Rogers will be testing the domestic investor market first before opening the opportunity to offshore groups
Rogers in town to buy the farm
MATTHEW CRANSTON, AFR
COMMODITIES trader Jim Rogers is forecasting the beginning of a soft commodities and rural land boom and says it will start in Australia.
Mr Rogers, known for his investment prowess alongside George Soros, is in Australia to launch a new rural land fund which is seeking to raise up to $350 million to buy farms in northern NSW, according to The Australian Financial Review.
Mr Rogers said the growing risk of inflation as well as growing demand for soft commodities from Asia would fuel the demand for agricultural land.
"It's the farmers, the producers who are going to be in the captain's seat when the prices go through the roof," Mr Rogers said.
Well-known for predicting the start of the commodities rally in 1999, Mr Rogers said soft commodities were about to rise.
"The shortages are going to get worse and the prices for land will go higher."
The new unlisted closed end fund Mr Rogers is advising, called the Laguna Bay Pastoral Company, is testing the domestic investor market first before opening the opportunity to offshore groups.
It will partner with farmers who have been earning yields that the top 10 per cent of Australia's farmers are now earning.
The farmers will manage the properties and suggest what surrounding properties would be wise for the fund to purchase. So far there are 16 properties identified for acquisition covering 80,000 hectares.
"We have shortages of everything from oil to food and on top of that we have governments printing more money. Put the two together and you have some serious inflation coming down the road," he said.
"Governments will eventually put in place price controls but if you tell someone they can only make so much money he is going to stop producing. The Chinese are seeing this and that's why they are out looking to buy assets. They are down here [in Australia] trying to buy up more.
"I applaud them," Mr Rogers said of the sovereign wealth funds that have been buying farms. "We don't have enough farmers or enough capital so if somebody doesn't buy those farms then we are not going to have any food.
His comments come as Australia, New Zealand and Brazil review their foreign investment rules in relation to agriculture.
Australia holds its first senate hearing into foreign investment rules into farms on Tuesday week.
The Australian Financial Review