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What Is a Strong Dollar?

A strong dollar means that imported goods are cheaper, and this could harm domestic competitors.
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  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2014
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A strong dollar is a U.S. dollar that has a high worth when compared to the currency, or money, of other nations. It can typically be exchanged for large amounts of foreign currency. This usually means that it is possible to purchase more goods and services with dollars than with other currency. A strong dollar usually leads to inexpensive foreign imports, but it can make exports more expensive.

The currency of each nation has a specific worth compared to those of other nations; this is called the exchange rate. This rate fluctuates depending on a variety of economic factors, particularly the status of foreign investments in a country's currency. High levels of investment in a nation's money supply will boost its value. The U.S. dollar has traditionally been the investment choice of many, thereby contributing to its overall strength. A strong dollar has a high worth compared to other currencies and a weak dollar is worth significantly less.

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There are benefits to a strong dollar, especially for the average U.S. consumer. When the dollar is strong, consumers are able to purchase more with their money. Goods that are imported from foreign countries, like cars and electronics, will cost less once prices are converted to dollars, thereby helping to prevent inflation. When U.S. citizens travel to other countries and exchange dollars for local currency, they can receive a favorable amount of money in return. This exchange rate allows their money to go further and pay for increased amounts of goods and services while they are traveling.

Another positive effect of a strong dollar is that it makes it easier for the U.S. government to borrow money. The dollar's strength reassures foreign investors that investing in U.S. currency is a safe bet. This allows the government to finance necessary spending when there is insufficient tax revenue to do so.

A strong dollar can also have disadvantages and may actually damage the U.S. economy. A strong dollar makes it more expensive for American companies to sell goods and services in other countries. Once the cost of exports is converted from dollars to foreign currency, they are frequently more expensive than another country's domestic products, thereby hurting the ability of U.S. companies to compete. This can undermine U.S. exports, cost companies large sums of money and market share, and negatively affect the economy.

A strong dollar can also harm the profits of U.S. companies at home. By driving down the cost of foreign imports, it often makes it less expensive for consumers to purchase imported goods and services than those from U.S. companies. For example, the value of the dollar may make it less expensive to buy a foreign car than an American one, reducing the profits of the American auto company. This can have far reaching effects such as systemic job losses that weaken the U.S. economy.

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