Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Buying Yen and Getting Soaked

About a month ago, USD1,020 would buy you JPY120,000 from Bank of America. The "wholsale" exchange rate (not the rate you and I would get) was around 122 Yen/Dollar.

Lisa wanted me to buy some yen in advance of our trip rather than trust to us being able to draw out yen upon arrival. There was some point to this. There is a daily limit on how much we could draw from the ATM, and a per-transaction fee, and we've been warned that Japan is a heavily cash-oriented society.

So when I saw that I could buy JPY120,000 for just over $1000, I decided it was time to strike. OTOH, I needed to move $1000 into my checking account from savings so that Bank of America could debit it. I put the transfer in, expecting to do the currency transaction the following day.

Then the dollar tanked. At first I held out that it would recover, but things got worse. Finally, yesterday, time ran out on me. If I want the money in my hands before I leave for Japan, I had to order it yesterday or today, or else pay another $20 for rush delivery. And of course the rate was worse yesterday than since I first started tracking it, and I ended up spending nearly $70 extra to buy that bundle of yen I am to pick up from the local bank branch on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The wholesale rate is now down to about 113.5 yen/dollar, a drop of around 7% since the day I originally intended to strike last month. Why is it that the dollar always seems to plummet relative to the local currency every time I travel to another country for Worldcon?
Tags: japan, money, worldcon
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