Friday, November 12, 2010

Marc Faber: Frontier Investing

[Ed. Note: The following is an excerpt from the November edition of Dr. Faber’s indispensable monthly newsletter, The Gloom, Doom & Boom Report.]

I think there may be a window of opportunity left in frontier markets. Let me explain. In last month’s report, I noted that we should think of the US as a “huge money-printing machine that produces an unlimited quantity of dollars”.

Most of these dollars flow to the corporate sector, wealthy individuals, and financial institutions. A large proportion of these dollars is then transferred to emerging economies through the US trade deficit and investment flows, where it boosts those economies’ economic activity and increases wealth relative to the US. I also warned that potentially spectacular bubbles could develop in emerging stock markets, as well as in selected hard assets (i.e. in precious metals, art prices, and prestigious properties). I am now beginning to think that even more spectacular bubbles could develop in frontier markets. How so?

I mentioned that the US transfers dollars to emerging economies through its trade deficit and investment flows. Emerging economies are then faced with the decision of what to do about the dollar inflows. If they let the currency appreciate, a temporary loss of competitiveness may result. (This is not my view, however.) If they do nothing, spectacular asset bubbles can occur that are accompanied by high consumer price increases. In either case, the price level (especially of assets) in traditional emerging economies initially increases compared to the level in frontier markets. What happens next? (more)

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