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Van Eck Mutual Funds
01/14/15: With growing concerns about the world economy, copper prices endured their biggest one-day decline in over three years. Senior analyst Charl Malan believes that copper's decline may force companies to cut production "and that new projects, that are supposed to deliver a 5% supply growth in 2016, will not happen."View article »
11/03/14: "The strength of our investment team," explains Co-Portfolio Manager Shawn Reynolds, "is derived from our diverse backgrounds, which include not only strong technical and financial capabilities, but also our on-the-ground experience. We bring a unique investment approach based on this expertise which is critical to analyzing trends and prices in the industry."View article »
09/19/14: The Global Hard Assets Fund has earned a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) as Zacks "expect the fund to outperform its peers in the future."View article »
04/09/14: According to Charl Malan, “[Copper] companies are struggling to get projects on line…A year ago, the surplus for 2014 was much bigger than what we think it is today and in the numbers I am seeing today people are not discounting two very big mines that aren’t operating properly.”View article »
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The Fund underperformed its commodity equities-based benchmark index, the Standard & Poor’s® (S&P) North American Natural Resources Sector Index (SPGINRTR), which returned -13.86%. The Fund’s negative performance during the quarter was due primarily to its positions in the Energy sector.
The fourth quarter of the year saw an intensification of the macroeconomic headwinds that had already started to blow quite hard during the third quarter. The situation in Ukraine/Russia showed few signs of improvement and continued to weigh on the markets and, in particular, the Euro. Further sanctions were imposed upon Russia, the Ruble continued its slide, and interest rates in Russia rose to punitive levels.
In the East, following two quarters of negative growth, Japan fell, once more, back into recession. In the West, with Germany’s economy only displaying signs of slow recovery, Europe continued to stagnate and face disinflation/deflation. And, in the Middle East, the seriousness and extent of the threat posed by ISIS became ever more apparent.
When combined with the changed signals coming from the Fed mentioned in last quarter’s commentary, further strong economic growth in the U.S. (figures released at the end of December indicated that the pace of growth was the fastest for over a decade), and continuing worries about China, the result was not only a strong, but also a strengthening, U.S. dollar during the fourth quarter.
And, as the expectations for global growth sank further, commodities’ woes increased, with both the crude oil, and oil related stock, sell-off accelerating.
At the end of 2013, we noted seeing positive signs of possible inflections in GDP growth, particularly in developed markets. And, indeed, the first eight months of 2014 were characterized by reasonably buoyant economic activity. However, the dramatic recalibration of global growth outlooks – particularly in Europe, Japan, and Russia/Ukraine – in the third quarter only accelerated in the fourth quarter, leading to expectations of both slower growth and reduced commodity demand.
However, looking ahead, we do expect to see further easing by the European Central Bank. China, too, looks as if it may have begun an easing cycle. We also expect to see India to start easing. Currently though, global growth has yet to re-engage, despite the activity of policymakers globally.
The global mining restructuring story that has been unfolding over the past several years continues in its execution phase, with successful and unsuccessful companies starting to differentiate themselves more broadly. We still think that those companies that can execute on cost cutting and other enhancements to returns will outpace those who cannot. We believe, also, that we are beginning to see the effects of the capex reductions which commenced in 2012 in the form of lower production outlooks for the likes of copper, the Fund’s biggest metal exposure.
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Metals & Mining Analyst
"We have a big problem within this industry in that it has to restructure itself, taking 4 million ounces that are unprofitable, bringing them down to 3 million ounces of more profitable or marginally profitable ounces."
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"We continue to see a significant ban on nickel pig iron out of Indonesia, which in itself has put a significant amount of pressure on supply…what we've had from the end of last year through the beginning of this year is essentially 30% of the world's nickel supply being cancelled…that’s where the question becomes ‘what happens going forward?’…"
"I think one of the surprising things in the commodity markets this year has been that commodity indexes in general have outperformed other asset classes year to date, and it's really because of some unique supply disruptions we've had."
Portfolio Manager, Van Eck Global Hard Assets Investment Team
"The U.S. energy renaissance is a remarkable resurgence in oil and gas production here in the United States... It’s up over 50% in the last five years, growing at a steep rate. There’s no other country or region in the world that has grown that fast that quickly in the last 30 or 40 years."
"We believe that towards the latter part of 2014 capital management, defined as cost management and CAPEX reductions, will be a potential significant kicker for higher earnings. It will ultimately develop into a higher rating for metals and mining companies through either a cash flow multiple or an EV/EBITDA multiple."
"We're headed toward the U.S. planting season and the USDA has come out with its initial estimates. They predict very good acreage numbers, both in corn and soy. Assuming normal weather, we expect another good crop which should ultimately put some downward pressure on prices."
