US Dollar falls to test 2017 low ahead of CPI data. EUR and GBP both jump further after Thursday’s ECB bombshell

January 12, 2018 – Nick Parsons | Posted by OFX

United States Dollar

The last 48 hours have been pretty wild for the US Dollar. ‘Fake news’ from China had seen it fall sharply then erase all its losses before the ECB’s bombshell hit the foreign exchange market on Thursday and sent the USD tumbling once more. Having recovered from 91.60 to a high in London of 92.17, the US Dollar Index against a basket of major currencies fell sharply throughout the New York session to end the day back down at 91.50.

This morning in Europe it has fallen further with the index now back testing the 2017 low of 90.98 on September 7th. As well as the ECB news, the USD was not helped by a very soft set of US PPI figures. The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand slipped 0.1% last month. That was the first drop in the PPI since August 2016 and followed two straight monthly increases of 0.4%. In the 12 months through December, PPI rose 2.6% after accelerating to 3.1% in November. There isn’t a perfect – or even a very good – correlation between PPI and CPI on a monthly basis. Indeed, if there was, there’d be no need to publish CPI figures separately or for markets ever to worry about them: all the fresh information value would be in the PPI. We’ve said before that the FX market reaction is often to shoot first and ask questions later, so it would have been a brave analyst who stood up in the middle of a busy dealing room to announce that the PPI figures didn’t matter.

The market has passed its verdict that soft PPI means expectations for CPI today should be lowered. That might be a wrong assumption but we’ll see this morning when the numbers are released at 08.30 Eastern Time. Consensus expectations are for a +0.2% m/m gain to leave the annual rate of CPI inflation at 2.1%. Separate but simultaneously released numbers on December retail sales are expected to show both the headline and core (ex-autos) measures rose 0.4% on the month.

The US Dollar index opens in North America this Wednesday morning at 91.00.

Live Rates on the Yahoo Finance Currency Converter

Canadian Dollar

USD/CAD expected range: 1.2430 – 1.2585 

The Canadian Dollar has had a very poor week so far week as investors start to question whether a lot of good news is already ‘in the price’ and whether a rate hike at next Wednesday’s BoC monetary policy meeting really is a done deal.

A week ago, after the latest labor market report, USD/CAD touched a low of 1.2375. By yesterday afternoon in New York it had risen to a high of 1.2585 before settling down in Europe this morning in the low 1.25’s. Even two days after the news of a potential US withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada and Mexico, we are still none the wiser as to what the US’s true intentions are and what economic impact it may have either side of the Canada-US border.

Among the most divisive proposals said to come from the US side are plans to establish rules of origin for NAFTA goods that would set minimum levels of U.S. content for autos, a sunset clause that would terminate the trade deal if it is not renegotiated every five years, and ending the so-called Chapter 19 dispute mechanism. President Trump has long called the 1994 treaty a bad deal that hurts American workers and during the presidential campaign, called it the “worst trade deal in the history of the country.” Officials are due to hold a sixth and penultimate round of negotiations in Montreal from January 23-28th and it is now widely expected that Mr Trump might deliver a letter giving 6-months’ notice of an intention to withdraw from the agreement. The only official comment from the White House is that, “there has been no change in the president’s position on NAFTA”. We’ll see if the weekend Press and news media can shed any further light on the matter.

The Canadian Dollar opens in North America this morning at USD1.2520, GBP/CAD1.7070 and AUD/CAD0.9855.


EUR/USD expected range: 1.2030 – 1.2250 

The euro was quietly trading in the USD1.1940’s in the European morning on Thursday, caught between the usual opposing forces of very strong economic data and worries about German politics. Then, at lunchtime, the ECB released its usually bland account of the last monetary policy meeting of the Governing Council. Buried deep in the report, the ECB dropped the bombshell on to financial markets that it was considering changing its guidance to markets about future monetary policy. As it quickly dawned on investors what the implications of this would be, EUR/USD immediately surged to USD1.2040, where it closed in New York.

This morning in Europe, the EUR as had another leg higher, almost reaching 1.2130; the highest in just over 3 years. We have to go all the way back to December 2014 to find the last time the EUR was at this level. One of the great ironies of this dramatic correction higher in the external value of the euro was the sentence in the ECB’s account of the December Council Meeting that, “It was suggested that the Governing Council’s communication should be adjusted gradually over time to avoid sudden and unwarranted movements in financial conditions.” Oftentimes, after a sharp move in either foreign exchange or currency markets, the ECB does an off-the-record briefing with select journalists to attempt to halt or even reverse what it might see as an unwelcome development.

These are often referred to in the professional market as “ECB sources” stories as they are always anonymous with no names attributed to them. The main feature of this morning’ trading in Europe is that there has been no such push-back. Eurozone money markets now price in a 70% chance of a 10bp rate hike by year-end; up from around 50% at the beginning of the week.

The EUR opens in North America this Thursday morning at USD1.2125 and EUR/CAD1.5185.

British Pound

GBP/USD expected range: 1.3530 – 1.3750 

The GBP had a classic day of two halves on Thursday; weak in the morning after the publication of the BoE Credit Conditions Survey but then rallying hard against the USD – but not the AUD, NZD or EUR – during the London afternoon. The pound hit a fresh 2018 low of 1.3461 just before the ECB lit a fire under the EUR but by the close of business in Europe it had gained more than three quarters of a cent to a high of 1.3547.

This morning in Europe it has added another full cent to reach 1.3640; a fresh high for 2018 and the strongest since the day after the EU referendum back in June 2016. Three of the UK’s biggest retailers this week delivered disappointing Christmas figures as weak consumer confidence and aggressive discounting from online retailers hit sales. Retailers are trapped in a profit squeeze as the past devaluation of sterling pushes up the cost of sourcing products at a time when real disposable incomes are shrinking.

Next week we’ll get to see the latest figures on UK inflation on Tuesday and the official retail sales numbers on Friday. Though the pound’s rally against the US Dollar over the past 24 has certainly been impressive, it has still lagged the EUR with GBP/EUR at one point this morning falling to within 10 pips of making a fresh low for 2018. After a 160 pip rise today, GBP/AUD is still only back to where it was on Monday whilst GBP/NZD is only back to Wednesday’s levels.

