Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Superstorm Sandy will cost Millions but USD will go up!

Now that November is just around the corner we can feel the rain all around with the cold breeze of Winter heading with such an Intensity, that makes me feel relieved, once again time goes by and the purpose of the Million Euros in less than 5 years is meant to happen. All over the news we have the wrath of super storm Sandy which killed at least 33 people in seven states and left more than 8 million people without power.

In New York, the U.S. financial markets closed for a second day today, an unprecedented move for the stock exchange. In Lower Manhattan, the home of the financial district, a blowout at a Con Edison substation cut power to thousands of customers. 

Today after a brief chat at work I was asked to foresee the direction of the USD and I was prompt to assess that the USD will go up. There is logic behind my perspective which is that after a natural disaster in the immediate term or short term currency will go down but as soon as the damage is quantified more Investment is needed to rebuild and assess the reconstruction so by forces of nature local currencies will go up.

Throughout history, natural disasters have caused depreciation short/immediate term (and even appreciation long term) of currency because of a jolted economy. If you take part in currency investing then it’s imperative that you learn how to leverage your investments in uncertain times. 

Usually, currencies weaken right after a natural disaster because of uncertainty about how much economic damage was actually done, according to Barclays Wealth. However, currencies can strengthen again once other countries start funding relief efforts, but the currency can then weaken once internal banks try to alleviate economic hardship (by doing things like lowering the world interest rates).

It all depends on the specific country’s situation, so there are a number of different scenarios. The following examples illustrate what has happened in the last decade.

Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan – Yen

Japan recently suffered two major blows when it was hit by an 8.9-magnitute earthquake followed by a massive tsunami. According to Businessweek.com, the Japanese currency fell right after the disasters, weakening up to 0.4% against the dollar. However, the Yen generally benefits from the uncertainty natural disasters leave behind, and repatriation (when assets overseas are turned back into Yen) could strengthen the currency.

The Yen did end up faring well and actually strengthened dramatically, and other than repatriation being a possibility, an Investopedia article suggests another reason could be that the Japanese “might have to liquidate part of their large non-Yen denominated investment portfolio to fund relief and reconstruction efforts in Japan.”
Regardless of the reason, in August of 2011, Japan tried to combat the surging strength of its currency that had not weakened much since the disasters in March.  According to Reuters, Japan had been warned that the Yen was so appreciated that it could possibly hinder Japan’s recovery efforts.  As a result, Japan sold 1 trillion Yen and got the Yen down to 80.20 per US Dollar from 77.10.

Earthquake in Haiti – Gourde

The Haitian Gourde experienced a surge right after Port-Au-Prince was hit with a7.0-magnitude earthquake in January 2010. According to The New York Times, Haiti’s currency strengthened by more than 25%, and for some purchases, the rate would be about 30 Gourds to the Dollar. There are a couple of explanations for this appreciation.
One, which comes from the same New York Times article and suggested by a former governor of the Central Bank, is that the decrease in oil imports was keeping more money in Haiti, thus preventing any drastic appreciation. Another contributing factor was reported by a different New York Times article a couple of months after the disaster, which mentions how an increase in money from abroad helped the Gourde resist depreciation.

Earthquake in New Zealand – New Zealand Dollar

In February 2011, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake impacting New Zealand killed at least 75 people and left the economy struggling. Following the disaster, the New Zealand dollar (nicknamed “the kiwi”) fell about 2% against the U.S. Dollar, according to CNBC. Bloomberg reported that at one point, the kiwi fell to 74.55 U.S. cents, which was its lowest level since late December. As can be seen, New Zealand did not experience an immediate strengthening of the currency that some other countries did after a natural disaster.

In fact, early and mid-March didn't bring much relief, as the country was still lowering its main interest rate to fight the economic problems it was facing. Late March did indicate some better signs for the currency, when it starting gaining due to the possibility of a construction boom. This could point to the potential that circulating more money within a country has for its currency.

Shall we buy USD?

It’s probably safe to say that every natural disaster has an effect not only on a nation’s general economy, but also on its currency making it even stronger.  This influence doesn't just impact the specific country’s currency; either — other countries tend to feel the effects, as currencies’ strength is measured against one another. Countries around the world have experienced similar phenomena, therefore It is to my regret to say that the main engine of any economy unfortunately comes from a natural disaster or war, I will test this idea by Investing promptly tomorrow on some newly made USD. 
Meanwhile keep positive, keep Investing it is just about to happen… 

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