"We see many opportunities in the Permian Basin, in West Texas, which is divided into two areas: the Midland eastern basin and the Delaware western basin. The Midland Basin is a bit more advanced than the Delaware basin but we have exposure to both regions."
“Hard assets” refers to
the natural resources or commodities that are mined, exploited, harvested or
otherwise procured globally.
Hard assets have traditionally been
grouped into five broad categories:
Oil, natural gas, electricity, coal, and new/renewable alternative energy
2) Precious Metals Gold, silver,
palladium and platinum
3) Base/Industrial Metals Copper, aluminum, steel, iron and nickel
Agriculture Corn, wheat, sugar and water
Forest Products Timber, pulp and paper
Unless otherwise stated, portfolio facts and statistics are shown for Class A shares; other classes may have different characteristics.
†NAV: Unless you are eligible for a waiver, the public offering price you pay when you buy Class A shares of the Fund is the Net Asset Value (NAV) of the shares plus an initial sales charge. The initial sales charge varies depending upon the size of your purchase. No sales charge is imposed where Class A or Class C shares are issued to you pursuant to the automatic investment of income dividends or capital gains distributions. It is the responsibility of the financial intermediary to ensure that the investor obtains the proper “breakpoint” discount. Class C, Class I and Class Y do not have an initial sales charge; however, Class C does charge a contingent deferred redemption charge. See the prospectus for more information.
1Van Eck Associates Corporation (the “Adviser”) has agreed to waive fees and/or pay Fund expenses to the extent necessary to prevent the operating expenses of the Fund (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, trading expenses, dividends and interest payments on securities sold short, taxes and extraordinary expenses) from exceeding 1.38% for Class A, 2.20% for Class C, 1.00% for Class I, and 1.13% for Class Y of the Fund’s average daily net assets per year until May 1, 2015. During such time, the expense limitation is expected to continue until the Board of Trustees acts to discontinue all or a portion of such expense limitation.
Van Eck Associates Corporation (the “Adviser”) has agreed to waive fees and/or pay Fund expenses to the extent necessary to prevent
the operating expenses of the Fund (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, trading expenses, dividends and
interest payments on securities sold short, taxes and extraordinary expenses) from exceeding 1.38% for Class A, 2.20% for Class C,
1.00% for Class I, and 1.13% for Class Y of the Fund’s average daily net assets per year until May 1, 2015. During such time, the
expense limitation is expected to continue until the Board of Trustees acts to discontinue all or a portion of such expense limitation.
2The S&P® North American Natural Resources Sector Index (SPGINRTR) includes mining, energy, paper and forest products, and plantation-owning companies. The S&P® 500 Index consists of 500 widely held common stocks covering industrial, utility, financial and transportation sectors. The S&P® Goldman Sachs Commodity Total Return Index (SPGSCITR) is a composite index of commodity sector returns, representing an unleveraged, long-only investment in commodity futures. All indices are unmanaged and include the reinvestment of all dividends, but do not reflect the payment of transaction costs, advisory fees or expenses that are associated with an investment in the Fund. An index’s performance is not illustrative of the Fund’s performance. Indices are not securities in which investments can be made.
The views and opinions expressed are those of Van Eck Global. Fund manager commentaries are general in nature and should not be construed as investment advice. Opinions are subject to change with market conditions. Any discussion of specific securities mentioned in the commentaries is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation to buy these securities. Fund holdings will vary.
You can lose money by investing in the Fund. Any investment in the Fund should be part of an overall investment program, not a complete program. The Fund is subject to risks associated with concentrating its investments in hard assets and the hard assets sector, including real estate, precious metals and natural resources, and can be significantly affected by events relating to these industries, including international political and economic developments, inflation, and other factors. The Fund’s portfolio securities may experience substantial price fluctuations as a result of these factors, and may move independently of the trends of industrialized companies. The Fund’s investments in foreign securities involve risks related to adverse political and economic developments unique to a country or a region, currency fluctuations or controls, and the possibility of arbitrary action by foreign governments, including the takeover of property without adequate compensation or imposition of prohibitive taxation. The Fund is subject to risks associated with investments in debt securities, derivatives, commodity-linked instruments, illiquid securities, asset-backed securities and CMOs. The Fund is also subject to inflation risk, short-sales risk, market risk, non-diversification risk, leverage risk, credit risk and counterparty risk. Please see the prospectus for information on these and other risk considerations.
Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. An investor should consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the investment company carefully before investing. The prospectus and summary prospectus contain this and other information. Please read them carefully before investing.
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