I went to the Hard Assets Conference in San Francisco on Sunday with my college roommate Nate.
The trade show booths were mostly mines and metal dealers. Surprisingly Futures contracts and ETFs were completely absent. Europacific Capital had a booth manned by the Los Angles office staff. Monex and Kitco had booths. I'm interested in a Kitco Royal Canadian Mint account as slightly more liquid complement to Europacific's Perth Mint account.
Peter Schiff gave the Keynote address as well as a standing room only client workshop. I'm sure they will show up on YouTube in a few days.
Peter Schiff gave his usual spiel and acknowledged that his more conservative buy strategies have not worked lately, but his aggressive short strategies have. He expressed confidence that this situation would change as soon as all the de-leveraging stopped and the dollar inevitably collapses. After Peter was asked several questions about timing the market, my guest, Nate cracked me up, saying "So, we're already lying on the tracks, we just don't know the train schedule"
More importantly I was able to ask Peter Schiff a few questions at his booth. I asked him about shorting bonds as a way to hedge against inflation and he as unequivocally in favor of it, which surprised me. He said that he was short bonds, which in the short term has been losing money but was very confident that this would change when the dollar collapses. I also asked him about what type of margin foreign investors are allowed to hold when the short U.S. stocks and he didn't really know the answer, but I hope he'll look into the idea and his company will offer ways to short U.S. assets without having to hold dollars and other U.S. assets as margin.
The answers to your questions emerged during his talks. He's bullish on China and Europe, he is a big fan of Jim Rogers and had a large poster of him in his booth. Oil will definitely hit $150 a barrel again.
As a side note, If you're ever in the city by the bay, stay at the Marine Memorial Club. It's a $299 room for $80 if you're active duty. There is a free brunch buffet and happy hour for guests everyday on the 12th floor with skyline views.
Nate twisted my arm into staying for some of the other speakers, which turned out to be interesting.
The first guy, James Dines, writes a commodities investment newsletter. He must be in his late seventies and takes his cue from his contemporary, Hugh Heffner, by surrounding himself with five impossibly beautiful hired mannequins - Dines' Angels, if you will. He also likes to tell off-color jokes. Anyhow he's bullish on Uranium because the Chinese are building nuclear power plants.
Adrian Day gave a speech echoing Peter Schiff and repeatedly garnering unwanted applause when he was critical of the government's bail-out plans. The audience, which in San Francisco, I imagine would be about as liberal as you will get at an investor's conference, had zero confidence in the government.
Anyhow, it was well worth it. If you're in Chinatown visit House of Nanking for a tasty soup-Nazi chinese food experience and "Kennedy's Irish Pub & Curry House" for an all-in-one evening for great pan-indian food and irish pub-house fun.