Saturday, May 29, 2010


The recent, and rapid, decline of both the Euro and the Zloty against the US Dollar has left me a little unnerved. I expected the Euro to drop according to Greece's woes (as well as those of the entire so-called PIIGS Bloc) but was a little shocked to see how the Zloty fell as well. It's a common misconception that the Zloty is pegged to the Euro, much like the Lithuanian Litas, but isn't. This misconception, as well as the thought that the EU's economies are so tightly integrated, creates a psuedo-pegging.
See, the Zloty isn't pegged to any currency and its governing body is the NBP; however, the Polish economy is so heavily reliant on those in the Euro Area. Since Poland's economy relies so much on countries that use the Euro, it is necessary to take these economies into account when valuing the Zloty. As such, the Zloty fluctuates wildly against the US Dollar, mimicking—in a greater degree—the Euro. When the Euro rises against the dollar, the Zloty will appreciate more; when the Euro falls, the Zloty will fall even further.
All of this is fine and dandy, but it creates a problem for me: I get paid in Zloty, but I generally think of myself earning in dollars (my debts are in dollars.) Summer, 2008, was a very good time when the exchange rate was near 2:1. The Zloty had been falling against the dollar this spring (2.8:1) but has recently dropped to levels I haven't seen since the summer of last year. The Euro has dropped to about 1.2:1 and is expected to reach parity. So, this is generally good news for Europe (especially Airbus, which sells its planes in dollars, but reports earnings in Euros.)

Good for Poland? You bet. Poland is looking ripe for investment. The weaker Zloty makes Polish goods and services cheaper in international trade. Many countries are in a "race to the bottom" to devalue their currency (China has held this as national policy and it's pissing the US off.) The US was hoping to make the greenback crap its pants and lose so much value that American goods would become the most viable choice when buying big-ticket items (planes, guns, machinery.) Unfortunately, Greece had to screw everything up.

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