The British Pound opens in North America this morning at USD1.3630, CAD1.7065 and AUD1.7310.

Australian Dollar

AUD/USD expected range: 0.7820 – 0.7895 

AUD/USD rose more than 40 pips on Thursday but could still only make it to third place on the one-day performance table behind the NZD (yet again!) and the EUR. After an early boost locally from retail sales figures, it then traded pretty much sideways until late in the New York afternoon when it reached a fresh 14-week high of 0.7895; the best since late September.

Overnight in Asia it marginally extended these gains to just a couple of pips below 79 cents before slipping a little in the European morning. The AUD was quite resilient in the face of latest Chinese trade data which showed a big slowing of imports last month. China’s exports for the full year rose 7.9%, the fastest rate since 2013, while imports gained 15.9%, the best since 2011. For December, however, exports rose 10.9% from a year earlier, beating analysts’ forecast of a 9.1% increase whilst imports grew at a slower pace of 4.5%. That left the country with a trade surplus of $54 billion for the month, the highest since January 2016.

As well as the strength of domestic economic data the AUD has also been given a boost from higher gold prices. The yellow metal is up $14 per ounce over the past 24 hours to $1331; the highest since September 14th 2017, whilst silver, platinum and aluminium have all registered gains. AUD/USD hasn’t been on a US 80 cents big figure since September 20th but given the foreign exchange market’s love of round numbers, this is the level which will be increasingly talked about now.

The AUD opens in North America this morning at USD0.7870 with AUD/CAD at 0.9860 and AUD/NZD1.0850.

New Zealand Dollar

NZD/USD expected range: 0.7200 – 0.7295 

At the risk of repeating ourselves, the New Zealand Dollar was again top of the one-day performance table on Thursday and has now occupied this spot for five of the past six trading days. This time, however, it had to share the honors with the euro. The Kiwi reached a high in the New York afternoon of USD0.7255; the highest since September 26th when it was just beginning its post-Election slide all the way down to 0.6800 in late November.

Overnight in Asia it extended gains to 0.7270 but has subsequently slipped around 20 pips during the European morning. Given that the remarkable rally in the NZD has come without the support of any fresh incoming economic news (apart from Wednesday’s QV house prices), November building permits data were never likely to be a big market mover. Nonetheless, Statistics New Zealand always provide a fascinating amount of detail in their economic releases and they are an endless source of information and entertainment for your author.

We know that not only did November’s numbers show an 11% m/m increase after 10% drop in October, but that within the total of 3,262 new dwellings there were 1,870 houses, 577 townhouses, flats, and units (the highest number on record), 272 retirement village units and 543 apartments (a 9-year high). Wouldn’t it be nice if official statisticians elsewhere provided such detail and color in their often very dull Press Releases.

The New Zealand Dollar opens this morning in North America at USD0.7255 with NZD/CAD at 0.9085.

Posted by OFX



How a small business can sell more products, by going global online

  1. Register with a global online marketplace like Amazon, Rakuten, or eBay.
  2. Sell items that are easily shipped, and are in high demand somewhere year-round.
  3. Create an international payment account to receive international payments affordably.


OFX – Do you remember back in the old days, when, if you wanted to sell something, you’d lease a shop in the middle of strip mall, print out some fliers, and maybe pay to feature your products in a wholesaler’s catalog so international buyers could find you?

No? We don’t either.

That’s why today, the easiest and most powerful way to sell products internationally is online. But knowing exactly when, where, and how to sell them can mean the difference between global retail domination, and just another good idea.

So, how do you sell products internationally online? Let’s review some of the easiest ways!


The best way to sell products internationally online

Using an international marketplace is probably the best way to sell your products internationally online. Why? Jason Kumpf, International eCommerce specialist answers; “Because the international marketplaces have the infrastructure that enable you offer your customers the best possible customer experience.  Selling on major global marketplaces provides great benefits to a small to medium sized company looking to sell globally.”

Benefits include:

  • Local payment methods are usually supported. Some markets rely heavily on credit cards while other prefer eWallets or bank transfers. Large marketplaces usually have payment settlement options that reflect the local market preferences and they may be able to help in the case of fraud or misuse. Of course, they also make it simple for your customers to pay in local currency.


  • Warehouse and distribution infrastructure can simplify your operations. With FBA by Amazon, you can let Amazon stock and ship your products. Delivery is often expedited and you may be able to reduce paperwork and costs associated with customs, duty and shipping restrictions. Kumpf re-iterates the greatness of Amazon FBA; “Amazon has revolutionized the small and medium sized business landscape. By offering their global platform to the mom and pops so that can sell to a global audience, with relative ease compared to just a few year ago.”


  • Customer service is easier. International marketplaces are invested in strong customer experience, so any returns are usually facilitated and complaints may be mitigated by partnering up with the big dogs.


Selling internationally on Amazon

 Amazon makes it simple to sell products internationally. They’re the eighth-largest retailer in the world, with fulfillment centers in 13 countries (and coming to Australia in 2017).

With Amazon Global Selling, and their Fulfillment By Amazon program, you, too, can leverage the reach, infrastructure, and visibility of the world’s most famous online retailer. Amazon enables you to register as a seller in as many of their 11 unique global marketplaces as you like, ship and store your product inventory in any of their local fulfillment centers in those countries, and allow Amazon to pick, pack, and ship the products to your customers when they’re ordered.

What better way to expand your international selling than by using the marketplace where so many millions of the world’s buyers already are?  Jason Kumpf says he sees groups expanding their clientele form the US to Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy quickly and doubling their sales potential.


Selling internationally on Rakuten

Rakuten, the Japanese online retailer, is also one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, and offers another channel to sell your products internationally.

One of the most attractive aspects about selling internationally on Rakuten is all the extra tools and goodies a Rakuten selling account includes. Among these are a dedicated CRM tool that lets you better manage your customer relationships and convert more repeat buyers, and a customer loyalty cash-back program called Rakuten Super Points™. The latter gives sellers the chance to offer bonus Super Points™ on certain items as an incentive to buyers, giving you the means to sell even more.

