As I write, I’m in Lima, Peru. I’ve just made a memorable visit to Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. I’d recommend anyone who hasn’t been there, to go. If you do, make sure you travel from Cusco to Machu Picchu by train (incarail.com). This is a very good, family-run business providing the personal touch.
Peru is a bit like Thailand in that it has a very large tourist industry and whilst most tourists come to Phuket for its beaches and beautiful coastal scenery, visitors to Peru are there to absorb its antiquities and majestic mountain scenery. The capital City of Lima is also fascinating, with many museums and other places of interest. Unlike Thailand, foreigners can own property and the land upon which it is built. Land and property prices, although much higher than they were say five years ago, are still relatively cheap compared to Phuket. For four million baht you can buy a 1,000-metre plot and build a quality house in the Sacred Valley. The mountain views are superb.
Peru hasn’t got a large manufacturing base, but like Australia is very rich in minerals. Copper is the major ore mined. It also has a large service sector and, as mentioned above, a tourist industry that is expanding fast.
Readers who follow the economic fortunes of South American countries will know of the remarkable growth these countries have enjoyed recently. Brazil, of course, is also very rich in minerals and, in addition has a vast and varied manufacturing base. In fact, one of the planes I flew on whilst over here was manufactured in Brazil so there’s some competition here for Boeing and Airbus. It is, of course, one of the countries featured in the BRIC Funds. The ‘B’ stands for Brazil and the other components are Russia, India and China. There are also many good Latin American funds around, and one of my favourites is the Findlay Park Latin America Fund. This has an excellent track record, having risen by 50% in the last year alone.
On a different topic, I know that many readers are concerned about bank interest rates which are presently at an historic low. We know inflation is also low, but we all like to see a good return from our bank deposits.
For a limited period, there’s currently an investment available from a UK-based bank which is paying 5% p.a.on Pound Sterling, Euro and US Dollar deposits and 12% on Australian Dollars. It’s a split investment with a capital guarantee. The minimum outlay is only £10,000 or currency equivalent. 50% of the amount is held on deposit for one year and the capital and interest is then returned. The other 50% is paid into a stock market index for a further four years. If the value of this investment increases, this will generate a profit. If, on the other hand, after five years the index is lower, Investors will receive back 100% of their original capital.
George Lindsay is Wealth Manager at Expat Solutions
This post was written by HKT Homes on December 8, 2010