Newsletters: February 2010
We're pleased to be able to reveal that we have a sister website well on the way to being up and running. Initially, the website will bring you all the latest information regarding our Brazilian based eucalyptus projects but there are plans afoot for further additions. The aim is to give our clients unrestricted access to annual project reports, plantation updates, live charcoal prices, and various other company information, whist also providing industry related news. We'll also provide regular photo updates and video footage too (that's the TV bit). Will keep you posted.
Green Steel for a Green Future... a footnote
In our January newsletter we briefly mentioned that the Brazilian government has just put through a proposal to only use charcoal from afforested areas to produce pig iron (steel with impurity). In addition, it's been decided that the timber used to make the charcoal must only involve exotic species like eucalyptus. Ring any bells?
What's surprising is that the news has had such little coverage in the press.
Occasionally we run a marketing campaign at Greenwoods, with words to the effect of
"Brazil's best kept secret"
Well, never has our little slogan been more apt than now.
Just in case you missed the Brazilian Presidents comments after Copenhagen
"We will work for the utilization of charcoal and not mineral coal, also with the objective of reducing greenhouse gases; and in our energy mix, which is already the cleanest in the world - considering electric energy alone, we have 85% of clean power generation."
"...the governmental decision we have submitted to the National Congress was approved and is now a law. Therefore, this is no longer the will of President Lula. Now, whoever is governing this country will have to comply with it."
So there you have it straight from the horse's mouth. This proposal will not just disappear when President Lula leaves his post, it's here for good still seems to be ""Brazils best kept secret".
Have you been contangoed?
Back in the good old days I'd have a little ritual. Buy a paper, grab a coffee and check the stocks to find out if I was a little richer that day, being the eternal optimist.
One day I read that one of my stocks had doubled, then halved in the course of the days trading (a takeover rumour fuelled the spike up, a company denial, then a profits warning. Ouch!). I should have made a killing that day, I didn't. No, back in those "good old days", if you wanted to "invest", a phone call was needed to the broker. Fingers crossed, he'd get you a good deal, less his handsome percentage. Cheque then dispatched and share certs would wing their way over in a month or so. No live streaming share prices, no virtual trading platforms, just the morning periodical, a telephone and a coffee to settle the nerves. All very civilised.
Now trading is live and online. Investment forums ramp up the next hot share tip. Multiple alias de-rampers talk stocks down, circulating gloomy "inside" info for willing buyers. A sinister underworld to navigate, but once through, a 15 second countdown starts and hey presto, you're in business. Having a punt costs a fiver.
The internet and computer software has changed the way we think about making money. A whole new investing generation exists with new skills and mindsets. Time horizons are in days, hours, minutes. A quick turn, and on to the next killing... bring it on!
But wait a minute, if there is a winner, doesn't there have to be a loser, and if there is, who is it?
Hyper-trading software, capable of trading millions of times a day is used by the big hedge funds and financial institutions nowadays. Standard software relentlessly scans tens of thousands of potential trading strategies every day. Entire strategic calculations take seconds. Impressive stuff, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. The systems are becoming yet more sophisticated. Software systems now offer the potential to conduct billions of trades in a day.
In the past, the world of technical analysis had always been labour intensive. Examining charts, testing strategies, technical analysis has always needed hours of dedicated research in the past to get an edge on the competition. But now software systems are now harnessed and in full control.
Slightly worrying is the fact that many computer systems often employ similar models and as a consequence trigger a kind of self-fulfilling meltdown. Automated stop losses trigger more automated stop losses, and the domino effect kicks in when the pressure is on the markets. An "orderly market", in which bid and ask prices are continually available and the spreads between transactions are relatively small, can get knocked down like a house of cards. Futures markets can go into various forms of seizure, and terms like "backwardation" and "contango" start getting bandied about.
What do the terms mean?... you might want to skip this bit.
In relation to futures markets, the terms describe the relationship between the spot price rice of a commodity, the cost of purchasing the commodity to have it today, and the price of the same commodity at some time in the future. The commodity is said to be in contango when the actual future price is higher than the expected future price. It's in backwardation if the actual future price is lower than the expected future price.
