On this investment page, you'll hear more about how you profit from the unprecedented shift in wealth to today’s emerging markets.
Read more about up-to-the-minute details of global investment plays that you won’t find anywhere else. Find out more about investment insights on how to safely profit from the most important trend of the last 100 years--the shift of wealth from the “old” economies (such as the U.S., Europe and Japan) to the “new” economies of the future (such as Brazil, India and China).
See below to view more investment articles.
Learn more about how you can profit from today's emerging markets. Simply enter your email below to subscribe to International Living’s free daily e-letter and we’ll immediately send you a free report.
Get Your Free Report Here
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.
Emerging markets are, and will remain, the centers of global economic growth for the foreseeable future. That’s why all serious investors should have them in their sights, especially when they offer us a cheap, low-risk entry point, as they do now. True, investors in emerging markets have had a tough time in recent years. Prices have been sliding since April 2011, with especially sharp falls in the second half of 2015. Commodity prices have collapsed, which has slammed the economies and local currencies of the big commodity exporters, such as Brazil, Russia, Chile, Colombia, and Peru.
Tell someone you’re collecting polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride and they may raise an eyebrow. Tell them you’re collecting Bakelite and you should get a smile. This robust plastic found uses in all manner of everyday appliances. Manufacturers of domestic goods, jewelry, and even weapons embraced its ﬂexibility. Once upon a time, it could be found in almost every home across the U.S. And that’s good news for aspiring collectors. With the rebounding value of vintage goods, Bakelite is now very much in demand once more. This is a great time to dust down that old TV set and root that old phone set out of the attic. The beauty of collecting Bakelite is that an item of real value could be just lying around in a cupboard or basement, waiting to be found.
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.
European real estate is on sale…at least in a few select locales. You know the story by now. In the early and mid-2000s, Europe’s real estate markets embarked on a massive tear. It became a gold rush. A mad frenzy. Values rose and rose…until everything stopped. Credit dried up. The market imploded and real estate owners found themselves deeply underwater.
The next big thing in Australia isn’t a new uranium mine or a natural gas field off the western coast. In fact, it’s not a commodity at all. But it’s adding tens of billions of dollars to the economy and sparking double-digit growth that you can tap.
Imagine a land like something from a fairy tale. Magnificent châteaux have spiky black turrets resembling witches’ hats. Immaculate Renaissance gardens prove that horticulture is indeed an art form. Riverbank towns with timber-framed houses, ancient arched bridges, and openair markets dot the landscape. Vineyards give way to wheat fields studded with scarlet poppies and scarecrows that are far too prettily dressed to be outside scaring crows.
There’s a situation right now worth your attention south of the U.S. in Mexico. Mexico is set to become a developed country in the coming decades. You can benefit most from this economic transformation in the beach city of Playa del Carmen. The strategy? Buy best-in-class real estate, particularly the type of real estate that will appeal to the mobile entrepreneurs and young, new, upper middle-class families that are moving there.
In the deserts of western Nevada, ground has been broken on a building that, when complete, will cover some 10 million square feet. This building—which will soon be the biggest in the world—is Tesla’s Gigafactory, just outside of Reno. It’s a manufacturing plant for making car batteries and Powerwall packs, which store electricity for home use.
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.
In 2009, the global financial and economic crisis steam-rolled through fragile Portugal. In the six years since, I have been closely watching the real estate market in the Algarve (that’s the popular tourist destination at the nation’s foot). I have made four scouting trips here in recent times. Finally, it’s time to make a move.
Within a generation, the world’s population will surpass nine billion people. Do you know how much food the world will have to grow and produce in order to feed all those hungry mouths? Right now, we produce about 3.94 billion tons of food for consumption each year, but experts say we will need 50% to 70% more food in order to meet demand by 2050. That’s a huge increase and an extremely daunting challenge.
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.
