They’ve been jostling in the aisles this w/e as the broccoli shortages spread and rationing is introduced across the land.  We’re restricted to just three purple sprouting broccoli heads each.  Heaven forbid!  How very dare they?

Elsewhere the news that giant caterpillars are laying waste to the corn crop across the veld has put the SA Ministry of Agriculture in Jo’burg on heightened alert. Corn touched $3.40 a bushel last week and we remain positive.

And now of all things we have the Polar vortex merging with the “beast from the east.”  Europe’s been under the cosh in the coldest winter in 30 years and natural gas prices have soared to €3.5 per mn thermal units. (this so called global warming is really starting to chill me to the bone, I’m getting sick of it)

Meanwhile the two hottest commodities so far in 2017 are cobalt and uranium. Thanks to Amanda and Richard we’re making money here. We switched our CAMECO into the uranium ETF (URA US) and ANGLO PACIFIC as the latter hiked its uranium exposure to 12% of the book via a deal with DENISON. It’s a good deal and the stock’s undervalued on a price book of 1.2 versus the (admittedly longer and better established track record) of Franco Nevada and Silver Wheaton of 2.9 and 2.1 respectively).

The funds have started 2017 strongly carrying over their momentum from 2016.

The US$ Cash+ fund’s up 1%, Diversified and Dynamic are up 4% and the gold fund’s off to a flyer +17%

I was forced to go to the cinema at the w/e to watch “La La land” ( the best argument for lying in a darkened room listening to the complete works of Berlin, Cole Porter and even whisper it quietly, Tim Rice, ok maybe not Tim Rice).

Anyway there’s a much more watchable version in real life across the Atlantic as the latest episode of Washington West Wing live is broadcast.  Stories of a “so called” judge, the appointment of a US envoy to the EU who’s publicly called for the EU to be broken up and a load more “alternative facts” about Mexico were just three of the choicest quotes at the w/e in the new US government by tweet. In the EU Donald Tusk (pronounced Tooosk) has declared  himself offended but the biggest laugh of all is the French thinking they can lure all those English bankers to gay Paree. Reporting to a bunch of French enarques when CCF had a stake in us consisted of the 10 am board meeting starting at 11, the break for lunch at 12 (till 3) wonderful views from the Champs Elysees and filet mignon and a superb bottle of chateau lafite! The idea of hordes of stiff 24/7 English and American bankers even vaguely “getting” that are presque pas du tout.

I’VE DECIDED BTW IN AN AGE OF TWEETING THE METHOD OF DELIVERY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE CONTENT SO FROM NOW EVERYTHING GETS WRITTEN IN UPPER CASE AND FOLLOWED BY EXCLAMATION MARKS, PERHAPS THIS WILL INCREASE MY TWITTER FOLLOWING FROM THE CURRENT DERISORY FIVE!!!!)

Certainly in the 60th anniversary this year of the Treaty of Rome and 500th of Luther’s 95 theses being hammered on Wittenberg’s Castle Church the liberal post WW2 order of multi-lateralism are coming under increasing strain.

Market wise Trump’s latest broadside in threatening to upend Dodd Frank again shows how disruptive he threatens to be.  It took 60 years to whittle away Glass Steagal and potentially just six to do away with Dodd Frank.  DEUTSCHE, JPM and BARCLAYS duly spiked on the news.

M&A is on fire globally with the best start since 2000. The Del Vecchio family selling to ESSILOR for €15bn, RECKITTS buying MEAD JOHNSON and perhaps most interestingly Elliot putting AlCOA spin off ARCONIC Into play and Buffett’s guys buying mittelstand engineer WILLHELM SCHULZ just a year after the purchase of PRECISION CASTPARTS all attest to a revival of “animal spirits” in the Trump era. (The global specialist engineering btw is in a huge bull market in my view). We hold CAPITAL DRILLING, LEONARDO FINMECCANICA, SEMBCORP and THYSSEN to name but four but are looking for more.

However in toto the market rally in the States surely getting long in the tooth (since Hoover’s election in 1928 the S&P has dropped an average 2.7% in the month after the new President’s inauguration) it is curious to say the least the market is taking on board all the “good” Trump without any of the “bad” Trump.

We have one hand firmly on the ejector button, have raised as much cash as we dare, stocked up on gold again and not exactly headed for the bunker but are quite cautious.

And finally, with Burns night in the rear view mirror a lovely poem recited by our good friend and Irish board director Donald Aiken who had to make the Burns night speech, though as he said, shows why men will laugh at anything.

 

A POEM ABOUT TOMATOES!

I know an old farmer whose name is Jim,
I really love throwing tomatoes at him,
Tomatoes are soft and don’t hurt the skin,

But these b*****s do, cause they’re still in the tin.