If the prices of oil, gold, copper and other natural resources are high, the hideous flaws in the economies of a number of the countries north and south of the U.S. border will remain hidden behind, as if by magic.
But if resource prices plummet, then even some of the best-run countries in North and South America will probably stumble a bit - and several will be revealed as true economic basket cases.
When we refer to "the Americas," we're talking about all the countries in North, Central and South America - with the United States excluded. There's a great divergence in potential. So let's begin our journey with Latin America.
To learn which four markets to invest in, please read on...
Not so when the government is Beijing, and Washington politicians halfway around the world are busy looking for votes.
This tiff could be filed away as just another tempest in a teapot... if it were not for the other important projects it could derail along the way. Those projects just happen to have a major impact for American natural gas technology and the companies likely to benefit from its foreign introduction.
If the two countries can get it together, it could mean profitable new opportunities for both.
To find out how the energy sector would benefit from U.S.-China cooperation, read on...
A binge of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is being fueled by the global currency war, which has increased the value of emerging market currencies.
The value of worldwide M&A totaled $1.75 trillion during the first nine months of 2010, a 21% increase from comparable 2009 levels and the strongest nine month period for M&A since 2008, according to Thomson Reuters.
But mergers and acquisitions involving companies located in the emerging markets skyrocketed by 62.9% during the same period over 2009, totaling $480.7 billion. During the first three quarters of 2010, emerging markets accounted for 27.4% of worldwide M&A volume compared to 21% during the comparable period in 2009.
And companies are showing more willingness to venture across borders to find the resources they're after.
M&A activity in deals across international borders has surged during the first nine months of 2010, totaling $723 billion accounting for 41.2% of overall M&A volume, compared to 26.1% last year at this time.
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Nestled in the far northwest of China, Xinjiang is the country's largest province and the primary domestic source for oil and gas. It is sparsely populated and as big as Western Europe. The name, Xinjiang, literally means "New Frontier." And recent decisions in Beijing are going to give that translation even more meaning - transforming this province into a "new frontier" for the global energy sector.
Take last Thursday, for instance. I began the day at FOX Business News, where the interviewer wanted me to explain what will happen if the BP relief wells fail. Then I spent an hour as the guest on a radio talk show from Johannesburg, South Africa, detailing what options are available to BP. Later still, I served as a consultant to a Wall Street investment crew - via conference call - once again on the status of the BP relief wells.
The BP relief wells are right now the dominant topic on everyone's mind. But there are two potential scenarios - of "nightmare proportions" - that investors need to know about.
Let me explain...
New global-warming regulations will turn air-pollution credits into financial assets that can trade like stocks or bonds. And a little-known U.S. pipeline and East Coast shipping terminal will transform the formerly fragmented U.S. natural-gas market into a fast-moving global marketplace - with profit opportunities to match .
To help investors profit from these global opportunities, Dr. Kent Moors - a career-energy-sector insider who is an advisor to six of the world's Top 10 oil companies and a consultant to some of the world's largest oil-producing nations - has launched the Energy Advantage advisory service.
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard agreed on a compromise plan that would reduce the planned tax to 30% of profits from iron ore and coal, and 40% tax on oil and natural gas, down from the originally proposed 40% tax on all resources. The new plan, called the mineral resource rent tax, would also raise the tax's trigger level to profits that exceed a 12% rate of return instead of 6%.
"The reduction in the headline rate is an amazing concession," John Robinson, chairman of Global Mining Investments Ltd., told Bloomberg. "It's certainly better than I had expected."
Mining companies would be allowed to claim depreciation on their assets based on market value instead of book value.
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If this sounds like a view of the distant future - the global energy sector's own version of "Future Shock" - think again.
All of these "predictions" are becoming a reality, even as you read this. And while these transformative events will likely make the global energy sector more volatile and confusing than ever, they are also creating the largest wealth-creating opportunities that most investors will ever see, says Dr. Kent Moors, a career energy-sector consultant who works with governments and corporations throughout the world.
But it's been an even bigger wakeup call for investors.
Years from now, investors will look back at this period as a turning point - the start of the greatest profit opportunity of this generation. And that's not all. The post-oil-spill period will go down in history as the period during which the United States was finally able to break its dependence on foreign oil, says Dr. Kent Moors, a career energy-sector consultant who works with governments and corporations throughout the world.
Investors who understand the energy-sector shifts that are taking place "will make more money in energy investments over the next several years than in any other sector during any other period in their lifetimes," says Dr. Moors, who is also the editor of the Oil & Energy Investor newsletter. With the changes he's currently projecting, "a large measure of energy independence for the U.S. becomes possible. And I'm not just talking about a mere economic 'recovery' here. We'd be looking at a standard of living that's 60% higher, an economy expanding at 5% to 7% a year and - most important of all - a future that we could dictate."
It has also spawned debates about which nations should be given a piece of this vast apparent fortune.
The discovery - and its transformational potential - is mind-boggling: At $1 trillion, the estimated value of the mineral reserves is 100 times the size of Afghanistan's entire economy, estimated at $12 billion. And it's not just the dollar figures that could bring about change. Much of Afghanistan's economic activities involve drug-trafficking and terrorism. About 40% of the country's population lives below the poverty line, and 70% lives on $2 a day.
It has also spawned debates about which nations should be given a piece of this potential fortune.
At $1 trillion, the estimated value of the mineral reserves is 100 times the size of Afghanistan's $12 billion economy. And it's not just the dollar figures that could bring about change. Much of Afghanistan's economic activities involve drug trafficking and terrorism. About 40% of the country's population lives below the poverty line, and 70% lives on $2 a day.
U.S. geologists have found some $1 trillion of untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, The New York Times reported Sunday. Afghanistan's mineral wealth includes large caches of iron, copper, gold and lithium that could turn the country into one of the most important mining centers in the world.
Think of Australia, Canada, and Latin America. That is the league into which these geographical revelations have thrust Afghanistan.
"There is stunning potential here," General David Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, told The Times. "There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant."
Those "ifs" include ongoing warfare, a lack of infrastructure, and more than a little political corruption. But the upside for the country is enormous.
While U.S. officials estimate the potential value of Afghanistan's mineral wealth at $1 trillion, President Hamid Karzai said last month during a visit to Washington that his country's deposits could be worth three times as much.
So why did it take so long for this information to surface?
And little wonder. The Greek debt crisis continues to threaten Europe's overall health, and could unleash an entirely new contagion on the rest of the global economy. Then there's China, - the engine of world growth during much of the financial crisis - which now appears to face the near-term triple threat of slowing growth, accelerating inflation and workplace unrest. Add in concerns about commodity prices and global debt levels and it's easy to see why currency investors have sought the safe haven of the U.S. dollar.
In short, it appears that "everybody" knows the greenback is the best choice for safety, quality and security.
But is that really the case? To me, the dollar is looking more and more like a colossal short that could wind up being one of the biggest moneymakers of the year for traders gutsy enough to take a stand.
To see why the dollar could roll over - and to see how to play it - please read on ...