Tag Archive | "oil price"

Ecuador Bond Failure


Ecuador bond failure may create profits in two ways.

See below how an Ecuador bond failure might make properties like this hotel (for sale right now) worth more.

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Many readers have sent me a link to the Bloomberg which says: “Ecuador May Default on $30 Million Interest Payment (Update2)” by Lester Pimentel and Daniel Cancel.

There are two important points we can spot by studying this article…one about global investing…the other about living abroad.

First, let me make one other point, the most important point of all. However you invest…wherever you live, do something you love.

For example, here I am working hard leading our latest Ecuador real estate tour. We are looking at a “hotel” for sale by the sea.

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Do you think I am worried about how I am going to retire?

Work hard but enjoy the process! We love looking at places like this Ecuador “hotel” for sale.

The asking price?

You won’t believe it when you see it below.

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The key is to invest in stuff you find interesting…and fun. Find a way to earn and smell the roses at the same time. In this case we are, as we inspect the hotel we smell the bougainvillea and hibiscus.

More on the hotel and price in a moment. Here is point one…about global investing.

The Bloomberg article about Ecuador bond defaults says:

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — Ecuador said it may default on a $30 million interest payment as a tumble in oil erodes export receipts, putting President Rafael Correa on the verge of fulfilling a two-year-old threat to repudiate the country’s debt.

Correa will use the 30-day grace period on the bond payment, which is due tomorrow, to analyze legal opinions, Finance Minister Maria Elsa Viteri said at a news conference in Quito.

Ecuador’s finances have come under strain as oil, which accounts for 60 percent of the country’s exports, has plunged 61 percent from a record high in July to $57.23 a barrel.

Ecuador, which last defaulted in 1999, needs an oil price of $95 to cover all the spending in its budget and a price of $76 to avoid depleting its $6.3 billion of foreign reserves, according to Barclays Capital Inc.

“They are burning reserves,” said Eduardo Levy-Yeyati, an emerging-markets analyst at Barclays. “The question is whether they will keep paying if oil prices don’t recover.”

Ecuador’s foreign debt totaled $10 billion as of September, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. That’s equal to less than 25 percent of its $44 billion annual gross domestic product.

Correa, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, won a landslide victory in November 2006 after promising to rewrite the constitution and boost spending on the poor. He said in September that he’d suspend debt payments before trimming spending on education and health care.

Correa has done this once before in February 2007. He said he would miss a $135 million bond interest payment but then made it.

Before that payment was made, on February 12, I wrote about buying these bonds:

The point is this speculation may be a good value because the premium you are paid to take the risk is higher than need be.

Readers who read this and bought this bond then (before the payment was made) earned 20% over night.

This time the risk premium is even more! I believe there are two reasons for the current higher potential return.

First, Ecuador is more likely to default this time than last. Correa is under more pressure to fulfill promises he has made now than he was two years ago. He had just started office then. Now he is mid term and people expect him to deliver. He may decide to spend the money on education, etc. instead.

Second, bond markets and especially emerging bond markets have been hit by a huge dose of panic. All bonds are priced lower than normal.

The bond issue in question is a $510 million bond maturing in 2012. Prices for this bond have plunged as low as 14 cents on the dollar. At this price, the bond yields over 100%.

Imagine this. If you were to buy this bond now and Ecuador does not default, each year for over three years, you double your original investment. A $50,000 investment might earn over $150,000 of income during the three years. Then you get your $50,000 back.

ON THE DOWN SIDE though Standard & Poor’s has cut the country’s rating three levels today to CCC-. This translates to basket case. If Ecuador does default, you could end up making no profit and perhaps losing part of your original investment…though it is unlikely you would lose it all.

Point #2:

A reader sent this note “Gary–with Ecuador defaulting on its debt–why would one want to invest in Ecuador?”

This reader has probably never lived abroad and does not understand that living conditions can get better when you live in a country where economic conditions are down. Prices are lower. Labor is easier to find. Everyone is more willing to serve and work hard…if you have money.

Merri and I were living in Ecuador when the sucre collapsed falling from 3,000 sucres per dollar to 24,000 sucres per dollar. Ecuador did default on its bonds then.

So what? All this meant was that food, clothing, shelter, staff, everything local cost about 1/8th as much as it had. Wages were down. Bargains were everywhere!

Merri and I were loved because we stayed. We spent. We provided jobs.

Life can actually be better in hard times…

…especially if you have your income and investments OUT of the depressed country.

There is a caveat. If conditions deteriorate too far, law and order can break down.

Ecuadorians are basically friendly, non violent people so I do not have any great concern about this. This is based on experience. I have lived in places where people were not quite as easy going.

I have lived through law and order breakdowns before, first time…when living in Hong Kong. Poverty created riots and bombs in the streets there in the late 1960s.

That was not fun.

Mind you, Hong Kong real estate prices went on to rise higher than almost anywhere in the world. Those troubled times were among the best for buying real estate…ever.

I saw problems with bombs in public places when I lived in London as well. In February 1991 the provisional IRA managed to actually launch mortars from a van 250 yards from the Prime Minister’s home at Number 10 Downing Street. One shell landed behind the residence and blew out the windows of the war office.

Closer to home, the bathroom door of Merri’s and my London house was jarred off its hinges when an explosive device was used to start a raid on the Iranian Embassy in 1980 after it had been taken over by Iranian Arab separatists. The embassy in South Kensington was near our house .

Did this ruin London?  London real estate prices have since risen to be among the highest in the world and Londoner’s standards of living have skyrocketed.

