What is your view on global economy and inflation?
The world economy is in recession and the inflation is going to stay here, it is going to get worse. Some countries lie about it. But, inflation in all countries is going to get worse. The next decade is going to see lot more inflation, which is not good.
In this light, how can one beat inflation and generate higher inflation adjusted returns?
Commodities are the best inflation hedge, better than real estate better than anything else. Nothing can assure you better than commodities, but only if you are good at it. You have to pick the things that go up the most to make more money. Inflation does not cause prices to rise, price rise causes inflation.
Frequently, since the prices of the commodities go up before the inflation numbers, one can stay ahead of inflation. But, if you get it wrong you might do worse. So, investing in those commodities, which are going to go up first or selecting the right commodities, is the key to stay ahead of the inflation and make a lot of money
Do you think Asian economies are decoupling from the rest of the world?
If you deal with the largest economy you are going to get affected by what is happening in America. If you are in the other sectors in Asia, such as water treatment and agriculture you have decoupled. You do not care what is happening in America.
But, if you sell to Wal-Mart, which is the largest retailer in America, you are going to suffer badly. So, some will decouple and some may not. Since India is such a closed economy, which is a negative as far as I am concerned, in this particular short term, India will suffer less probably than other countries which are more integrated with the world economy.
What is your view on the dollar?
Fundamentally, dollar is a terribly flawed currency. I am pessimistic about the future of the dollar; I expect it to continue to deteriorate over the next two or three decades.
The dollar is rallying at the movement because there are so many pessimists including me. But, I hope to use that rally some time in next year to get better of rest of my dollars. I do not want to own any US dollar. Also, I would not urge you to buy US dollar. Dollar is going to loose its status as world reserve currency.
Some of the OPEC countries have already started and no longer take dollar, like Venezuela no longer accepts dollar. Other countries, like Gulf, are already looking and may be taking a package of basket of currencies instead of dollar. I am not the only one who knows the dollar is in trouble. Anybody who watches the TV knows that the dollar is in trouble.
What is you assessment of the crude oil prices in the short and longer term?
I do not have idea as to where the oil prices are headed in the short to medium term. I do know over the course of the bull market, which perhaps has another 10 years to go, the crude oil price will be much higher.
Your bets in the commodity space?
Agriculture is one thing I will be looking for the next decade or so. Within commodities, I would not say these are the best, but may be sugar, coffee and cotton. I am also starting to look at some of the base metals they are down a lot; starting to look at some of these like silver, copper, zinc and gold.
Also, if you want to invest in Asia, commodities are the best way. Because, no matter what happens, the commodities have to be better, Asia has three billion people and is now involved in the world economy. Besides, in commodities you do not have to worry about corporate governance, central banks, unions, politicians or anything.
With gold prices correcting, do you still advocate buying gold?
I am trying and want to buy some gold. However, whether this is the low in the gold, I have no idea, but if gold goes lower, I will add some more. Gold is something I do not plan to sell. Gold is something I will gift to my children.
How will alternative fuels play?
Many politicians around the world are advocating bio fuel now. It is going to happen whether it is good or bad. There is going to be much more demand for the bio fuel going forward. This is also a reason that I am optimistic about the outlook of agriculture.
Your views on the water potential in Asia?
India and China have huge water problems. Water could be the next big investment. And, the best way is to invest in water companies which clean it, transport or pump it. Find the water companies that solve the water problem and you could be the richest person in India.