China is a land of pagodas and terraced rice-fields...oxen, water buffalo and giant duck-ponds...people in conical hats playing cards and sleeping under shady banyan trees.
Depending on where you go, China could be a tremendously cheap place to live, but you would need to have a pioneering spirit--and also a commitment to learn Chinese.
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- Population: 1,349,585,838
- Capital City: Beijing
- Climate: Extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north
- Time Zone: UTC +8
- Language: Standard Mandarin
- Country Code: +86
The chart shows the price returns on Japan’s TOPIX Stock Price Index for each month of the year (in Japan’s currency, the yen)… Two other trends quickly pop out at you when you look at the chart: How poorly Japanese stocks do in the summer and fall, and how well they do early in the year. The returns from May to November look pretty darn bad. And the returns from January through April look pretty darn good.
All around the world, people like to welcome the New Year in style. Take the city of Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. Every January sees the return of the Junkanoo Parade—one of the oldest street festivals in the Caribbean. With drums and horns blasting through the air, the party atmosphere is palpable.
The mood on copper has tarnished lately. The industrial metal was down 17% in late 2015. It hit a six-year low in August.But the situation for copper is not as dire as it seems. In fact, we could be in for an upside surprise this year.
Every once in a while, an investor with fresh money to invest should pause and ask an important question: “What asset class can I buy that is unquestionably cheap?” The asset class on the bargain-basement table today is emerging markets. Hard to believe, but you can buy most emerging-market stocks today at valuations that are nearly as low as what they reached during the 2008 financial crisis.
Here comes the sun…for consumers as well as investors.The solar power industry has had its ups and downs during the past few years, but it seems to have turned a corner. Indeed, you could say that solar is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In June, United States solar facilities smashed their record for power generation. Utility-scale solar power plants—those with a capacity of one megawatt or more—produced 2,765 gigawatt-hours of electricity.
Someone once asked me the most ridiculous thing I ever did as a travel writer. The list is long—very long—but the notion that I could communicate in Chinese was pretty ridiculous. The day’s plan was to explore the 1,000-year-old town of Yangmei, not far from Nanning. It sounded fascinating—a place of temples, lotus ponds, and architecture dating back to the Ming dynasty. The hotel in Nanning arranged a taxi to get me there and back, so it didn’t matter that I’d left the phrase book in my room.
Despite the U.S. stock market’s high profile, its long-term performance has seriously lagged behind some really surprising foreign stock markets. This fact is an important reminder that the most obvious investment choices are not necessarily the best ones. Every year, Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse produces the Global Investment Returns Yearbook in association with the London Business School.
Everyone likes to complain about inﬂation, right? But I have news for you: There are big changes afoot that are going to make many of the things you buy not more expensive, but less. Crude oil now threatens to test its price low of 2009. But oil isn’t the only commodity under pressure. Coffee is down more than 40% since its recent peak in October of last year. You know what’s doing nearly as badly as coffee? Copper. Copper has broken not one, but two important lines of support. In July, Goldman Sachs slashed its price target for copper in 2016 by 44%. In fact, all industrial metals are doing poorly. I’m talking copper, aluminum, tin, nickel, iron.
I am in China. Again. It’s my fourth time in Guangzhou. Friends wonder why I keep coming back to this southern city. But they’ve never been to the Canton Fair Complex… Football-stadium-sized buildings fill city blocks. Each has half-a-dozen floors. And inside, you’ll find furniture, electronics, clothes, food…nearly everything…at factory-direct prices.
Scandinavia is one of the most expensive regions in the world… and Norway is usually the most expensive country within Scandinavia. But thanks to a falling oil price coinciding with a rising U.S. dollar, Norway is on the bargain counter. The Norwegian krone recently touched a 13-year low against the dollar, while the shares of Statoil, Norway’s largest oil company, recently bounced off a six-year low (in dollar terms). These multi-year lows offer enticing buying opportunities for the forward-looking investor.
I ’d never seen a festival like it in my life, and I’d been living in Southeast Asia for 16 years: the massive procession of people winding its way through the streets, bearing aloft colorful offerings of fruit, flowers, and food, following a glowing chariot to the temple where they unburden themselves. Many of them adorn their bodies with ornate but painful-looking piercings and shave their heads as a sign of devotion.
I never thought of photography as a way to earn money. It was just too much fun as a hobby. So, you can imagine my elation when I sold my first framed travel photo for $600! And, then, sold two more on the same weekend. I had been a teacher and a programmer, back in the States. But when I began living out of a suitcase—accompanying my husband on his longer business trips—I started photographing my travels
Renowned for its beaches and culture, the Indonesian island of Bali plays host to the annual Bali Arts Festival from June 13. This celebration of traditional art and dance includes tribal dress—resplendent golden headgear, vibrantly-colored saris, and ornate tribal masks—and traditional dance unlikely to be seen anywhere outside the remote villages where it originated. A terriﬁc way to immerse yourself in the unique traditions of the Eastern world while soaking up some glorious rays.
