Anyone piling into commodities now has missed the boat, says respected fund manager Anthony Bolton – unless they are buying gold.
“The best time for commodities was in 2006, when the whole world was growing above trend”, he told The Daily Telegraph. But with “anaemic” demand from the Western economies, emerging market growth may not be enough to “keep commodities going”.
Gold, however, is the exception to the rule. No other commodity is held by central banks: “it is more like a currency than a commodity”.
“Almost every country has a big budget deficit at the moment so it is in their favour to see their currency depreciate.” That will encourage more people to buy gold. He points out that Chinese investors have already begun switching from dollar-denominated bonds to gold.
His bearish view on commodities is quite contrarian at a time when most are now at record highs. Many fund managers expect further price rises as a ‘supercycle’ of economic growth fuels demand.
But Bolton feels that these price rises are partly due to the weak dollar. “The US dollar has been weak for the past couple of years. If commodities were measured in a stronger currency, the recent rallies might have been different.”
As for the Western world, he doesn’t see the situation improving anytime soon. Bolton, whose Fidelity Special Situations fund consistently outperformed the market for almost 30 years, reckons that we are probably “two years into a five-year cycle”.