Barron's Interview Derek Van Eck

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His firm oversees close to $10 billion, about $3.3 billion of which is spread across Van Eck Global Hard Assets (GHAAX) and separate accounts run under the same strategy. Lead manager Van Eck, 44, still likes the outlook for copper, maintains that gold is an important hedge against inflation, and has become more bullish on agricultural commodities -- corn and soybeans, in particular. He also sees an improving long-term outlook for energy, driven by supply constraints. The fund had a nasty 2008, losing nearly 45% versus the S&P North American Natural Resources Sector Index, off 42.8% in 2008.

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