What Should You Do With Your Dollars, Now That The Peso Is Up

Posted by Fitz Villafuerte under General Information, Personal Finance on December 3, 2012

The US Dollar – Philippine Peso exchange rate has been going down dramatically over the past year.

I remember the price to be somewhere around P45 last year and just recently, it has breached the P40 mark.

For OFWs, exporters, bloggers, virtual assistants and many others who earn in U.S. dollars – this is bad news.

While Philippine peso earners, ironically, couldn’t help but ask why they’re not feeling the supposedly good effects of the strengthening local currency such as the lowering of basic commodity prices.

In my opinion, the only people who have actually been enjoying the past few months are the investors. Ask anyone who has UITF, mutual fund and stock market investments and they’ll show you double digit increases in their portfolio’s value.

Anyway, a lot has been asking me this question and I know many OFW’s and other dollar earners are currently concerned with what they need to do to protect their finances during these times. So please allow me to give my two cents on this topic.

dollar What Should You Do With Your Dollars, Now That The Peso Is Up

First, you should understand that the exchange rate has been going down not only because the Philippine economy is good, but also because the U.S. economy is finding it hard to fully recover from their recent recession.

At current, their biggest hurdle is the U.S. Fiscal Cliff and many analysts are saying that it could take some time before America can come up with a clear plan on how to overcome this obstacle.

In short, expect the USD/PHP rate to continue to go down unless our own Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) intervenes by weakening the Philippine peso to move the rate up or at the very least, stabilize it.

I’ve consulted with my forex trading teacher, Mark So, and he predicts that the USD/PHP rate could reach somewhere around P37 in the next couple of months.

However, he says that the price could also retrace and go up sometime mid-2013. Personal technical analysis shows that the target price for the USD/PHP climb is P43, but note that nothing is ever sure and this is just a calculated guess.

So the big question now is…

What should you do with your dollars?

But first… for pure peso earners:

Please save and invest! You’re missing a lot of potential earnings by “staying on the sidelines”. Take out those excess time deposits and put them somewhere with a little bit more risk.

Now… for dollar earners and those who earn in both pesos and dollars:

Stay tough and be strong. A good plan is to:

  • Convert just enough USD to PHP to last you until mid-2013. Keep the rest of your USD as is. Then see the plan for dollar savers below.
  • For dual currency earners, make the most out of your PHP to avoid using your USD – but if you must, convert only the amount you’ll need to survive until mid-2013. Then also see the plan for dollar savers below.

us dollar What Should You Do With Your Dollars, Now That The Peso Is Up

For those with dollar savings

You have two options to protect the value of your money:

  1. Invest your USD. Do cost averaging on dollar-based UITF’s and mutual funds which are available in most banks and investment companies.
  2. Hedge your dollars to keep its value. This means:
    • Convert exactly half of your USD to PHP. Ideally, you should keep the PHP in a bank account separate from your usual savings that you use for your living expenses so you can avoid touching it.
    • This means if you have $10,000 – then convert $5,000 to PHP. You can do this one-time or slowly in small amounts. Since we expect the USD/PHP rate to fall further, it’s better in my opinion, to do it in one go.
    • By hedging, you are technically, keeping the current value of your money. When the value of the USD falls, the value of PHP rises (and vice versa). Since you have both currencies, then the total value of your money will remain the same (in theory).

How Hedging Works

Let’s say you have $10,000. If USD/PHP = P40 and you convert half of that to PHP, then you’ll end up with $5,000 and P200,000. Take note of these two amounts and ready a calculator.

If USD weakens or PHP strengthens
When USD/PHP becomes P39, and you convert your P200,000.00 to USD, then you’ll have $5,128.21 (P200,000 / P39). Moreover, if you convert your $5,000 to PHP, then you’ll have P195,000 ($5,000 x P39).

Now convert the $128.21 back to PHP and that will become P5,000 ($128.21 x P39). So theoretically, you still end up with $5,000 ($5,128.21 less $128.21) and P200,000 (P195,000 plus P5,000) – the same amounts you had at the beginning.

If USD strengthens or PHP weakens
Now when USD/PHP becomes P41, and you convert your P200,000.00 to USD, then you’ll have $4,878.05 (P200,000 / P41). Moreover, if you convert your $5,000 to PHP, then you’ll have P205,000 ($5,000 x P41).

Now convert the P5,000 back to USD and that will become $121.95 (P5,000 / P41). Again, you end up with $5,000 ($4,878.05 plus $121.95) and P200,000 (P205,000 less P5,000).

Nosebleed? Try to get a piece of paper and write notes as you read that again.

usd What Should You Do With Your Dollars, Now That The Peso Is Up

If you still don’t get it after several tries, then don’t sweat it. Because all you really need to do is: divide your money equally in half and keep them in both currencies.

