Vaguely Familiar

8 Jan

Our declaration that hard assets will significantly outperform financial assets over the foreseeable future is purposefully vague, as to how to most optimally take advantage of this divergence. We hesitate to specifically point out investment targets because, quite frankly, we believe that the greatest returns will probably accrue to those areas which are currently overlooked.  While history is a good starting point when performing scenario analysis, the phrase “history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme” should immediately spring to mind.  This mantra recognizes the similarity and dissimilarity, not only of markets but of market participants.  This becomes important when attempting to position oneself in anticipation of a particular forthcoming market environment. For example, the fact that gold has sometimes outperformed during periods of above average inflation does not necessarily mean that it will outperform some other physical metal which may have better underlying fundamentals.  Sometimes the structure that surrounds a particular asset is indicative of the degree of potential relative outperformance.  Perhaps, the fact that the individual investor has a number of ways to currently “play” the gold story is also a good indicator that the market might be simply revisiting their old inflation playbook.  Contrast this with some other smaller, non-exchange traded metals which essentially possess no speculative format which would allow investor participation. If we take as a given, the fact that all metals will benefit from an extended uptick in inflation, then the expected development of vehicles designed to allow investor involvement will only provide a tailwind for further price appreciation in some of the more obscure parts of the physical metals markets.

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