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Foreign exchange rates are affected by multiple fundamental reasons as international trade and investment causes movements in the foreign exchange markets. Will the dollar crash? Will the Chinese yuan be the next world leader?
You may have encountered foreign exchange rates mostly when considering your holidays, when you change your pounds into the local currency, and back again when you return. Sometimes, you may find a big difference between one year and the next in how much foreign currency you can get for your money. As with all markets, foreign exchange and the relative value of currencies is affected by supply and demand.
Having said that, demand is the main driver of foreign exchange rate changes. An abundance of supply of a particular currency doesn't really cause people to buy more of it, whereas an increasing demand will force the rate up. Much of this demand is caused by international trade, for instance Japanese cars imported to the UK will be paid for with pounds sterling, but this money will be converted into Japanese yen to pay the manufacturer who has to pay his workers and suppliers.
This then causes you to consider the trade balance. Obviously it is not a stable situation if one country buys goods from the other, and there is no corresponding foreign exchange in the other direction. The currency which is being used by the buyers to pay for the goods, in this case sterling, cannot forever be paid out to buy Japanese yen with no compensating currency exchange back.
This situation is to some extent self-regulating. The buying currency will decrease in value, and the currency of the producing country will increase relatively. Before too long, the price of Japanese cars in the UK would have to rise, and this would reduce the demand, cutting back on the trade imbalance.
Different countries have different fundamentals. Some countries are rich in the natural resources that are needed for production. These countries include Canada and Australia. Other countries have less in natural resources and take on the role of the producers, buying in raw materials and shipping out finished products.
Although political influences can have short-term effects, in the long term the economic forces are more significant in determining the fortunes of a currency. Certainly political instability can make the world markets hesitate, with investors wary of buying the currency, but it's how efficient a country is at extracting natural resources and/or manufacturing that will ultimately impact how its currency is viewed globally.
Another governmental decision that has some effect, although not in the long-term, is that of the central bank interest rate. When interest rates differ between various countries, there is an obvious pressure for the exchange rate to compensate. Without a drift in exchange rate, investors in the lower interest rate country would have a no risk way of increasing their income by buying the other currency, putting it into a savings account there.
Finally, whenever there are crises in the world, you will note that there is a flight to what is regarded as a quality or safer currency. Typically, investors will buy US dollars or other major currencies, on the basis that the value is more likely to be retained.
In a time of increasing change and uncertainty, we must be clear on what will not change to not get distracted.
Strategic Portfolio Management.
1. Periodic evaluation and prioritization of the entire innovation portfolio.
2. Strategic and priority-based resource allocation.
On a strategic level, portfolio and resource management must be fully aligned.
3. Release and exit of innovation initiatives.
About the authors.
Dr. Ralph-Christian Ohr has been working in several innovation, division and product management functions for international, technology-based companies. His interest is aimed at organizational and personal capabilities for high innovation performance. He authors the Integrative Innovation Blog.
The Biggest Mistakes in Managing a Portfolio.
The Biggest Mistakes in Financial Planning Series.
by Harvey Jacobson, CHFC, MBA, CLU.
Investors who have remained consistent with their risk profiles through volatile markets have seen a substantial recovery in their portfolios since March 2009. Those who are truly behind are those who panicked and are now left with the decision of how to recover their losses. They can, but it is a much slower recovery.
This article published originally April 13, 2010, Los Angeles Daily News.
Managing an agile portfolio.
When the right people on the right teams have the right context, they naturally do the right thing.
Set the right context.