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# Swiss Franc vs. Euro vs. US Dollar

I've seen several references to the Swiss Franc being very high against other currencies. In looking at currency exchange rates; isn't the franc still much better against the US Dollar than the Euro; or am I missing something? If I look at the Euro today it would appear that \$100 US Dollars is equal to about 78 euros; yet if I look at the Swiss Franc is appears that \$100 US dollars is equal to about \$95 Swiss Francs. (It would make it appear that traveling in Switzerland may be better against the dollar than traveling elsewhere in Europe at this point) Am I missing something here (other than if Swiss prices in general are just that much higher than other places in Europe)

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<< Am I missing something here >>

Yes you are missing something important. Exchange rate is only one part of the equation. You have to look at how much things cost. If a cup of coffee in Switzerland costs the equivalent of \$8 and a cup of coffee in Italy costs the equivalent of \$3 then going to Italy looks much more reasonably priced than going to Switzerland. You can't simply compare 3 numbers. (The above examples are illustrative.)

Here's an example of 2 countries using the Euro (equal exchange rates with USD):

In Portugal I can buy dinner with a half bottle of wine for \$15 to \$20 per person. In Italy, the equivalent meal will cost me \$30 to \$35. The exchange rates are the same as both Portugal and Italy use the Euro. Portugal is the better deal as your money buys a lot more there than in Italy.

If you want to look at exchange rates only then you need to look at the historical view and compare USD to Swiss Franc and USD to Euro to see if the USD buys more or less than it used to. You also need to look at the inflation rates in each country.

Hope this helps clarify what you get for your money.

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It's all relative. There is no reason why 1 Swiss franc should be equal to 1 Euro; 1 [any currency] doesn't tell you what anything costs in that country. That \$US 100 buys you CHF 95 as against EUR 78 tells you nothing, or at least only part of the story; but as to which country is better value for dollar earners, you need to check what things actually cost in each country (or currency zone).

The fact that five years ago, \$US 100 would have bought you CHF 125 and EUR 74 tells you a bit more.
http://www.oanda.com/currency/historical-rates/

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When I went to Ghana few years back, \$1 would buy over 7000 Cedi. Does that mean the Cedi is that much better than the Swiss franc?

You cannot compare currencies that way.

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I certainly understand what folks are all saying here. I have been elsewhere in Europe also and certainly have seen differences as folks have mentioned here. Basically I think the additional message is that Switzerland, in general, sounds like it is a more expensive country to visit with US dollars than many other Europe countries if you are staying at same "class of hotel" and visiting same kinds of restaurants.

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Youy have to disconnect from the exchange rate, it means "nothing".

If you scanned all of the world's exhange rates and found USD\$ buys more of one and less of another, it would be NO indication of whether one country is cheaper or not to visit than the other.

Just because many countries share the euro, does not mean they are eqally expensive or inexpensive to visit.

You need to look at tiungs like cost of meals, hotels, gas,etc.. to decide if one country is cheaper to visit than another.

Interestingly enough, with the recent euro crisis money poured into the Swiss franc, so much so that the government ws worried about the stability of the economy (exports becoming too expensive) so they took measures to lower the value of the franc.

That being said, yes, I have found that Switzerland is very expensive.

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It is so expensive that the locals, if living near the border, will drive out of Switzerland for the daily shop, restaurants, car maintenance etc so that the shops on the swiss size will collapse. My sister in law is only allowed to bring half a kg of meat into the country and does it daily. Still it could be worse, you could be going to Lichtenstein where I found a lunch time sandwich for the same price I could get a three course meal in Austria (about 20km away).

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Basically I think the additional message is that Switzerland, in general, sounds like it is a more expensive country to visit with US dollars than many other Europe countries if you are staying at same "class of hotel" and visiting same kinds of restaurants.

A few clarifications:

1) Switzerland is expensive to visit no matter what currency you are spending.

2) Many kinds of restaurants do not exist in Switzerland.

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Yes, what you are missing is what the exchange rates USED to be. the \$ has been holding against the euro and the pound but has been falling against the franc.

I remember when the franc was 30 cents. Now its 95 cents. So, if you're spending \$ the cost of everything has tripled (Now, this was years ago - and the recent rise has not been that shocking - but it has been significant.) And since things in Switz were already epensive - they are now even more so.

For example, go to the McDonald's calculator. Not that you should eat at McDonald's - but checking the comparative price of some items will give you an idea of local costs, For instance, the big Mac meal that in the US is \$8.50 or so - may be around \$12 or \$13 in much of europe -- but in Switz is \$17 or \$18. And other things will be proportionately expensive.

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<other than if Swiss prices in general are just that much higher than other places in Europe>

Bingo!

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The Swiss franc is pegged to the € at an exchange rate of above 1.20. The € will not fall below 1.20 francs.

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The above discussion on eurodollar parity reveals one of the basic negative factors not initially thought through when the Eurozone was initially established. It is one of the principal problems underlying the current Eurozone debt crisis.