Showing posts with label exchange rates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label exchange rates. Show all posts

Saturday 25 July 2015

The Exchange Rate Conundrum

It’s no secret that exchange rates can be and are volatile.  If you’re a person who’s earning in Pounds, has a reasonable portion of their wealth in Pounds and intends to retire in the UK spending Pounds then exchange rates are probably not going to lose you too much sleep.  Short term volatility might add a couple of hundred pounds to your continental holiday or repress the return on your international equities for a couple of years, where if you've made reasonable plans with a little contingency, is going to be noise in the scheme of things.  Long term volatility could end up resulting in some inflation but your Safe Withdrawal Rate has hopefully accounted for that as well.

Now let’s jump to somebody like myself and I'm sure I'm not along out there.  I'm earning in Pounds, have a reasonable portion of my wealth in Pounds, intend to retire early somewhere in the Mediterranean (still favouring Malta) but want to always give myself a chance of coming back to the UK if it for any reason turns ugly.  From today this is how the plans are unfolding:
1. 12 to 18 months still working for The Man in the UK and earning Pounds
2. Move to Malta (more likely Malta’s smaller island Gozo) and rent for 6 months to be sure I still love the place and know exactly which region I want to live
3. Buy a home for my family
4. Live happily ever after spending Euro’s but with my wealth still set up assuming the UK is home.  Longer term I may start to tilt more towards a European home assumption but that would be very gradual and take many years.

So I'm more heavily exposed to the GBP (Pounds or £’s) to EUR (Euro or €) exchange rate.  The Euro first started on the 01 January 1999 as an accounting currency and the chart below shows its monthly performance up to present day.

GBP to EUR Exchange Rate January 1999 to June 2015
Click to enlarge, GBP to EUR Exchange Rate January 1999 to June 2015 

Even over that relatively short period big swings are evident.  It was at its weakest in October 2000 at 1.6977 and strongest in January 2009 at 1.0863.  The long run average is 1.3756 (the red line on the chart) which isn't far from today’s rate of 1.41287.

Monday 2 August 2010

The British Pound is undervalued

Given the current state of the UK economy today’s post title might be seen as pretty reckless however I’m not so sure. I’m not talking short term trader talk here rather I’m sitting here writing this post thinking as a long term investor. This thought has come about after MoneyWeek referred to the Big Mac Index which is an informal way to determine whether a currency is over or under valued based on purchasing power parity. The theory is that the same item should cost roughly the same anywhere in the world. In my opinion this theory is probably a little naive as the Big Mac Index is based on a price which is what the product is sold for. A price is of course the cost of producing the product plus any profit and I know from companies I have worked for that price is not correlated in any way to cost in different countries where products were sold. That is profits in absolute or percentage terms for an identical product can be very different in different parts of the world. If McDonalds has the same pricing policy then this could skew the index. I guess with some time one could also pull together a Starbucks Index, an Apple iPhone Index or even a Samsung 32” LCD TV index.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Can the British pound fall any further?

At the time of writing sterling today had risen by 0.6% to be 1.5344 against the US dollar. Part of the contributor to this was a fall in UK unemployment of 33,000 for the 3 months to January 2010 putting unemployment at 2.45 million or 7.8% today. Now I don’t watch this indicator regularly however if you read into the figures a little deeper it doesn’t look all rosy to me.