Problems create opportunity! Economic trouble in a country can create opportunity for those who have money to spend and invest.

Another worry that people have is that the Ecuadorian government will nationalize or confiscate property. There is little history to support this and such a seizure would make little sense.

Such concerns ignore the fact that there are all types of confiscation taking place everywhere…at every level…even in the good old USA.

One family at my last course told me how, for decades, they had been buying property to build low cost housing. They have prepared many of the properties so they followed the zoning ordinances so they could build. Now the municipality has changed rules so they can no longer build.

Taxes are increased. New rules are added and fines levied for non compliance of new zoning ordinances. Costs and problems have risen so dramatically that these developers have had to abandon some of their property to the municipality. After foreclosure the municipality has built the same low cost housing…but obviously less efficiently.

The argument here is not that Ecuador is better than the USA or England or Hong Kong, etc.

The argument here is not that Ecuador has no risk.

The two points are that the perception of risk may be overblown and the premium for taking the risk is high as well.

Plus Ecuador is a great place to be…especially in the winter.

Risk is everywhere.

Ask not, “Where is there no risk?”

Ask instead. “How much is the real risk and how much am I paid to take it?”

Find interesting (for yourself) investments that pay high risk premiums.

Find delightful places where YOU want to be where the cost of living is too low.

Until next message, good global investing and Ecuador living.

Gary

This brings us back to where we started working hard…looking at this hotel for sale. Nine bathrooms, about 15 bedroms.

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Here is our latest group inspecting the hotel,which is one block from the Ecuador’s Pacific.

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Join us at a course in Cotacachi or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ
Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition
March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 26 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009.

We’ll view this hotel if it has not sold. It has a huge front porch.

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Large second floor veranda with ocean views.

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Beautiful flowered front yard.

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The building is really rough and needs work…but over 8,000 square feet of building. The asking price is $60,000.

We have sent our Ecuador Living paid subscribers more details on this building on this Ecuador hotel for sale. If you subscribe, you can have this report. See how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

Join us for our next Spanish course ad real estate tours.

Join us at a course in Cotacachi or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ
Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition
March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 26 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009.

Multi Currency Strategy


A multi currency strategy is important now because extensive research on seasonality shows that basically in all major equity markets, nearly all returns are achieved from the beginning of November through the end of May. This means we are approaching the best time when equities will rise.

However a year ago, a global financial crisis began. So before we jump headlong into more security investments we need to ask, “What happens now?”

This week we will look at the strategic multi currency economic outlook developed by Jyske Bank’s strategy and research team.

The most important part of investing is to create a realistic match of your portfolio to your own wants, needs and desires.

Next, you need to invest in good value.

An overview of global economics is vital to help you spot good value.

I review my personal portfolio and how I have responded to the crisis of the last year and what I am planning ahead for subscribers of our Multi Currency Course.

Jyske’s report begins:

“It has now been a year since the international financial crisis really took off. The Fed as well as the European Central Bank have had to render assistance in the form of additional liquidity, and there is still a shortage of liquidity today – a year later.

At this point in time – a year after the onset of the crisis – the economic slowdown and the high commodity prices (particularly the oil price) have added to the financial crisis and the global economy is still facing big challenges.

What about the current situation? Well, it can be said that fear of low growth has now replaced the fear of high inflation. This development has taken place after the oil price fell by more than 20% from the peak in mid-July while at the same time we are being inundated with poor economic data for Europe, the UK, Japan, while the emerging markets are also seeing a somewhat weakening development.

What are the forces behind the global economic slowdown in addition to the weak US economy?

Global shocks = Global effects

Drastically rising food and energy prices have put a damper on the consumers’ purchasing power globally and reduced growth by 50% relative to the level in 2007. At the same time, the companies’ earnings are under pressure due to rising commodity prices and wages.

The reaction on the part of the authorities:

Despite the housing-market crisis, financial crisis, oil crisis at full blast in the US, it seems that the US economy saw stronger growth in H1 than the Japanese as well as European counterparts. An important reason for that is that the US authorities did all they could to avoid a slowdown in growth. The Central Bank lowered its interest rate markedly to 2%, and tax relief in the amount of USD 100bn were granted. Europe has seen an interest-rate hike and no easing on the part of the authorities.

Prepared for the worst:

A new development was that already at the beginning of 2008, the US companies seemed to have begun reducing inventories and cutting labour costs in preparation of the bad times ahead. Apparently they were better prepared than the companies in Europe and Asia, which will have to make deeper cuts in production to adapt to the new weaker demand.

Investment Conclusion:

A general theme for investors is positioning for continued weakening of growth outside the US. Therefore, among other things, we now see a markedly stronger dollar as the trend has been reversed. That we prefer US equities to European ones and that European bond yields will fall towards the US level.

On the whole we keep the risk unchanged in the portfolio by maintaining neutral weight for equities. Our considerations with respect to the future are that we will rather prefer to increase the proportion of equities than to reduce it.

This autumn, equities may be boosted by the lower inflation level. Moreover, the many global investors have reduced their holdings considerably. They may gain some appetite for equities when they see the favourable effect from the lower oil prices.

However, the challenges for the equity market is that slow growth will spread from the US to the rest of the world and put pressure on the companies’ earnings and, moreover, the financial crisis is still not over.

Tomorrow’s message by looking at each analysis by Jyske of each currency zone.

Until then, good global investing!

Gary

Join me and with Thomas Fischer from Jyske Bank at our upcoming international investing course in North Carolina. International Investing and Business Made EZ North Carolina October 3-5