Rakuten’s international popularity – especially in Asia – makes it a viable way to sell more products internationally.


Selling internationally on eBay

 The world loves eBay. The online retailer became famous as the internet’s most beloved and well-known auction house, selling everything from vintage toasters to Ferrari Testarossas. Now, the online giant features plenty of conventional fixed-price listings, but its bidding-style auctions offer international sellers some interesting options.

If you have products that are rare, vintage, custom, or one-of-a-kind, eBay auctions are a great way to not only sell them for the maximum price, but to give international buyers – in whose country your products may be even more rare – a chance to bid on them and hopefully purchase them. This makes eBay a powerful way to sell your products internationally if you’re looking to sell some highly sought-after rarities.

What’s more, eBay provides robust seller protections that help shield you from the risk of fraud, which can be greater when dealing with international buyers who are obscured behind the veils of distance and international law.   As part of a diversified portfolio of storefronts, Jason Kumpf mentions that many of his growing clients are on multiple platforms to increase their global presence and hedge their revenue streams.


What products to sell internationally

 Now that you have several options from which to choose for your selling platform, what products are the best, simplest, and most successful to sell internationally?

First, small, light products are a good place to start. Given the realities of international shipping costs (yes, even with tricks like Fulfillment By Amazon), the cheaper your products are to ship around the world, the less revenue you burn in operational costs, and the more profit your business takes home.

These products also take up less room in inventory, whether you store them yourself or store them with Amazon (who charges storage fees by size and weight).

Secondly, choose products whose international demand you can wield to your advantage. Seasonality can go from being your worst enemy when selling domestically to your best friend when selling abroad. For example, swimsuits may only be in demand about three to six months out of the year in the southern hemisphere, but as soon as demand for this warm-weather product begins to wane, it is just ramping up in the northern hemisphere! The same applies to generic holiday decorations like string lights, which may be in high demand during Christmas, but can also be sold internationally for Diwali, Carnival, Chinese New Year, or lots of other festive occasions.

Kumpf mentions that there are also numerous tools available to entrepreneur and small store owners to help them identify top selling and trending products to give them insights into what online shoppers are buying.


The best way to accept international payments

One of the most intimidating aspects of selling products internationally is getting paid for them.

Fortunately, there are also online platforms that can be easily used to help you accept money internationally. Unlike some marketplaces, which charge high currency-conversion and transaction fees, other third party services can lower the transactions costs and increase your profits.

Selling products internationally is an exciting, promising way to make money. Thanks to the internet, global online marketplaces, and other marketplace plugins, it’s now easier, faster, and more profitable than ever before.

Post by Jason Kumpf at OFX

Tips for Buying International Property

Almost everything you need to know about buying an overseas property*

*You’re on your own for deciding between tiles or hardwood.

OFX – What are the best places for international property investment? How do you get a home loan for an overseas property? What are the tax implications of investing in the global property market?  How can currency rates affect your purchase? Whether you want to own a second home or diversify your investment portfolio, we’ve got the answers you need to help make your investment a success.

In this guide, you will learn:

  • How to decide on a location for your investment
  • What are the best international real estate companies?
  • How to get a mortgage for a property abroad
  • International property tax implications
  • Managing International currency rate fluctuations


Where Should You Purchase Property Abroad?

Buying property abroad is a substantial, long-term investment. Therefore, it is imperative to research various overseas real estate markets before deciding upon the one that you want to invest in, because there is always an opportunity cost to allocating substantial resources to one particular investment. Purchasing an oceanfront property on an island might seem like a great idea, especially if you are looking for a vacation home, but if the market is weak, you might find it difficult to sell that property later on and get a good return on your investment.

  1. Start by looking into areas that you are hoping to invest in, but always make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. A swanky two-bedroom flat in central London might cost the same as a four-unit apartment complex in Latvia. One may have higher vacancy rates, while the other is in high demand. In one location, you might be able to manage the rental yourself, but with the other you may need an agency. Decide beforehand how much time you want to dedicate to your investment. If you think you’ll be using an agency to manage the property, whether commercial or residential, you’ll need to factor in the costs. While buying a residential property overseas may seem ideal, many investors broaden their scope to investing in commercial property like warehouses, office buildings, or storage centers. It’s important to put parameters in place to guide your focus, because an accurate assessment of the opportunities depends on properly controlling for the relevant risks.
  1. Analyze the long-term real estate trends of the past decade to see how property prices have fluctuated. Remember that different markets will have different trends during the same time period even if they’re in fairly close proximity. For example, Geneva, Zurich and Bern all have localized factors that influence the property market, so what you’ve seen in one may not apply to the others.
  1. Research the real estate market forecasts. Changing economic and political landscapes can have a profound effect upon the housing market especially when it comes to central bank policy and interest rates in particular.
  1. Look into the laws regarding your ability to hold the title of a property, and what you need to do to secure that title. The policies for foreign investment into real estate vary from country to country. Most countries allow overseas investors to purchase property, but often this will not grant you the right to live, work or stay in that country.
  1. Limit the foreign currency exchange rate risk you may have when purchasing property abroad. Jason Kumpf, Real Estate specialist at OFX, reminds us that; “If you are paying a mortgage, you may have payments in Euros over time, but if your income is in US Dollars, and if the EUR gains against the USD, you may end up paying more for your property than you initially thought.” Methods to manage that will be shared.

Deciding where to invest in real estate will depend on your personal financial situation and ambitions. That said, there are always some hotspots for international property investment. In an article titled “Why The Best Investment In 2016 Might Be Global Real Estate” on, Kenneth Repoza reports that “London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Sydney are the main targets for direct cross-border real estate acquisitions over the next 12 months.” As 2017 unfolds, emerging markets have seen a lot of interest from international investors. Eastern European economies like Poland, Latvia and Estonia have attracted foreign capital and are a just a few of the interesting options for real estate as well. (You will need to check your local tax office website for more details.)


