Outside the Box, May 2008


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The Geopolitics of $130 Oil

May 29, 2008

The greyhairs among us remember the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973 and that economists of the time called it an "exogenous" shock to the system. For the first time, geopolitical events had a huge impact on world energy markets. All the financial models in the world got thrown out the window when OPEC simply said, "We won't sell at any price."

Since then, of course, geopolitics has been an integral topic for everybody that follows energy markets. And other commodities. And currencies. And debt and...

Joining The Dark Side: Pirates, Spies and Short Sellers

May 26, 2008

Is the market over-valued? In this week's Outside the Box, one of my favorite global equity analyst's (and no stranger to regular readers), James Montier of Societe Generale does some very interesting analysis on the European and US markets and finds the number of stocks which make his list as possible for being a "short" is at very high levels. This is a remarkable read and re-enforces my view that we are in a "sell in May and go away" summer. This is really a great Outside the Box. Enjoy.

What the Export Land Model Means for Energy Prices

May 19, 2008

Goldman Sachs recently forecasted that oil would be at $141 a barrel by the end of the year, and rising to $200 a barrel in the not too distant future. I have seen other forecasts calling for oil to slip significantly under $100 a barrel before starting yet another bull market.

I have written for years that we are not going to run out of oil or energy, just cheap oil. I was just in South Africa, where much of their gas and diesel comes from coal gasification. At one time this was an expensive...

The Geopolitics Of Israel

May 15, 2008

This week we step outside the box of conventional geopolitical analysis to hear the thinking of George Friedman, founder and chief executive officer of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (Stratfor), on the geopolitics of Israel. George makes the key point that Israel's geography has been fundamentally important to its geopolitical successes and limitations, and has lent a surprising continuity to its foreign policy from the Biblical era forward to the present day.

This is the first in a series of...

Food for Thought

May 14, 2008

What countries are truly the have and have nots of the world? Good friend and business partner Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners suggests we look at the old equation in a new way? Food and energy resources may be at least part of the definition in the future. In this week's Outside the Box we continue a them I mentioned a few weeks ago: agricultural needs are going to be a new and important force in the world and when coupled with energy may shift the balance of power in the world in...

Why We Must Fix It

May 5, 2008

This week in Outside the Box we take up a topic that should be on the top of the agenda of every regulatory authority, executives at financial services firms of all types, and average investors: How do we fix the credit markets to make sure we do not have such a crisis again? Good friend Michael Lewitt of Hegemony Capital Management gives us his observations, some of which go further than I would personally like to see us go. But this is the conversation that must happen if we are to steer...