Posts by Tim Staermose

Tim Staermose is Sovereign Man's Chief Investment officer, based in the Asia-Pacific region. Born to a Danish father and British mother in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Tim has led an international life since the day he was born. He has lived and worked throughout Asia, primarily focusing on equity research and emerging market opportunities.

  • First post: 07/02/2011
  • Posts written: 82

Latest Articles

It’s officially a 3-way race to the bottom

September 26, 2012
Hong Kong

It's now officially a 3-way race to the bottom between the dollar, the euro, and the yen.

It started on September 6th with the ECB announcing a new, UNLIMITED bond-buying program. A week later, the US Federal Reserve officially announced QE3, another open-ended (de facto limitless) bond buying program. One week after that, the Bank of Japan announced it was adding another 10 trillion yen ($128 billion) to[...] Click here to continue reading

Now even private companies are trying to borrow their way out of debt

September 19, 2012
Hong Kong

One of the best short-selling ideas I’ve had over the past year or so was in Fortescue Metals (FMG listed on the Australian Securities Exchange). If you’re unfamiliar with ‘shorting’ a stock, it’s essentially a bet that a company’s price will fall instead of rise.

In the case of Fortescue, the company was due for a fall. Fortescue’s only business is digging up iron ore in Western Australia[...] Click here to continue reading

The end of the euro: When will it happen?

August 31, 2012
Rome, Italy

My 2-year old nephew in Australia loves getting postcards.  He already associates me with frequent traveling.  I’m referred to as “Tim Hong Kong jet plane.”

So before leaving Italy today, after a fantastic week in the Umbrian countryside with our Sovereign Man Total Access members, I set out to mail him some postcards. What I got, among other things, was a useful lesson in Italian bureaucracy.

In[...] Click here to continue reading

This hidden gem has a booming economy

August 27, 2012
Spoleto, Italy

All over the world, no matter how good or bad the economy might be in a certain country, there will always be some cites and regions
enjoying above-trend population growth and economic expansion.  If you are looking for new economic opportunities, a simple strategy is to choose such a place and go there.

In the United States, for example, places such as Alaska and North Dakota are still booming in spite of[...] Click here to continue reading

The next big trend…

August 13, 2012
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

A sprawling archipelago of more than 14,000 islands, Indonesia is home to some of the most beautiful, exotic, and alluring places in the world.

Yet it's so huge... so diverse, with different languages, cultures, and religions, to even call Indonesia a single country demonstrates how antiquated the traditional concept of geography has become.

Indonesians typically identify themselves first with their home province or island; here in Bali, they would consider themselves Balinese[...] Click here to continue reading

The world’s gold is moving from West to East

Did you know that, according to Capgemini and the Royal Bank of Canada’s latest World Wealth Report, there are now more millionaires in Asia than North America…?

An estimated 3.37 million individuals in the Asia-Pacific region have a liquid net worth of over US$1 million. That compares to 3.35 million in North America.

The same trend is evident in the gold market.

While the current world hubs for gold trading and storage are London,[...] Click here to continue reading

The coming American diaspora

July 16, 2012
Hong Kong

A few days ago in Indonesia's Lampung province, I was following a sprightly Chinese woman, well into her 70s, as she showed me around her thriving home appliances and furniture shop.

It was an amazing thing to see.

The three-story shop-house was both the family home, and business premises. Yet  every available space was stacked high with goods for sale, including family kitchen and living space.

When I asked her[...] Click here to continue reading

Guess who’s bailing out bankrupt western governments now…

July 5, 2012
Jakarta, Indonesia

Fourteen years ago during the Asian financial crisis, Indonesia endured a currency collapse, a severe 2-year recession, and an embarrassing IMF bailout.

Western bureaucrats wagged their fingers incessantly at Indonesia, lecturing the country about the dangers of excess and fiscal irresponsibility.

