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Home / Articles / News / Local News /  Indicators: April 15

Indicators: April 15

What the Buck?

April 15, 2009, 12:00 am

13.6  pesos to the dollar was the exchange rate in April 2009, compared to 10.5 in April 2008.

1.33   US dollars to the euro was the exchange rate in April 2009, compared to 1.57 in April 2008.

"We don’t trade currencies and my personal opinion is this: Currency trading is for the sophisticated, very sophisticated investor…Quite honestly we don’t because we don’t understand it. It’s driven by factors way beyond our control"—Steve Wells, president of Los Alamos National Bank

“Oh a dollar bill don’t buy what it us’d to/’Cause a dollar ain’t a dollar anymore,” Tom Glazer—the folksinger also responsible for “On Top of Spaghetti”—sang in 1943.

These days, the global economic crisis might require an update to Glazer’s ballad, something like: “Oh a dollar bill buys a little more than it did a couple years ago if you’re buying stuff from Europe or Mexico, but who knows what tomorrow will bring…”

Indeed, Los Alamos National Bank President Steve Wells says the weak US dollar has helped increase international tourism to New Mexico over the last five years. But right now the dollar is strengthening, which could benefit New Mexicans going abroad.

“With all the stimulus money that’s being spent and other recent announcements, the dollar’s declined somewhat, but it’s still up for the year,” Wells says. “I’d say, with the dollar’s value against other currencies, it’s as good a time [to travel] as there has been in the last year.” (LANB doesn’t trade currency, but it does exchange it for tourists, professional visitors to the labs and seasonal residents).

Lita Epstein, co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Foreign Currency Trading, says the US dollar could get even stronger as other nations launch their own stimulus plans. “The Mexican peso, right now, is advancing, not because of anything the US has done—the dollar is not losing to the peso—but because Mexico’s decided to start stimulating its own environment,” Epstein says.

The peso certainly buys less than it used to, according to a manager at the Santa Fe branch of Associated Foreign Exchange, which specializes in peso-dollar transactions.

“When the crisis affects here in the United States, like it did, it affects Mexico very, very, very strong,” the manager, who would only identify himself as Moses, says. “The prices go up here and also in New Mexico prices go up. But in the United States, sometimes the prices come down. See, in Mexico, the prices don’t come down.”

 

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