcome to the contemporary system of public administration. It was always there, you just didn't see where it was taking you. It gets worse...are you going to wait for worse?
Andrew Sheldon

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The AUD will continue strength - $1.25 anyone?

You might wonder for how long can the AUD exchange rate sustain its strong rise against the USD. I would suggest that it can do it for a while yet. We might think that the strong $A is going to jeopardise our international competitiveness. The reality however is that:
1. Until recently, the USD was being debased more than the AUD was rising. This is evident against other currencies such as the Philippines peso, a strong Asian market, which is not a significant commodity exporter. It should be, but corrupt/failed state impacts its prospects.
2. The AUD is benefiting from stronger commodity prices, but alas they have tends only to strengthen because of a weak USD, which most commodities are denominated in.
3. The Australian economy is such a commodities export machine sitting on the door-step to Asia, so there is good reason to expect strong export income growth, as well as strong business investment.
4. Australia is a net oil exporter. We must remember that whilst Australia produces little oil, i.e. about 60% of its needs if I recall correctly, it produces a hell of a lot of gas, and conventional and liquefied gas is priced based on an oil reference price, i.e. If there is a Middle East crisis, a lot more energy dollars is coming to Australia. Mind you some of it will be flowing out again as dividends to US, European and Chinese/Japanese/Korean equity partners.
5. These strong exports is driving more investment, which leads to capital inflows, i.e. strong $A.
6. High local indebtedness: The Australian private household is well-geared to property. The Reserve Bank is going to keep interest rates low so that people keep spending. i.e. It wants people spending as much as possible because the domestic economy will be a little weak...mind you unemployment is pretty good. But people will not be confident about the external world. But interest rate rises will probably depend on if housing turns into a there will need to be some increases in prices cool that market.

It is true that tourism will be hit by a strong AUD, and the government is clamping down on immigration growth. We can also expect some weakness in the broader market thanks to weakness in property. A little weakness in the broader domestic market might actually help to curtail spending. Fears of inflation, problems in the Middle East and the US economy also help.
For these reasons....I think the currency will stay strong.
I just don't see anything negative on the horizon. I don't see China collapsing. High oil prices will hurt Asia more than Western markets, though its probably tensions in the Middle East will probably not impact oil production.
Andrew Sheldon

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Australian dollar lives up to expectations

For a number of years I have been very bullish on the Australian dollar. The reasons are clear for a person with an understanding of currency markets and mining. I have both. So when you witness the activity going on, and you read headlines like the following - one becomes sharply optimistic:
"HSBC estimates the total value of Australian mining and resource projects proposed or under construction at $777 billion, or about 60 per cent of gross domestic product".
The implication of this is that in a few years there is going to be mining operations contributing about $150 billion in wealth to the Australian economy, i.e. about 15% of GDP is going to be added to the Australian economy. We need to be careful here because:
1. Not all these projects are committed
2. These are capital costs - but we might expect conservatively a 4 year payback on these projects
3. These projects will have variable mine lives, anywhere from 3 years (for smaller gold mines) to t0 20-30 years for a gasfield, to 50 years (for iron ore mining projects)
4. Resources are still being discovered
5. Mineral prices are still rising, and can be expected to keep rising so long as the global labour market place keeps liberalising.
6. A mining project can take anywhere from 2-10 years to commission.

Based on this information, we might expect around half of this investment to be earning export dollars in the next 3 years (i.e. 25% of 30% of GDP) offering 7.5% growth in GDP. i.e. Mining is adding about 2.5% growth to GDP. But then we need to acknowledge that this is just part of the economy, and this ignores the capital inflows to fund this investment.

This is why it is good to be Australia. Well actually there are a lot of reasons. In fact, I can only think of one bad one. We have a government - 2nd only to Mussolini in terms of is fascist foundation for governance. Australians are unwittingly vulnerable given they are just basking in jobs, high pay and excess sun.

This is obviously a problem because people will start spending, raising foreign debt levels, people will stop working, reducing workforce participation, and thus economic efficiencies tend to creep in. That is when government starts importing labour...which brings you to Australia. The land of milk and honey..and bad government. A miners paradise. Clearly there is some vulnerability to global events; most particularly global metal prices. I actually think we can expect some vulnerability as a result of an oil price spike in the Middle East, as revolutions broaden in scope.
Andrew Sheldon

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