How sweet the irony is. In a stunning rags-to-riches story, Indonesia contributed US$1 billion to the IMF last week in order to help bail out bankrupt Western nations.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Is silver finally bottoming out?

Over a year ago, I penned an article entitled “4 Silver Investments to Avoid.” About two weeks later, on April 26th, I wrote another article: “Should I Sell My Silver?” saying that I expected an imminent correction in the silver price, after it had gone “parabolic.”

It caused quite a stir at the time. There was no shortage of people calling me delusional for suggesting the bull market in silver was overdue for a pause. Some even labeled me[...] Click here to continue reading

Boots on the ground in Burma

Burma ceiling
May 25, 2012
Yangon, Burma

If you're sick and tired of all the doom and gloom that pervades the US and Europe, and should your personal circumstances allow, I unreservedly recommend that you hop on a plane and go and check out Burma.

This is a rare good news story, and it may very well be one of the most exciting economies in the world.

Shut off from economic sanctions since the early 1990s, Burma[...] Click here to continue reading

One of Facebook’s biggest markets in the ‘hotbed of Islamic extremism’

May 8, 2012
Jakarta, Indonesia

If you swallow the line parroted by the mass media in the West (my adopted country of Australia being the prime offender), you'd think Indonesia was a strict Islamic state where terrorists run around bombing nightclubs frequented by tourists.

And you probably have a mental image of an economic backwater reliant on exports of natural resources such as coal and palm oil to pay its bills.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Why there’s no shame in sitting on your butt

May 3, 2012
Hong Kong

One of the most important habits of highly successful investors is that, when market conditions call for it, they have the ability to sit on their butts and do absolutely nothing.

Great investors wait patiently for the next slam-dunk opportunity to present itself.  They do not jeopardize their capital in half-baked ideas, nor risk money on investments in which they do not have conviction.

As the famous early 1900s stock speculator Jesse[...] Click here to continue reading

Two sets of rules: one for the elite, one for everyone else

April 19, 2012
Hong Kong

One of the defining characteristics of EVERY boom is the presence of a small elite seeking to enrich itself through graft, corruption, and unethical behavior.

When the music stops and the boom busts, these same people are frequently put to the sword of public opinion.  Think Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, and Silvio Berlusconi.

The Chinese economic "miracle" of the past three decades will prove to be NO EXCEPTION.

I'm convinced that[...] Click here to continue reading

They’ll actually pay you to store your gold

April 11, 2012
Hoi An, Vietnam

Here's something you don't see every day: Banks in Vietnam will actually pay YOU to store your gold in one of their safe deposit boxes. I was pretty surprised to find this out for myself; neither Simon nor I have seen it anywhere else in the world except here.

This is actually how banking used to be. The original bankers were goldsmiths-- big burly guys who worked with gold on[...] Click here to continue reading

You’d never expect this place would be so great

April 5, 2012
Hanoi, Vietnam

For the past eight days I've been spending time with friends in Vietnam; I'll be leaving in a few days to link up with Simon in Thailand, but for now, I'm really impressed by Vietnam. The country has a great deal going for it.

In the ancient town of Hoi An and the capital city Hanoi, the lifestyle is generally very laid back and relaxed.  Excellent cafes and restaurants, offering both local fair[...] Click here to continue reading

Did you make 18% with us since December?

March 14, 2012
Manila, Philippines

[Editor’s note: Sovereign Man Chief Investment Strategist Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon today.]

Back in mid-December, I called buying platinum the "most obvious trade in precious metals."  I pointed out that it had fallen all the way to $1,440 per ounce and was selling for well under the price of gold, which was at $1,613 per ounce at the time.

I predicted that it wouldn't[...] Click here to continue reading

You didn’t get any of the benefits. Why get stuck paying the bill?

[Editor's Note: Sovereign Man Chief Investment Strategist Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon today.]

Hong Kong's total population is around 7 million. The workforce is 3.75 million.  So generous are the tax breaks and allowances, only about 1.5 million people pay any tax at all.