What are The Best International Real Estate Companies?

In addition to having access to the most interesting properties that are in line with your budget, the right international real estate company can guide you in terms of what areas are best for foreign investors and what risk/return profile suits your personal financial situation best. While OFX does not endorse any particular company or agency for overseas investments, here are a few to consider:

  • Colliers International Property
  • Sotheby’s International Real Estate
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • Your Empire
  • Mayfair International Realty
  • Christie’s International Real Estate
  • Leverage Global Partners
  • The Agency
  • Leading Real Estate Companies of the World
  • International Consortium of Real Estate Associations

You may also want to consider hiring an independent attorney who can look out for your best interests and steer you in the right direction. Even though the majority of local real estate transactions will not need a lawyer, when it comes to buying property overseas, it is best to work with an experienced lawyer who can represent you legally and point out any flaws in your purchase contract before you sign it. Plus, the right independent real estate attorney will also be able to help you thoroughly understand every legal document that comes your way when you are ready to finalize a purchase overseas.

It almost goes without saying that if you are planning on purchasing property in an overseas market where you do not speak the local language fluently, you will need to hire a translator or work with a reputable agency who can translate all legal documents before you sign them.


How Currency Fluctuations Impact the Global Real Estate Market

As you do your research into where to buy property abroad, one of the primary factors affecting the viability of your investment will be the exchange rate. Aside from doing a quick currency conversion, you may want to review the current economic standing of a foreign currency against historical rate charts.

Keep in mind that currencies will fluctuate, sometimes quite dramatically, over time. And sometimes currency exchange rates will change rapidly over a short period of time.

After the Brexit vote in the U.K., for example, the pound’s value fell 10% against the USD in one day. On, Rhiannon Bury reports that in the three months following the Brexit vote, 78% of commercial property sales were paid for by foreign investors swooping in on a bargain.

In a similar way, President Trump’s policies against Mexico caused the peso to fall in value dramatically, however, real estate in tourist areas continues to attract foreign investors looking for a good deal.

Aussie real estate is another hot target for foreign investors looking to profit from exchange rate fluctuations. Because of the international demand for housing in major metropolitan areas, assets in capital cities like London, Sydney and New York may be protected to some degree from declines due to demand fostered by currency fluctuations.

Jason Kumpf, recommends keeping an eye on the currency rate of where you are thinking of buying and possibly using an FX firm like OFX to manage that exposure.


What Taxes Will You Need to Pay On an International Property Investment?

The amount of tax you’re required to pay on your international property investment should be factored into your decision-making process. Some countries do not impose property taxes; others do. Some countries or cities may levy taxes if you leave your property vacant for a certain percentage of the year.

If you are planning on renting out your property, you might be required to declare that rental income to your home country and the country where your investment is located. Unless there are double taxation treaties in place, you could be on the hook for taxes in two countries.

When you are ready to sell, you’ll need to be aware of both local and foreign taxes on capital gains.

International taxes are complicated and penalties can be steep for failing to declare assets that wouldn’t otherwise be taxed. Finding an accountant with sound international expertise could lower your your tax bill substantively.


How Can You Get an International Mortgage?

When purchasing real estate in another country, it could be difficult to find the appropriate financing option, especially since some countries might not have any financing options for foreign buyers at all. In some countries, banks cannot take a foreign asset as a security for the loan, so you may not be able to get a standard mortgage from your domestic bank the way you would for a local purchase. Still other international regulations may prohibit banks from even initiating a conversation to a client about a mortgage if the client is based overseas–even if you’re a citizen of the country in which you want to buy. So how can you get a mortgage for an overseas property purchase?

While traditional bank financing might not be available for overseas assets like it is in your home country, developer financing may be available when there aren’t any other options for foreign investors.

Other payment methods might include using the funds in your retirement account or pulling equity from your primary residence in your home country. You may qualify for business or personal loans that you can use to pay for your down payment overseas. Certain banks, like HSBC, offer mortgages for international borrowers, if you can maintain a minimum bank balance at a designated threshold.

Here is a breakdown of some banking policies related to international mortgages in Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A.

  •  Australia

As of April 2016, two major home lenders in Australia have opted out of offering mortgages for non-residents. Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank no longer accept mortgage applications from foreigners. Other banks have also reviewed foreign lending policies and, in some cases, reduced loan sizes and borrowing limits.

  •  United Kingdom

There are a number of things to consider if interested in purchasing a property in the UK as a foreigner. For example, Australia’s Corporations Act creates barriers for Australians looking to purchase in the U.K. which can be surprisingly difficult to overcome. Some lenders base their decision on visas, including spouse visas. Not having credit in the U.K. can also hinder the process.

  •  United States of America

In the United States of America, getting a mortgage can be influenced by:

  • Availability of property in the region
  • Plans for the property
  • If the borrower has an accessible credit history
  • The type of visa the foreign buyer has in the United States
  • The loan size requested
  • Available funds for a down payment.

Once you have determined where you would like to purchase your international property and you are ready to buy, it will be time to set up your payment method in the appropriate foreign currency. Whether you are planning on making your payment in one lump sum or you are planning on making mortgage payments, your currency will need to be converted every time a payment is made. Do be aware that many banks charge a 5% margin on the daily exchange rate, so to send $100,000 overseas, you could be paying as much as $5,000 (on top of hefty fees) every time you make that transfer.

With a good FX Platform you can:

  • Lock in an exchange rate for up to 12 months, so you always know what you’ll be paying no matter how the currency markets move.
  • Use a Limit Order to set a target exchange rate, so you won’t miss out on profitable exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Save substantially on bank margins and fees.
  • Set up recurring payments to make monthly mortgage payments simple.

Are You Ready to Buy Property in a Foreign Country?

As with all investment opportunities, to make the wisest financial investment into foreign real estate, you will need to do your research and speak to your advisors. Locations, currencies, taxes and political environment can all have profound effects on your bottom line. With the right advice from professionals, you’ll be able to diversify your portfolio and maybe even sip a mai-tai while you do it.

