Monday, September 14, 2009
Russia On Sale
"Russia's economy contracted 10% in the first quarter of 2009, driven down by weakening commodities prices and a 24% plunge in manufacturing output. Economics Minister Elvira Nabiullina recently said Russia's GDP might fall as much as 8% this year. ... 'Have a crisis in the US, and it's really a crisis. People are not accustomed to it,' says John Derrick, director of research at US Global Investors, a San Antonio, Tex. firm that manages $2.1 billion in 13 funds. 'In Russia there's a different mentality. Crises are just part of the cycles of the last 20 years.' ... Since August 1998 the ruble has fallen 81% against the dollar. In May net portfolio investment in Russian funds from overseas was one-tenth of that into China and one-sixth the amount entering Brazil, despite Russia's superior market performance. ... Liam Halligan, chief economist ar Prosperity Capital Management, a London firm overseeing $2.8 billion in the Russian market ... notes that Russia sits on some of the world's richest veins of natural resources--oil, gold, and iron ore--and expects them to rise in value as a flood of Western currencies unleash global inflationary pressures. Russia's stock market capitalization, at $484 billion, is valued on a par with Pakistan's or Jordan's. To Halligan it's insanely cheap", Richard Morals at Forbes, 3 August 2009.
I agree with Halligan, Russia looks cheap to me. Disclosure: I own shares in Russian-oriented mutual funds.