- July 26, 2012
- Capturing the Making of a Bridge
The bridge at Hoover Dam is a fantastic example of breathtaking infrastructure built in the U.S. Linking Phoenix and Las Vegas, a 2,000 foot long bridge now arches over the Colorado River, shaving as much as two hours off a driver’s commute between the cities.
Nearly halfway completed in this photo, it’s the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the U.S., named after decorated Korean War veteran and governor of Nevada Mike O’Callaghan, and Pat Tillman, who gave up a multi-million dollar football career to enlist in the U.S. Army and fight in Afghanistan where he was killed by friendly fire.
Construction for the $114 million arch began in 2005 as part of the Hoover Dam Bypass Project and was open for traffic on October 19, 2010. The photographer of the image is Jamey Stillings from Santa Fe, who was in between assignments when he took a road trip to capture Lake Mead’s mineral deposits. Heading home, Hoover Dam’s infrastructure caught his eye and compelled him to return to the area by helicopter and car to photograph the infrastructure and surrounding area. The New York Times Magazine featured an incredible slideshow showing the tremendous scale of Stillings’ project.
According to an article in The New York Times about Stillings, his passion was fueled by “the wider historical significance of the construction. The Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, the Hoover Dam—the imagery their births created is burned into the collective memory.”
We believe the bridge underscores the ongoing need for natural resources. You’ll find more awe-inspiring stories like this one in the latest Shareholder Report, as we cover what you need, what you want and how much it will cost.
Click on the link below to see the online version now. If you’d like to read it in print, call us at 1-800-873-8637 or email at email@example.com.
All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.
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- December 28, 2011
- Reader Favorites: Top 10 Commentaries of 2011
As we celebrate the holiday season after a challenging year, I am reminded that the most important gifts are love, friendship and goodwill. Alexander Green from InvestmentU shared that sentiment in his newsletter last week highlighting the wonderful story of how Charles Dickens overcame adversity to reshape the way many look at Christmas. Read Alex’s piece here.
This week I thought we’d take a moment to reflect on the eventful year it’s been for gold, natural resources and emerging markets by highlighting this year’s most popular commentaries and entries from my Frank Talk blog.
Here’s a list of what mattered most to readers in 2011.
1) BRIC Self Sufficiency Index – February 10
Sometimes a chart can tell the whole story. This interesting chart from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch showing the supply/demand fundamentals of several key industrial metals and basic materials attracted the most attention on my blog this year.
The dotted line in the chart represents a key tipping point. The resources to the left of the line are those the BRIC countries must obtain outside of their own borders to meet domestic demand. The BRICs produce an excess amount of the two metals to the right of the line and export the remaining amount to other countries.
These materials are the necessary elements needed for emerging nations to take the next steps in their development. You can see that the BRICs must rely on imports in order to meet demand for metallurgical coal, copper concentrate, thermal coal, iron ore, refined copper and uranium—implying higher prices for several years to come.
2) Understanding the Rise of China – February 3
Jacques says China is going to change the world in two fundamental respects. First, never before in the modern era has the largest economy in the world been that of a developing country. Second, for the first time in the modern era, the dominant country in the world will not be from the West.
3) Which Gold Miners Have Largest Upside – October 13
For much of the year, a prominent story in the gold sector was the performance gap between gold miners and climbing prices of the yellow metal (see #6), leading us to ask our readers which miners had the largest upside? My investment case for exploration and development miners, or juniors, was the subset’s near-record low price-to-NAV level.
4) Is Gold About to Have Its Status Upgraded? – June 17
With the global banking system set to approve the Basel III banking provisions, I explored the possible ramifications if the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) decided to upgrade gold to a Tier 1 asset.
5) Don’t Fear a Pullback in Prices – April 25
The last week of April we received our first glimpse of the volatility that would grip markets and investors throughout 2011. After S&P warned of a downgrade to U.S. debt, gold and oil rocketed higher. I cautioned you to be aware of the inevitable snapback that comes with these types of moves but said investors could use these pullbacks as an opportunity to “back up the truck.”
Sure enough, gold prices pulled back before beginning their climb toward $1,900 an ounce. However, it proved to be the high for oil prices, which fell below $80 a barrel in early October and currently sit just below $100 per barrel.
6) Will Gold Equity Investors Strike Gold? – June 20
As I referenced before, the story of the year for gold investors has been the underperformance of gold mining stocks compared with bullion. However, this wasn’t the case for all of 2011. The NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index (HUI) had outperformed gold bullion through April, but the relative performance quickly reversed and the HUI trailed bullion by nearly 30 percent by mid-August.
This isn’t the first time gold bullion and gold equity prices have diverged. Gold equities underperformed gold bullion in 2000 and 2008 during times of extreme market negativity and uncertainty. These previous instances have been merely temporary setbacks and markets generally reverted back to their long-term trends.