Post by Jason Kumpf OFX

10 Strategies for International Marketplace Success

OFX – Whether you’re buying coffee beans from Costa Rica, mala beads from India, or designer shoes from Italy, global e-commerce marketplaces make it all possible. And it doesn’t just the benefit the consumer, who can shop around the world without leaving the comfort of his or her couch; it also benefits the entrepreneurial individual who has always thought about starting an online business.

Thanks to the technology now available, you can now more easily enter the global marketplace. The key to winning abroad, though, lies in having the right plan in place, so we’ve compiled some strategies for selling internationally that you can implement to boost your odds of success.

To be successful as an international seller, your strategy should include:

  1. Selecting the right international markets, and the right online marketplaces.
  2. Adapting to every market’s preferences, laws, and regulations.
  3. Remaining competitive while keeping customers coming back.
  4. Promoting your store and your products.
  5. Knowing your currency rate, you can check the currency rate on the Yahoo Finance Currency Converter. Then use a global payments service to bring more of your profits home.

Choose an internationally established online marketplace

Entering the global market in the 21st century doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. With the surge in popularity of online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, you can simply establish a seller account and begin creating listings for each of the products that you want to sell and ship internationally.

Identify and select the right markets for your business

Whether you create your own website or you use an online marketplace, identifying and selecting the right markets for your products will be a key component to your success. What sells like hotcakes at home may not be so popular abroad. So you need to consider not only language barriers, but also cultural differences, political and economic policies, and buying preferences before choosing the inventory that you will promote abroad. Research will save you time and frustration in the long run.

Adapt to each market’s needs

Once you’ve done your research and determined what markets you’d like to enter, it’s time to adapt to, and meet, their needs. Consider translating your product listings, hiring customer service reps who speak the language and researching the competition so you can set more attractive prices.

Research applicable laws and regulations

One of the biggest challenges that comes with doing business internationally is keeping up with the various laws and regulations in each country. There are import, export and customs laws that will affect your ability to distribute certain products abroad, and there are also taxes, duties, and other fees that you may need to consider. There could also be environmental regulations, privacy and security measures that need to be met, and packaging, safety, and labeling requirements. Once you know what laws and regulations you need to adhere to, you’ll have a better idea of what markets are right for your business and whether a market would be worth pursuing.

Remove the headache of international shipping

International shipping isn’t just costly; it can also be complicated. Thankfully, there are some options that will make your life easier. For example, if you’re using Amazon to sell your goods abroad, you can sign up for FBA and FBA Export, which will determine the export-eligible products in your inventory for you. FBA also lets you ship your inventory to the appropriate international fulfillment centers so orders can be shipped to customers locally. Plus, with FBA, Amazon’s staff takes care of everything from packing and shipping, to addressing customer service needs, all on your behalf.

Get—and stay—competitive

Staying competitive at home is hard enough, but staying competitive abroad is a whole new—and exciting—challenge. In addition to launching a digital marketing strategy that will cut through the noise, staying competitive also involves setting the right prices. A good place to start would be researching your competition and its pricing on comparable products. Then consider your costs, from production and labor, to marketing and distribution, to set the right rate that will ensure the highest profit margins. Don’t forget to also factor in currency exchange rates, which can be volatile and require that you regularly adjust your pricing accordingly to ensure profitability.

Focus on customer retention

Keeping customers happy is essential to the success of your international business, so focus on providing high quality products at great prices with fast shipping. Encourage customers to join your mailing list or follow you on social media, and reward them for shopping with you and referring their friends. Again, a service like Amazon FBA can help you get the job done without having to spend time, money, and resources on a customer service team.

Promote, promote, promote

There are many different promotional tactics that you can employ to keep your international e-commerce business in front of as many consumers as possible. These include purchasing sponsored posts on marketplaces like Amazon to ensure your products show up on search results pages and relevant product pages. You can also encourage customers to write product reviews, or you can work with influencers and purchase ads on social media. And you can even set up promotions, special deals, and contests to generate interest and interaction from customers. Get creative, even if you are focusing on selling via a large online marketplace.

Know your currency rate and sign up with the right global payment provider

You should check the currency rate you are receiving; you can do that on the Yahoo Finance Currency Converter.  After putting in all the time and effort required to research an international market and price your inventory accordingly, the last thing that you want is to be hit with high margins and fees when it’s time to convert currencies and transfer your profits into your local business account. But you can avoid this and save on margins and fees when you sign up for a global payments provider. The right ones will give you a local currency account in USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY or HKD to send your marketplace profits to so you can transfer them home at the best possible rate.  Jason Kumpf from OFX Money Transfers, recommends using a Foreign Exchange provider that has global operations.

Start small, but aim big

International business can be tricky, so it’s recommended that you start small and aim high. Remember, slow and steady wins the race, and you don’t want to dive in if you don’t yet know how to swim. As an example, you may want to start in just one international market. So, if you are based in the United States, you might start selling in the United Kingdom or Canada, which will eliminate the need for translation services. As you get the hang of selling in one international market and gain success there, you can then apply what you learned to expand into additional markets.

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Currency update from OFX Global Money Transfers

Market News

OFX – November 29, 2017 – USD steadies with stocks at all-time highs, GBP extends gains.

The US Dollar index stood at a 2-month low of 92.21 at the beginning of the week but by Tuesday evening had rallied to a best level of 92.98. Overnight it slipped to 92.74 as the pound extended its gains and the EUR turned modestly higher and it opens in North America this morning around 92.90.

Higher house prices, record highs for US stock markets and consumer confidence at a 17-year high make for a generally supportive background for the US Dollar, notwithstanding investor concerns over whether inflation is actually going to pick up to the Fed’s medium-term target level around 2%. As long as Fed actions are consistent with its forecasts, a shortfall on current PCE is unlikely to harm the dollar too much, especially if asset markets continue to perform strongly. In his prepared remarks to Senate yesterday, Jerome Powell made exactly the noises the stock market loves to hear: “We must be prepared to respond decisively and with appropriate force to new and unexpected threats to our nation’s financial stability and economic prosperity.”

