Monday, October 29, 2007

Move out of both the US and Canadian Dollar?

Sometimes, you've got to recognize good fortune and take advantage of it. Other times, you've got to move to avoid trouble.

For my blog readers, who seem to be mostly a mix of my fellow Canadians, and my "American Cousins" (yes, I really have some), it seems to be a time for both.

Firstly, the Canadian dollar is now trading at high levels, and just today punctured levels not seen since the currency starting floating in 1970. In other words, a modern era record high. So it may seem unusual that now is the time I'd begin suggesting that it's appropriate for my fellow Canadians - likely with much of their wealth invested in Canadian companies - to begin looking outside the country.

However, while I fully expect that the currency may well continue its climb, prudent investing requires re-balancing, particularly when something has appreciated dramatically. A once in a 37 year event (record high currency) qualifies.

So, I'd suggest that many of you start looking at ways to diversify at least some of your investment portfolio outside of Canada. While this might hurt returns over the short term (no one can really "call the top" of any currency assent), it looks to me to be a prudent move over the longer haul. In other words, buying international assets when they look cheap to us.

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Secondly, for my American Cousins, unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend getting more heavily into US assets at this time. Let's face it, the American fiscal situation is a mess, with the national debt at unprecedented levels (roughly $27,000 per person) and projected to continue growing, and many Americans themselves hampered by heavy -unprecendented really - levels of personal and mortgage debt.

Combine these twin bombs of debt, personal and federal, with many recent announcements by central banks the world over that they intend to reduce their holdings of US currency, and where do you think the currency is headed?

Or perhaps another way to put it would be: Do you really think you're smarter than the these central bankers who are leaving the US currency like a plague?

So, to both my fellow Canadians and my American cousins, I think that now is a good time to begin looking at other internationally-denominated investments. Reducing exposure to your Canadian or American assets at this time seems prudent, and likely to boost long-term returns.


The Confused Capitalist

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