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投资理财

弱势美元时代个人理财新选择

Janice Revell 2011年11月24日

当心,很多专家认为这一轮美元上涨只是弱势美元走势的短暂反复,而弱势美元走势可能还会持续多年。

    过去十年贬值近1/3的美元近月来闪现出了些许往日的光彩。由于担心欧债危机可能演变成一场全面的灾难,惊慌的投资者重返美元。但要当心,很多专家认为这一轮美元上涨只是弱势美元走势的短暂反复,而弱势美元走势可能还会持续多年。因此,他们建议美国人至少要有一部分储蓄是基本面更稳健的外汇。

    没错,目前美元仍被视为全球“避风港”货币。但一些根深蒂固的问题正在削弱美元的这一地位。美国联邦赤字和债务负担在急剧膨胀。美国与新兴国家的贸易失衡持续扩大。同时,为刺激经济增长,美国联邦储备委员会(Federal Reserve)事实上一直在印发新钞,稀释了存量美元的价值。“美国基本上已经破产,”波士顿大学(Boston University)经济学教授劳伦斯•克特里考夫表示。“我预计假以时日,美元将大幅下跌。”

    为对冲美元可能下跌风险,美国人不妨可将约5%的存款换成外汇。最安全的策略是购买一篮子外汇。通过这种方式,可避免突然受到某一个国家政治或经济措施的冲击。例如,近几周由于日本和瑞士政府入市阻止本币升值,日元/美元和瑞士法郎/美元均出现了大幅下跌。

    要建立外汇头寸,简单的做法就是在投资外汇的几十支交易所交易基金(ETF)中挑选一支。比如The PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bearish。晨星(Morningstar)ETF分析师迈克尔•劳森称,这支基金跟踪一篮子发达国家货币兑美元汇率的表现,可以作为投资组合内“便宜的对冲工具”。

    另一个值得考虑的、成本相对较低的选择是投资外国公债的ETF。除了美元下跌能带来资产升值之外,还能获得一些固定收益。比如WisdomTree Emerging Markets Local Debt,它跟踪由中国、巴西、韩国等15个新兴国家的公债组合。

    或者,干脆就把一部分钱存入提供外汇投资的一家美国银行账户。例如美国多元化金融服务公司EverBank就提供以一篮子外汇计价的短期存单。这些存单由美国联邦存款保险公司(FDIC)提供保险,按照相应国家的通行利率支付利息。此外,EverBank还提供外币存款账户。

    美元持续下跌并非铁定无疑。但鉴于这样的下跌会对居民的储蓄购买力带来的影响,先将一小部分钱转为外汇是明智的保险措施。

    Janice Revell曾经担任薪酬顾问,2000年起开始撰写个人金融类文章。

    After shedding almost a third of its value over the past decade, the U.S. dollar has exhibited a few sparks of its former glory in recent months. Spooked investors have moved back into the greenback amid fears that Europe's debt crisis could turn into a full-blown meltdown. But beware, say many experts: The surge is merely a blip in a weak-dollar trend that still has years to run. And that argues for parking at least a modest portion of your savings in foreign currencies with more solid fundamentals.

    To be sure, the dollar is still viewed as the world's "safe haven" currency. But deep-rooted problems are undercutting its status. The federal deficit and debt burden are ballooning. Trade imbalances with emerging countries are gaping wider. Meanwhile, to spur growth, the Federal Reserve has effectively been printing new money, diluting the value of each existing buck. "The U.S. is basically bankrupt," says Laurence Kotlikoff, an economics professor at Boston University. "I think we'll see a major decline in the dollar over time."

    To hedge against the possibility of a falling greenback, consider putting about 5% or so of your savings into foreign currencies. The safest strategy is to buy a basket of currencies. That way you avoid being blind-sided by the political or economic agenda of any one country. In recent weeks, for instance, both the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc have taken sharp hits against the U.S. dollar after the governments stepped in to prevent their currencies from appreciating.

    A simple way to establish a foreign currency position is through one of the dozens of exchange-traded funds devoted to currencies. The PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bearish (UDN), for example, tracks the performance of a basket of developed-country currencies against the U.S. dollar and can serve as a "cheap hedging instrument" within your portfolio, says Michael Rawson, an ETF analyst with Morningstar.

    Another relatively low-cost option worth considering is an ETF that specializes in foreign government bonds. In addition to capturing any price appreciation if the dollar weakens, you'll also reap some income. For instance, WisdomTree Emerging Markets Local Debt (ELD) tracks a portfolio of government bonds from 15 emerging-market countries, including China, Brazil, and South Korea.

    Or you could simply park some of your money in a U.S. bank account that offers foreign currency investments. EverBank, for example, offers short-term certificates of deposit denominated in baskets of foreign currencies. The CDs are FDIC-insured and pay interest based on the rates prevailing in each relevant country. EverBank also offers deposit accounts in foreign currencies.

    A sustained drop in the U.S. dollar is not a sure bet. But given the impact that such a decline would have on the purchasing power of your savings, moving a little money into foreign currencies is a sensible insurance policy.

    A former compensation consultant, Janice Revell has been writing about personal finance since 2000.

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