Bloomberg News

Elliott Warns of Greatest Danger in Electromagnetic Pulse

July 29, 2014

Elliott Management Founder Paul Singer

Paul Singer, 69, founded Elliott Management Corp. in 1977. Photographer: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg

Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. warned investors of the risk of an electromagnetic pulse event massively disrupting the electronic grid in a wide-ranging investor letter that took shots at central bankers, social media and U.S. foreign policy.

“While these pages are typically chock full of scary or depressing scenarios, there is one risk that is head-and-shoulders above all the rest in terms of the scope of potential damage adjusted for the likelihood of occurrence,” Elliott wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

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Elliott, a $24.8 billion hedge-fund firm, cited an 1859 solar disturbance known as the Carrington Event that caused disruption to the telegraph network. A repeat of a similar situation would pose “the most significant danger” and shut down the electric grid for months or longer.

Singer, one of the biggest backers of Republican politicians and a long-time opponent of quantitative easing, uses the Elliott letters to opine on politics, taxation, monetary policy and risks. Singer, 69, founded the investment firm in 1977. Its oldest fund has delivered compounded annual returns of 13.9 percent since inception.

Elliott said the firm was writing about EMP because it wants to raise consciousness about “what should be a bipartisan push to make the country (and the world) safer from this kind of event.”

Bank Criticism

Even horrendous nuclear war, except in its most extreme form, can be relatively localized, it wrote.

Stephen Spruiell, a spokesman for Elliott, declined to comment on the letter.

The New York-based firm reiterated criticisms from prior letters of the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks and the impact they’re having on asset prices and inflation. Elliott described the U.S. stock market as frothy.

“Substantial inflation is occurring in many asset classes and service sectors of the global economy, but is not presently recognized or captured by the traditional metrics upon which the Fed relies,” the firm wrote.

Elliott said in an addendum to its letter that volatility, gold prices and long-term rates are “like a coiled spring waiting to burst higher at some unpredictable confluence of events and perceptions.”

The hedge-fund firm said gold presents a “unique and not really very expensive” trading opportunity, anticipating prices may rise on investor concern about future inflation.

Elliott said when investor sentiment matches the firm’s belief that asset prices are unsustainably high, markets will adjust with “head-spinning abruptness and shocking intensity,” though the timing of such an event is unpredictable.

Elliott International Ltd. rose 4.1 percent this year through June.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelly Bit in New York at kbit@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net Pierre Paulden


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