The dazzling Caribbean island of Roatán offers much more than spectacular sugarsand beaches and cozy, inviting bays. You’ll also find mountainous terrain lush with vibrant tropical flowers. Head up any of the many hills that form the interior to be awestruck by the surrounding Caribbean Sea, its surface sparkling in the sun, its depths tinged with aquamarine, topaz, and soft green hues.
The news out of Brazil is bad. Really bad. I’m excited. I’m excited because, while the media’s stories imply that the whole nation is a mess, I know that’s not the case. But most people don’t know that. And for you that opens a window of opportunity. You see, Brazil’s media is centered in, and dominated by, Rio and São Paolo. What reaches us as “Brazil news” is essentially just Rio/São Paolo news. And yes, there are troubles in Brazil’s economy, no question. But I’ve been focusing my attention south of Fortaleza in the northeast, and I’ve come across some great opportunities.
If you were to make your way far below the icy North Pole to the seabed at a certain spot, you would ﬁnd an unusual titanium ﬂag. It’s Russian, and it was stuck there in 2007 by the crew of two mini-submarines as a symbolic land-grab that rivals anything in history. Though it’s not a “New World” that Russia and other Arctic countries are seeking. It’s new oil. And now, with the scramble for Arctic oil heating up, the abundant black gold buried beneath the ice could constitute a fantastic investment opportunity.
One of my favorite scam stories is of the German lady living in Paraguay. Claudia Bettina Muller was arrested last year for printing fake passports in her basement. Police found printing and engraving machines, along with boxes of blank passports and counterfeit government forms. But before I had ever heard of Claudia Bettina Muller or the Paraguayan police caught up with her, I had heard of this scam. I had come across a speaker at an event in Nevada who claimed he could get anyone in the attentive audience a Paraguayan passport in as little as a month. This was possible he maintained, because he had high-level government contacts. The cost was only $45,000. (That’s half of what any of the second citizenship programs I work with charge.) Right then, as he spoke, I knew it was a scam.
In 1986, I walked into the main Credit Suisse branch in Chicago and told the doorman I wanted to open a Swiss bank account. I was led to a private office overlooking the Chicago skyline and was asked for my minimum deposit. Being just 31 at the time, I played it conservative and started with just $2,000 (about $4,300 in today’s dollars). I was asked to fill out a one-page form and provide a copy of my driver’s license. I gave him a check and away I went. It took all of 20 minutes. In 1986, “offshore” was still exotic. It was something regular people didn’t really do. How things have changed in 29 years.
Silver gets no love. Most investors despise the stuff. But while everyone is happy to grind silver into dust, a funny thing is happening. Silver bottomed back in December. It’s been building a base for its next move. And this next move could be explosive. The last time silver had a big correction—back in 2008—the next three years saw a rally of 400%. This time, the sky’s the limit.
Eleven years ago, I made my first public speech about opportunity in international real estate. The topic? “Nicaragua: The Next Costa Rica?” I argued that indeed it was. The premise of my talk was straightforward. Over time, I predicted, Nicaragua would develop along lines similar to those tourist-friendly Costa Rica has followed.
Over the next two years, the emerging-market scene will have a new favored son… Overall, India has been a bit unloved by international investors—never quite living up to the hype that the rest of the BRICs seem to enjoy. But that’s all changing. Favorable demographics and a businessfriendly government have set India on the path to renewed growth again.
Antique or vintage wristwatches have always been a strong investment. And it’s not just a hobby for the super-rich. You don’t have to be a big spender to get into this market; you can start your collection for less than $4,000. The key issue in this business is quality. And a quality watch with the right brand name has the potential to make decent returns as it appreciates in value.
Doesn’t coca-cola always taste better when drunk from a glass bottle? Much of coca-cola’s cachet is all about the bottle… and those early bottles are now worth a lot more than the drink they once contained. So are the original, old bottles worth collecting? The short answer is yes. With a huge interest in coca-cola memorabilia of all kinds, the basic bottle still holds the most appeal. Although early bottles are the toughest to find, as they were only manufactured for a limited period, they will produce the best rewards. One was offered recently on eBay for $11,000.
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.
