Weak US Dollar Drops Again


Weak US dollar drops can reduce freedom in many ways. Freedom comes from being able to maintain the purchasing power in spite of the weak US dollar of one’s savings and wealth. Many banks expect the greenback to now drop to 140 against the euro.

Yesterday due to my concerns about the weak US dollar I cleared out most of my liquid US dollar holdings and invested in more European and emerging market bonds and equities before the formerly All-mighty buck drops further.

The question is where to invest beyond the weak US dollar? One answer is in multi-currency portfolios. We work with Jyske Bank and track five of them a year. They have performed well in part due to the weak US dollar.

The five portfolios we created and tracked from November 2005 to 2006 rose:

US Dollar Long

9.04%

US Dollar Short

10.43%

US Dollar Hedge

11.46%

Emerging Market

42.93%

Asia Emerging Market

114.16%

This year as hard as it is to believe the new portfolios we created to protect against the weak US dollar and track are doing much better.

Here is a free glimpse of a portion of what I provide readers in our Multi Currency Portfolio Tracking Service as I send them multicurrency portfolio updates every two weeks or so. Here is an excerpt from our latest update of yesterday.

Multi-Currency Portfolio Update #12

April 13, 2007

Unlike last year, equity markets have recovered quickly from their early march down turn.

There has been a phenomenal increase in the portfolios from a month ago.

Here is a review of the five portfolio’s growth since November 1, 2006 (five and a half months).

Portfolios 2007

Dec 29

Jan 30

Feb 6

Feb 26

Mar 8

Mar 27

Apr 13

Swiss Samba

8.10%

10.18%

13.83%

20.49%

8.21%

16.15%

21.88%

Emerging Market

15.11%

14.83%

17.46%

19.61%

1.27%

12.81%

22.80%

Dollar Short

12.91%

9.71%

12.50%

18.17%

12.30%

20.12%

24.35%

Dollar Neutral

7.94%

12.63%

13.62%

20.28%

11.26%

16.58%

20.92%

Green

34.77%

50.08%

63.04%

86.22%

67.26%

86.86%

105.72%

Performance is excellent in every portfolio. The Green portfolio is now running past a 200% per annum clip!

The big question is can we count on such returns to continue? Investors who do not have extraordinarily long views will be placing stop losses on their positions to lock in profits.

Yet how can we tell if these portfolios, after such a rise are still a good place to store wealth?

One way is to look at value. If the shares in a market offer good value they are likely to rise further. If the shares offer poor value, their prices have probably left the realm of reality and are over fueled by speculation.

Invest in value. Avoid buying at high speculative prices, especially with leveraged portfolios!

A look at the long term however suggests that, from a value point of view, there may be room for these portfolios to grow even more.

Let’s look for example at the valuations of the Emerging Markets Portfolio as analyzed by Keppler Asset Management. I have worked with this firm for nearly 20 years. Its performance has been outstanding. Keppler continually researches many international major and emerging stock markets and compares their value based on current book to price, cash flow to price, earnings to price, average dividend yield, return on equity and cash flow return. He compares each market’s history. From this he values each market in a rational, mathematical way and does not worry about short ups and downs.

In January 2007, Keppler Asset Management was, for the third consecutive year, named Best Fund Company in the Fund Specialists’ category by Capital, a leading German business magazine. Keppler’s firm was one of only six out of 100 companies tested that received the highest five-star rating based on an independent evaluation of fund quality, management, and customer service by Feri Rating & Research and Steria Mummert Consulting.

The April 2007 edition of Capital Magazine, Germany’s major investment and business periodical, stressed the outstanding quality of Keppler’s fund products. The magazine said: “Michael Keppler again earned the highest five-star rating. A Bavarian residing in New York, Keppler follows this secret recipe: He searches the globe for attractively valued equity markets, analyzing the balance sheet data of thousands of companies included in his data base. The markets he selects are equally weighted in his portfolio. Only as a second step, suitable stocks are selected. The concept works. His global and emerging markets equity funds have achieved above-average returns for years. They are long-term buy candidates.”

