The above may have been true a few thousand years ago, but listening to David Attenborough’s recent programmes it may well be the case that the world will last forever, but perhaps without people!
Financially, World Debt would seem to be the latest scare words, as if Brexit and World Trade were not enough to worry about. American debt is said to be going to reach $22 trillion, increasing at the rate of $4 trillion per year by the end of a second Trump “sentence”. This USA Saviour or Anti-Christ (depending on your view point), seems totally unconcerned and believes his economy can ride this out, so not to worry. Now whether this is true or not, I am not skilled enough to say one way or the other, but this subject receives lots of adverse comment and seems to feature more and more in financial commentary. It is one of the latest things being used to frighten investors and it certainly frightens me.
There is however another debt ceiling that really concerns me, and that is the planet’s ability to feed its ever growing population. I recently read that today the planet has in excess of 3 billion acres of productive land, which would feed some 9 billion people if they did not eat meat. American style food consumption however reduces this number to below 5 billion, and introduces food poverty for many. Greed in the developed world, and the aspirations and lack of population control in the developing and emerging world would seem like a “rock coming up against a hard place”. With or without a warming world caused by green house gases, we would seem to have an insurmountable problem. I wonder why action on population control does not feature as highly as changes to diet and carbon consumption?
This subject is fresh in my mind as I have just returned from a holiday in Tasmania. An Australian island state to the south of the mainland. What a phenomenal place from which to watch the antics of the rest of the world. It is 35% of the size of the UK with a population of 500,000 of which nearly half live in the capital of Hobart. The island is an agriculturally secure paradise with the bulk of the land untouched and supporting many incredible animals, birds and primeval forests. When things get tough for the rest of the world it would not be a bad place to end up!
Whilst away for the six weeks, thanks to modern technology and my wife’s tablet I was able to stay in touch with Richard and the Saltydog numbers. This was fortunate because I was able to see the continuing rise in the UK, China and Technology sectors. I therefore “phoned home” and increased my holdings in Fidelity Global Technology, Baillie Gifford Greater China, and Baillie Gifford UK Equity Alpha funds. Upon my return last week I continued this action with other funds in these same sectors thereby greatly reducing my cash holdings.
It is interesting to look at last week’s numbers and graphs which show nice fund gains of between 13% and 23% in these sectors over the last 26 weeks.
I wonder whether they still have sufficient oxygen to continue this upward trend into the summer. Only time will answer that question. Perhaps as some people are suggesting we might be going to experience a “melt up”. Certainly the market-falls in the last quarter of 2018 were overdone, and there must be a lot of money in the big boys’ pockets waiting to be re-invested. Also the Banks would seem to be backing off from monetary tightening with some countries still considering more Quantitative Easing. We could be lucky, but who knows where it will go? I will just continue to watch the numbers.
I finish with this observation. In Australia there are a group of people that have been labelled “Grey Nomads”. These are pensioners who have sold up, and now with their motorhomes and caravans endlessly circle the perimeter of Australia living on their pensions. They appear to lead a totally carefree life. The men are immediately recognisable as they do not shave or cut their hair. Mind you upon reflection, nor do the women!
Best wishes and good investing,
Founder & Chairman