Wilbur Ross, chairman & CEO of WL Ross & Co. LLC, offers his take on the slight uptick in unemployment data and energy opportunities in the U.S. Wilbur Ross is still very bullish on natural gas and is finding value in the sector.
Video and computer transcript below:
more now on what to expect on jobs and how strong this economy really is. billionaire investor wilbur ross joining us exclusively. wilbur, good to have you on the program. welcome back. good to be back, maria. so do you think we’re turning the corner on the economy? what’s your take in terms of the labor market ahead of that important jobs report tomorrow. i think the economy is going to continue to lumber ahead, very small rate of growth, one week good, one week bad. and i just think that’s the kind of time zone that we’re in. there’s not real lift. there’s not real topline growth. and topline growth is what makes jobs. and in the meantime, you have been a real smart investor in terms of finding the distressed opportunities, opportunities that are trading at low levels is and yet have tremendous value over the long-term. are there still distress situations out there in this economy? oh, yeah. strangely, shale gas, which is in the process of transforming our whole economy in a very positive way, went from over $90 to $4 today. i think there’s a disconnect between the price of the materials and the price of the securities.i’m glad you mentioned shale. because over and over again, icontinue to hear deep-pocketed investors say this is a game changer for the economy. it’s a game changer in terms of being a money maker. how do you really, how do you make money on the rich amount of shale gas we have in america? well, i think there are several ways. one is through the exploration and production companies themselves. we’re big investors and have been for a while, in a company called ex-con. another way of doing it is through marine transport. we’re very big in petroleum products shipping, we’re very big in lpg shipping.because, eventually, there’s going to be huge export markets for both coming out of the u.s. whereas, historically, we had been an importer, both of hydrocarbons, whether oil or natural gas.so, is it a — do you think that changes if, in fact, theadministration does not okay the keystone pipeline? how does the actions out of washington play into this investment idea?well, the keystone pipeline is really to bring oil, tar sands, and oil down from canada to the u.s. so it’s a different thing. it’s a substitute for some of the oil coming from the arab countries.the pheno i’m talking about is more natural gas and oil found in the u.s., in pennsylvania, in ohio, north dakota, louisiana, texas, and the possibility of exporting those products. you can’t actually export crude oil, because that’s against u.s. but you can and we are exporting refined petroleum products. but, what about keystone. do you think that also offers an opportunity to make money on the energy sources in this country? well, it may, but it’s a different thing. do you think it will pass? i hope it gets passed. all of the states involved have now cleared it. it’s changed its direction a couple of times. but whatever happens to tar sands is not going to have much impact on the shale phenomenon. in terms of shipping, i’d actually be better off if,instead, the canadians ran a pipeline to the west coast andexported it to asia, because that would create mton mile of sea.what other actions would you like to see from washington? we were just having a whole debate on the federal reserve and the effectiveness of all of the qe out there. do you think there’s a damaging downside to this? well, i think qe has done a few good things. it’s certainly true that it’s contributed to the stock market bubble and especially the bond market bubble. but it’s also true that it has helped reignite the housing industry, which is one of the very few strongly healthy parts of the economy. the combination of pent-up demand since the break in ’08 and very low interest rates making for very good affordability, that’s why you’re having a resurgence in housing. so it has definitely helped that. it’s also held down the number of corporate bankruptcies, because a lot of companies that wouldn’t have the ability to cover their interests in a high-interest rate environment are able to do it here. so it has been of some benefit short-term. so it’s a great analogy there. wilbur, always wonderful to have you on the program. thanks so much.