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  1. Driving in the Philippines is definitely more expensive and more stressful than walking or taking trikes/jeepneys, but I get home much cleaner now ever since I bought a car.
  2. This topic has made me hungry for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with a stuffed and roasted Turkey. I guess that some of us have been able to prepare a stuffed and roasted Turkey over here in the Phils... but since I don't even own an oven, it's out of the question for me (at least for right now).
  3. Been there twice and I love all of the same things that Baguio has to offer. Overall, my favorite part is the climate... it's nice to be able to stay cool without needing an aircon in your hotel room.
  4. But it can be Steve... you just have to pick out the right location... after all, there are over 7,000 islands in the Philippines.
  5. Metro Manila · No Electricity: Brownouts & Blackouts With an increasing number of storms and other calamities, coupled with fragile infrastructure, chances are high that you experience at least one or two brownouts per year in the Megacity Manila. Here is what you should know about power outages and how to be prepared. Blackout Blackouts refer to a complete loss of electricity flow in the power grid. Fortunately, that does not happen very often in Manila. Blackouts are rare, where brownouts are much more common. Brownout A brownout refers to the decrease of electricity flow in the power grid. Brownouts happen in the Megacity from time to time, especially during summer. Brownouts range from a couple of minutes to a few hours maximum. Sometimes, brownouts are intentionally caused due to the lack of electricity to serve the whole Megacity. In that case, the power distribution companies establish 'rotating' brownouts where every city inside the Megacity will have no electricity for 1-2 hours. These planned brownouts will be announced beforehand. http://www.megacities-go-services.com/Manila/Manila-Daily-Survive-Manila/Safety-Security/No-Electricity-Brownouts-Blackouts
  6. Sort of typical for Washington DC, since when I went back there for a visit in November 2015, I was still able to wear shorts, T-Shirts and Flip-flops.
  7. Re-consider your spelling Austrailian Australian Dollars
  8. I think that I may be in need of a nibble today
  9. Bring Snow Ball Globes with you, so that you can think about cold weather whenever the 12 months of being hot gets to be a bit too much to take
  10. Whenever I'm buying a new Aircon, I always need to convert the HP amount into BTU's first... since determining the strength of any Aircon solely on the HP number just rolls over my head... but the number of BTU's gives me a clear idea of the power of an Aircon unit.
  11. The higher value of the dollar really helps me stay awash in beer since the prices have gone up (as mentioned in another topic).
  12. Just trying to figure this all out So many things are up in the air right now and the US is involved with so many of those things that are being juggled up in air… but the US Dollar is still going strong Why Is the Dollar So Strong Right Now? The dollar is so strong for three reasons. Firstly, the Fed ended its expansive monetary policy as the economy improved. It stopped adding to the money supply. This constrained the supply of the dollar and increased its value. The Fed also raised interest rates in December 2015. This strengthened the value of the dollar. It meant that U.S. Treasury notes would attract higher interest rates in the short-term. That increased the demand for dollars. Savers earned a higher rate of return on dollar deposits than on euro deposits, which paid lower interest rates. Second, the European Central Bank lowered the value of the euro by doing the opposite. Political instability in the European Union also weakened the euro. Here's the Euro Dollar Conversion and Its History. The dollar automatically strengthens when the euro weakens. That’s because the euro makes up 57.6 percent of the value of the USDX. Therefore, whatever makes the euro weaker will make the dollar stronger and vice-versa. Each of the other currencies in the USDX has less influence on the dollar’s value. Finally, forex traders intensified the strength of the dollar. They used leverage to further weaken the euro and strengthen the dollar. This is the timeline of what happened from 2014 through 2016. 2014: In January, the Fed began tapering its quantitative easing program. The dollar remained in its 2013 trading range of around 80 for the first six months of 2013.. Similarly, the euro traded at around $1.3767. In February, the pro-western forces in Ukraine overthrew its government, sowing seeds of the Ukraine crisis. In March, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine. In April, it sent forces to support pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Also in March, the Fed announced it would look at raising the fed funds rate sometime in mid-2015. On September 4, the ECB announced it would begin its version of QE. In November, the ECB added it would maintain low interest rates. In December, the euro fell to $1.21, as investors feared the Greek debt crisis would force Greece out of the eurozone. As a result, the dollar strengthened to 90.03 by the end of the year. 2015: In January, the ECB announced it would begin QE in March. On March 12, it started buying bonds. The euro fell to $1.0524 (a 12-year low) on March 13. As the euro fell, the dollar rose. The USDX hit a 52-week high of 100.390 on March 13, 2015. The dollar rose 25 percent from its July 11, 2014, low of 80.187. It closed the year at 98.01. Throughout 2015, analysts predicted the euro would fall to parity ($1.00). As a result, hedge funds and other forex traders began shorting the euro. These included Bridgewater Associates, Tudor Investment, Brevan Howard, Moore Capital Management, Caxton Associates and the Gavea Fund. Traders who shorted the euro sold them on the spot market. This meant they promised to buy them in the future to replace the currency they borrowed from their forex brokers. They hoped the value of the euro would fall during that time. If so, they pocketed the difference as their profit. Another factor driving the strength of the dollar in 2015 was a slowdown in China's economy. Potential credit problems scared investors into the safe haven of the dollar. In December, the Federal Open Market Committee raised the fed funds rate to 0.25. 2016: In January and February, the Dow fell to 15,660.18. It reacted to higher Fed interest rates. Investors didn’t like falling oil prices, the devaluation of the yuan and the turmoil in China's stock market. Dollar Strength Index The U.S. dollar index is the common measure for the strength of the dollar. This is a composite that measures the value of the dollar against the six the most widely-traded currencies. These currencies all use a flexible exchange rate. The amount of trade they have with the United States determines the exchange rate and weight of each currency. This captures the risk that U.S. companies have to those currencies. Currency Symbol Country Weight Euro EUR Eurozone 57.6% Yen JPY Japan 13.6% Pound GBP Great Britain 11.9% Dollar CAD Canada 9.1% Krona SEK Denmark 4.2% Franc CHG Switzerland 3.6% U.S. Dollar Forecast Long-term, the large U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio will reduce the dollar rate. Before the financial crisis, that's exactly what happened. As the U.S. debt grew, the dollar's value fell. During the crisis, investors put their money into ultra-safe U.S. Treasurys. That increased the value of the dollar. It also lowered long-term interest rates. This combined with expansionary monetary and fiscal policy to strengthen the U.S. economy. That attracted more investors into Treasurys. https://www.thebalance.com/dollar-strength-why-is-it-so-strong-right-now-3305726
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