Friday, November 21, 2008

Currency chaos

The Economist today suggests that "Trade slows and gloom mounts. But Asia’s economic downturn will be milder than the one it endured a decade ago". Phew! Read it all. As usual, the good people of The Economist are more level-headed than most.

However, what's on my mind is currencies. The most under-reported feature of the current as far as I can see is the extraordinary revaluation of world currencies. The view that the US' time in the sun has come to an end is clearly not supported by currency traders who have piled into the greenback. I run a multi-currency business and track various currencies over a 5 year period to make sure I know what side of the roller-coaster I'm on. Look at this chart which shows the Aussie dollar, pound and euro against the US$. Who can manage through a swing like that? What does it mean for trade and for our media businesses, particularly in Hong Kong and China where we remain broadly (or very specifically in HK's case) linked to the US dollar?

Click on the chart to see it bigger in all its ugly glory!

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