‘Sell sterling, take cash out of Britain’

From The Times
Patrick Hosking, Banking and Finance Editor
January 21, 2009

Jim Rogers was born in Wetumpka, Alabama, in 1942, the eldest of five brothers, he demonstrated a precocious talent for moneymaking, selling peanuts and sodas at the age of five at the local high school’s Friday night games.

He won a scholarship to Yale and, later accepted a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. There he coxed in the Varsity boat race. Returning to the United States, he spent two years in the Army, at one point helping to invest his base commander’s money, according to Fortune magazine. He left for Wall Street and soon met Mr Soros.

After their ten-year partnership at Quantum, he embarked on a series of travelling adventures, including a 100,000 mile motorbike trip, which he detailed in his book Investment Biker.

Outside frontline politics, few people can move financial markets simply by opening their mouths. One such is Jim Rogers, an American investment guru who yesterday pushed Britain deeper into gloom and austerity with apocalyptic words about the pound and the country’s economy.

Hours after the Prime Minister pledged hundreds of billions of pounds to sustain Britain’s banks, Mr Rogers added vinegar to the already souring international sentiment about the rescue plan, its impact on the public purse and its capacity to cure the sickening economy.

“I would urge you to sell any sterling you might have,” Mr Rogers advised his army of investment followers. “It’s finished. I hate to say it, but I would not put any money in the UK.”

The reaction was instant – though it is impossible to say how much was attributable to Mr Rogers. The pound slumped, by almost 4 per cent at one point, falling to a seven-year low against the dollar and an all-time low against the Japanese yen.

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