As the world economy teeters on the brink and rising oil prices threaten to de-rail the delicate roots of recovery Oilprice.com asked legendary investor Dr. Marc Faber to join us and give his views on high gasoline prices, the shale boom, alternative energy, developments in the Middle East and much more.
In the interview Mark talks about the following:
- Why investors shouldn’t buy oil right now
- Why alternative energy investments are a bad idea for investors
- Why Iran should be allowed Nuclear weapons
- Which direction oil prices could go and why
- Why Investors should be taking money off the table NOW.
- Why we shouldn’t be pinning all our hopes on natural gas
- Why selling down the strategic petroleum reserve to reduce oil prices is a useless strategy.
- Why the shale boom won’t affect US foreign policy priorities
- Why Obama is a disappointing president
Dr. Faber is a very well known commentator throughout the investment community. He regularly appears on CNBC and is a member of the Barrons round table.
Marc is the editor and publisher of the Gloom Boom & Doom Report, which is a very popular investment newsletter that highlights unusual investment opportunities for its subscribers. You can find out more about the Gloom Boom & Doom Report at Marc’s website:www.GloomBoomDoom.com.
OilPrice.com: A number of our readers have been enquiring about the recent oil price increases, where a few weeks ago we saw them rise to a ten month high. Where do you see oil prices going from here, and what do you see as the main reasons for the rapid increase?
Marc Faber: I think there is a risk that oil prices will go much higher. At the same time, the bullish consensus on oil is now at one of the most elevated levels it’s ever been. In other words, from a contrarian point of view, you shouldn’t buy oil right now.
I think it may go down somewhat. In general, if trouble breaks out in the Middle East, or if there is a war, I think the price of oil could go much higher.
OilPrice.com:What are your 3-5 year projections for oil prices?
Marc Faber: Well, you’ll have to give me a second. I need to call Mr. Ben Bernanke and ask him how much money he will print. Commodity prices were in a bear market from 1980 to 1998, and since then they’ve gone up. But because of expansionary monetary policies and artificially low interest rates they have increased more than would have otherwise been the case. We don’t know exactly how long this asset bubble will last – but say if you had interest rates in real terms, of five percent, instead of negative five percent, then I think all commodity prices, including gold, would be lower.
OilPrice.com:Obama is being pressured by the Democrats to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to flood the market with a large supply of oil in an attempt to drive down prices. Some commentators seem to think that this will help, although only in the short term because low supply isn’t the cause of the high prices. Do you think it’s sensible advice to use the reserves now to lower short term prices or should Obama remain strong and only use the stockpile for what it was designed for?
Marc Faber: I think selling down the reserves would be a useless strategy as one of the main reasons prices are rising is due to international tensions. It’s possible for an increase in supplies to drive down the price a little bit. But in emerging economies like China and India, the demand continues to go up. Now, it may not go up every year by the same quantity it did in the last 3 years, because in the last 15 years, oil demand in China tripled, from 3 million barrels a day to 9 million barrels a day.
So it’s conceivable that in a recessionary environment in China, oil demand will not go up substantially for one or two years. But because the per capita consumption is so low in countries like China and India compared to say the U.S. and Japan and Western Europe, I think the trend will continue to increase.
OilPrice.com: There’s a great deal of political theater going on around the Keystone XL pipeline. Do you see the pipeline as being essential to U.S. energy security and something that has to be pushed through at some point?
Marc Faber: Yes, I think it would be important to have the pipeline. But as you say, there’s a lot of political pressure and so forth. I think it would be very desirable for the U.S. to become energy self- sufficient.
Some observers and forecasters say they can achieve this goal within ten years, due to advances in natural gas extraction. I don’t believe it, but I have to respect the view of some
OilPrice.com: The media has been full of reports on the coming shale gas boom. What are your thoughts on shale gas? Is it the energy savior we are hoping for?
Marc Faber: I doubt it. But as long as the market believes it, we have to translate every forecast and every view into investment opportunities. I think a lot of people believe in shale Gas’s potential and so this may underpin some strength in equities and currencies. But as I said, I don’t believe it.
OilPrice.com: Do you think the shale boom could lead to a change in U.S. foreign policy priorities?
Marc Faber: Well, I don’t really believe it. But as you know, Mr. Obama has engaged in more foreign policy initiatives in Asia. For what, I’m not quite sure. The thinking is in the U.S. is that China is a threat. Therefore, they have to increase their cooperation with Asian countries, such as India and the Philippines.
Personally, I think it’s an ill-timed move, because I don’t think that China has any military ambitions in Asia. But put yourself into the chair of China’s leadership. What is the top
priority? China obtains 95% of its oil from the Middle East. The top priority is to make sure that this oil continues to flow and that the supply is secure. So they have to secure the oil shipping lanes, from the Middle East, past the southern tip of India, through the Straits of Malacca, up the Vietnamese coast, into China.
Each time they do that or attempt to do that, America and it allies in Asia perceive it as a threat. So the tensions increase.
OilPrice.com: You just mentioned that you don’t believe China has any military ambitions in Asia, but we’re seeing quite a lot of tension in the South China Seas, especially the Spratly Islands and the energy resources located there. How do you see the situation playing out between China and its small neighbors in this region who all have a good claim on the resources?
Marc Faber: As I just mentioned, China’s a huge country. They have certain views about territories in Asia, and I think the U.S. would not react particularly positively if say China or Russia or any other nation had numerous military and naval bases, in the Caribbean or in