Monday, March 9, 2009

Predictions Made on this Blog

While the markets are doing what many on this blog have been saying for the last two years, it’s a good time to do a quick recap of how we have fared in the last two years on some of the predictions made on this blog:

  1. Don’t buy Alberta Real Estate. The prices have fallen by around $100k for the average property since hitting the peak. That’s a good $800 per month for the next 25 years amortized over 25 years.Expect further weakness here and at least another $1000 per month hit over the next 25 years.
  2. Commodities bust –There was a commodities bubble and it popped. It’s possible that we have not seen the bottom here, despite the steep declines in prices. Copper, Zinc, Uranium and almost every industrial commodity could be further impacted causing problems for Saskatchewan.
  3. Higher Unemployment- This is the unfolding story. With current unemployment levels still too close to ‘full employment’ and service standards in Alberta still reminiscent of $150 oil and $10 natural gas days, a lot of pain has to begin in this area.
  4. Falling Natural Gas- Back in January, I talked about the significance of natural gas to this province. The prices are still falling and we are sub $4 with natural gas. This will impact the profitability of big oil and gas in Calgary and provincial royalties. Back in 2002, natural gas was trading at around $2 or so. If we go there again, it’ll be a big problem.
  5. Falling Loonie-Back in August 2008, when loonie was still trading at mid 90s, I asked, if long USD and short Alberta real estate will be a good trade? So far loonie has fallen by more than 25 per cent from the days of parity and Alberta real estate has lost around 20 per cent or so from the peak. It’s likely that we haven’t seen the end of these trends.Today the loonie closed at 4 year lows of sub 77 cent levels.
  6. Decoupling is a myth- We are more tightly integrated than before, but decoupling has been the core argument of all commodities bulls and inflationists. So far it has been nothing more than a 'theory' like derivatives reduce risk in the financial system.

It’s entirely possible that these trends could change suddenly, but it doesn’t look very likely. This is not an investment advice either. You have to develop your own conviction about your economic worldview. Don’t rely on this blog. Don’t rely on Garth Turner (who incidentally does quite a bit of flip flop on the severity of recession, the $300 oil as soon as the recession ends, and that ‘depression won’t happen), Mish or anybody else. When you try to form your own worldview, don’t rely on the mainstream media and its poster boys. If everybody believes in what Mr Buffett says, it’s possible that his advice is now mainstream and may not reflect the underlying realities.

Your thoughts?

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