This week I'd like to address the topic of currency. Flip through any business journal and speculation runs deep, though the ups and downs are far from predictable. A year ago everyone who thought they had half a brain and a pile of money comparable to Uncle Scrooge was threatening to transform all of their wealth into the seemingly unstoppable Yuan. Travel agents were pushing dirt-cheap excursions taking advantage of the near-worthless Icelandic krona to suburbanites with inquiries about sunny beaches and palm trees. And this year, if you're looking for a destination that won't hurt your pocket book, one might suggest Central Europe for that romantic second honeymoon.
In the long run though, currency speculation is a serious business that takes patience and an overall understanding of a nation, country or union. IMF reports and debt calculators are a good indicator, but they can be flawed and don't take into account the grand scheme of things. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the bigger picture is the one you want, and nothing prepares you for this kind of commitment than the intelligence you get from my friend George Friedman at STRATFOR. I'm sending you a piece that considers the recession in Central Europe, country by country. I encourage you to read and consider it in your portfolios. Click here to check out STRATFOR as well, as my readers get a special offer.
John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box
The Recession in Central Europe, Part 2: Country by Country
August 5, 2009 | 1146 GMT
No region has been affected by the global financial crisis quite like Central Europe, where a heavy burden of foreign debt, accumulated during the boom years of the 2000s, must be repaid in 2009. Not all Central European states are burdened by the same external debt load, but most face cutting social welfare expenditures…