Coming up this morning, Janet Yellen is up before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. She’s at the point now of having at least one eye on posterity and her legacy. Some analysts have speculated she might loosen her tongue as her term ends but this would be a very uncharacteristic move. We expect few fresh monetary policy clues beyond ensuring a smooth transition to the Powell Fed in 2018. Fresh stock market highs, meantime, should help limit the Dollar’s downside.

View today’s live currency rates: OFX


Canadian Dollar

USD/CAD expected range: 1.2760 – 1.2890

The Canadian Dollar spent most of Tuesday dragged down by falling oil prices and the same pattern of trading has continued overnight. NYMEX Crude reached a 2017 high of $58.82 last Friday, fell Monday to $58.15, Tuesday to $57.54 and after a bounce in yesterday afternoon’s session, is this morning back testing the lows. USD/CAD has risen (weaker CAD) to a four-week high of 1.2846 and on the day the Canadian Dollar is the weakest of all the major currencies we follow here.

Ahead of the OPEC meeting, it is reported that Saudi Arabia and Russia (which is not an OPEC member) are trying to reach agreement on extending production cuts into 2018. An agreement first struck a year ago and set to expire in March was aimed at reducing a global oversupply of oil caused in part by US producers and it is said the Saudis want to extend this until the end of next year. Moscow, however, might prefer a shorter agreement which would allow it to increase output if prices rise, rather than see all the benefits go to North American shale producers. The Saudi oil minister is quoted on newswires saying it was “too early to talk about a disagreement” and said “a solution” will be reached during talks Wednesday and Thursday in Vienna, where OPEC is based.

With few, if any, monetary policy clues in Tuesday’s FSR and with the week’s main economic data in Canada (GDP and the employment report) not out until Friday, the CAD will most likely once again be driven by oil prices and headlines from Vienna.



EUR/USD expected range: 1.1800 – 1.1890

The EUR had a very poor day Tuesday without ever being the center of FX market attention. By close of business in New York, it had fallen against every major currency with EUR/USD at 1.1845 and EUR/CAD at 1.5180.

Overnight, the EUR did somewhat better, largely due to confusion around the release of German CPI figures scheduled for 2pm local time in Frankfurt today. Germany publishes individual States’ CPI figures separately and earlier in the day than the national ones. These sometimes offer a big clue but are not decisive as methodologies can differ and not all the States data are published. Whatever the case, Bloomberg this morning printed +0.3% m/m and +1.8% y/y for the national numbers; around one-tenth higher than consensus expectations. It subsequently removed the post, and debate has focused on whether it erroneously published the North-Rhine Westphalia numbers or whether it was a true leak of the actual number. We’ll find out pretty soon, but talk of higher CPI – along with yet another very strong survey of EU consumer and business sentiment – helped the EUR off to a good start in European trading.

It has subsequently given back its early gains to open in North America at USD1.1840 and CAD1.5195. This evening we might hear whether Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann believes this robust growth should be reflected in higher ECB interest rates.


British Pound

GBP/USD expected range: 1.3330 – 1.3450

The pound has had a wild ride over the past 24 hours. We’ll try to summarize it here: GBP fell sharply against every major currency for 18 hours Tuesday then regained all its losses and more in the space of just 20-30 minutes on headlines that “Britain and EU Agree Divorce Bill”.

Overnight, the GBP has further extended its gains, reaching a 2-month high against the US Dollar of 1.3420 and a 5-month high against the Canadian Dollar of 1.7220. The two sticking points in Brexit negotiations thus far have been the size of the payments the UK will make to leave the European Union and the price it will pay to do so. The UK had initially suggested €20bn whilst the EU demanded €60bn. According to news reports this morning, the final figure will be €45-55bn though it will not be confirmed in writing and will not be settled as an upfront bill. According to one EU negotiator quoted in The Times, “All we need is four extra words…. At Florence Mrs. May said, ‘the UK will honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership’. All we need is the phrase, ‘when they fall due’, added to the end of the sentence. That’s it. No numbers, just those words.” Financial markets were beginning to fear that failing to agree the Divorce Bill would increase the risk of a disorderly Brexit with no trade deal.

The overnight news greatly eases these concerns, though the problem of the Irish border still remains unsolved. There are no UK economic data released today so the GBP will be driven almost entirely by the broader political response to the secret divorce deal.


Australian Dollar

AUD/USD expected range: 0.7540 – 0.7620

The Australian Dollar continues to trade lower and against the USD has now given back all of its gains of the past week. It now stands at just 0.7575 having spent the whole of the last 12 hours back on a 75 US cents big figure. Against the Canadian Dollar it is a similar, though much less dramatic picture. AUD/CAD at 0.9723 is around 20 pips lower than last night’s New York close, though of course the weakness of the CAD itself is limiting the downside for this pair which is still up around half a cent from Monday’s Sydney open.

The OECD report on Australia was generally pretty upbeat: “The economy will continue growing at a robust pace. Business investment outside the housing and mining sectors will pick up, with exports boosted as new resource-sector capacity comes on stream. The strengthening labor market and household incomes will sustain private consumption, and inflation and wages will pick up gradually”. That said, their analysis also reflecting the concerns we outlined here yesterday about the housing market: “The prolonged period of low interest rates has fueled high house prices in large metropolitan areas. Substantial mortgage borrowing has resulted in households being highly indebted. To contain risks associated with potential large house-price corrections and financial stress, macro-prudential measures should be maintained. Australia is also vulnerable to “too big to fail” risks, due to its highly concentrated banking sector”.

Tomorrow’s Q3 capex numbers are going to have to be pretty robust if the prevailing negative sentiment around the AUD is to be reversed.


Live currency rate converter:

Studying Abroad – The Top 5 Affordable Places

Studying Abroad – Five of the most affordable places to study abroad include Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Germany, and Poland. So whether you want to head off to a tropical location, Europe, Latin America, or Asia, these are destinations that will give you a quality education you can afford.

Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to have an adventure while working on getting a degree. Plus, there are certain countries where receiving your education can be less expensive than it would be at home. When considering where to study abroad, factor in the cost of tuition, along with the overall cost of living, to make an informed choice.