Spain’s best beaches are hidden amongst pristine nature preserves, ancient pine forests, and historic cities that span civilizations. They have been discovered only by a small number of surfers, locals, and hippies. Now, thanks to a special distressed situation, you can buy in this undiscovered Spain for as little as one-third of what it used to cost.
Conventional Western views of Africa are of a poverty-stricken continent devoid of modern technology and economic opportunity. But over the past few years, indicators have emerged to challenge this dated and misplaced narrative. The combined GDP growth of Africa makes it the second-fastest-growing economy in the world. Clearly, there are investments on this continent worthy of anyone’s portfolio.
I ’d spent the day with Mr. Khun, my translator, as we hopscotched between meetings in Rangoon, Burma, on a sultry morning. I had arrived in the middle of monsoon season and the day’s torrential rains had bathed the city clean. Now, the tropical, noonday sun was boiling the puddles into a steamy vapor that embraced the city like a hot Wet-Nap. A pair of large, sliding glass doors glided open and a wave of air-conditioned cool slammed into me.
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.
Nothing quite says “vintage” as much as an authentic, British longcase clock (also known as a grandfather clock) standing in the corner. These charming household adornments have gone through several remarkable reinventions over their history, meaning there’s one to suit every taste and interior. And there’s now one to suit every budget, too. As fashion has shifted away from “traditional” interiors, interest in later longcase clocks has declined—and so have their prices, putting them very much in reach of collectors of modest means. As more collectors realize that now is a good time to buy, prices will inevitably start to recover—but in the meantime it is an excellent time to re-introduce a classic clock as part of the furniture.
At the beginning of 2015, the crazy market barber was chasing down every solar stock in town with a pair of shears. But against all odds (and the charts) solar stocks are quickly re-growing these days—and setting up a hell of a trading opportunity for you, too. And you’re looking at a 20% gain in just a few months if you have the stones to pull the trigger today. I backed off solar at the beginning of 2015 because every finance article that wasn’t about the oil crash was about solar power. But in February, solar started looking a little less awful. It started slinking higher, while the major averages had a brownout. That was our clue that something big was brewing. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE:TAN) is now up 20% since bottoming out in January. That’s a new bull market, baby!
In the early and mid-2000s, Europe’s real estate markets embarked on a massive tear. People re-financed, often to buy a vacation home or make a speculative investment in Europe’s sunnier locales. Values rose and rose…until everything stopped. The market imploded and real estate owners found themselves deeply under water. By 2009, with a few exceptions, Europe’s real estate markets had halted. Transactions simply stopped. The gulf between sellers’ expectations and what buyers were willing to pay was so great that there was nowhere for them to meet. Now markets are moving again. And in four countries in particular—Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Spain—I see opportunity today. An added plus is the current strength of the U.S. dollar. At time of writing, your U.S. dollar buys you 24% more euros than it did in March 2014. Now, I’m not a currency guy, and I’m certainly not making a call on future euro-dollar exchange rates, but it makes European opportunities all the more attractive right now.
For four long months between October 2014 and January 2015, oil prices tumbled down a black hole…one that seemed to have no bottom. And that was after a 10% correction in the oil market. The U.S. public was dancing at the pumps, and I filled my tank for less than $2 a gallon, a price I hadn’t seen since early 2009. The last time oil prices fell this hard this fast, the global economy was in a tailspin that threatened to turn into a depression. This time, though, the global economy is not to blame. This time, oil is having a true “blood in the streets” moment—one that could be very profitable to investors in the know. You see, lots of good investors will tell you to buy when there’s blood in the streets. Essentially, that means you’re getting assets on the cheap in hopes that those who pressed the panic button sent prices down too far.
For many centuries, coins have been collected and hoarded. They have provided security against war, disaster, inflation and panic. And an added bonus is the thrill of owning a unique item with a history dating back hundreds or even thousands of years. And right now, there’s an opportunity for you to diversify your collection with rare world coins that are seeing substantial and steady growth in value. Rare and early coins from particular parts of the world are increasingly in demand from collectors in search for a piece of history. Coins from Eastern Europe and Russia have seen some prices increase tenfold in the past decade. Coins from India and the Middle East are now of intense interest to collectors in those countries. Even traditional collecting areas—such as Ancient Greek and Roman, as well as Western European and British coins—have increased over fivefold in the past decade. And this trend is set to continue.
