Cash is King
There is a confluence of events right now in Ecuador that have created an environment where those with cash can benefit greatly.
The government has gone crazy. Recent constitutional changes limiting freedom of the press, doing away with term limits and militarizing the police passed by a 100-8 margin despite being widely opposed.
They are looking to tax everything and everyone. They have already destroyed the mining industry, the commercial lumber industry, the used car dealers and several others – with many more in their sites.
At the same time the banks have stopped lending.
As a result, investors are looking for opportunities elsewhere.
Ecuadorians are looking to sell, and there are very few buyers due to government policy and lack of access to credit.
Yet the story remains intact. Breathtaking natural beauty, year round warmth, lots of water – friendly, cheap and safe.
The government is wildly unpopular. This is not Venezuela over the last 15 years.
The socialist tide is turning in South America as evidenced by the recent defeats in Venezuela and Argentina. In Brazil and Ecuador the failing socialist ideology has created turmoil and unrest.
I was in Guayaquil recently, a place where the President claims to have support, and wanted to see for myself where people stood (I already know how unpopular he is in and around Loja).
In 3 separate taxi rides I had the following basic conversation (a very scientific poll I know).
Me: How’s things in Guayaquil? How’s the economy? Are there jobs?
Taxi driver: No, it’s bad, there’s nothing.
Me: and what about the president? Do people still support him? Is he popular?
Taxi driver: No, no, not anymore, too many taxes, too much control, they hate him.
One even told me matter-of-factly there will be a revolution.
Ecuador is a country that had 9 different presidents between 1996 and 2007 – a result of people rising up and removing one corrupt politician after another. People have real power here.
The president and his policies are currently opposed around 4-1
So what does all this mean?
It means if you have cash right now in Ecuador, you are in the sweet spot.
This is the ultimate buyers market.
People have debt they can’t repay, at high interest, to banks that are not lending.
Cash is at a premium.
A fund to purchase distressed properties or farmland, executed over the next 6 months while this situation is playing out, will reap massive rewards as more sane policies take hold and the fundamentals of what Ecuador has to offer can be rewarded in the marketplace.
As all great investors know, it’s during times of turmoil and uncertainty that big money can be made. This is a time, in Ecuador that due to a confluence of events – that I believe will be short lived – some of the most attractive real estate on the planet is steeply discounted.