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Peter Schiff - Currency: The Hidden Portfolio Risk

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October 04, 2011 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: GLD , SLV , CEF

In today's investment landscape, risk can come in all shapes and sizes. When structuring a stock portfolio most investors try to gauge the risk in buying particular stocks. Savvier investors also factor in sector risk, business cycle risk, and recession risk. Cautious investors may try to mitigate these risks by favoring bonds over stocks. But even then they must contend with default risk, interest rate risk, and in the case of sovereign debt, political risk. 

However, with central bank monetary policy now an increasing driver of economic outcomes around the world, there is one risk factor that deserves more attention: currency risk. No investment, whether it be in stocks, bonds, real estate, or lemonade stands, can hold up well if the currency in which it is valued takes a tumble. It always surprises me that most US investors still fail to take currency into account, and in particular their potentially overweight exposure to the US dollar.

Many market watchers have justifiably concluded that the spiraling debt crisis that is now underway could develop into a major currency crisis that starkly alters exchange rates. Rather than rising above the fray, the US dollar could be in the center of the storm - especially if its valuable reserve currency status becomes threatened. The dollar, which many now regard as the ultimate "safe haven," may prove to be a trap for those investors who lack adequate currency diversification.

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