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黄金投资高手:金价攀升完全合理

Duff McDonald 2011年08月18日

第一雄鹰黄金基金联合投资组合经理雷切尔•贝内普论述目前黄金投资的机会所在、投资者在黄金方面的资产配置比例(也即风险敞口)应该多少为宜、以及为什么罗恩•保罗有关回归金本位的观点很可能是错误的。

    继涨势短暂歇息几个月之后,金价又重归其看似势不可挡、漫无止境的攀升行情。在上周股市急剧震荡之际,金价曾一度上冲至每盎司1,800美元,之后随股市反弹而回落到每盎司 1,770美元。见过以前只会在贫困居民区出现的那种“现金回购黄金”的招牌吧?现在别惦记着卖金换现,虽然你母亲很可能上周已经准备卖掉几副耳环了。

    为了对目前情况加以解读,《财富》杂志(Fortune)有幸对资金规模达31亿美元的第一雄鹰黄金基金(First Eagle Gold Fund)联合投资组合经理雷切尔•贝内普进行了一次采访。2009年3月份,吉恩-迈瑞•艾维拉德于转任该基金公司高级顾问之后,贝内普和阿布伊•戴西潘德一起接替了最初由他担任的该基金投资组合经理这一要职。迄今为止,他俩尚未玷污该基金的声誉:倘若你五年前在该基金投资了10,000美元——其最低投资额只需2,500美元,如今就能坐拥18,766美元;而相比之下,如果你在同一时期投资于标准普尔500指数的话,现在反而会蒙受损失。

    让我们直奔主题吧。在目前这个价位购买黄金不是太疯狂?

    我们不对金价加以预测,这是因为我们把黄金作为一种对冲工具。从这个角度来考虑,只要金价走势存在其合理理由,实际上就没有人能够说黄金目前是否过于昂贵。让我们看看自雷曼兄弟公司(Lehman)2008年破产以来金价的变化情况。金价每次发生实质性波动都相应存在一个合理理由。我们还没有看到金价出现任何毫无道理的实质性波动。上周,欧美的确有点出乎意料,出现一系列显而易见的问题,因而黄金上冲至每盎司1,800美元。有人为保护自己的投资组合而疯狂购买黄金吗?我不这么认为。请记住,市场上有越来越多的人逐渐意识到,黄金可以作为对冲工具。这也促使金价上涨。但要说黄金目前的市场定价错误的话,那就是对黄金的看法不正确了。黄金可以保护购买力。如果股市下跌,那么黄金就应该上涨。而且,金价是上涨还是下跌并没有关系,只要其走势合理即可。

    After taking a breather there for a few months, gold prices have resumed their seemingly inexorable rise to infinity. Amidst the mayhem of last week, the metal briefly touched $1,800-per-ounce before sliding back to $1,770 as the stock market rebounded. Those "cash-for-gold" signs you used to see only in distressed neighborhoods? Don't look now, but your mother was probably selling a few sets of earrings last week.

    To get a read on things, Fortune caught up with Rachel Benepe, co-manager of the $3.1 billion First Eagle Gold Fund (SGGDX). Along with Abhay Deshpande, Benepe stepped into the very big shoes of Jean-Marie Eveillard when he transitioned to a senior advisor role at the fund in March 2009. And they haven't tarnished the fund's reputation yet: Had you invested $10,000 in the fund five years ago—which only requires a minimum of $2,500—you would be sitting on $18,766 today, as opposed to losing money in the S&P 500.

    Let's get right to the point. Are people insane to be buying gold at these levels?

    We don't forecast the price of gold, and that's because we view it as a hedge. Considered from that perspective, no one can really say if it's too expensive or not, as long as the price moves for rational reasons. Look at the price changes since Lehman failed in 2008. Every move of gold has happened for a rational reason. We haven't seen a single move out of context. Last week, there were obvious issues in the U.S. and Europe that kind of came out of left field, and gold hit $1,800. Is someone insane for wanting to protect their portfolio? I don't think so. Keep in mind, too, that more and more people are becoming aware that it can serve as hedge. That, too, has been driving up the price. But to say it's mispriced is the wrong way to look at it. It protects your purchasing power. Gold should go up when equities go down. It doesn't matter which way it's moving, either, as long as it's happening in a rational way.

    第一雄鹰黄金基金(SGGDX)价格走势图(横轴:时间,纵轴:价格,美元)

    作为黄金基金的投资组合经理,你可以购买金条,也可以购买金矿股。如何在任一特定的时间节点决定到底是购买金条还是购买金矿股呢?

