The last few years have been abnormal in so many ways. Covid brought lockdowns to minimise deaths and hospital overload, working from home, online shopping, factory closures especially in China, and shortages of many things.
We’ve had abnormally low interest rates for some years so the cost of capital was extremely low. This distorted markets, fuelling high growth and speculation in profitless companies while reliable, proven performers languished.
The war in Ukraine brought turmoil in energy markets disrupting economies. Tensions with China grew over its actions in the Pacific. Brexit and global tensions put globalisation under threat.
Countries wanted to be more independent, not interdependent, more self-supporting rather than the efficiency of each country focusing on what it does best and trading with others.
We are now moving back to normal – normal interest rates, normal freedoms, no lockdowns, improving trade with China and better relations in the Pacific. The Ukraine War is unresolved but the threat to the efficiencies of globalisation is easing.
Investment opportunities have changed. With factory production catching up the world needs more raw materials. Rising incomes and living standards mean people want more consumer goods and capital construction to make life easier. Many countries are rebuilding their armies which requires raw materials.
We have those materials – iron ore, copper, coal, aluminium, rutile, rare earths. The world also wants to decarbonise. We have what is needed for that too – lithium, nickel, cobalt and vanadium.
Australia should do well from mineral exports over coming years. Investing in producing miners is best. It takes many years to get all the government approvals for a new mine.
Agricultural products are in demand. As incomes rise people want better food and clothing. We supply wheat, beef, lamb, barley, wool and cotton. Buyers know we offer high quality and true standards free of corruption. Farmers and agricultural companies should do well.
Commercial property looks attractive. Most leases have rents indexed to the CPI so 7.8 per cent rent increases are coming. Stock market listed property was sold off due to interest rate fears. It is recovering but there is more to go.
Foreign students are returning to our universities in big numbers, a major export earner. China mandates that its students studying overseas must do so in person.
Technology stocks and new companies without earnings are at risk. Capital costs much more now and is harder to raise. Proven businesses with strong cashflows and good margins should be preferred.