Friday, December 20, 2013

Cheap and Expensive Currencies

The Turkish Lira is currently hitting a record low to the US dollar at 2.095 TL whilst as measured by purchasing power parity, the lira remains at just over 50% undervalued to the US dollar (USD). If one earns USD as income, then Turkey remains a favorable spot for inexpensive travel.

The Russian ruble is also tremendously undervalued to the USD at approximately 45%. Tourist travel to Russia is affordable in most places as restaurant meals, souvenirs - gifts etc will provide for a bonus purchasing power for those with US dollars. A good restaurant meal with wine will likely set two diners back around $60 to $70 USD in many parts of Russia while the same equivalent type meal in the United States will be just over $100 USD.

South Africa is another country that provides for a sale on its currency for tourists.

Venezuela's currency is in free fall - hard currency is in significant demand as the local currency bolivar is now at threat to very high inflation.

Expensive currencies have Switzerland at the top of the list as the Swiss franc (CHF) is upwards of 60% overvalued to the USD as measured by purchasing power parity. A good restaurant meal with wine in Switzerland would be closer to $200 USD for two.

Norway is another expensive country to visit as is Australia. The Australian dollar is about 30% overvalued to the USD.

It should be noted that currencies can remain offside with purchasing power parity for several years but eventually they do ultimately correct in value.

For now, Turkey remains again for another year as one of the most affordable places to visit as measured by purchasing power parity currency valuations.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Currency Valuations for Travel Ideas - Fall 2013

For most of us, the total cost of a vacation is likely the number one reason for choosing a holiday destination. If one is just looking at currency valuations, here are three countries you may want to consider: Russia, Argentina and India.

The Russian ruble is now approximately 40% undervalued to the USD. This time of year, one can also find for the most part reduced airline ticket prices. If you can get a half decent deal on a flight, then most likely hotel prices & food are likely to be at a significant discount if you arriving from a USD, EUR, JPY, GBP CAD currency zone for example.

The Indian rupee has experienced a dramatic decline of over 20% during the summer. What about Argentina? Local currency chaos as usual. Not good if you are earning income and living full time in Argentina based on currency purchasing power parity, but a terrific deal if you are tourist visiting the country. In Argentina, you will be fine dining at a fraction of the cost of your home currency zone country.

So skip the usual spots in Western Europe to North America and go somewhere exciting & exotic like India, Argentina and Russia!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Currency Turbulence Remains Very Prevalent

ARGENTINA: the peso is in trouble. The black market rate now sliding through 10 pesos to the USD this week, the official rate is 5.2. Inflation is high, public policy is interfering the market, business confidence is suffering coupled with currency controls.

VENEZUELA: the Chavez regime recently re-elected under a new leader on the slimmest of margins is up against the wall on the economy. The country is on the verge of a significant political crisis.
High inflation is resulting in a bolivar currency that is steadily declining in value. Paper currencies and devaluations are a time tested story that is frequently repeated in Latin American history. Venezuela like Argentina is suffering from ill advised public policy decisions.

JAPAN: the yen breached the 100 JPY to the USD level for the first time in four years this week. Several analysts are now targeting 125 JPY as the next level of decline. The yen is in decline due too  massive government fiscal stimulus and an aggressive central bank policy aimed at depreciating the yen in hopes of stimulating inflation. The country has been fighting deflation forces for 20 years with stagnant growth. The challenge now are many which include massive increasing national debt as a percentage of GDP upwards of 500% by some measures. A declining & aging population coupled with a strict rigid immigration policy. Japan is slowly turning the switch back on for nuclear energy after the devastating earthquake & tsunami from a couple of years ago which essentially shut the domestic nuclear power industry offline. This removal of nuclear energy has resulted in a sharp increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports which is impacting Japan's current account. Expect more yen depreciation ahead. One idea the Japanese authorities may wish to investigate is to re-denominate the yen valuation from 100 JPY to 1 JPY in relation to the USD. This may help to boost domestic consumption as citizens rush to replace mattress old JPY with new JPY banknotes.

BITCOIN: the new virtual currency that has hopes of replacing paper currency whilst minimizing transaction costs for payment settlements. Now there is talk of U.S. authorities interfering with regulation - quite ironic since the currency was designed to avoid central government control.

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