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 U.S. Dollar Gains on Euro

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gastaoss



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Registration date : 2007-07-01

PostSubject: U.S. Dollar Gains on Euro   Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:39 pm

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14957849

Economy

U.S. Dollar Gains on Euro





NPR.org, October 3, 2007 ·
The value of the U.S. dollar started to rise against the European
currency Wednesday, extending its rebound from recent record lows.
The
dollar suffered sharp losses against the euro over the past couple of
weeks as investors turned their focus to such commodities as oil, gold
and agriculture products.
But over the
past two days the greenback has become attractive again to investors
hoping to hedge against inflation. They were mainly trading out of
commodities.
The euro bought $1.4131 in afternoon trading, off its all-time peak above $1.42.
Meanwhile,
gold futures fell for a second session, with the December contract down
$2.50 to $733.80 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange after
tumbling more than $17 an ounce on Tuesday. December silver fell 3.5
cents to $13.415 an ounce.
Wheat and
corn futures extended their declines too after prices fell Tuesday by
the maximum daily limit permitted by the Chicago Board of Trade.
From NPR reports and The Associated Press




Your Money

Is a Weak Dollar Really So Terrible?



by Eric Weiner









iStockphoto













Weak Dollar: Cause for Celebration, or Despair?



How does the dollar's free fall on world currency markets affect
you? That depends on who "you" are. Below is a guide to whether a weak
dollar is cause for celebration — or despair.

If You Are ...


A Wal-Mart shopper — slight despair, but not much. Many of the goods sold at Wal-Mart and other discount stores are made in China, and the Chinese currency, the yuan, is, in effect, pegged to the dollar. So the weak dollar has little effect on the price of goods sold at those stores.

If You Are ...


A worker at a Boeing plant — celebration, with one caveat.
The weaker dollar means foreigners can buy more of what you make. That
new Boeing 787 is now a lot cheaper for someone paying for it with
euros or other currencies. The flip side is that a weak dollar makes
U.S. firms vulnerable to a foreign takeover, because the firms
themselves are also cheaper.

If You Are ...


A commuter driving a gas guzzler — despair.
A weak dollar means higher oil prices and, therefore, higher prices at
the pump. Why? Those oil-rich sheiks get paid in dollars, and the
dollar doesn't go as far. So the market price adjusts to compensate —
it's already near a record high of about $80 a barrel.

If You Are ...


An American tourist vacationing in Paris — despair. Your dollar buys fewer euros, so brace yourself for $7 cups of coffee and $50 taxi rides across town.

If You Are ...


An American consumer with a taste for French wine and German cars — despair. You can expect to pay more for your BMW and Beaujolais Nouveau as manufacturers raise prices to compensate for the weak dollar.

If You Are...


A German tourist in New York — celebration. Your euro buys many more dollars than it once did, so everything seems cheaper. It's as though all of America is on sale.

If You Are ...


The owner of a small factory in China that makes widgets for Americans — slight despair. The
oil you need to run your business is now more expensive, thanks in part
to the weak dollar. But you get paid a fixed price for your goods, more
or less pegged to the dollar, so you end up eating those higher energy
costs.

If You Are ...


Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve — slight despair.
You'd like to "protect" the dollar from further weakening, and the best
way to do that is by raising interest rates. But raising interest rates
slows economic activity, and that's not good. No wonder Alan Greenspan
retired.
— Eric Weiner














The dollar is in free fall, or so it seems. In 2002, you could buy
a euro for 86 cents. Today, it will cost you $1.40. You'd have to go
back at least a decade to find a time when the U.S. dollar was so weak.
Against some currencies, such as the Canadian dollar (the "loonie"),
you'd have to go back 30 years. It sounds ominous, but is a weak dollar
really so terrible?
Not necessarily.
A weak dollar can be good for the U.S. economy, because it makes
American exports cheaper and, therefore, helps close the trade deficit.
But over the long term, the value of a country's currency is seen as a
verdict on the overall health of its economy.
It's
difficult — impossible, some economists say — to tease out the effects
of a weak dollar from all of the other variables affecting the economy
at any moment. But one thing is clear: The weak dollar creates ripples
around the world. Some of those ripples are good, some bad. But that,
too, is relative. Where you stand on the weak dollar depends largely on
where you sit.
The most obvious
effect of a weak U.S. dollar is its impact on American tourists
traveling to Europe. In Paris, $7 cups of coffee and $50 taxi rides are
suddenly de rigueur. A weak dollar affects even those
American consumers who never leave home. If you have a penchant for
German cars or French wine, expect to pay more, as European
manufacturers raise prices to compensate for the weak dollar.
In
fact, some economists warn of an "umbrella effect" — the tendency for
the prices of all goods and services to rise once a few do. Other
economists, though, say the risk of inflation is exaggerated. The core
inflation rate, they point out, remains low — about 2 percent — despite
the dollar's recent slide.
Why? For one
thing, European manufacturers tend to give American consumers a break.
Weak dollar or not, they're reluctant to raise prices and lose market
share. The U.S. market is simply too large and lucrative.
The
biggest mitigating factor, though, is China. As any trip to Wal-Mart
reveals, many of the consumer goods sold in the U.S. are now made in
China, and the Chinese currency, the yuan, is, in effect,
pegged to the dollar, so fluctuations on the currency market don't
greatly affect prices for Chinese-made goods.
No
such cushion, though, applies to oil prices. They are high, hovering
near a record of $80 a barrel, and that is due, in part, to the weak
dollar: Oil-rich nations charge higher prices to compensate for the
weaker dollar.
On the other hand, the
weak dollar is very good news for European tourists visiting the United
States — and for the American retailers who cater to them. The reason
is simple: The British pound and the Euro go a lot farther than they
used to.
"America is on sale," says
Patricia Edwards, a managing director of Wentworth, Hauser and Violich,
a financial consulting firm. "It's like walking into Macy's and finding
that everything is 30 percent off. You might buy more than you would
otherwise."
A weak dollar is also good
news for American manufacturers. Their products are now less expensive,
so they can sell more. That's why companies such as Boeing and
Caterpillar like a weak dollar. It's also why many economists like it:
As these big U.S. manufacturers sell more, the U.S. trade deficit
shrinks.
There is one downside,
though, especially for smaller American manufacturers. The weak dollar
means that the firms themselves are cheaper and, therefore, vulnerable to a hostile takeover by foreign companies.
The
weak dollar has brought cries of glee from some unusual quarters. "As
the dollar continues to fall, students in Delhi are thrilled that going
to college in America is a little bit cheaper," said a report on the
Web site of New Delhi Television in India. "The bills for an American
education are still gigantic, but every penny saved is worth a little
celebration."
Eventually, if the dollar
stays weak, foreign investors will be less likely to put money in U.S.
Treasury securities without much higher interest rates — and that, in
turn, can make it more expensive for American consumers to borrow.
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