"It seems that Mr. Putin has learnt a lesson": interview with investor Jim Rogers
7.09.12 12:39 By Pyotr Kanaev (Vladivostok), edited by Karina Ayvazova
Jim Rogers says there are a lot of spheres of Russian economy to invest to Photo: AFP
During the APEC summit in Vladivostok a Gazeta.ru correspondent spoke with Jim Rogers, an American investor and the head of Rogers Holdings. He explained why he is ready to believe Russian officials who are always promising a good investment climate, however, Russia will stop having an economy or society if they just keep promising and not actually do something.
-How do you like the summit? Do you think APEC is a real economic alliance or do these people gather just for some conversation?
- The majority of such events are just talks. People get together and discuss what to do with money. Of course, most of these talks are optimistic.
I am having fun here, but will these talks yield some good results? I don't think so.
People should gather in order to discuss problems, apart from APEC they should do it during G8 summits, G20 summits, and International Monetary Fund meetings.
- In the past you refused to invest money in Russia. Now you have changed your mind. Why?
- I have not changed it yet, I am changing it now. For decades I have been very skeptical about it. Moreover, I resented Russia. Now I am watching them do something… Well, they say they will do something to attract investments. Maybe they will accomplish it this time.
-Has Russia become more predictable?
-It seems that Mr. Putin has learnt a lesson after the past 15-20 years. I think Russia has become more understandable. Officials have come to the realization that they must play by the same rules as everyone else. Because otherwise no one will invest their money in Russia.
- Which spheres of Russia's economy do you think are the most attractive for investments?
-I am not investing in Russia yet. When I decide to, I will look into these spheres more closely.
But I think one can invest in any sphere here: Russia has deficit of everything – food, electricity, soap.
I've been investing in raw materials a lot and I am pretty optimistic about the future of the commodity markets. This is also an option. It will all depend on what I can find here.
- The Russian economy is tied to oil prices. Do you think it can be independent?
- Oil reserves aren't growing, they are drying up. Today Russia pumps a lot of oil. But Russia has also got huge land resources for the development of agriculture. It is very important to learn how to use these resources. There is also the opportunity to develop transport corridors – for example, the idea to link the Asian-Pacific region with Europe is genius, in my opinion. I live in Singapore and this would be very big for Singapore's business and Russia.
- Are you afraid of political protests in Moscow?
-I fear political protests everywhere, not in Moscow alone. Do you read newspapers?
-Yes, I do.
-Then you must know that riots take place everywhere in the world. There were riots in London last year. I have noticed that every time there is a riot, food prices rise.
–Have you noticed a connection between protests and capital flow?
- It is one of the reasons for capital flow. When people are not happy, they take away money from a country – no matter if it's the USA, Russia, or Kongo.
Capital needs two things: security guarantees and income.
-Against the background of capital outflows, economists expect devaluation of the ruble and the rise of the U.S. dollar. Does this forecast reflect the real state of the economies of Russia and the U.S., or is it just a speculation?
– In the long and medium term, currency reflects the state of the economy and the political system of a country.
The longer-term dynamics of currency rates depend on fundamental factors.
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