Elliott Sees Most Significant Danger in Electromagnetic Pulse

Jul 29, 2014 10:36 am ET

July 29 (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.

Elliott, a $24.8 billion hedge-fund firm, cited a 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.

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.”

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

The New York-based firm reiterated criticisms from prior letters about the U.S. Federal Reserve and other global 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 “liked a coiled spring waiting to burst higher at some unpredictable confluence of events and perceptions.”

Elliott International Ltd. rose 4.1 percent this year through June. Singer, 69, founded the investment firm in 1977. Its oldest fund has delivered compounded annual returns of 13.9 percent since inception.

--With assistance from Katherine Burton in New York.