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Currency Brief: Strong Dollar Gains Steam in October

With one notable exception, most of the key apparel currencies continued to weaken against the dollar in October, continuing a trend that began in spring.

So far this year, the U.S. dollar index, a measure of the value of the dollar against a basket of foreign currencies, has risen nearly 9 percent, with many economists expecting the trend to continue through 2015.

The strong dollar is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it represents a strong economy, protects against inflation, and gives U.S. companies and consumers more buying power abroad. On the other hand, however, it’s tough on U.S. companies with big overseas businesses. Many U.S. retailers have begun to expand into markets in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America, and may find those strategies less attractive given the exchange rate trends.

The euro fell by 0.47% against the U.S. dollar during the month, to $1.25, increasing its year-to-date decline to more than 9 percent. The currency is down by over 8 percent compared to the same month last year.


The pound dropped by 1.09% percent against the dollar in the month, to $1.60, putting it behind by 1.95% on a year-to-date basis, and reducing its year-over-year gain to under 0.2%.


The Indian rupee dipped 0.33% against the dollar, intensifying its year-to-date slide to 1.12%. Compared to this time last year, the currency is flat.


The Indonesian rupiah decreased by 1.06% in October, resulting in a year-to-date increase of 0.19%, and a year-over-year increase of more than 7.5%.

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The Pakistani rupee rose 0.3% in October, down 3.7% from the same month last year, and almost 4 percent for the year to date.


The Chinese yuan fell nominally against the dollar in September, and ended the month 0.4% higher for the year so far.


The Bangladeshi taka, which is loosely pegged against the U.S. dollar, was flat in the month.


In September, the Vietnamese dong fell in value very slightly against the dollar, and remains ahead by 0.63% on a year-to-date basis.


Throughout most of the month, the Japanese yen remained flat to slightly down against the dollar. Then, late last week, Japan’s Central Bank shocked markets by announcing an unexpected easing of the monetary policy to combat inflation. The yen surged, and ended the month up 1.1% against the dollar, pushing its year-to-date gain to over 7 percent.