Saturday, March 31, 2007


I think the old joke goes something like this:

Q: "How do I build up a million dollar portfolio in Junior Uranium Mining Stocks?"

A: "Start with 10 million dollars...."

All jokes aside, as documented here, (along with gold) Uranium juniors were a big pony that I staked the last year as I saw some other markets starting to get really "wobbley".

Junior Uranium is the new Internet, for better or worse. There are no earnings. Yet, many of these companies are up WELL over 100% since this summer....actually almost ALL uranium juniors are up a similar amount as a result of a production setback by the biggest miner of them all.

The reason that I'm bringing Uranium miners up again is this:

1.) neener neener neener -- "I told you so!!!" :)

2.) We are rapidly approaching a period of the year when junior mining shares generally do NOT perform as well .....mid-april-ish to september.

3.) i think some stock traders *may* look to book some profits if/when we move above 100/lb on the yellowcake (currently at $95)....Fortunately, the price of physical Uranium itself doesn't have a futures market, so most of the buying/selling is done by commercials and not speculators....although there are a couple of vehicles out there for giving traders the ability to take down physical supply off of the market further exascerbating the physical supply problems.

While there are lots of reasons that "this time it's different" one must be aware of tidal influences if one is going to surf the global liquidity wave for a living. The good news is, if you haven't already jumped on the uranium bandwagon there is a nice period here where you could have a chance to do your research, get set up, and get into a speculation or two during the "slow season" this summer.

If you're going to invest in the junior miners try to pick ones with proven URANIUM mining experience. Given the length of the recent downcycle these are very few and far between and will quickly winnow a list of about 300 down to 10 or fewer for you.

There are going to be a couple of companies that build mines of lasting values. And, there will be lots of people who throw their money away on speculative juniors that never become anything -- some of which will detail their foibles under pseudonyms while taking on the personae of balding, spotted dogs.....

p.s. for anyone crazy enough to think about speculating in junior mining shares, please take note of fubarrio's first theorem of bad luck (tm) as it applies to securities mentioned positively in a public setting and set your expectations accordingly. for the uninitiated, fubarrio's first theorem of bad luck predicts a decline in the value of any proposed speculation in the immediate aftermath of any mention in a public forum


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"Where have you been?"

Well, I've been noticably absent from the scene as of late, so I thought I'd take a minute to catch some folks up on what's been happening.

I've been very busy working with some other "Uruguayan immigrants" (aka expats) on building a few companies here in Montevideo.

The company has been around for a while. So what do we do?

Well, if someone needs to transmit a large wire transfer, or money transfer....(especially an overseas or offshore wire), we do that quickly and confidentially while inviting the absolute minimum of intrusion into your private financial matters.

Sounds pretty esoteric, right?

Well, there are some other services that are going to be layered on top of this eventually that will make it more clear in case you're still wondering why someone would actually want or need these services.

If you're a reader of this blog you can probably guess why.

Ok...back to your regularly scheduled programming...

ciao for now,
offshore wire hound

Sunday, March 18, 2007

fuBarrio Makes Drunken Proclamation

In and of itself that isn't really a headline.

However, at last night's St.Patrick's day get-together at the Southron's lair fuBarrio made a proclamation with a certainty only possessed by those with an overabundance of liquid courage. In this case the backbone came courtesy of an oversupply of green Patricia (Uruguayan beer).

Although my memory is hazy as to what exactly fuBarrio said, it sounded something like, "I will stake my LIFE to Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic nomination."

Of course, this in and of itself isn't that bold of an announcement -- except for the whole 'staking one's life' part :)

However, at the time I was arguing with someone that thought that Hillary's campaign was coming under heat because of her stance on the war or something. Of course, not being burdened by reading (or watching) US news that doesn't come from non-traditional conspiracy nuts' websites I'm not burdened by any of the recent "facts" maybe her campaign actually *is* in trouble :) No idea.

The side effect of being so "uninformed" has allowed fuBarrio to see with relative clarity events set to transpire over a longer time frame. While staking my life on her nomination seems a bit much, I'm willing to back up my words (kind of) and stake fuBarrio's life on it.

