S$1 = US$1 soon?

International November 19th, 2007

For those who had been following the news and looking over the counter of the money changer near your place, you would have realised that the US$ is dropping. Like mad.

Gone were the days where US$1 is worth about S$1.75 or more, and it was so bad that even people in Seoul refuse to accept the equivalence of 1000 won as US$1.

Now, it seems to be getting worse became even visitors to the Taj would have to pay in the native currency. US dollars are no longer preferred as their value keeps going down the slippery roads.

So what does this mean for all of us? It’s probably a good time to start shopping on Amazon.com or other US sites to get stuffs. There only thing is, I wished their freight charges could be cheaper. =(

NEW DELHI – THE US dollar will not get you into the Taj Mahal from this week.

The Indian government, reacting to the falling value of the greenback, has decided that it will no longer accept the greenback as payment for visits to its historic sites.

Until now, foreign tourists to sites such as the Taj Mahal, Delhi’s Red Fort and the Mahabodhi Temple have had the option of paying in dollars or rupees.

But from this week, visitors will have to pay in rupees to visit the 120 or so sites run by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the BBC reported.

Entrance fees will be either 250 rupees (S$9.20) or 100 rupees.

‘These rates have been fixed in line with international practices, and in order to take care of the fluctuation in the dollar rates,’ a spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism told the BBC.

Officials say the ministry wanted to act fast so that tourism revenues are not hit. Earnings from tickets to historic monuments in 2006-07 was 608.4 million rupees.

Where once the rate was 50 rupees to a dollar, the going rate now is just about 39.25 rupees.

The plunging dollar has been having an impact worldwide, affecting not just tourist takings but also incomes of models as well as revenues of French fashion houses and aircraft makers.

The world’s top-paid super model Gisele Bundchen was reported recently to have spurned the dollar, preferring to be paid in euros.

At Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), it has had Chief Executive Valerie Hermann thinking about the number of pockets on a skirt and the price of embroidery on a dress, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Ms Hermann is adamant that YSL include in its ready-to-wear offerings cocktail dresses that cost no more than 1,900 euros (S$4,000).

Six months ago, that was the equivalent of US$2,565. Today, she would have to sell the same garment for US$215 (S$310) more to make the same profit. So if she can eliminate a pocket on a garment without sacrificing the integrity of its design, she will.

The euro’s rise and dollar’s slide are hitting European exporters particularly hard.

The euro has gained 11.5 per cent since the start of the year against the greenback. It closed on Friday at US$1.46.

Said Airbus chief Tom Enders: ‘If the dollar decreases by 10 cents, we are challenged to save another 1 billion euros.’

Last week, Infineon, Germany’s top semiconductor maker, announced that it lost 150 million euros in the latest quarter because of the weak dollar.

And Mr Reinold Geiger, president of L’Occitane of Provence, complained recently that 12 per cent of his annual US$400 million in skincare sales had ‘evaporated’ over the last year because of the falling dollar.

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 19th November 2007

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