22 July 2007

The macroeconomic situation -- Exchange rates

The U.S. is in its fifth year of a competitive-ness turnaround thanks to the "weak" dollar, which has benefited exporters (and penalized importers). What's often missing from the discussion is historical context. Today's "weak" dollar (and I do detest that loaded adjective) represents something of a return to historic norms. This graph, from the National Association for Business Economics, provides some perspective. They note it is "from the latest NABE Outlook, from November, 2006, and shows the panel's forecast for the US dollar". The graph is entitled, "US Dollar Exchange Rate: Trade-weighted broad currency index." The NABE concludes, "The panel continues to see some modest softening in the dollar, which may help to improve the trade picture. The dollar is expected to fall on a trade-weighted basis from 97.0 in 2006 to 95.3 in 2007, and drop from an average of $1.26 per Euro in 2006 to $1.28 next year." As we see now, that prediction was conservative, with the euro at $1.38 today. (Of course, countries whose currencies are tied to the U.S. dollar have seen their global competitiveness improved, too-- notably China.)

For nanotech ventures, this is a welcome trend for their export ambitions.

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