The US dollar has been rallying strongly for several months. That’s what we call a “gift horse.” And just as the saying goes, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” Instead, look for ways to exchange your strong dollars for other currencies and investable assets that don’t fly out of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s printing press.
For many Americans, foreign investments are more of an accident than an objective. They might own a few foreign stocks through a global mutual fund. Or they might have some exposure to foreign economies and currencies through the shares of an American multinational corporation like Johnson & Johnson or GE.
But American stocks and bonds remain the steak and potatoes of traditional American investment portfolios. Foreign stocks and bonds are merely the spices and sauces. This provincialism — epitomized by the spectacular success of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway — has served American investors very well for several decades. But a reassessment may be in order.
Simply stated, the America of the future may not reward investors as handsomely as the America of the past. For example, despite doubling from its lows of March 2009, the S&P 500 index has produced a negative total return during the last five years… and only a miniscule return during the last 10 years.
The US dollar’s role as the ultimate “safe haven” currency is also due for a reassessment. While the dollar may be safer than the euro, for example, the dollar is hardly safe in any absolute sense. The dollar is safer than the euro… just as a rabid squirrel is safer than a rabid wolf. But you don’t really want to cuddle up at night with either one.
America’s federal debt has exploded to more than 100% of GDP — an astonishingly large Greek-like debt load. Yet none of America’s political or financial leaders seem to have any plan for reducing the nation’s debt… except maybe to add a graveyard shift to the dollar-printing production line at the Philadelphia Mint.
Our advice: Spend your strong dollars while you can. Reallocate them into other currencies and asset classes.
Throughout the eurozone crisis of the last few months, the US dollar has been attracting widespread “flight to safety” demand. But the dollar is not merely rallying against the euro; it is rallying against almost every investable asset on the planet. For example, a dollar buys 36% more silver today than it did six months ago. A dollar also buys 20% more wheat, 13% more corn… and even 2% more “American house.”
If we broaden out our analysis to include stocks and currencies, the results are similar. A dollar buys 32% more French stocks today than it did six months ago… as well as 34% more Indian stocks and 18% more Japanese stocks. Among world currencies, a dollar buys 11% more Norwegian kroner today than six months ago… as well as 15% more Swiss francs and 8% more Canadian dollars.
It is that last financial asset — the Canadian dollar — that we find particularly compelling as an alternative to holding US dollars. The Canadian dollar, known affectionately as the “loonie,” possesses many virtues.
In no particular order:
Canadian employment growth is booming; U.S employment growth is moribund. The Canadian economy has created nearly 800,000 jobs during the last five years, while the US economy has lost more than 5 million! In other words, the Canadian labor force has expanded by 4%, while the US labor force has contracted by 4%!
As a result of these trends, Canada is becoming an increasingly attractive investment destination, relative to the US The Canadian dollar, in particular, is increasingly attractive. The Canadian dollar’s appeal is hardly a new story, but it remains a very relevant story.
As the nearby chart illustrates, the Canadian dollar has been trending higher against the US dollar for several years. We expect this trend to continue — more or less — over the next several years. But investors should expect some bumps along the way. Currencies can sometimes bounce around even more than stocks. The Canadian dollar plummeted more than 25% during the depths of the 2008 credit crisis, for example, as terrified investors piled into the US dollar. Once the crisis eased, the Canadian dollar recovered. But the lesson is clear: Currencies can be volatile.
If you have a mind to Fed Reserve-proof a strong dollar, we like the Canadian dollar.
Addison Wigginfor The Daily Reckoning
Addison Wiggin is the executive publisher of Agora Financial, LLC, a fiercely independent economic forecasting and financial research firm. He's the creator and editorial director of Agora Financial's daily 5 Min. Forecast and editorial director of The Daily Reckoning. Wiggin is the founder of Agora Entertainment, executive producer and co-writer of I.O.U.S.A., which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, the 2009 Critics Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature, and was also shortlisted for a 2009 Academy Award. He is the author of the companion book of the film I.O.U.S.A.and his second edition of The Demise of the Dollar, and Why it's Even Better for Your Investments was just fully revised and updated. Wiggin is a three-time New York Times best-selling author whose work has been recognized by The New York Times Magazine, The Economist, Worth, The New York Times, The Washington Post as well as major network news programs. He also co-authored international bestsellers Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt with Bill Bonner.
Gold and silver beat the loonie by a mile.
Psst – Addison – the Bureau of Engraving prints the currency. The Philadelphia Mint strikes coins.
Must be the only thing in this world that isn’t crazy.
I like to buy my Loonies and Twonies out of the junk box down at the coin shop. British pounds, Australian 50¢ coins, they’re all 15 for $1.00.
Commodities have been in freefall lately. Everything from corn to soy beans to precious metals is headed lower right now. But is this just a brief downturn, or is this the beginning of a long-term trend? Greg Guenthner explains, with a closer look at one specific precious metal that could snap back violently before heading lower. Read on...
When it comes to central bankers and the global economy, you might say the inmates are running the asylum. Today, Addison Wiggin sits down with Jim Rickards to discuss the ever-changing world of finance, the likelihood of hyperinflation hitting the U.S., and the massive economic experiment being conducted by the world's central bankers. Read on...
ISIS is a radical terrorist organization wreaking havoc across Northern Iraq. But its members come from all over the world - including many from Western Countries. The question no one's asking is why... Why are foreigners flocking to the Middle East to fight alongside ISIS? And how far does Obama really want to go? Chris Campbell explores...
Big government doesn't come cheap. And right now the U.S. government is one of the biggest in history. So far the budget writers have been able to move money around to keep the machine moving. But as Byron King points out, that will soon become much more difficult. Read on for the full story...
In the late '90s, financial TV personalities like Jim Cramer became mega stars - often drawing more ratings the ESPN. But that was over 15 years ago... That couldn't happen again, could it? Today, Wayne Mulligan details the new flock of personalities that are set to cash-in on a different kind of investment boom. Read on...
When it comes to the stock market, October gets a bad rap. It's true, there have been some major crashes in October (ahem... Black Monday, Black Tuesday, etc.) but on a shorter timeline this month hasn't been nearly as bad as you might think. Today, Greg Guenthner offers an optimistic look at the month investors love to hate. Read on...