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World Currency Observer
World Currency Observer

Exchange Rates: one year high and low

January 3, 2018. Next update: January 17, 2018. Visit Search to look at past issues of World Currency Observer (brochure edition).

Many currencies around the world strengthened against the U.S. dollar in December. But, one exception was the Mexico peso, which fell by 5.5% in December (but was still up by 4.6% over all of 2017), and another was the Iceland krone (which just completed a sovereign bond issue denominated in Euros)—the krone was down 1.2% in December, but up by more than 8% over 2017. The Jamaica dollar rose by 1% against the US$ in December, and was up by nearly 3.5% over all of 2017. The Haiti gourde was up by 5.5% against the US$ during 2017. South America currencies were generally stronger against the US$ in December, with the big exception being the Argentina peso, which fell by 7.4% in December, and by 19% over the whole of 2017. The Euro was up by more than 12% (!!!) against the US$ in 2017, while the United Kingdom pound was up by nearly 9% in 2017 against the US$ (down against the Euro). The Turkey lira reversed its November decline with a 5% appreciation in December, finishing the year with a 7% decline against the US$ in 2017, and an almost 20% decline against the Euro. (Note that, in 2017, the Turkish economy had one of the strongest rates of growth of any country in the world). The Georgia lari reversed much of its November decline against the US$ with a 6% upward movement in December and a 7.5% increase in 2017. The Russia rouble finished 2017 with a 2% rise in December, leaving it up by nearly 5.5% on the year against the US$. The Ukraine hryvnia fell by over 4% against the US$ in December, and was down by 6.5% in 2017 (down by nearly 12% against the Russia rouble in 2017). The Tajikistan somoni was down by 12% on the year against the US$. The 10% upward move in December by the South Africa rand is being generally attributed to the African National Congress selection of a business-oriented presidential candidate. The South Korea won has become continually stronger over the last few months, a notable standout among world currencies. Currencies with movements similar to the won included the Thailand baht and, to a lesser extent, the Taiwan dollar--after little movement among these three currencies in December, they still moved up in 2017 against the US$, and all of them were ahead of the 4.2% strengthening of the Japan yen in 2017. The Bangladesh taka weakened a little in December, and was down by nearly 5% against the US$ over the whole of 2017.

Among the bellwether commodities, oil prices were up in December, finishing the year up by around 15% on average since the beginning of 2017. Gold prices moved up by 1.2% in December, and were up by nearly 13% in 2017. Metals prices in US dollars were up strongly in 2017. One exception was tin, which was, however, still up slightly in 2017 after a 6.5% drop in December. Among agricultural commodities, price increases for all of 2017 were generally low, and prices fell by 10% or more for cocoa, coffee and sugar. Stock market returns around the world for 2017 were mixed, although the list of countries with above-10% stock market index increases includes the United States (but not Canada or Mexico), Western and Eastern Europe countries (but not the United Kingdom), many of the larger Asian economies (but not China), and several South America countries, including Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

(World Currency Observer will next be updated on January 17, 2018. Visit Search to look at past issues of World Currency Observer (brochure edition).)