Are foreign currencies worth investing in?

Can you (and should you) invest in foreign currencies like the US dollar or the British pound? The answer is a little complicated…
The post Are foreign currencies worth investing in? appeared first on Motley Fool Australia. –

row of different foreign currency notes rolled up next to each other

When you hear an investor list off different asset classes that one can invest in, sometimes ‘foreign currencies’ are thrown into the mix, along with your usual suspects like ASX shares, bonds, gold or property.

Most of us only convert our Australian dollars into something else when we need to go on holiday, rather than as an investment activity. But is this an untapped avenue investors should explore?

It’s relatively easy to own foreign currency these days, either digitally or physically. You can always go down to your nearest bank branch and change your dollars to euros, pounds or yen. Many ASX banks such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) also allow you to open foreign currency accounts, where you can keep your chosen currencies alongside your normal bank accounts.

There are also foreign currency exchange-traded funds (ETFs) available. The BetaShares US Dollar ETF (ASX: USD) is one such option, but there are more out there, including for other currencies like the euro and the pound sterling.

Are currencies an investment?

Some people do make a living trading currency. Currencies shift in value every day, so there are definite opportunities in these moves to make profits. But currency is, by definition, a store of wealth, rather than a wealth-producing asset. You can turn cash into an investment with a term deposit or other cash instrument. But these days, the potential for this is not what it used to be, even for currencies outside the Aussie dollar, with interest rates at near-zero in the countries that issue the world’s major currencies. As such, I don’t see any real value in holding foreign currency as a ‘buy-and-hold’ investment.

But what about currencies as a hedge? It might not feel like it to us, but the Aussie dollar is a volatile currency by global standards. Think about it. Just this year, our dollar has been worth as little as 55 US cents and as much as 74 US cents at various times.

Our dollar tends to fall in times of global uncertainty (like we saw in the share market crash in March), so holding some of your cash in US dollars might be a good way to hedge against a global share market crash.

Holding some US dollars is a good strategy if you regularly invest in US shares, such as Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL). I myself tend to hold a cash position in both US dollars and Aussie dollars, with regular top-ups for the US dollar account when the exchange rate is decent. 

Foolish takeaway

I wouldn’t class foreign currencies as assets in their own right, but you can manage your cash positions a little better by utilising other currencies, especially if you regularly invest overseas. As with all investments, make sure you’re not paying too much in fees though!

Man who said buy Kogan shares at $3.63 says buy these 3 ASX stocks now

When investing expert Scott Phillips has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the flagship Motley Fool Share Advisor newsletter he has run for more than eight years has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.*

In this FREE STOCK REPORT, Scott just revealed what he believes are the 3 ASX stocks for the post COVID world that investors should buy right now while they still can. These stocks are trading at dirt-cheap prices and Scott thinks these could really go gangbusters as we move into ‘the new normal’.

Find out the names of our 3 Post COVID Stocks – For FREE!

*Returns as of 6/8/2020

More reading

Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Apple. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

The post Are foreign currencies worth investing in? appeared first on Motley Fool Australia.

Trade The World Anywhere & Anytime!

Mobile app platform with over 50,000 global listed securities across 12 markets (over 70% global market capitalisation), right from your Android or iOS device.

Integrated with exclusive trading idea and investment analysis tools to help you find actionable insight on virtually every financial instrument across our 12 global markets, to help you optimise your trading strategies.

Refer Your Friends

Tell your friends about Monex and gift them FREE access to our trading tools.

We respect your privacy and will only send this one email notification to your friends. 

Share With Your Friends

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Monex Trading Tools Access and Usage Terms

The Monex Trading Tools (referred to as ‘tools’ hereafter) are available to you inside your client portal;

To activate access to the tools, you must have a verified and approved trading account and have made a deposit of at least AUD $1000.

An active and funded account with a positive trading balance is required to continue to have access to the tools;

Although the tools are available to you indefinitely, Monex Securities may at it’s discretion disable access to the tools in the future;

Monex securities reserves the right to change these terms and conditions from time to time, as it sees fit, without notice.

Important Notice
iOS & Android App - 12 International Markets & Over 70% Global Market Cap. $0 Brokerage On US Trades. Click Here!