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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Look at the future

Look at the future

Look at the future

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Reasons for optimism amidst the global doom and gloom.

LAST week saw Cambodian officials put on a brave face about the global financial crisis, therefore putting them in good company with the former President of the United States Bill Clinton.

After all, the former American leader said in a recent interview that we "will see some good economic news from the stimulus fairly soon".

He made the remarks on an American television news program in response to questions on President Barack Obama's performance in office and his handling of the economic crisis.

He said he agreed that President Obama should try to educate the American people but added that he just wanted "the American people to know that he's [President Obama] confident that we are going to get out of this and he feels good about the long run".

Cambodia's Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh - on the other hand - was speaking at the 2009 Outlook Conference at the Phnom Penh Hotel when he made his remarks.

He was quoted in The Phnom Penh Post last week as saying he believed the crisis would soon come to an end.

  ‘Reasons to be cheerful' extend to the world beyond america as well - including cambodia. 

Both men conveyed a particularly upbeat assessment about the world's economy at a time when good news has been in very short supply.
On the bright side...

So, with these upbeat messages in mind I set out to find some examples of optimism (or some reasons to be cheerful) to justify putting a more positive spin on President Obama's message regarding the overall economy.

This is what I came up with - a number of reasons to be cheerful despite the economic doom and gloom almost everywhere at the moment:

· Gold is up. The price of gold has increased by about US$90-$100 per ounce (as of last Friday) since President Obama took office on January 20.

At that time gold was priced at about $840 per ounce - last week gold was selling at around the $920-$930. So if you are invested in gold or in a gold fund there is reason for optimism.

· Oil is down. This is bad news if you are invested in an oil company or the oil services sector.

However, this is great news if you are an oil consumer - as most of us are. After all the price of petrol at the pumps should be lower as should our electricity bills and air travel.

The price of oil hit a record high above $147 per barrel in July last year before falling back later in the year. Last week oil was trading in the $40 range.

· The good Macro Hedge Funds are up. These are funds that invest in all products on the major markets such as stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities.

The strategy of such hedge funds is to profit from the changes in global economies that might in turn affect the markets.

They are volatile, but can be a highly effective investment. And it just so happens that with the volatility of today's markets, the macro hedge fund strategies are up, too.

· Managed futures funds are up. Funds trading in futures contracts (based on the future prices of certain commodities) have also done well. Funds such as Man AHL Diversified Futures PLC have posted gains of 24.9 percent in 2008 and averaged 14.6 percent per year since 1998.

If you are an investor in futures funds you may also have good reason to be optimistic.

· And the final reason to be cheerful comes from former President Bill Clinton himself.

On the very same talk show in which he was quoted as saying: "I think you will see some good economic news from the stimulus fairly soon,"  he added that he thought:

"You'll start to see people express gratitude for getting the unemployment benefits, the tax cuts and the food stamps."

He also added that "you'll see the money flowing through the economy.

"Then I think you'll see every state be able to quantify how much better shape they're in because of the education and health money."

And although former President Bill Clinton was talking specifically about the United States, we can only hope that his reasons to be cheerful extend to the world beyond America as well - including Cambodia.

After all Your Money Matters too!

Trevor Keidan is Managing Director of Infinity Financial Solutions. To contact him, please send an email to [email protected].  Trevor welcomes comments and/or questions about his articles.

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