If Hillary Clinton doesn't win the nomination (and it isn't because of her or an immediate family member's death making her quit) I will lock away my irrepressible alter ego 'fuBarrio' and not allow his crazy rantings to be heard by the public at large..thus, effectively "killing" off his colorful online personna.

While I realize it would be strange that someone so unliked would become the first female nominee to head the Democratic ticket, I have THAT MUCH FAITH in the Clinton political machine.

Now, to the prospective candidates in the Democratic election: may the best Dragon-Lady-Sneaky-"cattle futures trading"-Untrustworthy-Pandering-Finger-in-the-wind-Playing-to-the-media-Candidate win!


And, this just in from Uruguay....

...Ok I promised to create a post about Uruguay.

This seemed to be the story with the biggest possible effect on foreigners evaluating Uruguay...



March 16th, 2007

Banco Republica Oriental del Uruguay , the government bank, will be giving loans to people who want to purchase or renovate a house. The program is due to launch sometime after June. Banco Hipotecario del Uruguay, which is a state owned bank used to provide housing loans but has run out of resources. BROU has decided to step into this market because of BHU’s problems and the need for further growth in the construction and real estate industries . (Ultimas Noticias 16/03/07)

Right now, with the exception of some private lenders, there just aren't loans for real estate in Uruguay. While that has kept the cost of land and homes relatively affordable outside of the popular spots for tourists, it has made nicer properties untouchable for the middle class that reside here and earn their money here.

As I've speculated before, the money that is supporting the nicer homes in the city are supported by foreign money coming in supported by foreign govts, companies, or just individuals (equity locusts) taking out a heloc or selling an overpriced property in parts that support home values with loans and buying here with cash.

Offering RE loans to the unwashed masses again has the potential to be a "game changer" for Uruguay, and unfortunately from my perspective, for the worse. I understand "everyone" wants the 42 inch plasma, granite countertops, and european (or japanese) luxury vehicle....I'm just not comfortable with easily available credit to do it.

Don't get me wrong, this place is decades behind the US in consumptive behaviour. But, if I'm going to consider putting down roots, I might have to consider buying at a time when I think the volume of equity locusts is getting ready to dry up....otherwise hope that the availability of money to buy real estate locally doesn't make things crazy here.

ciao for now,

"Down goes Frazier, Down goes Frazier!"

OK....I know I said I'd lighten up on poor beleaguered housing now that everyone agrees it's got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

But, I found this online and almost choked on my twinkies -- Contra Costa county is where i used to work (it is east of Oakland) and home to such bubblicious towns as "Walnut Creek" and some truly upscale communities ($3MM+)

I would hope that most of this activity is from the less desireable Contra Costa towns, but where do you think most of the people who don't work at Chevron Texaco are getting the cash to afford the overpriced homes in Walnut Creek? -- my guess -- directly and indirectly servicing all the nouveau house rich east bay citizenry

From Central Valley Business Times:

(my emphasis added)

"Home foreclosures in the United States being reported by the media likely understate actual foreclosure sales activity, according to Foreclosure Radar, a Discovery Bay-based foreclosure listings and software company.

According to the company, February saw 4,171 foreclosures with a total loan value of $1.64 billion for distressed properties sold at auction in California. This dollar volume surpassed the prior record reached in the third quarter of 1996, and represents a 48 percent increase from December 2006, says the company which tracks actual foreclosure sales, not just initial listings.

“The foreclosure sale numbers, sometimes referred to as REO's reported by similar listing services do not reflect current foreclosure sales activity. Instead, they are based on a document called a Trustee's Deed that gets recorded with the county weeks after the sale. With the rapid changes in the foreclosure market, the delay in waiting for these documents to be recorded has resulted in actual foreclosure sales to be under reported by more than 300 percent,” he says.

“We’ve been tracking home, commercial, and bank foreclosures for years and the recent rise is alarming,” says Mr. O’Toole. “If you look at the data for Contra Costa County, for example, the number of foreclosures has increased by 865 percent in just one year and this is by no means the worst example in California.”


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Le Extrano a Chile!

...I really miss Chile. In fact I miss them so much I partnered up with our friendly neighbors to the north and made a present for them....

