- My Favorite Investment in the World's Newest "Sweet Spot"
- Southeast Asia: Strong Growth, Humming Factories, No Debt Crisis
Fifty years later, though, I like it for a slightly different reason. It's become a place where I like to invest.
In fact, I believe the region is the world's newest "sweet spot" for investors.
Of course, you don't hear much about the economies of Southeast Asia. Given the media's penchant for bad news, that alone should tell you something.
But unlike the U.S., Europe, China, India and Japan, the region is doing just fine, which is why you should consider putting some money in places like Malaysia and Singapore.
In fact, in a moment I'm going to tell you what my favorite company in the region is.
I'm talking about Southeast Asia.
There was a time when investors scoffed at the likes of Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. But no one's laughing now. The naysayers currently are all too busy pulling their money out of the regions they always assumed were safe - the United States, Europe, and even the trendy BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).
Indeed, there are precious few flourishing economies in the world today, and none look as promising as the ones you'll find in Southeast Asia. We're talking about countries that have pro-market governments, thriving manufacturing sectors, ample natural resources, and - with the exception of Singapore - wage levels that can still grow a great deal before pricing themselves beyond their Western competitors.
That's quite a lot by today's standards.
Just take a quick look around the rest of the world and you'll see what I mean.
Searching for a SaviorU.S. growth has fallen off a cliff and no amount of "stimulus" seems likely to get it back on track. Economic growth in Europe is stalled as well, and the continent is further jeopardized by the potential collapse of Greece and the European Union (EU). Even Australia and Canada, both with strong mineral and energy sectors, seem to be slowing as demand wanes in the wealthy West.
Emerging markets seem like a better bet for our money at first glance, but they, too, have problems when examined more closely.
Brazil and China are battling inflation. Brazil has a government that seems unable to stop spending, while China has a thoroughly corrupt government and a banking system with an enormous hidden bad debt problem. Russia is a snake pit, from which a foreign investor is unlikely to escape alive. And India, while growing rapidly, has a serious inflation problem and a government as corrupt as it is economically inept.
Fortunately, one incandescent bright spot shines through the darkness: Southeast Asia. So let's take a look at some of the investment opportunities being illuminated.