Dull media outlets can always count on Jim Rogers for a good sound bite.
In an interview from economically robust and insulated Singapore (NYSEArca: EWS), he told CNBC viewers a whole bunch of gnarly stuff – some of it surprising, most of it trademark Rogers.
Let’s begin with the surprises:
Rogers hates paper money, but he’s long the Chinese Renminbi (NYSEArca: FXCH), U.S. dollar (NYSEArca: UUP) and the euro (NYSEArca: FXE). Let me repeat that, in case you thought it was a transcription error: I said, Rogers hates paper money, but he’s long the Chinese Renminbi, U.S. dollar and the euro. It sounds to me like he’s succumbed to a full-fledged case of masochism or schizophrenia or maybe both. He hates paper currencies, but he still owns them!
In the interview, Rogers also stated the obvious: “If you listen to governments, then you are not going to make a lot of money. Governments lie, distort and make mistakes.”
Interestingly, this same concept was already explained 200 years ago by English historian Thomas Babington Macaulay but with slightly different words when he said, “A government which attempts more than it ought will perform less.”
“Physical,” was a hit song by Olivia Newton-John in 1981 and I suggest business TV producers should consider playing it the very next time Rogers isn’t available for comment. That’s because Rogers is (still) bullish on commodities (NYSEArca: GCC) – a viewpoint he’s held for as long as any of us can remember.
Rogers also said silver (NYSEArca: SLV) looks more attractive than gold (NYSEArca: IAU). (No doubt goldbugs will interpret this to be horrifically bearish news and fret over what to do next.)
While certain Nobel Prize winning economists (see Paul Krugman) continue to underestimate the impact of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, Rogers was clear that it would have an impact on the U.S. and elsewhere. Rogers rightly stated that Greece (NYSEArca: GREK) and other over indebted countries should go bankrupt, so they can reorganize themselves sooner rather than later.
Not included in Rogers’ extremely secretive investment portfolio are exposure to the British pound (NYSEArca: FXB) or U.S. stocks (NYSEArca: SCHB).
What about the market’s outlook for 2012? “It’s 2013-14 we have to worry about,” he said. But Jim, how can we worry about then, when we’re still not done worrying about now?
Finally, Rogers was adorned in his usual bow-tie, not necessarily to make a fashion statement, but to remind everybody about the good old days back in the 1800s when rice was nine cents per pound.
Rogers is the CEO and Chairman of Rogers Holdings and a former sidekick with the ever delightful and un-opinionated upper 1 percent George Soros.