Saturday, April 30, 2005

Gulden ondergewaardeerd bij invoering Euro

Had ik het er niet over? De dure Euro? En jawel, ook hier wordt het nu toegegeven.
We zijn genaaid. Met zijn allen, door de politiek. In een klap was Nederland 10% minder waard; de Euro had ongeveer 2 gulden mogen kosten, geen 2.20.
En dat hebben we dan weer te danken aan onze oosterburen, die zonodig weer samenmoesten gaan, waarbij de Ostmark gelijkgesteld werd aan de Westmark. Onzin natuurlijk; Oost Duitsland was zo bankroet als wat, in die tijd.
Maar de gevolgen voor de economie bleven niet uit: de gulden werd meer waard (of werd de mark minder waard?!?). Totdat de Euro ingevoerd werd, en de franc, lire en escudo zwabberden. Toen werd ineens besloten om maar een oude wisselkoers voor de gulden ten opzichte van de mark te handhaven.
En daar "genieten" we nog steeds van, mede dankzij de huidige vice premier, Zalm, de toenmalig minister van financien.
En bedankt, he!

Or, internationally speaking: didn't I just mention it? The expensive Euro? And lo and behold! even the central bank now admits that.
We've been screwed. All of us, by those politicians. One stroke of a pen, and The Netherlands lost 10% in value - all and everything. The Euro should have been valued at about 2 guilder, in stead of 2.20.
And all of it thanks to out German neighbours, who had to re-unite, and values the Ostmark same as the Westmark. Nonsense, of course; East-Germany was bankrupt by that time.
Economically, the consequences became visible because the mark lost strength to the guilder. Up to the time, the Euro was about to be introduced, and the franc, lira and escudo were soft as icecream in Death Valley. All of a sudden it was decided to maintain a rather historical rate of exchange for the guilder to the mark.
And up to today, we still "enjoy" the effects of it, no thanks to the current vice PM, Zalm, the responsable minister of finance then.
Thank you! NOT!


Andreas said...

Hmm, I'm not totally convinced that the exchange rate o the Dutch guilder was so bad. In all my memory of the times when there were still several European currencies there was for decennias a 10 % difference between the Dutch Guilder and the German Mark. And if you compare the exchange rates with the Euro you'll see that the German Mark was 1.98 Marks to a Euro whereas the Dutch Guilder was 2.20371 to a Euro. Seems like 10 percent to me.

Moreover the comparision with the exchange rate between the German D-Mark (west) and the German Mark (east) is like comparing apples with oranges. The real exchange rate was indeed something like 1 to 4 or 1 to 10 (believe me, as I lived close by :-) . The exchange rate of 1:1 was a political one and not based on any valuation of the former East German economy.

There were indeed two effects that came into working when the Euro was introduced in the Netherlands. Calculating with the formular "divide by 2 and subtract 10 %" was implemented as "divide by 2". So instead of paying 1 Euro for each 2.20 Guilders we ended up paying 1 Euro for each 2 Guilders. Hence an increase of 10 %. Furthermore the prices went relatively fast back to the "fancy prices" of .99, 9.99, 99.99 and so on. So if the real price should have been 19.99 Guilders -> 9.08 Euro we ended up with 9.99 for the T-shirt or whatever.

And finally we abolished (due to some handy tricks of the retail industry) the one and two eurocent coins which leads to a rounding effect (often in favour of the merchant).

So all in all you are right that a lot of prices have been increased, but I seriously doubt that this has something to do with the exchange rate.


Frank said...

Andreas, when you say "The real exchange rate was indeed something like 1 to 4 or 1 to 10 (believe me, as I lived close by :-) . The exchange rate of 1:1 was a political one and not based on any valuation of the former East German economy." you hit the nail right on the head.

Consequently, the DMark was over valued to the guilder - the rate of 1 guilder to 1.25 DM should have been something like 1.1 guilder to the DMark. Exactly my point!
If that would have happened, the Euro would have been valued at a lower rate (Germany and France were the financial mega powers then), cuasing a better roe of the Guilder to the Euro.