For stock investing, your local currency has rarely mattered more
When investing in equities outside your home market, you’re also trying your hand at a bit of currency speculation, at least in the short to medium term. This has been even more the case over the past 12 months. First, the “King Dollar” period saw the greenback crush almost all competition; this was followed by a retreat.
This chart examines the returns for a hypothetical US investor’s non-American stocks this year. Performance is split into stocks’ return in local currency (in blue) and the currency effect (in green). These net out to a total return represented by the purple dots.
Japan has had a hot equity market this year – but the weak JPY is working against you if you’re measuring your performance in USD. By contrast, US-based investors’ European stock returns have been boosted by EUR strength – and this is even more the case for investors with exposure to Latin American equities and currencies.