When it comes down to paying for rent, utilities, groceries, mobile plans, your student visa, and other everyday expenses, these are our top five affordable places to study abroad. If you want to avoid acquiring high student loan debt, consider attending one of the prestigious schools in one of the following locations.

1. Mexico

According to Travel + Leisure, Mexico ranks #1 on a list of the cheapest countries where you can study abroad. When it comes to day-to-day expenses, the country is known for its affordability. So even if you choose to attend one of the more expensive universities, you could still save money while exploring colonial churches and Mayan ruins, or any of the 31 UNESCO World Heritage Sites throughout the country.

Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, also known as The National Autonomous University of Mexico, is one of the top ranking universities in the country, and it can appeal to students who are interested in studying art and design. Other top schools include Tecnológico de Monterrey and Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN). The main language is Spanish, but you might find some courses in English as well.

2. Costa Rica

You could spend your university years in paradise by attending a school in Costa Rica, which is a country known for its laid-back, eco-friendly way of life. Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to spend loads of time exploring the natural world, including hiking up volcanoes, swimming in the ocean, and trekking through rainforests. And there’s always the chance you’ll see a wild sloth too. Plus, all students are able to embrace living la vida loca.

Some of the top ranking schools in Costa Rica include Universidad de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional Costa Rica, Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología – ULACIT, and Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. Spanish is the primary language, but you can choose from English elective courses if you study through API’s Language and Culture Program in San Jose at the Universidad Veritas.

Costa Rica is also known for being one of the most affordable study abroad destinations, offering a low cost of living, particularly when compared to other tropical destinations and countries like the United States. Students who do not plan on living on campus can take advantage of affordable rent, transportation, food, clothing, and entertainment.

3. Malaysia

Malaysia is becoming one of the most popular destinations for students who wish to study abroad affordably. According to The Guardian, tuition fees at Malaysian universities can be a quarter of the costs of tuition in the U.K. And in terms of cost of living, students can pay roughly half of what they would have to spend in the U.K. Students from other nations, such as the United States and Australia, can also benefit from going to school in Malaysia, as they will be able to spend less and avoid hefty student debt.

In Malaysia, you can find international branches for popular schools like Monash University of Melbourne, Australia, but when it comes to the nation’s most well known schools, many international students attend the University of Malaya in the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.

4. Germany

For students who wish to study in Europe, Germany is an ideal destination. This is also a great choice for those who wish to study the German language, the sciences, and business. You can even apply for a variety of internships there, as some of the largest businesses, including BMW, Volkswagen, and Hugo Boss, are headquartered throughout the nation and are dedicated to innovation.

Tuition at Germany’s universities is what attracts foreign students most. Top universities charge surprisingly low tuition rates, and some may not charge any tuition at all. Even students who are not from the E.U. may be able to go to school for free in Germany, but they will have to cover an administration fee each semester. One of the top schools in Germany is Freie Universität Berlin, which ranks well internationally and does not charge tuition for undergrad programs.

5. Poland

Compared to other European nations, Polish residents have lower expenses, and universities charge fees that are below the average for European schools as well. You can expect that the cost of day-to-day expenses like food and entertainment will be affordable. Even Warsaw (the capital of Poland) provides international students with a comparably low cost of living and low tuition fees.

In terms of where to study, many students choose the University of Warsaw, which is the biggest university in the country and has a solid ranking amongst other schools on the international stage. Big cities like Warsaw and Krakow are typically more expensive than smaller towns, but the priciest city is Pulkowice, where you will find the University Jana Wyżykowskiego.

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Foreign Exchange Exposure Defined

FX Exposure Defined – Foreign exchange exposure refers to the risk a company undertakes when making financial transactions in foreign currencies. All currencies can experience periods of high volatility which can adversely affect profit margins if suitable strategies are not in place to protect cash flow from sudden currency fluctuations. Exchange rate risk can usually be managed through effective, preemptive hedging.

When supply chain payments or critical accounts are based in foreign currencies, companies may choose to employ a targeted currency strategy to minimize foreign exchange exposure. These strategies usually involve contracts that allow companies to lock in an exchange rate for an extended period of time, often up to one to two years.

How can your business limit foreign exchange exposure?

OFX provides a number of risk management tools to help businesses limit their foreign exchange risk. Here are the basics:

Spot and Forward Foreign Exchange Contracts

Spot and forward contracts are the most basic risk management tools used in foreign exchange. These contracts specify the terms of an exchange of two currencies between an end user and their financial institution.

In any foreign exchange contract, a number of variables need to be agreed upon. These are:

  • The currencies bought and sold. (Every forex contract involves two currencies, one that is purchased and one that is sold.)
  • The amount of currency to be transacted.
  • The date when the contract matures.
  • The rate of exchange at which the transaction will occur.

Payments to overseas suppliers or staff may be primarily affected by exchange rate valuations, but bank fees can also chip away at profit margins. That’s why many small businesses have chosen specialist money transfer providers to make faster, cheaper and more convenient overseas payments.

For companies who sell primarily via online marketplaces, the ability to access international marketplace and be profitable in those markets may depend on retaining control over when to bring revenue home from overseas. A specialist money transfer provider like OFX allows online sellers to bring their profits home at better exchange rates and with less currency risk.

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A Guide to Living Overseas

Living overseas is one of the most exciting and transformative experiences a person can have during their lifetime. The ultimate value of your experience abroad will depend on your willingness to take risks and embrace the newness and uncertainty that comes with living overseas. Ultimately, living overseas can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort.

A Guide to Living Overseas – Living overseas is one of the most exciting and transformative experiences a person can have during their lifetime. The ultimate value of your experience abroad will depend on your willingness to take risks and embrace the newness and uncertainty that comes with living overseas. Ultimately, living overseas can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort.

Your hand will get a workout from all the paperwork

In addition to planning other details for your big move, when you choose to live abroad you’ll have to tackle a lot of paperwork. You’ll need a passport to travel internationally, but you will also need to apply for a visa if you wish to live and work abroad. This document will allow you to remain in a country for a specified period of time and for a specific purpose. Depending upon your plans, you can apply for a short-stay visa, a long-stay visa, or a residence visa, which is what you will need to establish a permanent residence in another country.

