Very few people in the financial markets – even the experts -seem to understand the psychology and definition of the word `bubble.'
As far as I can tell, people tend to call something a bubble when they think it's overpriced – but ONLY if they aren't benefiting from its continued rise in price.
For instance, it's not likely that many people who bought gold at $800 an ounce back in 2008 will tell you that gold is in a bubble.
They might tell you that gold is somewhat overpriced – but they won't call it a bubble.
The thing is: almost no one calls a bubble. And if there's a general consensus view that an asset is in a bubble, then it can't be.
A bubble typically happens quietly and surreptitiously. Everyone is a believer. No one has the shred of a doubt that a given asset class will continue to be a great investment.
And I've been writing about commodities and stocks and other assets for long enough to have seen a few bubbles pop. It's always a retrospective event. You look back and think, "Wow, real estate sure was crazy – and everyone was in on it."
Is that the case in oil or gold or corn or really any commodity right now?
No.it appears to me that most commodities seem to be responding to very logical, foreseeable, and sane market pressures.
But I do think we're likely to be making those retrospective bubble comments about one asset class. And it follows my rules about bubbles in general: the market is huge, and it seems to find new strange ways to get bigger every day. Everyone has some exposure to it – and practically NO ONE has any concerns whatsoever that it might be in bubble territory.
Because I'm talking about Treasuries.
You might be thinking to yourself, as most people do that "Treasuries CAN'T be in a bubble."
They're the safest investment around, right? They can't possibly be in a bubble because they've been in a bubble before. No one has lost money on them. They're the new literal gold standard of investments and everyone knows it.
Sounds like a bubble to me.
I remember hearing similar things about real estate in the United States. It ALWAYS went up. You can't derail the American real estate market because it's always gone up. Always. It's never gone down. The American dream is so strong and vibrant that houses will always be a great investment.
We've heard this song and dance before. And I think we'll be disillusioned by Treasuries, just as we are about real estate.
Just as soon as the bubble pops.
And when it does, I expect commodities to benefit.