7) How to Find Opportunities from Blood, Debt & Fears – September 6
This piece from September is one of my favorites of the year because it pops the notion the gold is in a bubble. Despite gold’s dramatic bull run over the last 10 years, the yellow metal is only twice as high as its 1980 price. In comparison to other economic yardsticks since 1980, this is miniscule. Ian McAvity, editor of Deliberations on World Markets, says that federal debt, the S&P 500 Index and even GDP has grown much faster than gold over that same timeframe.
The gross U.S. federal debt of $14.3 trillion is 17 times its 1980 level. In 1980, the S&P 500 was at 105; today, it trades around 1,100. A gold price of $1,808 seems paltry as it is only 2.5 times the 1980 high of $738.
McAvity extrapolates the relative growth rate of the yellow metal, indicating that if gold doubled from its current high, it “would nearly ‘catch up’ to GDP, while it might take a quadruple to match the S&P, or even a six-fold gain from here to catch the growth of debt.” Multiplying the largest of these figures by the current price of gold means prices could theoretically go to $10,800. By these standards, gold is hardly a bubble.
8) The 2011 Gold Season is Just Around the Corner – August 1
The gold season kicked off a month earlier this year as shenanigans on Capitol Hill and cultural buying pushed gold prices up a staggering 12 percent during the month of August.
September has traditionally been the beginning of the gift-giving season for gold. This is the time of year when gold jewelers are the busiest. The season for gold began with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in August. Then came Diwali, known as “the festival of lights” in India, and we’re in the midst of Christmas here in the U.S.. Next will come Chinese New Year.
When word got out the deposed dictator had a large pot of gold, many wondered whether that gold would be used to finance Gaddafi’s troops in a civil war. Our director of research John Derrick spoke with then CNBC host Erin Burnett about the unlikelihood of that happening.
10) The Bedrock of the Gold Bull Rally – April 4
Naysayers started calling gold a bubble back when prices hit $250 an ounce and though gold’s bull market has tossed and flung the bubble callers around for almost a decade now, their voices have only gotten increasingly louder as prices broke through $1,000, $1,200, $1,500 and even hit $1,900 an ounce.
In this extensive piece, we dove into gold’s relatively small role in global asset allocation. In 1968, gold represented nearly 5 percent of financial assets. In 1980, the level had fallen below 3 percent. That figure had shrunk to less than 1 percent by 1990 and has remained there since. Eric Sprott wrote that “it is surprising to note how trivial gold ownership is when compared to the size of global financial assets.”
Don’t Forget About the Interactive Ways We Help You Explore the World
Some of our most popular pieces this year haven’t been commentaries at all. From slideshows, to interactive maps, to videos, to games and quizzes, we’ve rewarded your curiosity to learn and explore in dozens of ways.
Each year, bigger, taller and more technologically advanced projects dot the skylines, country sides and coast lines of cities across the globe. Cities around the world take turns owning the title for the tallest skyscraper, the longest bridge or the deepest mine. Covering nearly every continent of the world, explore our current list of the grandest of all things infrastructure in the world.
Coal, hydroelectric and oil are increasingly in high demand to meet the world’s growing appetite for power. In fact, global energy consumption grew 5.6 percent in 2010, the highest rate since 1973. In addition, rising emerging markets are changing the landscape of global energy. Tour our list of ten reasons why global energy will never be the same.
Where Does the Gold Come From? Gold-producing countries are found on nearly all continents, and represent the gamut of economies from developed super-powers to small, emerging market countries. With gold’s spectacular rise in price and related demand, it’s worth your time to know a little bit about where all the gold comes from.
As long as there have been people, there’s been an attraction to gold. From pharaohs to hedge funds, gold has been an important tool of building and protecting wealth. This interactive gold timeline carries you through gold's enduring path as a universal symbol of wealth.
Paper money was first used by the Chinese during the Tang Dynasty in 806 AD–500 years before Europe began printing money in the 17th century. It would be another 100 years before America started circulating a national paper currency. And few Americans were more involved in the national paper money history than Benjamin Franklin, who wrote about, designed and printed paper money prior to the national currency. His face on the $100 bill today is our reminder of his contributions as a printer, scientist, scholar, writer and politician.
You know it’s shiny, it’s rare and it’s the standard against which all good things are measured. But how much do you really know about gold? Take the 2.0 edition of our interactive quiz to test your knowledge of gold history, geography and politics. We’ve also dug up some obscure trivia just to make it a little bit more challenging.
I’d like to thank all of our content partners that help thousands of additional investors take advantage of our weekly insights. Most importantly, I want to thank you for tuning in each week. Our investment team works diligently each week to illuminate the most important drivers of different markets around the world and we hope the information has helped guide you during this year's tumultuous market.
I’m sure many of you have family members, friends and colleagues who are searching for answers to today’s puzzling markets. Please be sure to share these free weekly alerts with them, or they cansign up here.
