Anything and everything under the sun


Thursday, April 5, 2007

Currencies and Factory Outlets

Nothing fluctuates more than currency. I still remember when I first came here for a holiday, which was in 1996. The exchange rate then was USD1=RM2.50. For us earning in RM, that was heaven especially since Asians just looooove shopping. Especially since the trip almost always consist of a trip to the factory outlet. To make it easier for you to see what it means for us, here's an example. Back then a pair of levi's jeans could easily make you part with as much as RM120 or USD48. A visit to the factory outlet and you can get it for as little as RM50 or USD20. Thats a whopping RM70 that you can save (for more shopping, of course!). Not to mention the savings that you could get fr Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Osh Kosh and even the European brands like Versace, Armani and so on. Oh la la! Yes, I have to admit that Im a sucker for branded goods but I worked hard for my money and deserve to treat myself every once in a while, dont I? :P Did I mention that it was my own money that i was spending?

And then the country was hit very badly by the financial crisis back in 98. If i remember it currectly, the worst was when the exchange rate was at USD1=RM5. Yikes! Our beloved former Prime Minister then made a very bold move against the IMF, foreign government, investors and etc. That is to peg the RM to USD at the rate of 3.80 and also imposed on capital control. What a hoohaa he created back then but now everybody agrees that that was the best move ever and to me personally i think it was the best thing he had ever done to the country besides other things. (You know like the Penang Bridge, KL Tower, Petronas Twin Tower and KLIA)

Now back to the exchange rate. Im not exactly sure when the RM was unpegged but it did. To Malaysian living in Malaysia and earning in RM, its always good when RM gets stronger. It means that we can travel more and shop ever much much more. hehe. But not so fortunate for me, now that Im living in the US and unemployed and yet having to send money home to pay for my expenses. I so want to sell my condo back home but oh well, that's another story for another time. The USD is getting weaker and weaker every week. You can see how much USD has dropped (or is it RM has gained?) in the last 5.5months courtesy of

Malaysian Ringgits to 1 USD
latest (Apr 5)3.449
lowest (Apr 5)3.449
highest (Oct 20)3.674

Im done talking about currency so now im gonna talk about factory outlets. Have you been to one yourself? I dont know if its just me but I find the factory outlets nowadays defeat the purpose. I mean the outlets that I was used to are outlets for branded store where they'l be selling the off-season collections for a fraction of what they used to cost when they first came out. Nowadays they even have jc penney, old navy. Im not insulting them (i do shop at old navy) but come on! You'r not gonna go broke if you shop at old navy stores, are you? Who else is gonna have their own "factory outlet" soon? Walmart? target? bestbuy? (oohh i like that one! lol!)

If thats not bad enough, now even the branded stores no longer have nice things. Yes I know they cant sell the current seasons items there but selling items from 10 years ago dont make any sense either right? Recent visit to carlsbad proved tht to me. S & i both agree that the stuff that they have are so 'makcik' and wont even sell in Malaysia. It was so frustrating indeed.


Ms J said...

like you, i am affected by the exchange rate too..i am maintaining my apartment and car in KL..its beginnig to be too expensive for that luxury!

easter break buat apa dengan hubby?

Rasa Malaysia said...

Yeah lah, US$ is so useless...I hope it doesn't touch RM3.00 anytime soon or worst still back to RM2.50. If so, that's the time I will pack up and go point living in the US, what for?!

PrincessJournals said...

msj, me too. gotta wait for properties in msia to go up b4 can sell it.why do u stil keep ur car? i sold mine when i moved here.

rm, yalor. if it ever go back to 2.50, might as well go back. no point already. hehe.