Remember:

  • If you decide to hedge your dollars, you don’t need to convert anything when price changes. Just keep both parts in the currency it’s in and ride the market. The conversion activities above is just to show you why your money will not lose its current value if you hedge it.
  • When converting your USD to PHP (and vice versa), you’re actually losing money from the spread (the difference between the selling price and the buying price). So do this with caution and as less frequent as possible.
  • Hedging will keep the value of your money, it will neither increase nor decrease it. Hedging is not a way to make your money grow. It’s just a way to protect its value from market price changes.
  • Once you divide your dollars to hedge it, it’s still a good idea to invest your money (both the USD and PHP) in low-risk funds. If you have a long investment horizon and higher risk tolerance, then consider moderate-risk instruments.

Everything’s too complicated for me, is there a simpler solution?

Yes! Just forget about hedging and simply convert enough USD to PHP to last you until mid-2013. Then invest the rest of your USD in low-risk dollar-denominated funds.

When USD/PHP reaches P43, then consider converting more USD to PHP to last you for the rest of 2013. And if you have excess PHP, then consider investing that in UITF’s, mutual funds and/or the stock market.

One final advise:

Instead of worrying too much about the falling value of the U.S. Dollar against the Philippine Peso, I suggest that you instead focus more time in controlling and bringing down your expenses, creating additional sources of income and looking for business and investment opportunities.

That is the best thing you can do – and you can start learning how to do all that by subscribing to Ready To Be Rich today.

———
Photo credit: dhanu, marine_b and moneyblognewz

Disclaimer: I am not a finance professional and the information, market predictions and money tips given above should not be considered as expert advise. Read my full disclaimer here.

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12 Responses to “What Should You Do With Your Dollars, Now That The Peso Is Up”


  1. Mercid says:

    “In my opinion, the only people who have actually been enjoying the past few months are the investors.”

    This is so true! My portfolio has picked up significantly now that the peso is up. Hahahahah!

  2. lioncityrebel says:

    Hi Fitz,

    This is a very-well written article taking into the consideration the readers who have limited knowledge on hedging and forex. I can see the great attempt and motive behind your pen. Not to mention the timeliness of the article. You just read everbody’s mind and anxiety on the peso appreciation! Thank you!

  3. JoMi says:

    I was just chatting with a blogger friend. We were discussing about the sudden drop of peso, when I saw your post. We are trying to gauge what we should do with our dollar accounts. This is very helpful, not just for bloggers, but for our fellow Filipinos who are OFW’s, Online workers and marketers. This is worth reading, thanks for sharing! =)

  4. JMG says:

    Hi Fitz, A timely written topic! I’m accumulating $ right now for use in the next 2years. Is it safe to put all in UITF, particularly BDO Dollar Bond Fund?
    THANKS!!!!

  5. I know a lot of our readers and inquirers at OFW UsapangPiso have learned a lot from this. They are just too silent to react. Haha.

  6. Fitz says:

    Hi JMG. In my opinion, yes it’s safe to put it there. Be sure to invest only a fixed small amount, but regularly over the months so you can cost average your position. Don’t put it all in one go.

  7. George says:

    Hi Fritz. How about those people with dollar UITFs or MFs? Do we need to cash in now, convert it to peso and shift to peso denominated UITFs and MFs? Thanks.

  8. Fitz says:

    Hi George. I think it’s simpler to just leave it there, specially if you don’t really need the money in the next couple of years.

    But it is also a good option to redeem half of it and invest it in peso-denominated UITFs and MFs to hedge it.

  9. Datu Manampan says:

    Hello, This is true: peso is doing well unlike the dollar. I invest Dollar Matual fund and Peso Mutual Fund. Both MF is gaining but comparing the difference Im losing P100,000 in 4 months only because of my bad portfolio. Next year April 2013 I will change all of my $44,000 to Peso.

    Please I need your advise/help. Thank you for your information. God Bless.

  10. Fitz says:

    Hi Datu. Just let your peso and dollar MF as is. By April 2013, before you convert your USD to PHP, try to get an update on the US economy and know what experts are thinking.

    If the USD is poised to become stronger, then just leave your USD as is… but if USD looks like it’s going to fall further, then convert enough USD to PHP to last you until December 2013. Then see what happens again by that time.

  11. toone says:

    Fitz,

    I am previous dollar earner and I had save a decent amount and have it as my emergency fund. Now that the peso is up I was thinking if I just invest half of my dollar savings on BDO’s Dollar Short Term Fund or convert the amount in peso and invest it to Peso denominated UITF’s.

    Thanks,

    Anthony

  12. Joseph says:

    I invest my US Dollar money with BPI mutual funds and the rest I put it in BDO time deposit. I don’t have an existing PESO account. What can you advise me to do? Any other option for me to do as an OFW? I receive my salary in bi-annual terms.

    Thanks,
    Joseph

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