In his story on Charles Dickens, Alex Green says the author's "goal was not just to entertain but enlighten." We at U.S. Global couldn't agree more. One of the greatest gifts you can give is the gift of knowledge and it’s free.
All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.
The NYSE Arca Gold BUGS (Basket of Unhedged Gold Stocks) Index (HUI) is a modified equal dollar weighted index of companies involved in gold mining. The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies.
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- October 28, 2011
- The Impact of Seven Billion People
On October 31, the world symbolically welcomes its 7 billionth. The real date the world hits that number is up for debate, but it has been symbolically chosen by the United Nations as a way to emphasize the effects a growing population will have on the globe.
Over the past half of a century, the world has rapidly accelerated in population growth. In 1800, the Earth had about 1 billion people, 2 billion by 1927 and 3 billion in 1959. A little more than 40 years later, our population doubled.
Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the UNFPA noted some great statistics in the United Nations Population Fund report, “State of World Population 2011.” He says,
Today, there are 893 million people over the age of 60 worldwide. By the middle of this century that number will rise to 2.4 billion. About one in two people lives in a city, and in only about 35 years, two out of three will. People under the age of 25 already make up 43 percent of the world’s population, reaching as much as 60 percent in some countries.
In nearly every presentation I give, regardless if I’m discussing gold, emerging markets, energy or the U.S. Global Investors’ funds, I show this population S-curve. To me, this dramatically rising line illustrates the significance of the world’s population on commodity consumption, rising gold demand and infrastructure buildout taking place in every continent.
Watch the countdown to 7 billion here: worldometers.info.
By clicking the link above, you will be directed to a third-party website. U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this website and is not responsible for its content.
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- September 16, 2011
- A Yuan, Euro and Dollar Walk Into a Bank…
Currency markets have been the pawns in central bankers’ chess games around the world in recent weeks, as each country looks to gain the slightest edge in today’s growth-starved economy.
Weeks ago we saw a big intervention from the Bank of Japan, which stepped in and tried to stop the yen’s downward slide. Last week, it was the Swiss National Bank that moved to improve the Swiss franc’s stature among global currencies. Also recently announced was that the Hong Kong dollar soon will no longer be pegged to the U.S. dollar, which got foreign exchange traders excited.
Even gold has gotten in on the currency game. Despite disagreement from America’s own money man Ben Bernanke, many argue gold is currency since: A) the Constitution says so and B) it’s a store of value. But, paper currencies such as the euro, yen, yuan and the U.S. dollar are the main media of global finance today.
Paper money has been around a long time. It was first used by the Chinese during the Tang Dynasty in 806 AD–500 years before Europe began printing money in the 17th century. It would be another 100 years before America started circulating a national paper currency. And few Americans were more involved in the national paper money history than Benjamin Franklin, who wrote about, designed and printed paper money prior to the national currency. His face on the $100 bill today is our reminder of his contributions as a printer, scientist, scholar, writer and politician.
Given the important role paper currency plays, we’ve developed a quiz along the lines of our gold, oil and emerging markets quizzes so you can test how much you know. Give it a try. If you do well, don’t forget to show off your score to your friends.
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- April 29, 2011
- Frank Talk Turns Four
Four years ago I started this blog as a way to communicate our investment themes and share our team’s observations as we travel the world searching for opportunities. One of our values at U.S. Global is having a “curiosity to learn and improve” and I felt starting a blog was a great tool to supplement our weekly Investor Alert and help our shareholders understand the nuances of global investing.
In the early days, a typical posting received only about 100 views, but the blog has built a strong following along the way. Today, Frank Talk is read by as many as 10,000 people a week across more than 70 countries. In addition, Frank Talk is now syndicated on more than 45 investing sites such as Kitco, SeekingAlpha, Morningstar and TheStreet.com (Read the list of content partners).
Over the years, Frank Talk has also won several STAR Awards from the Mutual Fund Education Alliance (MFEA), which recognizes fund families for outstanding investor communications.
I’m very proud of the content on Frank Talk and I thank you for reading the blog. I look to cover stories that come across our investment team’s desk, or have been miscommunicated in the mainstream media. I also use Frank Talk to point out important trends and developments in gold, natural resources and emerging markets. The more shareholders can educate themselves on these complex topics, the better prepared they will be to make good investment decisions.
I hope you enjoy the insight provided by Frank Talk. Don’t forget to let your friends know where you get all those interesting facts about gold demand in China and infrastructure projects in the Middle East.
There are several ways they can tune in. Readers can subscribe to read Frank Talk through the RSS Feed, catch it by “liking” U.S. Global Investors on Facebook, have it teased in 140 characters or less on Twitter, and even keep it at the touch of their fingertips with the U.S. Global iPhone app. And of course, there’s always www.usfunds.com.
If there’s something you’d like to see discussed, please email my editorial team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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