Don't know about being contangoed, I'm more bamboozled.
Back to the real world, a recurrent phrase I heard when starting out as an investor was "preservation of capital is key". Many of the bigger investors said their aim was simply "not to lose money", everything else was a bonus. Rather a negative attitude I thought at the time... not lose money? Bunch of wimps.
Reading across the financial bulletin boards early last year, panic was rife and "market manipulation!" was yelling out from the masses. "They" are doing us over. Many investors were clearly nursing huge losses in equity markets. Some stocks, with hindsight were being driven down beyond all reasonable logic. Was it the sheer weight of "short" money relentlessly driving prices down, before closing out a nice juicy gain? If so, when does that become manipulation?
More significantly, is the private investor out of his depth nowadays as hyper-trading software chews them up and spits them out?
Is it the small investor that is becoming the "loser" at the expense of the big boys?
When an old acquaintance (now a city based market maker) asked me how the portfolio was behaving, I told him in my most erudite tone that I considered myself to be more of a long term investor nowadays. After all, Warren Buffet once said, "My favourite holding period is forever". Unfortunately the response didn't elicit the kind of high praise I expected... "You mean your trades went against you and now you're locked in". I changed the subject
Now apart from him being annoyingly right, I think that's the way the Mr Market increasingly views this game. Is the private investor adequately equipped to play anymore or is it game, set and match to the big boys? Does hyper-trading software subvert the whole process for the small investor? No idea. If nothing else, it does make forestry investing look simple.
The day I put this piece together, markets were crashing left right and centre, Spain's IBEX was down nearly 6 percent, Asian stocks tumbled. Ballooning European debt and a rise in U.S. unemployment was headlining. Could the global recovery slip back into recession? Markets were looking panicky again. A new buying opportunity, or a window for the shorting brigade to talk us into the dreaded double dip? Let's hope it's the former.
Greenwood Management Representatives
Greenwood Management's expansion continues unabated with the appointment of 2 new Agency Representatives in Portugal and a new Agency Representative in Belgium.
Mr. Nuno Duarte Páris Dias
Mr. Nuno Ricardo Duarte Ferreira Sanches Gonçalves
Both graduated in Forestry Engineering backgrounds, Mr Páris and Mr Gonçalves both have a vast depth of experience within the forestry products sector, including positions at the following:
UTAD - Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
UCP - Universidade Católica Portuguesa - Dept. Biotecnologia AGRO 752 - Micofloresta
AFN - Autoridade Florestal Nacional (ex-DGRF)
EFN - Estaçáo Florestal Nacional - AGRO 194
INGA - Instituto Nacional de Intervenção e Garantia Agrícola
DRAEDM - Direcção Regional de Agricultura de Entre-Douro e Minho
IVV - Instituto da Vinha e do Vinho
AFL - Associação Florestal de Lima
CMPL - Câmara Municipal da Póvoa de Lanhoso
FACIG - Floresta, Ambiente, Cartografia e Informaçáo Digital, Lda.
CERNE - Cerne Indústria de Mobiliário, S.A.
JOMAR - Indústrias Jomar - Madeiras e Derivados, S.A.
ANTARTE - Antarte Mobiliário - Rocha e Rafael, Lda.
MGAF - Mesquita Guimarães Agro-florestal, Lda.
AIMMP - Associaçáo das Indústrias de Madeira e Mobiliário de Portugal
CTIMM - Centro Tecnológico da Indústria da Madeira e Mobiliário
Contact details are as follows:
GREENWOOD PORTUGAL Ltd.
Mr. Nuno Duarte Páris Dias &
Mr. Nuno Ricardo Duarte Ferreira Sanches Gonçalves
Rua Monte Aventino 114, Porto, 4350-233, Portugal
Mr. Duarte Tel: +351 919482967
Mr. Paris Tel: +351 963456111
Mr. Páris email: email@example.com
Mr. Duarte email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. +32 489514012
We hope that the extensive experience and specialised knowledge of our new Agency Representatives will be of great benefit to both the Greenwood Management team and our clients.