Saturday, June 14, 2008

Peaches and RMB

I just paid $2 for a peach. 12.48 RMB, with the exchange rate at 6.9029 RMB to the dollar.

All of a sudden I don't regret having taken an extraordinarily long time sniffing at all of the peaches on display and feeling them to make sure they weren't still green, and that softness was not rot instead of the yummy, juicy peach flesh which I wanted.

I do feel silly, however, for the fact that I didn't transfer the majority of my savings from dollars to RMB (Ren Min Bi, or 'people's money') when I arrived in February, back when rates were higher. On February 13 the rate was 7.1952 RMB to the dollar.

Now for every hundred U.S. dollars I exchange I receive 29RMB less than I would have then. That 29 RMB would buy almost 3 taxi rides, almost 15 subway rides, 20 copies of China Daily newspaper, or 72 of the yummy vegetable baozi (steamed buns) of which I like to have 3 or 4 as a mid-morning snack.

For me this is a simple belt tightening excercise. For people back in the States you can think about the cost of goods imported from China, of which many are sold all over the U.S., and how costs are skyrocketing in terms of both the sinking strength of the dollar and an increase in shipping charges.

That better be one good peach!

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