Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Jim Rogers Forecasts Higher Oil - Gas and Uranium Prices

We talked, in a taped telephone interview at his home in Singapore, with Billionaire Jim Rogers, legendary commodities trader, who picked the bottom of the commodities bull market in 1999. With George Soros, Jim Rogers co-founded the Quantum Fund in 1970.

Over the next decade, Quantum Fund grew by more than 3,300 percent. Rogers retired, later a guest professor of finance at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, and still later circumnavigating the globe to firsthand discover new investment opportunities. He is widely and often quoted in the media about his views on the commodities market. Bestselling author, investment biker, adventure capitalist and widely followed, Jim Rogers talks about what he's now investing in.

StockInterview: In an interview with Reuters, about a month ago, you told the reporter that cleaner burning fuels, such as natural gas would out-perform oil. Do you still believe natural gas will perform well, comparative to the rest of the commodities in this bull market?

Jim Rogers: Oh, yes. As I said, the bull market is not over yet. The bull market has years to go, as far as I can see. Speaking specifically of natural gas, on a historic basis its much cheaper than crude oil, or even coal, at this stage. Its gotten whacked down because there has been a glut of natural gas in the U.S. anyway which is one of the main markets for natural gas. But longer term, natural gas production is declining in North America.

StockInterview: How does coalbed methane gas fit into this picture?

Jim Rogers: As long as its economic, it is a viable source of energy. You will see people using methane. Youll see people using lots of viable alternatives as the price of energy stays up and goes higher and higher.

StockInterview: Speaking of cleaner burning fuels, how do you feel about uranium and nuclear power? Both uranium and nuclear energy appear to be undergoing a renaissance.

Jim Rogers: Well, there is a revival of nuclear power. Nuclear power is cheaper than many other sources of energy, and so it is having a comeback, if you will. In many parts of the world, it never went away. The French never stopped using nuclear power. The Koreans never stopped using nuclear power. Other people are now coming to nuclear power. The Chinese are going to build at least 25 nuclear power plants in the next fifteen years or so. Even in the U.S., some of the environmentalists are starting re-examine nuclear power because it is cleaner than coal, or some of the other carbon based energy sources. If its controlled properly, then nuclear power can be extremely attractive, both cost-wise and environmental-wise. The huge stockpiles of uranium, which were built up during the cold war are being used, are being depleted. So, I see a great future for uranium and nuclear power.

StockInterview: Spot uranium prices have steadily risen for nearly six years without a correction. How do you look at uranium as a commodities trader?

Jim Rogers: Well, whenever something goes straight up for six years, without even a correction, one has to be worried. Obviously, corrections are normal in financial markets. Whether theres going to be a correction in the next year or two, I dont have a clue. More or less, it is following the oil market, as you probably know. If and when oil has a big correction, I suspect uranium will too. They dont necessarily move together, but to some extent they have and probably will. Until somebody brings a lot of new uranium on stream, though, the surprise will be how high the price of uranium stays, and how high it eventually goes. There arent any big uranium mines being opened anywhere in the world. Uranium is still worrisome to some people, so I would suspect it will take more than a decade to bring a new big uranium mine on stream, anywhere in the world.

StockInterview: Its been about twenty years since a new uranium deposit was discovered.

Jim Rogers: Thats what Im saying. It takes a long time. Expanding a mine is different from opening a new mine. There has been one lead mine opened in the world in 25 years. Some people are starting to expand production from lead mines and copper mines. But this idea of bringing huge new mines on the scene is just not happening anywhere in the world in most commodities. One reason is because in the last 25 years, unfortunately, nobody got an engineering degree. Everybody was getting MBAs in stocks and bonds. So, there is a huge shortage of engineers in the world right now; not just engineers, even workers to work in mines. All the people got old or retired or died out. And not only engineers and workers, you cant get tires for your tractors. You cant get tractors. Theres a shortage of everything because nobody has been investing in productive capacity. Youve got to have tractors. Youve got to have tires. Youve got to have engineers. Youve got to have everything to bring new capacity on stream. While there are shortages of all these things, thats why the bull markets last so long. Bull markets historically have lasted 15 to 23 years. This one probably will too.

COPYRIGHT 2007 by StockInterview, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

James Finch contributes to StockInterview.com and other publications. StockInterviews Investing in the Great Uranium Bull Market has become the most popular book ever published for uranium mining stock investors. Visit http://www.stockinterview.com