A new era of relative peace has allowed Colombia to prosper. In the past decade, annual GDP growth has typically been in the 4% to 6% range. In U.S. dollar terms, Colombian stocks have tanked. The local currency, the Colombian peso, has fallen hard against the U.S. dollar. The reason? Collapsing price of oil. Brent crude oil is down 50% since June 2014.
Individual investors in China and India are buying physical gold in ever-growing quantities…and yet the price of gold isn’t rising. What gives? The short answer would appear to be that Western investors remain fairly persistent sellers of gold, thereby suppressing the gold price. The longer answer is that no one really knows. During Asian trading hours, gold has gained a cumulative $738 an ounce since September 2011. But during New York and London trading hours, gold has racked up a loss of $1,177 per ounce. The bigger point here is that the “Asian bid” for gold is large and growing.
In October of last year, China and Russia signed a landmark currency-swap deal allowing Russia to tap into $24.4 billion in liquidity. This was followed by an announcement that the People’s Bank of China would permit trading of renminbi-ruble derivatives and China’s Import-Export Bank extended credit to two sanctioned Russian banks. In other words, China’s doing what it can to help Russia keep its head above water. This is one of the greatest economic chess moves in recent history. And could be one of the greatest investment opportunities in our lifetime.
“Chinese stocks have the potential to deliver triple-digit returns within 24 months,” I explained in a recent CNBC interview. That was a bold thing to say on camera… but I believe it’s absolutely possible… In fact, twice in the last decade, Chinese stocks have soared by triple digits within two years. When China goes up, it can soar… In China’s 2006-2007 bull market, Chinese stocks soared by 500%. It soared by more than 100% in its 2009 bull market as well. Importantly, Chinese stocks today are just as cheap as they were when they started their last two triple-digit runs in 2006 and 2009. They are hated, too… Investors have been avoiding them for the last year. Meanwhile, Chinese stocks are now in a definite uptrend. This is the ideal setup for big gains… So how can you trade it?
The last decade has seen the rise of the low-cost carrier in Southeast Asia. Cheap, short-hop flights now criss-cross the region—much of it spread across the ocean in archipelagos like the Philippines and Indonesia. This boom in no-frills flights means cheap travel and it’s one of the reasons that my wife Lisa and I can travel so much. We live in Penang, Malaysia, but whatever Asian destination you chose for your home you’ll find it easy to explore the region.
The bidding in the auction room stood at 2 million Hong Kong dollars—and all eyes were on me. Ceiling fans offered some respite from the stifling heat outside, but the room still seemed unbearably hot. Some 40 or 50 collectors and dealers, many of whom had made the trip from mainland China, jostled for elbow room. A bank of auction assistants manned telephones and laptops, processing bids from around the world.
Romania acceded to the European Union back in 2007… just in time for the global financial crisis to bite it in the neck. GDP growth, which at a robust 6% to 7% during the previous few years had been among the highest on the continent, promptly collapsed. The economy contracted by a whopping 6.5% in 2009 and remained in the red the following year. It’s been in a state of tentative recovery ever since.
China is changing. That much we all know. And in the last few years a major shift has been in people’s diet. Spurred on by improved incomes, the growing Chinese middle class has developed a hunger for western-style foods—that means more meat and dairy.
Southeast Asia is home to some of the world’s most acclaimed and mysterious ancient ruins. Many of these once-bustling cities and monumental religious sites lay forgotten until relatively recently, jungle-shrouded and known only to a few locals, who thought them the haunts of ghosts and spirits. These marvels of the ancient world are now more accessible to travelers than ever before. Some are well known and easy to reach, others are more of an adventure. Here’s a rundown…
Many folks in the know want Penang kept a secret. This tropical Malaysian island in the Andaman Sea is one of Southeast Asia’s most attractive retirement havens. For the expats already there it ticks every box…
When it comes to hedging against dollar debasement, few things have performed better than gold. Holding some physical gold might just qualify as the very definition of “preparing for the worst.” But even though the historical case for gold is strong, the raw supply/demand case for platinum and palladium might be even stronger.
The Great Wall in Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors in the western city of Xian, the ice sculptures in the frigid northern city of Harbin: These are the tourist destinations most people think of—and hope to visit—when they travel to China. Magnificent as these places are, you’ll find them jam-packed with domestic and foreign tourists. Due to the ease of visiting the famous sights and of finding English-speaking guides, most foreigners don’t stray too far from the beaten path.
