February 11, 2011

Egypt Turmoil Not a Factor in Rising Oil Prices, Says Peter Schiff

Despite media concerns, other factors at play in energy sector

Despite a heavy allocation to energy, Peter Schiff, CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, isn’t worried about the tense situation in Egypt.

“Egypt isn’t a big factor in what’s happening in oil prices,” Schiff said Friday from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. “Other countries, specifically China and India, have a far greater impact. I’m watching developments because, if events there do in fact cause oil prices to rise, then I benefit. But I don’t think it will happen.”

As far as investment and capital inflow prospects for the country as a whole, Schiff says it’s too early to tell.

“It could positively result in Democratic change, but we don’t know a whole lot about Vice President Omar Suleiman,” Schiff says. “If he responds to the protesters and makes the necessary changes, then great. But he could also be another Mubarak, just with a different name.”

Egypt needs what everyone needs, he says, which is a liberalized economy with low unemployment and open markets.

“Despite the political situation, it’s the only way for the country to experience any real continued success,” he notes.

Turning to CPAC, he’s most impressed with father/son speakers Ron and Rand Paul. The politician receiving the lion’s share of attention, though, is New York’s Jimmy “Rent is too damn high” McMillan.

“He's got cameras following him everywhere,” Schiff says. “And he’s announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination. He’s again claiming something is too high, but I can’t understand just what that is.”

He also reports that a small movement to draft Donald Trump to run has begun, although he believes it was started by Trump himself.

As for his own future in politics, Schiff, who lost a Republican Senate primary battle in Connecticut to Linda McMahon, stayed coy.

“I don’t have any plans to run in 2012, but you never know. I actually think I would have come in second or third in the straw poll here. There are 10,000 people here and I have a lot of supporters. I certainly wouldn’t have won, but I would have fared well.”

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