    不妨换一种方式来考虑这个问题,即既可以购买地面上的黄金——也就是金条——也可以购买地下的黄金——那就是通过金矿股。虽然我确实说过——无法估计金价是过高还是过低,但我们仍然希望每盎司黄金的价格尽可能便宜,而相对于购买金条而言,目前金矿股就为我们提供了以更为便宜的价格获得黄金的方式。今年年初以来,许多国家的中央银行(央行只能购买金条)就已经这样做了,导致矿业股价格相比金价而言表现不佳——2011年迄今金条价格已上涨20%以上,但金矿类股交易所交易基金(ETF)GDX同期下跌3.7%。通常,相对于金条价格任何向上或向下的变化,金矿股都会显示出2至3倍的杠杆效应。因此,金矿股目前肯定是表现滞后了。

    如果说黄金开采出来之后都是一样的,那么金矿公司所处的地理位置是否重要?在选择金矿股时是否应该避开某些国家呢?

    当然。由于政治风险,我们会对某些地方比较谨慎。我们倾向于不要持有俄罗斯的金矿公司股票。我们担心俄罗斯有这种可能:一旦找到高品位的金矿,外国投资者可能再也无法继续持有该金矿股份。所以,国有化一定是种风险。这一点同样适用于委内瑞拉。我们也非常不愿意持有中国的金矿公司股票。我们持有一家在中国拥有金矿的加拿大公司。我们通常希望投资于采矿法完备、采矿劳力稳定、税收及所有权清晰的地区。请注意,我们确实对采矿业进行风险分析,这意味着,从正常储量的角度考虑属安全管辖区域的金矿可能并不利于黄金投资。比如,与南非的一个金矿相比,投资位于阿拉斯加的一个未开发金矿可能面临的风险要高出许多,因为这首先就会面临一系列环境问题,除此之外还有其他方面的风险。

    你们现在看好哪些股票?

    目前在这方面南非提供了一些非常有吸引力的机会。因为我们把黄金视为一种对冲工具,而不像那些黄金死多头那样认为金价将无止境地一直上涨下去,所以我们偏好那些目前正在开采而且拥有已探明可能储量的金矿公司。南非各金矿公司拥有长期储量,它们一直在开采黄金,而且在金矿开采方面拥有一个清晰的行动计划。澳大利亚纽克雷斯特矿业公司(Newcrest Mining)是我们目前持仓最大的股票。我们还非常看好加拿大黄金公司(Goldcorp)。它们经营一系列大型而且多重资产的公司,而且对旗下这些公司的管理非常不错。它们为投资者提供了大量黄金储量,而且都位于安全的管辖区域。我们非常喜欢这一点。

    对金价走势有对冲安排的金矿公司呢?

    我们不买这些公司股票。它们对金价走势已有了自己的看法,我们用不着。我们需要的是黄金。我们希望能从金矿股因金价涨跌走势而出现的杠杆效应中获利。我们不喜欢某些金矿公司的首席执行官(CEO)对金价走势形成自己的宏观看法。有时他们这样做是为了保护某项金矿开采工程的经济价值,虽然我们对此可以接受,但我们还是倾向于不碰这些公司的股票。我们会躲开对金价走势做出对冲安排的金矿公司。

    你们仍然持有金条,对不对?

    是的,我们确实持有金条。目前我们基金约有17%的资产是金条,其余资产是金矿股。而且我们目前是全仓投资,手头不留任何现金。

    个人投资者该何去何从?我现在是否应该囤积金条?

    我们认为,个人投资者购买黄金的最佳途径是通过主动管理型黄金基金。虽然金矿公司开采的黄金都一样,但每家金矿公司都有各自的经济状况及各自的独特情况,因而通过这些公司股票而购买到的资产都极为不同。最好让投资组合经理来替你选择所要投资的金矿公司股票,他们经常与这些公司的管理团队互通声气,在各金矿公司开采现场都有人脉关系,而这些人对金矿公司之间差异的了解远胜于普通投资者。另外,个人投资者如果打算在投资组合中加入金条资产的话,会相当困难。投资者必须购买一个保险箱——它的价格相当于一根金条的十分之一——而我们只需购买金条本身。

    黄金在个人投资者整体投资组合中所占的百分比应该是多少?如果担心世界末日即将到来,我是不是应该全部投资于黄金?

    我们一般建议个人投资者把10%左右的资产投资在黄金上,尤其是时局不稳定的时期。一旦超过这个投资比例,就是在投机了。而低于5%的黄金资产配置则无法有效抵御任何风险,大家都知道,现在纸币体系出现许多问题。但是,这并不意味着所有最坏的情况都将会发生。我们都希望活在一个不需要依靠黄金来对冲风险的世界里——包括我们First Eagle基金公司的工作人员在内也是希望如此。除非想投机而押注所有这些糟糕事情都会发生,否则我们会把个人投资组合中的黄金资产配置比例控制在最高不超过15%的水平。

    我们是否会回归金本位制?最近很多人都这么说,比如罗恩•保罗。

    总会有人这样认为。从我们的角度来看,目前纸币体系面临的主要问题是,各国央行始终拥有开动印钞机的选择权。他们很难有坚定的决心来切实解决问题,而不是通过通胀来寻找出路并摆脱困境。但我真的对世界将很快重归完全金本位制持怀疑态度。可以看到,各国央行行长都已经意识到,需要在各自外汇储备中切实配置黄金。黄金已存在几千年了,而纸币则经历了兴衰更替。不论是独裁国家还是民主国家都接受黄金。只有黄金是终极货币。

    翻译:iDo98

    As a gold fund manager, you can buy bullion or you can buy gold mining stocks. How do you decide which to purchase at any particular point in time?