To see my gift online, click on the following link. It'll take a second to load if viewed with sound, but clearly not necessary!


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Those who can't DO, TEACH...."

"....and those who can't teach move to South America and blog mindless conspiracy theories all day."

I swiped this from another blogger's (if you aren't already a bear, read this for an evening or two and you'll be going into a 12 year hibernation on housing.)

From MarketWatch. “Losses on so-called Alt-A home loans are accelerating and could hit the value of lower-rated portions of some mortgage-backed securities, according to a study released on Tuesday.”

“These loans, known as Alt-A ARM IOs, have seen a four-fold increase delinquencies of at least 60 days, four times the level of similar loans originated in 2003 and 2004, according to the study by David Liu, head of mortgage credit research at UBS.”

“This ‘alarming’ deterioration could have dire consequences for some investors in the BBB- rated parts of mortgage-backed securities that contain these types of loans, but the market hasn’t priced these risks in yet, Liu warned.”

“Losses ‘could potentially wipe out most of the credit support on BBB- rated bonds backed by Alt-A hybrids,’ Liu wrote. ‘And yet we have not seen any spread movements that suggest investors are taking this into consideration.’”

“Liu’s study, which used LoanPerformance data from the end of January, is based on the housing market remaining relatively flat over the next few years. ‘If house prices fall over the next few years, everything in this scenario will be much worst,’ he said.”

“‘There is a 34% probability that the entire BBB- tranche might get wiped out,’ he wrote. ‘Similarly, there is a 17% probability that cumulative losses reach 300 basis points, which could make BBB bonds appear on the endangered species list.’”

“The percentage of mortgages that started the foreclosure process in the final quarter of last year rose to 0.54 percent, a record high. The previous high, 0.50 percent, occurred in the second quarter of 2002 as the economy was recovering from the blows of the 2001 recession.”

“Delinquency and foreclosure rates were considerably higher for higher-risk subprime borrowers, especially those with adjustable-rate mortgages. The late-payment rate for all subprime loans jumped to 13.33 percent in the fourth quarter, up from 12.56 percent in the prior period and the highest in four years. The delinquency rate for subprime borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages was even higher; 14.44 percent, also the highest in four years.”

“‘Unfortunately, it appears delinquency rates will likely worsen before they improve,’ said Gina Martin, economist at Wachovia Corp. Economics Group.”

I'm shocked, SHOCKED (!) that problems could spread beyond subprime mortgages into higher rated tranches of credit. Wow, somehow that sounds familiar though (?) The mainstream media is all over this like white on rice at this point I guess.

I guess my 15 minutes is up. :) Parroting other extremists is cool, but it's hard to keep up that whole "fringe personality cache" when Lesley Stahl is saying the same thing on 60 minutes.

I guess it's time for an extremist like fuBarrio to move on to his next now?

Anyone want to hear about Uruguay???

ciao for now,


Saturday, March 10, 2007

San Leandro, CA calling....

...Ok, so google has this feature in their "analytics" suite that tells you where all the people who are visiting your site are coming from.

lo-and-behold, i've added my FOURTH reader (well, technically it's still my third because i lost one) in San Leandro, CA.

Now, I do have an aunt and uncle in S.L., but outside of that, I don't think I actually know anyone else there anymore. The pathetic thing is, I was a property owner and lived there for two those tight-knit US suburbs! :)

Technically, I did know some people there, but the young people were all so busy climbing the "property ladder" and trying to move to "more desirable" (more outrageously expensive) neighborhoods, that they've all since left.

Anyhow, sorry for another in a string of OT posts, but if it's my aunt and/or uncle (or cousins) drop me a line for pete's sake and stop kibitzing (info at fubarrio dot com). If it's someone else from the former fubarrio stomping grounds, send and email or comment and let us know what's happening.

I'd be especially interested to know if anyone's realized that the homes in the "flats" aren't worth 800k yet. :)


"We have ..... BUSH!"

Ok...GW style.

After a lot of hullabuloo by the left wing radicals, he got applause (?!?!) as his motorcade blocked off the coastal highway and sped through Montevideo. In reality that was probably just some lackeys in limos and Suburbans, but they got applause none the less.