The idea is to invest in markets that are based on price earnings, price to cash flow and dividend yields that offer good value. If one uses mutual funds rather than individual shares, hopefully the fund manager will add a benefit by selecting especially good value shares from the good value markets. Jyske Invest does this by analyzing shares with their VAMOS system (VAMOS stands for Value, Momentum and Strength).

The Emerging Markets Portfolio is invested in China, Eastern Europe, India, the Far East and Turkey in the percentages shown below.

Percent of Portfolio

Investment

Invested

Value Now

25.00% USD

JI Chinese Equity Fund

50,000.00

61,947.30

25.00% EUR

JI Eastern European Equity Fund

50,000.00

58,208.63

25.00% USD

JI Indian Equity Fund

50,000.00

49,576.43

15.00% USD

JI Far East Equity Fund

30,000.00

35,503.65

10.00% EUR

JI Turkish Equity Fund

20,000.00

25,373.42

Investments Total Value

200,000.00

230,609.43

100.00%

Loan in CZK at 3.875%

100,000.00

105,948.04

Interest Due

1,858.57

Total Liability

107,806.92

Net Value

122,802.51

So $100,000 was invested in this portfolio last November. Now it’s worth $22,802 more (up 22.80% in 5.5 months). After this appreciation, does the portfolio still offer good value?

According to Keppler, the current emerging markets that are a good value are Brazil, Korea, Malaysia, Poland, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey. Bad value markets or sell candidates are Argentina, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, and South Africa. The neutrally rated markets include Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Jordan, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka and Venezuela.

Good value markets are more likely to rise. Neutral value markets are likely to maintain their price. Bad value markets are most likely to correct.

This means that 25% of this portfolio (India) is likely to fall. This portion of the portfolio is already down (barely), but even with the loss, this portion does not reflect good value.

25% of the portfolio is invested in neutral markets (China). This market has performed well (up 23%), but valuations suggest it should not rise much more right now.

10% of the market is invested in good value (Turkey). Turkey is already the second best performer in the portfolio at 21.93%. However we can expect this to rise even more.

The rest of the portfolio is a bit harder to see as the investments are in two mixed funds (East Europe and Far East). We can get a bit of a picture by looking at the underlying portfolio breakdown of the funds. The Eastern European Fund for example shows a holding breakdown of 4.5% in Hungary (neutral), 5.5% in the Czech Republic (neutral), 22% in Poland (good) and 58% in Russia (neutral). This makes the fund a fair value, better than neutral.

The Far East Fund holds 44% in good value markets as 22% is invested in Korea, 15% Taiwan and 7% Malaysia (all good value). 34% is invested in neutral value markets (14% China, 14% Hong Kong and 6% Singapore). 13% is invested in poor value markets, (8% India and 5% Indonesia).

From a good value point of view this fund is also a fair value and perhaps better than Eastern Europe. This is a pretty strong position.

In review the Emerging Markets Portfolio is invested 10% in good value (Turkey Equity), 40% in fair value (Eastern European and Emerging Asia equity), 25% in neutral value (China Equity) and 25% in poor value (India Equity). This suggests continued positive performance.

There is another opportunity building within this portfolio created by the Czech koruna loan. Note that the payback before interest on the $100,000 loan is currently $105,948.04. This means that the Czech koruna has appreciated nearly 6% more than the currencies in the portfolio. Many of the currencies held in the portfolio, (especially the Asian currencies) are artificially depressed. The Czech koruna was at an all time high versus the euro when it was borrowed for this portfolio. Economic fundamentals suggest that the koruna is more likely to fall than rise. If so, the portfolio would become worth even more.

Now let’s examine the wonderful Green Portfolio which is up 105.72% in five and a half months. The $100,000 investment is now worth $205,720 in just five and a half months.

See the rest of this update and track these portfolios with regularly. See how at International Investments Course with Multi Currency Investments and Portfolios

Until next message, good international investments to you.

Gary

Be sure to join us at our upcoming IBEZ in North Carolina. We will update all five multi currency portfolios and much more. The course runs May 25, 26, 27, 2007 and Thomas Fischer from Jyske Bank will join me to update global economics there. For more details see International Investments and International Business Course, West Jefferson, North Carolina, May 25-26-27, 2007


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