-- Published: Wednesday, 2 April 2014 | Print | Disqus
Source: Kevin Michael Grace of The Gold Report
The bottom is in, declares Oliver Gross of Der Rohstoff-Anleger (The Resource Investor), and the bulls are ready to charge. In this interview with The Gold Report, Gross says that the woefully undervalued juniors will exploit their leverage advantage, with best-in-class companies gaining as much as 500% to 1,000%—or more.
The Gold Report: Gold has fallen in the second half of March. Why?
Oliver Gross: I think it's a correction after the strong rally since December. And the situation in Ukraine has quieted down. We've also seen a strong uptrend since the beginning of 2014 and now it feels like a healthy consolidation.
TGR: Since December, we've had a very significant rise in gold equities. What is the cause? Gold rising from $1,180/ounce ($1,180/oz)? Or is it a cyclical change?
OG: It's a combination of bottom-building in the gold price and the end of the bear market, which resulted in one of the heaviest selloffs ever. The gold equities [NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index (HUI)] to gold price ratio hit a multidigit low in 2013 (HUI:Gold). We have a solid double-bottom formation in the gold price in place and the end of the selling pressure from the gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and exchange-traded products.
We also see continuous strength in the physical gold market, especially the huge buying power from China, now the world's largest gold consumer and producer. And you can assume that China isn't a speculator regarding its aggressive purchases, but rather a prudent long-term investor. Maybe it has already developed a gold-backed yuan currency model that could be the new world currency.
The first quarter is always very important for equities. More and more market players have now realized the tremendous performance potential in gold mining stocks and joined the recent rally.
HUI:Gold Ratio (1996–2014)
TGR: The NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index has risen even as the broader market has been shaky. What do you make of that?
OG: It wasn't a surprise, as valuations in the gold mining sector were not far from complete depressions. In addition, the gold producers have reformed after the big selloff in their equities. We have noted a significant change in business philosophy and a newfound drive to create a more robust and sustainable business model. The gold producers have successfully changed their focus from growth at any cost to maximization of profitability, growth in capital efficiency and real shareholder value.
The gold producers' income margins at price levels around $1,300/oz are still extremely slim. So there is a fantastic leverage in place, and with higher gold prices, the margins are going to explode. With a new gold bull market, which could lead to gold prices far above $2,000/oz in the next two to three years, we might see new, all-time highs in the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index. But I believe the next bull market rally will be more specific and focused on the best-in-class stocks.
TGR: Could we see the broader equities markets taking substantial losses, even as precious metal stocks increase in price?
OG: That would make sense, as we have had a very strong bull market in the broad equity markets and a very tough bear market in precious metals and other mining stocks.
TGR: The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ:NYSE.MKT) has risen significantly higher than the majors. Does this surprise you?
OG: The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF fell from an all-time high of nearly 180 points at the end of 2010 to a historic all-time low of only 29 points at the end of 2013. So its strong rally didn't surprise me. Most important has been the astonishing rise of trading volume. This is the key in every turning point. The juniors, with their low valuations, usually have far higher leverage, and that is the reason why we see even more volatility in both directions.
It's a very good sign that the juniors have outperformed the majors, as appetite for risk in the junior mining space is essential. We have seen a strong increase in financings and financing volumes in the junior gold equities market during Q1/14. That's a very healthy development.
TGR: There was a significant drop across the board in gold and silver equities in March. Was this mere profit taking, or have we reached an intermediate plateau?
OG: It really feels that we have seen the bottom now, and the bottom-building process always takes some time. The next few years will be a very attractive period to invest in high-quality resource companies.
TGR: How do you determine the price buy limits for the stocks you recommend? In other words, why are stocks good buys at one price and not another?
OG: When it comes to choosing mining stocks, I put a strong emphasis on deep research and fundamental analysis. This is crucial in a market where more than 80% of all junior mining companies will ultimately fail. It's all about quality and investors always have to be very, very picky in selecting picks that could become their favorites.
After my thorough due diligence and conversations with managements and fund managers, I select my favorites, which I buy for the middle to long term. The other crucial factor is timing. For instance, you could have invested in the best-of-class companies from 2011–2013, and it wouldn't have made any difference, as the whole sector was punished. But when the timing is right, which seems to be now, it doesn't matter if an investor buys a great junior mining company at $1 or $1.50/share.
TGR: What are the specific criteria you seek in your research and analysis?
OG: I seek experienced and excellent management teams with strong track records and large networks; companies with healthy cash balances, solid financing outlooks and tight share structures with patient and successful investors; and projects that are decent-sized, attractive and well-located with exploration and expansion potential, projects that are economic even in low metal price environments. Aggressive project-development schedules are also very important. I also want to see strong and clear ambitions.
TGR: You favor very few silver companies as compared to gold. Why?
OG: When things get serious, gold is the best storage of wealth and the best protection against turbulence. Silver's role will always be a combination of industrial metal and investment asset. And most silver supply comes from base metal mines as a byproduct, so its producers don't really care about the silver price.
Moreover, the silver market is extremely tight and thus even more so than gold subject to manipulation by the likes of J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and other influential players in the paper markets. I try to play the trends regarding the gold-silver ratio, which remains extremely high. If this trend reverses, I will buy more silver and silver mining stocks.
TGR: It sounds as if you are sympathetic to the manipulation argument made by the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA).
OG: COMEX is the biggest gold exchange in the world and has by far the most influence on daily and short-term gold prices. J.P. Morgan and the others I mentioned are the biggest players in COMEX, and we can assume they have the biggest influence on daily and short-term gold prices. Facts don't lie: J.P. Morgan and other big financial players control more than 80% of all precious metals derivatives and you can assume that these influential players always know about the crucial positioning at the COMEX.
It seems that these players are always doing the opposite of what they say publicly. For example, Goldman published a gold report in 2013 in front of the huge selloff. It made more than $500M in this selloff, then turned around and reinvested heavily in gold. So it also made millions in the recent gold price recovery. Goldman has recently invested more than $80M in the SPDR Gold Trust ETF. We can assume that Goldman and J.P. Morgan are, in fact, long on gold. That also demonstrates to me that the gold price bottom is in.
TGR: Do you think that the recent downturn in gold equities might scare off investors who have become gun-shy since 2011?
OG: The last three to five years in gold, especially junior mining, have been really traumatic and unnerving for investors. I really hope, however, that they will not be unduly influenced by the high volatility in these markets and sell after a 30% or 50% rally when there's potential for a 300% to 1,000% rally.
We have just seen the bottom. The cyclical nature of this market should lead to gains in best-in-class mining stocks of 500% to 1,000% and more. Investors must be not only long-term ambitious but also patient.
TGR: Oliver, thank you for your time and your insights.
Oliver Gross is a passionate resource expert, prudent investor and adviser with more than 10 years of experience in the mining and junior sector. He is the chief editor and analyst of the newsletter Der Rohstoff-Anleger (The Resource Investor), which specializes in the global junior resource sector. It is backed by the GeVestor Financial publishing group, the largest online publishing house in Germany.
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-- Published: Wednesday, 2 April 2014 | E-Mail | Print | Source: GoldSeek.com