Jim Rogers: Buy farms and China

Legendary investor Jim Rogers spies potential profits in agriculture and Chinese stocks.

"Venerable investor" Jim Rogers "has always been a multitasker", says Kopin Tan in Barron's. He set up the Quantum Fund with George Soros, famously retired at the age of 37 to travel the world, and has written six books.

Rogers was among the very first to notice that commodities were entering a long-term upswing at the turn of the last century, and has long been keen on Asia. So keen, in fact, that he moved to Singapore from New York a few years ago.

He thinks agriculture "is going to be one of the best investments over the next few decades". For most of the last ten years the world has consumed more than it has produced, so inventories are "near historic lows".

Farmers are dying out the average farmer in America is 58 and young people aren't interested. Prices will have to go a lot higher to attract labour and capital to the sector, or there will be food shortages eventually.

So "buy shares in farms, farm equipment, fertiliser and seed companies" around the world. Sugar also looks appealing, having fallen hard from its all-time highs. "I'm buying sugar as we speak." One sugar play Rogers likes is Malaysia-listed MSM Malaysia Holdings (KL: MSM).

As for China, so far the sceptics have been proved wrong on the country, notes Rogers, adding that people forget how many problems America had to overcome in the 19th century. China is going to be "the next great country in the world".

Look for the best industries, one of which is railways. "Their know-how is better than most people realise. So it's an export market as well."

Enter Hollysys Automation Technologies (US: HOLI). Rogers also owns the renminbi.

Other emerging economies he's watching include Myanmar. There's no local stock market yet, but Thai-listed Nok Airlines (BNK: NOK) is profiting from the nation's development.

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