In other news, some friends launched

It's an ENGLISH digest that tells you in a minute what's happening in Uruguay, with links to the appropriate Spanish original articles....a little bit of editorial content and over time, they'll gradually increase the depth and breadth of their original coverage.

bookmark it! check it out daily! see how nothing really does change here! :)


Sunday, March 04, 2007

We're all gonna DIE!!!

Next week doesn't look great, folks.

I'm just sorta digging out from under last week's workload, and I noticed that a couple of more banks are now warning that, "hey, maybe loaning all that money to people who couldn't pay it back DOES have a negative consequence."

Subprime lending, the little engine that could and fueler of housing fraud, scams, overvaluations, and outright lending lunacy is imploding.

Our friends over at have been kind enough to summarize the carnage for us for the top 25 sub-prime lenders in the country. Here is a snippet of the top five.

1.) Wells Fargo
2.) HSBC Household Finance
3.) New Century
4.) Countrywide
5.) Fremont General

Since the big Tuesday drawdown and several after the end of trading Friday these little nasties came to light:

"New Century Financial Corp. said late Friday that it's facing a federal criminal probe and will likely breach a major lending covenant with its financial backers, bringing into question the survival of the second-largest U.S. subprime-mortgage lender. "

"Countrywide Financial Corp., Calabasas, Calif., reported Thursday that $22 billion, or 19%, of its subprime receivables are in some form of delinquency. "

"Troubled subprime lender Fremont General (NYSE:FMT) said late Friday it will exit subprime residential lending, citing mounting pressure from loan repurchases and likely regulatory action. The company had first hinted at problems on February 28, when it said it would delay its fourth quarter and full year earnings."

I heard some rumblings online about an afterhours announcement by HSBC, putting a more fine point on an earlier "prewarning" about subprime loan losses, but have been unable to locate it. In addition, Wells Fargo owns over 4% of Fremont. It will be very interesting to see how Wells weathers the storm when California starts *really* rolling over.

So is this the end for the bubblicious US markets? No, but it is the beginning of the end, imo. Liquidity will continue to dictate everything. If (when!) liquidity dries up, the prices will revert to and past "fair value". Will gold be the place to hide, or just deflate with everything else? This really depends on the actions of the powers that be. Will they use this as the excuse to increase liquidity at the cost of the dollar? If so, expect continued strength (relative to the dollar) in the precious metals.

If you believe this is the case, check technical levels for support in the POG (probably around 620 and again at 600 -- without checking the charts).

ciao for now,

Friday, March 02, 2007

"Oh, the Humanity!"

Well, anyone who wasn't long the equity markets(or the precious metals!) this week, was probably enjoying a healthy dose of shadenfraude.

To anyone who was wiley enough to be SHORT these markets is probably laughing all the way to the bank.

Unfortunately, although fuBarrio has been calling for a collapse for the better part of a year, my net position was long (mostly in little mining stocks) and I ended up losing a little bit of money. Luckily it wasn't anything that I couldn't weather and only one uncontrollable twinkie binge was bad enough to actually justify the police coming out to talk me off the ledge.
As I said last week, before the carnage (ok, it really wasn't *that* bad) I really think this is the beginning of something much more sinister than a 3% down move. Unlike some others, I see no real reason for optimism in the stock market in general. Unfortunately, since I really don't trust the federal reserve to do what's best for us (the general public) I don't really feel that comfortable hiding in cash either.
So, here I am, like everyone else, trying to duck and weave in and run out from under the burning wreckage.
Before Tuesday, the volatility index was at absurd lows....meaning that no one was really taking the possibility of a big drawn down in values seriously. Now, they are not so complacent, surely. Who's holding the US mortgage bag? What will they do when they realize it? What will the Fed's reaction be? The BOJ? The Chinese?
Unfortunately, way more questions than a balding dog can possibly have the answers to. Tune in next week as we try to discern from the market activity (after a good weekend of cooling heads) what the longer term trend will be.
I'm guessing safer investments might look a little more attractive. We'll see.
ciao for now,