Jim Rogers’ 5 Best & Worst Regions for Commodity Investing

Rogers is all surprises on where to dig and grow a good commodity play

Jim Rogers (Photo: AP) Jim Rogers (Photo: AP)

“One word: Angola.”

In what seems like a play on the classically awkward “plastics” scene from The Graduate, commodities guru Jim Rogers counts Angola as a top pick for commodities investors.

Rogers tells The Daily Ticker that in addition to Asia (a seemingly perennial favorite), there are great opportunities in Africa, as well one big one in South America.

“I said to my wife, ‘let’s move to Angola — we could live like kings,'” the genteel and bow-tied Rogers, author of “Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets,” told the website on Monday. “She said, ‘you move to Angola; I don’t want to live like a queen in Angola’…but you could!”

He includes one big surprise (or maybe not, given his commodity bent).

Read on for his picks for the best and worst commodity spots around the globe:

BEST

Luanda, Angola's capital cityAngola: The website cites Bloomberg stats in noting Africa’s second-biggest oil producer has been looking to boost foreign investment after almost three decades of civil war that ended in 2002. For would-be investors, the country has plans for the start of stock exchange trading in 2016, with a futures and commodities market in 2017. The economy, it notes, grew 7.4% in 2012. The downside, according to the Ticker? The cost of living is described as “astronomical by expat standards."

The site adds: "Money is subject to strict government controls, and decades of war means infrastructure and arable land are lacking.”

Marketplace in Mekele, EthiopiaEthiopia: It’s come a long way since Live Aid, and famed 1930s dictator Haile Selassie, deified by Rastafarians everywhere, would be proud. The Financial Times notes the African country, once known for its closed economy and squabbles with neighboring Eritrea, has become an enticing prospect for investors.

“Members of Ethiopia’s diaspora are moving back and leading the way along with Chinese investors," the Ticler says. "They’re trading coffee and investing in health care and manufacturing.”

House in Uruguay (Photo: AP)Uruguay: No, it’s not Brazil or Argentina, but their much smaller neighbor. The website says living in Uruguay will cost you 30% to 40% less than living in the U.S.  

“And if you do relocate or invest, the U.S. State Department reports Uruguay’s government has traditionally seen the importance of foreign investment, recognizing and enforcing property rights and contracts," the Ticker says.

It also noted that the strategist Jeremy Grantham recently named Uruguay a good place to invest in farmland in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

WORST

Jets flying over Lower Manhattan. (Photo: AP)United States: He’s not in a New York state of mind (and doesn't think much of other points west).

“I fly into New York and I say, ‘Gosh, it’s just not as exciting as it used to be. Unfortunately, the dynamic and the energy is in Asia, not America, for the most part now, whether we like it or not.”

European Union flags (Photo: AP)Europe: He also doesn’t buy into Europe’s long-term prospects, no matter what other pundits might say about northern Europe versus southern Europe, rebounds, recessions and other such talk.

“Most of Europe, while exciting at the moment, is in decline,” he said, before conceding, “It depends on where in Europe. There are countries in Europe that are still reasonably exciting.” 

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