Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post

Do you EVER read what I said? I knew there would be the usual statements that Ilford were pricing themselves out of the market, etc., so I suggested a very simple, very obvious reason why imported goods (such as Leicas and Ilford film) are going up faster than the US rate of inflation.

I chose W's arrival in power as a convenient date that most of us remember. Do YOU remember exactly when the dollar started to slide? 'Cos I don't. But I do remember that around then, my dollar income was worth about 35 per cent more than it is now. There were always small fluctuations, a nickel or so, but not 40 cents or more, from about 93 cents at best to about $1.35 at worst.

If you choose to interpret simple economics as an 'unnecessary gratuitous statement', there's not much that I or anyone else can do about it.

The dollar IS weak. The real price of oil in euros or sterling has increased very little, if at all. Do the sums. A $75 barrel today is under 60 euros. When Dubbya came to power -- as I say, it's a date we can all remember a lot easier than the exact date the dollar started to slide -- you could have bought a 60 euro barrel of oil for maybe $55...

So: the US is paying more for oil (= film base, packaging, transport) AND is struggling with a weak dollar which should on its own have accounted for a 30-40 per cent price rise in 6 years or whatever it is. This is why lots of things now cost a lot more than they used to, with price rises way ahead of the US rate of inflation. I'd expect a 50 per cent price rise on imports from hard-currency areas over that period, to accommodate the weak dollar and its side-effects. I even put in the footnote about 'hard' currency so you wouldn't complain at that. So you found something else...

This is NOT America-bashing. It is, as I said, simple economics. My point was that a manufacturer supplying goods to a legitimate importer will normally hold back price rises for as long as possible, and then keep them to a minimum, whereas a grey importer, at the mercy of currency fluctuations, increased transport costs, etc., will probably have to put up prices faster because they do not and indeed cannot take the same view of brand loyalty and mutual trust between customer and supplier.

Now do you understand why I made my 'gratuitous' comment?

Hmmm...Dollar slide vs. Euro began in 2004. "W" was unelected in 2000. US had strong dollar policy for four years after "W" took office.

Hmmm...Current dollar price of a barrel of oil is around $55 (not $75 which was the peak price last Summer).

Hmmm...Fed Reserve sets interest rate policy which directly influences dollar trading value - not W.

Hmmm...Single largest US trading partner has been for many years and remains Canada. So relative trading value of USD$ vs. CDN$ much more relevant than Euro.

Hmmm...Other largest trading partners for finished goods (oil, as a commodity. is multi-sourced) are Japan and China both of whom have huge trade surpluses with US.

Hmmm...China has refused to revalue Renimbi despite repeated requests by US to do so in order to address serious trade imbalance.

Hmmm...Fed adopts "low interest rate, cheap dollar policy" beginning in 2004 in order to achieve effective revaluation of Renimbi.

Hmmm...China and other "tiger economies" have now begun to buy Euros vs. Dollars in seeming confirmation of Fed strategy.

Reality, US trade and economic interests are in Western Hemisphere and Asia - not Europe.

Reality, Americans do not wake up every day weeping and gnashing their teeth because Europeans don't like us. In fact, with each and every passing day, Europe becomes less and less relevant to America; particularly as the ever rising tide of new American immigrants arrive from Latin America and Asia, not Europe.

Yes, Roger, simple economics. And perhaps it should begin to dawn on you that America increasingly does not need Europe and will slowly begin to realize it does not care about it either.