“Stable” Foreign Currencies

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by pmaitra, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,663
    Likes Received:
    17,161
    Location:
    EST, USA
    Four Examples of “Stable” Foreign Currencies (and Three Easy Ways to Buy Them)

    by JERRY ROBINSON on APRIL 21, 2011
    by Jerry Robinson | FTMDaily Editor-in-Chief



    HOUSTON, Apr 21

    In our last article, I gave you a brief overview of how to think about currencies (remember, the hole in the boat illustration). I also showed you the charts of nine currencies that have all appreciated against the U.S. Dollar over the last two years. My point with that article was to deal with any misconceptions that you may have about holding foreign currencies.

    At this point, it is important to distinguish “holding” currency from “trading” currency. “Holding” a currency is what you do everyday when you have a checking or savings account, a brokerage account, or a retirement account. In the end, all of these accounts are held and settled in one currency. But the act of “trading” currencies is much different. “Trading” currencies refers to a specific and speculative action in which you bet for, or against, one currency (done in pairs) during a short period of time. This concept is similar to trading stocks, only in this case, the financial instrument being traded is a pair of currencies

    In this article series, I am referring to “holding” currency, not to the short-term “trading” of them.

    Our purpose for “holding” some of our six-month liquid savings reserve in other stable foreign currencies is not rooted in speculation. Instead, it is motivated by a desire to protect our long-term purchasing power.

    Four Examples of Stable Foreign Currencies

    The U.S. Dollar has been a losing proposition for some time. Over the last decade, the world’s reserve currency has lost over one-third of its value.

    This means that those who have held their liquid savings strictly in U.S. Dollars over the last decade have had to earn a 36+% return just to break even and protect their principal. Without a doubt, inflation is truly an eroding factor on our money.

    But what you don’t see in the above chart is that some other currency went up while the U.S. Dollar went down. You see, currencies are a like a see-saw. One currency cannot go down unless another rises. So, to say that “the U.S. Dollar is falling” is an incomplete statement. Instead, we should say that “the U.S. Dollar is falling in relationship to another currency, or a basket of other currencies.”

    Several years ago, I wanted to know which currencies would benefit from a falling U.S. Dollar. After some research, I came up with a short list. Below are four examples of foreign currencies that have benefited from the falling U.S. Dollar over the last several years. They are listed in no particular order.

    The Australian Dollar
    Over the last decade, the Australian Dollar has risen a staggering 102% against the U.S. Dollar.

    Pros: Australia is a resource-rich nation and the world’s third largest producer of gold. As commodities rise, Australia will continue to do well. So far, Australia has been successful at navigating its way through the global financial crisis. Unlike the Federal Reserve’s destructive easy-money policies, the Reserve Bank of Australia (Australia’s version of the Fed) confronted the economic crisis head on by raising key interest rates back in the Fall of 2009. Additionally, Australia’s stock market outperforms most others every year.

    Cons: While I would not characterize Australia’s dependence on the commodity markets as a tremendous negative, it is a risk factor. If global demand for commodities slows dramatically, this could hurt the country, which in turn, would negatively affect their currency. In particular, a slowdown in Chinese commodity demand could hurt Australia, as the two countries have grown into powerful trading partners. There are also some carry-trade concerns.

    The Swiss Franc
    Over the last decade, the Swiss Franc has risen dramatically against the U.S. Dollar. And in the last three years alone, Switzerland’s currency has risen over 17%.

    Pros: The Swiss have had an amazing ability to stay out of the modern rise of global militarism. Switzerland is known for its highly advanced financial services sector, confidential banking, and relatively low inflation rates. The Swiss Franc is considered by many analysts as the one of the most stable currencies in the world. For this reason, it is often considered a safe haven in times of global upheaval. For example, the Swiss Franc has been a big beneficiary of the recent tensions in the Middle East, as well as Japan’s quake and nuclear disaster.

    Cons: I am not currently bullish on the Swiss Franc (for at least the next 9-12 months), as I feel it is currently overvalued against the U.S. Dollar. It is possible that the U.S. will raise interest rates before the Swiss do, which could send the U.S. Dollar sharply upwards against the Swiss Franc in the near term.

    The Canadian Dollar
    The Canadian Dollar has risen steadily against the U.S. Dollar for the last decade and is up over 6% during the last three years.

    Pros: Like Australia, Canada is a tremendously resource-rich nation. It is a prime beneficiary of rising global energy demand, as it holds the world’s second largest amount of oil reserves and is the world’s largest uranium miner. Their huge amount of natural resources allows them to often operate on a trade surplus.

    Cons: Canada is America’s top trading partner with over 80% of its exports coming to the United States. This obvious over-dependence upon continued U.S. consumption poses some risk to Canada’s economy.

    The New Zealand Dollar
    Over the last decade, the New Zealand Dollar has risen over 82% against the U.S. Dollar.

    Pros: Also known as the “Kiwi” Dollar, this currency benefits from New Zealand’s abundant supply of natural resources. Like Australia, they are increasing exports to China.

    Cons: Like other commodity driven economies, New Zealand’s economy could be hurt by a slowdown in global demand.

    Click to learn about 3 Easy Ways to Buy Foreign Currencies and more.
     
  2.  
  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    24,274
    Likes Received:
    11,284
    Location:
    BANGalore
    Kiwi dollar is a surprise package. What large commodities does it have? It's such a tiny nation.
     
  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,663
    Likes Received:
    17,161
    Location:
    EST, USA
    As tiny as it may be, remember, it is a lava fountainhead, i.e. abundant with minerals that are easily accessible thanks to the volcanoes and their deposits since eons. In other regions, you would have to dig a massive hole to get hold of such minerals. It has a small population, and an export oriented economy. Moreover, they probably don't take the debt-is-money metaphor too far. I know for sure the Swiss don't.
     
  5. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,663
    Likes Received:
    17,161
    Location:
    EST, USA
    The Swiss Franc is Strong - We are the Champions!

    Read more: The Swiss Franc is Strong - We are the Champions!
     
  6. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,663
    Likes Received:
    17,161
    Location:
    EST, USA
    How Strong Currencies Can Kill Stocks

    By Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool
    Posted 3:43PM 08/03/11
    Posted under: Investing

    Read more: How Strong Currencies Can Kill Stocks - DailyFinance
     

Share This Page