    Another way you can look at it is you can buy gold above ground —that's bullion — or you can buy gold below ground — and that would be through mining stocks. While I did say you couldn't call gold overpriced or underpriced, we still want the cheapest ounces possible, and stocks offer a much less expensive way to get them at the moment. Since the beginning of the year, many central banks, which can only buy bullion, have been doing just that. And that's caused the prices of the mining stocks to underperform — gold bullion is up more than 20% in 2011, but the sector ETF, GDX, is down 3.7%. Gold stocks normally show 2 to 3 times leverage on any move in bullion, up or down. So they are definitely lagging.

    Does geography matter if all gold is the same once it's out of the ground? Are there countries that you avoid?

    Absolutely. We have places that we are more cautious of because of political risk. We tend not to own Russian gold mining companies. We worry about the possibility that if you find something really good, you may no longer be able to hold onto it as a foreign investor. So nationalization is certainly a risk. The same goes for Venezuela. We also don't really want to own Chinese gold mining companies. We own one Canadian company that has mines in China. We tend to want to invest where there is defined mining law, established mining labor, and where issues of taxation and ownership are clear. Mind you, we do analyze risk in the context of mining industry, which means that things that are safe jurisdictions from normal stock perspective might not be good in gold. An undeveloped gold mine in Alaska, for example, could be a far riskier investment than a mine in South Africa, starting with environmental issues and moving on from there.

    So what stocks do you like right now?

    The South Africans offer some interesting opportunities at the moment. Because we view it as a hedge, and not like the gold bugs who think it's going up forever, we like mines that are in production with proven and probable reserves. South African mines have long reserves, they've been operating forever, and they have a clear path for getting gold out of the ground. Newcrest Mining is our largest holding. We also like Goldcorp (GG). They operate large, multi-asset companies, and do a good job of managing portfolios. They offer investors a lot of ounces, in safe jurisdictions. And we like that.

    What about gold companies that hedge?

    We don't buy them. They have taken a view of the metal, and we're not asking for that. We want access to the ounces. We want leverage up or down. We don't want some CEO's macro view on the price of gold. Sometimes they have to do it to protect the economics of a project, and while that can be acceptable, we tend not to buy them either. We avoid those companies that hedge.

    But you still own bullion, right?

    Yes, we do. We have about 17% in bullion and the rest in stocks. And we're fully invested—we're not sitting on any cash.

    What about individuals? Should I be hoarding gold bars right now?

    In our view, the best way for an individual investor to buy gold is through an actively managed gold fund. While gold mining companies all mine the same good, each mine has its own economics and its own unusual situations that make the assets you're buying very different. You're better off with a portfolio manager who is talking to all those management teams and has people on the ground who will undoubtedly understand those differences better than you would be able to. Plus, if you're looking to have a bullion component to your portfolio, it's pretty hard to do that as an individual. You still have to buy a security—which represents one tenth of a gold bar—whereas we buy bullion itself.

    What about the percentage of gold in my overall portfolio? Should I go whole-hog if I am worried that the world is going to end?

    We generally suggest around 10%, and especially so in this type of uncertain environment. But any more than that and you're speculating. And an allocation of less than 5% won't protect your portfolio effectively from anything. Everyone knows that many things are going wrong in the paper monetary system right now. But that doesn't mean that any of the worst-case scenarios are actually going to happen. We all want a world—and that includes us at First Eagle—where you don't need a gold hedge. Unless you really want to be speculating that all those bad things are going to be happening, we'd keep it below a maximum of 15%.

    Are we going back to the gold standard? I'm hearing a lot more people talk about that these days, not the least of whom is Ron Paul.

    You always have had people who think that. From our standpoint, the primary problem with the paper money system is that central bankers always have the option to print more money. It's hard for them to have the fortitude to actually deal with issues instead of inflating their way out of them. But I really doubt we're going to see a full gold standard any time soon. What we could see is central bankers realizing they all need a real allocation to gold in their foreign exchange reserves. It's been around for thousands of years, whereas paper currencies come and go. And it's accepted by both dictator and democracy alike. At the end of the day, it's the ultimate currency.

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