Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Light-Years Ahead of the Crowd: Interview With James B. Rogers, Private Investor

From Barron's:

... He remains bullish on commodities but has sold many of his emerging-market holdings. Rogers, 65, doesn't run others' money these days, though an index he developed in the late 1990s, the Rogers International Commodities Index, has been licensed to some funds. Its cumulative return, from inception in 1998 through the end of March, was more than 380%, versus about 38% for the S&P 500.

In a recent conversation with Barron's, Rogers had no shortage of strong opinions on topics ranging from regulation of the financial markets to China's future.

Barron's: You've set up house in Singapore. Why the big move?

Rogers: I wanted to move to a Chinese-speaking city because we have a 4-year-old daughter who speaks Chinese. I want to make sure she continues to speak Chinese. We now have another daughter, 4 weeks old, and we want both of them to grow up speaking Chinese fluently. If I'm right, the best skill I can give them is to be completely fluent in Mandarin.

Why not live in China?

The pollution is so horrible and, at least in the cities where we wanted to live, we just couldn't bring ourselves to move there. Singapore is a terrific place. They don't speak as much Chinese here as we would like, but they speak plenty of it.

Why are you so bullish on China?

China is going to be the next great country. The 19th century was the century of the U.K. The 20th century was the century of the U.S. The 21st century is going to be the century of China. Even if I'm wrong, there are 1.5 billion people who speak Chinese every day, so it's not as if our daughter is learning Danish. Even if she winds up working in a Chinese restaurant, she is going to be the maitre d' -- not the dish washer....MORE