People often ask me what I love about travel and the answer, I think, lies in certain memories that stand out more than others. Riding in the back of a pick-up through the Peruvian jungle—a hundred miles from the nearest village—I caught a glimpse of an ancient temple. It wasn’t on any map. The mist dissolved before me and there it was—a palace of crumbling stones, laced with creepers. Howler monkeys cried from the treetops.
Many emerging markets are actually in much better physical shape than the United States. So for instance, while people think of countries like Indonesia as being highly risky from a fiscal standpoint, Indonesia is actually on much sounder financial footing than the U.S.
Five months ago I spent two weeks scouting through Thailand—most of that was spent in Chiang Mai, for that is where the opportunity lies. This is a complicated market, as I explain in a special edition of Real Estate Trend Alert—ready to download here.
In this special edition, you’ll also discover… How to profit from inefficient markets… The condos in Medellin, Colombia that you should avoid… And lots more…
Begin the month in Scotland’s Spey Valley where, as part of “Whisky Month,” the Spirit of Speyside Festival runs from May 1 to 5. Tastings, workshops, and even a guide on how to properly photograph a “wee dram” of whisky are all on the schedule.
Asia is vast and diverse but a few things unite it, one of which is a love of noodles. Every day from Beijing to Bangkok billions of noodles are sucked up and scoffed by everyone from lunching laborers to office workers in a hurry. And for the biggest producers times have been good.
A special edition of Real Estate Trend Alert—on my buy of the decade on the Riviera Maya. In this special edition, you’ll also discover…
What happens when unstoppable tourism demand meets limited land opportunities… The excellent protection offered by Brazilian “reciprocity” contracts (I just got a check for $20,000)… A new real estate investment trust in Ireland… The opportunity in retirement care in Ecuador… Incentives to invest in Panama City’s 341-year-old historic quarter…
If you want to increase your future returns while reducing your risk, you should add some emerging-market stocks to your portfolio. It may surprise you that adding riskier, emerging-market assets to a portfolio will reduce overall risk, but it shouldn’t. These markets do not move in lockstep with the U.S. market, which hit a series of all-time highs in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Is Malta the Safest Bet in Real Estate You Can Make Today? Could Be…Case Study: The Last Great Crisis Investment in Ireland…The Window is Closing on Our “Spanish Triple”…Burma—New Condominium Law that Allows Foreign Ownership…Will U.S. Flights Ever Land at Planned New Airports in Costa Rica and Nicaragua?…The Latin Currencies That Mean a Buying Opportunity for You…And More.
China exports more than $1 trillion in goods each year. And that opens the door to an incredible opportunity for people who want to make money online. But it’s important to understand how the game is played. There is a website that has become one of the largest and most successful online marketplaces in the world.
In northwest Africa the village of Kartong, Gambia, hosts the Kartong Festival February 7 to 9. Traditional dance, music, and street performances, as well as local arts and crafts, are part of the event, which includes cook-offs and feasts. From February 7 to March 1, the Perth International Arts Festival in Western Australia will sate your appetite for the art.
Colombians have been visiting the colonial town of Salento in the heart of the country’s Coffee Triangle for decades. Its colorful bahareque architecture and the proximity of the vast and magnificent Cocora National Park are just two attractions. Trout is a specialty dish. And costs of living are low. For example, expats who have settled in the region report renting for just $200 a month.
For any careful investor it’s important to understand not just the current trend but rather where we’re headed. As such, keep an eye toward the future for the growth leaders of tomorrow. Since 2007, emerging markets have been outspending American consumers. Take a look at the charts here to see how the international growth/redistribution of current consumption trends will change the landscape of international business.
On a lazy weekend afternoon when I was 13, I thumbed through my school geography text book, pausing from time to time to admire the amazing photographs of some of the wonders of the world. I was inspired. So began my dream fantasy to visit these wonderful places myself. Today that’s exactly what I do.
For almost three years while teaching English abroad I also imported and exported goods between North America and Asia, mainly China and Thailand. It was the perfect supplement to my teaching income and a good way to enjoy some local travel. Here’s what I learned and how you can get started:
Your October issue of Real Estate Trend Alert is ready. Here is just some of what you’ll find in your latest issue:
∗ A New Opportunity to Profit in Brazil: I’ve scouted an exciting new deal in Brazil’s Northeast where there is still a window of opportunity to profit. There are limited lots (only 43 left) for members at a special 10% discount with developer financing before the project launches to the local market. Find out more…