The Hera Research Newsletter is pleased to present the following insightful interview with John Embry, Chief Investment Strategist of Sprott Asset Management LP, where he plays an instrumental role in the corporate and investment policy of the firm. Mr. Embry, who is a world renowned expert on the gold market and on gold and precious metals mining shares, currently focuses on the Sprott Gold and Precious Minerals Fund. Mr. Embry has researched the gold sector since 1963 and has more than thirty years of industry experience as a portfolio management specialist.
After graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Mr. Embry began his investment career as a stock selection analyst and Portfolio Manager at Great West Life, where he later became Vice President of Pension Investments for the entire firm. After 23 years with the company, he became a Partner in United Bond and Share, an investment counseling firm acquired by Royal Bank in 1987.
At Royal Bank, Mr. Embry was named Vice-President, Equities and Portfolio Manager at RBC Global Investment Management, a $33 billion organization where he oversaw $5 billion in assets, including the flagship $2.9 billion Royal Canadian Equity Fund and the $250 million Royal Precious Metals Fund, which was the #1 ranked fund in Canada for its 2002 net performance of 153%.Hera Research Newsletter (HRN): Thank you for joining us today. Let’s talk about gold stocks.
John Embry: Gold stocks represent a tremendous value in relation to the price of gold and to the fundamentals of the sector. There has been tremendous shorting activity by hedge funds and, as a result, dedicated gold funds have experienced redemptions. Retail investors, who are natural buyers of these stocks, have been annihilated by the price action. This has created one of the finest opportunities, if not the finest opportunity, that I have ever seen.
HRN: Do you have a short term price target?
John Embry: I don’t look at short term price charts for gold. In a market as heavily interfered with as this one, charts can be made to look any way you want in the short run. As I see it, if you don’t like gold at these prices, then you must like currencies. My partner Eric Sprott often says, the U.S. dollar is the best looking horse in the glue factory. If the U.S. dollar is the world’s strongest currency, that’s the best endorsement for gold that I can think of.
HRN: Do you believe that currencies are losing value?
John Embry: The fact is that economies are slowly melting down. The problem is excessive debt in almost every corner of the world. The only way to deal with the debt is through aggressive growth, but fabricating growth through more debt won’t work. The idea that you can get the economy to move forward by creating even more debt just doesn’t wash. We can’t service the existing debt, even at artificially low interest rates. I don’t see any easy way out. We have to get the excessive debt out of the financial system. Either policy makers are going to create mounting inflation or there will be a deflationary debt collapse.