Typically limited to 90 second soundbite-gathering exercises on mainstream financial media, Australia's Finance News Network gives Jim Rogers the chance to discuss much more broadly his outlook not just for 2012 but beyond. Surprised by the false optimism he sees globally, he is not concerned that consensus is too bearish, and worries that the political pressure and central banker un-independence will inevitably lead to more and more money printing. We have discussed the kick-the-can thesis extensively but Rogers moves from the desire-to-print to the consequences while covering Ron Paul and the US election, the myth of government job creation, his potentially controversial view of the Euro (and separately the Euro-zone) - all the while reminding us that he expects at least another lost decade for the US and Europe as Japan ebbs ever lower. With a view to both his geographical location and his investments, the global commodity bull remains optimistic that a Chinese slowdown will not be the end of the Asian economy (as we see in Western economies) but is broadly short equities around the world while urging investors to own real assets. Summing up, Rogers notes "...the problems are going to continue to get worse until somebody solves the basic underlying problem of too much spending and too much debt... [governments and central bankers] are not going to do anything until there’s a serious crisis or semi-crisis."
Lelde Smits: OK Jim, so we’ve spoken about US and European debt, and a potential Chinese slowdown. How do you see global markets reacting in 2012?
Jim Rogers: Well I’m not optimistic for the most part about stock markets. I don’t own many stocks anywhere in the world. The only offset of the caveat for me is the fact that there is an election in the US, in Spain – sorry in France, a few other places. So whenever there are elections coming governments spend, spend, spend they throw money out the window to buy votes. So some people are going to be much better off in 2012. Is it enough to offset the world’s problems? I don’t think so, except in some sectors which will benefit.
So for myself, I’m short stocks around the world, I’m short American technology stocks, I’m short emerging market stocks and I’m short European stocks.
Lelde Smits: And what else are you buying Jim and why?
Jim Rogers: Well I own commodities, because if the world economy gets better Lelde, then commodities will do well because of the shortages. The lucky countries will continue to be lucky for a while. I own some currencies, which I mentioned, I’m worried about currency markets. I’m short stocks. I mentioned the things I’m short. So I anticipate problems in stock markets. If the world economy doesn’t get better, you’re not going to make money in stocks. But then central banks will print more money and when they print money Lelde, the thing to do is to own real assets.