A single person can earn HK$108,000 a year (about US$14,000) before owing any tax.  And a married person with a dependent spouse can earn HK$216,000 (US$28,000) tax-free.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Do as I say, not as I do…

January 27, 2012
Manila, Philippines

[Editor's note: Tim Staermose is filling in today while Simon is at the farm in Chile.]

There is a delicious irony in the world of economic policy at the moment.
Back in 1997 and 1998 I had a ringside seat to the Asian financial crisis from my trading desk in Seoul. When everything collapsed, the policy prescriptions from the World Bank and IMF for Asia's sick economies was[...] Click here to continue reading

About those business opportunities…

January 16th, 2012

Manila, Philippines

[Editor's note: Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon today.]

Reaction to my article last week about the strong economic picture, and business opportunities I see all around me here on the ground in The Philippines was overwhelming.

Evidently there are some go-getters out there in this community who want to take action. Andthat's great to know.

So, today I thought I'd share[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s booming over here. What’s holding you back?

January 13, 2012
Manila, Philippines

[Editor's note: Tim Staermose is filling in today while Simon is down on the farm in Chile.]

Amid all the doom and gloom in the world economy as insolvent western nations slowly suffocate under a mountain of debt, it's easy to forget that there are places in the world that are still BOOMING.

I went out to dinner with a friend in Manila last night.[...] Click here to continue reading

What to do with your cash when the financial system is “broken”

[Editor’s note: Tim Staermose, Sovereign Man’s Chief Investment Strategist, is filling in for Simon today.]

January 9, 2012
Manila, Philippines

A few days ago, I read a that famed hedge fund manager John Paulson, who's best known for personally making over $5 billion from the sub-prime meltdown, lost more than HALF of his investors' money last year.  His Advantage Plus fund was down a whopping 52%!  That's not a misprint.

Paulson's thesis[...] Click here to continue reading

The most obvious trade in precious metals since silver went parabolic in March

Date: December 15, 2011
Reporting From: Manila, Philippines

[Editor's note: Sovereign Man Chief Investment Strategist Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon today.]

Earlier this year, when silver went parabolic, rising from $30 to $50 in a matter of weeks, I issued an alert saying I'd put on a short-term bearish trade, using call options on an inverse silver ETF.

I missed calling the exact top by about a day, but[...] Click here to continue reading

One alarming indicator from China

[Editor's note: Sovereign Man's Chief Investment Strategist Tim Staermose is filling in today while Simon spends a few days with designers and engineers at the farm in Chile. More on those developments soon.]

For a few decades now, the Communist Party in China has had an implicit social and political contract with the Chinese populous for decades, which goes something like:

"We will deliver economic growth and improvements in your material living standards. [...] Click here to continue reading

“They treat me better than Bono here…”

November 14, 2011
Manila, Philippines

[Editor's note: Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon Black today.]

In the back of a chauffeured SUV limo, my friend Phil recently told me, "What I love about coming to the Philippines is that I feel like a rock star... not like at home where I'm a short, balding nobody. They treat me better than Bono here."

When the limo arrived to Manila's Intercontinental Hotel, the[...] Click here to continue reading

Why China is headed for a fall

November 10, 2011
Manila, Philippines

There's a key concept in economics called the law of diminishing returns. It sounds complex, but it's actually very easy to understand.

Imagine for a moment that there are two towns cut off from each other by a vast river. Communications and trade are infrequent at best. But if you build a bridge, you'll get a tremendous boost to the possibilities for trade and commerce.  Economic activity rises[...] Click here to continue reading

Why cash is a great place to be right now

November 7, 2011
Manila, Philippines

[Editor's Note: Sovereign Man Chief Investment Strategist Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon today.]