Once you have moved into your new home, your work isn’t over yet, as you will need to apply for a work permit too (unless you are planning on retiring overseas and won’t be working). Your work permit will give you the opportunity to find employment, but this document can be difficult to obtain in some nations. Regulations vary, so make it a point to talk to a consulate office in advance in order to gather information on the application process, regulations, and requirements ahead of your move.

Is Living Overseas Right For You?

Residence in a new country is not like taking a vacation. The local schedules, mentalities, and values often seem charming as a visitor, but as a resident even minor differences, like store hours, often force you to confront your expectations of what is ‘normal’. Of course, it’s not a bad thing to need to adapt to your new environment. In fact, that’s what living overseas is all about. It won’t be easy, but it will be empowering and transformative if you keep a positive mentality and open yourself to new ways of doing things.

When you move overseas, you start to notice the little things that you never really noticed before. In addition to noting all of the similarities and differences between your home culture and the new one that surrounds you, you may begin to recognize the lovely little everyday things that we tend to take for granted.

Most importantly, you’ll begin to learn your own strength, your ability to be flexible and patient in new situations, and your adaptability. You’ll start to become more grateful and aware of all the special things that life has to offer, both in your home country and in your new environment.

Do You Have To Learn The Local Language When You Live Abroad?

Unless you move to another English speaking nation, you will probably want to learn the local language to some degree in order to get around with ease and make friends. Even if you don’t speak the language well, most people appreciate it if you try. While you can get by in most of Europe with English, that’s not necessarily true if you’re planning to visit other continents.

Because moving overseas is not like taking an extended vacation, you will need to integrate into the local culture and way of life. This means that you will have to change your habits and learn how to communicate with people in their native tongue, especially if you are not living in an area that caters to tourists from English speaking countries. So before you make your move, it’s a good idea to start taking lessons and to memorize important words and phrases, particularly those related to asking for help or directions.

The best way to learn a new language is by immersing yourself in it. Challenge yourself by really committing to speaking like the locals do. Avoid the temptation of speaking English and expecting people to know what you are saying. Start living amongst the locals, and practice, practice, practice. You might feel embarrassed every now and then, but this really is a much better way to learn than relying on a book.

In the end, living abroad opens your eyes to a whole new culture, and you get the chance to enhance your communication skills in multiple ways. So if you’ve always wanted to learn a new language and use it daily, moving abroad is the best way to do it.

Living Abroad Means Getting Used To Daily Challenges

From hygiene to manners, there are many things that you learned growing up that have helped shape your personality and your habits. But when you move to another country, all of those things go out the window. That’s because all of those things are relative to the culture that you are living in.

It’s these small differences in social norms that form the basis of the idea of culture shock. It can be hard not to be judgmental about such differences, but keeping an open mind is essential to making the most of your experience overseas.

Half the fun of living overseas is being able to see how other people live and what their society’s expectations are. As you learn the ropes, you’ll get comfortable and you’ll be able to embrace new habits and customs that will make you feel right at home.

How Much Does it Cost To Live Abroad?

The cost of living varies from city to city in a single country, so it should come as no surprise that will also vary greatly from one nation to another. This means that you will need to calculate how much you’ll have to earn each year from your job in order to afford your home, food, entertainment, clothes, medical care, and other necessities.

A good way to start gauging how far your money will go, especially if you are taking savings with you when you move, is by using a currency converter, but bear in mind that exchange rates are always shifting.

There are some countries where your money won’t be worth as much, which means you will have to adjust to a higher cost of living, and that can be tough if you are planning on working for yourself or making about the same amount of money as you did at home. In other parts of the world, you can stretch your savings really far, and if you continue earning money from overseas, you may be able to live quite luxuriously.

What are the pros and cons of living abroad?

Unless you already have a strong support network in the form of friends and/or family overseas, when you move there, you will be on your own. This means that you need to have a self-reliant nature, or at least get ready to strengthen your independent side. You shouldn’t expect that you will find people who will help you. Instead, you will need to figure out where to go shopping, how to hail a cab, and how to run errands by yourself.

The pros of living abroad are:

  • You gain independence and valuable life experience by being self-reliant.
  • Everyday is a learning experience. There’s no limit to your personal development.
  • You develop new profound relationships that fundamentally change who you are.
  • You become more objective about the habits, customs and policies of your home country.
  • You begin to understand the world in a more holistic way and gain historical perspective.

The cons of living abroad are:

  • It can be costly to fly home to see friends and family.
  • You may have to lower your standard of living if you move to an expensive country.
  • It may be lonely at times.
  • Daily life can be more difficult and may be frustrating at times.

The truth is that it could take you a lot longer to get something done when you are living overseas because there is such a big learning curve involved. What would ordinarily take you just a few minutes to complete while living in your home country could take you upwards of an hour to do in another country. That is, until you get the hang of things. Over time, you will learn the ropes and things will get easier and you will become more efficient.

So what’s it really like living overseas?

In the end, your international experience will be entirely up to you and how you approach your move abroad. Even though there are a lot of things that you need to adjust to when you move overseas, there are also so many things to love about becoming an expat. You will be able to experience a new place and every beautiful thing that it has to offer. From historical sites to breathtaking natural environments, you can tour it all and see it all firsthand. All those places that you’ve read about or seen on TV can finally become accessible, and you will have the time of your life taking it all in.

On top of that, you will have the chance to learn all about a new culture, including their traditions, holidays, cuisine, and entertainment. You will become a well-rounded individual who appreciates the diversity found all over the planet. And you will discover so much about others, as well as about yourself along the way. Living overseas helps open your eyes to what life can be like outside of the environment that you grew up in, and that is simply irreplaceable.

Ultimately, what you might end up realizing is that you feel more comfortable living overseas than you did living back home. You might fall in love with the scenery and the way of life, and you will make some lifelong friends and connections with people who support you and care about you.

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