Over the last two years, the gold price has dropped 30%, while the silver price has been cut in half. Well, let me tell you, I think both metals are set up to surprise to the upside in 2015, especially silver. Industrial demand for silver keeps ramping up. The Silver Institute, which represents the global silver industry, expects silver demand to grow about 5% per year over the next few years. The biggest growth opportunities are in photovoltaics (solar), automotive and ethylene oxide (EO, an essential ingredient in plastics). Longer term, just in photovoltaic solar panels, demand is expected to rise to 109 million ounces by 2018 from 88 million ounces consumed in 2013.
For more than 11 years I’ve traveled all over Latin America. From the U.S.-Mexican border all the way to Argentina, I see firsthand the opportunities this vast land has to offer. I’ve never seen a better time to invest in development land in Latin America than right now. The biggest returns in development come to the earliest speculators who take positions. You don’t need deep pockets to invest in development land—if you know how to do it. Nicaragua, for example, is a country of stunning natural beauty and abundant resources. It has a young population and its economy is catching up from a very low base. It has great potential as a retirement and vacation locale for North Americans. In the early 2000s, money and people raced in. Many didn’t have the skills or the experience to develop real estate.
Seven years ago, I sat in a sparkling high-rise in the middle of downtown Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, waiting to meet with the managing director and chief investment executive of VinaCapital, Andy Ho. From the window on the 17th floor, you could look out and see huge infrastructure and commercial real estate projects all over the city. “Have you ever been to Shanghai?” Andy asked. “We, too, are building a whole new city. When you come back in five years, you won’t recognize this place.” He was right. Consider the Bitexco Tower, the crowning glory of the Ho Chi Minh City skyline. It rises 68 stories and has a stunning observation deck cantilevered off the 49th floor. When I was looking out Andy’s window in VinaCapital’s Sun Wah Tower, it wasn’t there.
Movie memorabilia has long fascinated fans, and there’s a ready market for film-related items that can see their value skyrocket as the years pass by. This makes them tempting investments—and you don’t have to be rich to get in on this market, either. If the guys in the Props Departments at MGM could have foreseen what their rubber, plastic, and glued cardboard creations would eventually be worth, I’m certain they’d have kept them all themselves. These imaginative inventors designed and crafted the stuff that dreams are made of: sentimental artworks that now appeal to serious investors as much for their nostalgia value as for the excitement generated in owning a one-off appreciating asset.
The plain fact is that the world is awash in oil…for the moment. So it’s no great surprise that the oil price is tumbling, as are the shares of oil and gas companies. But I think we’re getting close to a buying opportunity. Global oil supply is already 2.7 million barrels per day (bpd) higher than it was a year ago. Meanwhile, global oil demand is only 700,000 bpd higher than it was a year ago. Don’t panic—this is a seasonal thing. The difference this time around is that we already have a 2 million bpd oil surplus on the market, and production in the U.S. and Middle East looks set to rise through next year. The good news is that not all energy companies are loaded with debt. In fact, some should do quite nicely. But they’re all getting pounded lower now. Of course, that means we’re coming to an incredible buying opportunity in select stocks.
It’s a sun-drenched morning as I stand at a lookout point above the town of Mijas. Below me, the gleaming white buildings, with their roofs of rust-red tile, tumble down the mountainside. The pine-covered hills of the Sierra de Mijas mountain range reach up into the clear sky to my right. On my left, I can see the Costa del Sol—the Sun Coast—with the glittering Mediterranean Sea stretching to the horizon. It’s a comfortable 66 F here in Mijas, which is located in southernmost Spain. With more than 2,800 hours of sunshine a year around these parts, it’s the perfect place to escape a harsh winter back home.