Last week, I sent my 4th Pillar subscribers an issue warning them of a sharp rally in the US dollar. Since then, the euro has fallen from above 1.40 to 1.379.  The pound weakened from 1.6165 to 1.603.  And the currency we watch most closely in the 4th Pillar, the Aussie dollar, dipped[...] Click here to continue reading

We live in an economic dictatorship

Date: October 20, 2011
Reporting From: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

[Editor's note: Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon Black today.]

You can hardly go a day without hearing about a new protest... hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of people marching in the streets railing against various policies. They want answers. They demand change.

Let's be honest, the anger is understandable. But it's infuriating to so many of these[...] Click here to continue reading

If a US company generates 60% of its revenue overseas, is it still a US company?

October 10, 2011
Vejen, Denmark

[Editor's note: Tim Staermose reporting]

I'm sitting on a train en route from the southwestern part of Denmark (near the German border) to Copenhagen. Across the aisle from me, a man is reading a book called The Post-American World.

Opposite him sits another fellow sipping a Starbucks coffee.  And on my side of the aisle, a younger man is drinking a Coca Cola and listening intently to[...] Click here to continue reading

Why I’m still buying gold (and silver) after a 10-year bull run

ViaMat Offshore Gold Storage
September 21, 2011
Auckland, New Zealand

We've written before here at Sovereign Man that as long as the public is not in precious metals in a big way, it's hard to see that the market has begun topping out.

Yes, gold has been in a bull market for more than 10 years. This is virgin territory as far as bull markets go. And yes, gold is up about 6-fold, from under $300 to[...] Click here to continue reading

The next big bust coming from cheap credit

September 13, 2011
Manila, Philippines

I came across an interesting real estate deal the other day here in Manila. It was for a tiny, one bedroom condo of 45 square meters (just under 500 square feet). The building is under construction and isn't -scheduled- for completion until late 2012 or early 2013. Asking price? Approximately $117,000 USD.

Now... depending on where you live, you may find this shockingly cheap. But at $2,600 per[...] Click here to continue reading

A boots on the ground perspective on the Chile riots

August 29, 2011
Santiago, Chile

You've probably heard that old saying-- 'if you're not a socialist by the time you're 20, you have no heart. If you're still one by the time you're 30, you have no brain.'

This is true everywhere in the world. Even in capitalist bastions like Hong Kong, there is a misguided minority that believes they should prosper from others' labor.

Usually this attitude fades with age and[...] Click here to continue reading

When the mob becomes violent

August 23, 2011
Manila, Philippines

Today I was accosted by someone begging for money. I know... big deal, right? It's not an unusual occurrence anywhere in the world, especially here in the Philippines.

Begging is actually big business in Manila. Often small children are forced to work the streets by a 'begging syndicate,' and adults keep a watchful eye from a distance before confiscating the kids' proceeds.  This is one of the lowest[...] Click here to continue reading

You can live well here on just $10/day

July 25, 2011
Daet, Camarines Norte, Philippines

I first started coming regularly to Daet, in the Bicol region of the Philippines, more than 13-years ago.

It's a sleepy, quiet, relaxed place without the bustle of Quezon or Manila... perfect for people looking to live an easy, simple life. Despite the bucolic setting, though, the telecom infrastructure is pretty stellar.

At my wife's hotel last week, I was able to utilize a mobile[...] Click here to continue reading

Chongqing: The largest construction site in the world

July 12, 2011
Chongqing, China

[Editor's note: Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon today with another boots on the ground report from China.]

By some accounts, Chongqing is the largest metro area in the world with a population of some 32 million. They ought to call it the largest construction site in the world.

This is a place that, if you believe the official numbers, posted 17% GDP growth in 2010.[...] Click here to continue reading

Guangzhou South Station: something out of a zombie movie

July 7, 2011
Wuhan, China

When I left my hotel bound for the new Guangzhou South Station the other day , I didn't know much about the station-- where it was, how far from the hotel, etc. After about 25 or 30 minutes in the cab, I still hadn't seen any signs for the station and grew concerned that the cabbie was just taking me for a ride.

As we eventually approached the[...] Click here to continue reading