A:

Yes, you can create a daily price chart of different currencies going back many years. Price charts can be found on the internet for free or by subscription to services that offer such data. For example, the Yahoo! Finance Currency Converter is a free online service that offers up to five years of currency pricing information.

In order to go back more than five years, you would have to find a data service that retains such records. For example, some companies have data going back 20 or 30 years. The ability to go back in time to compare currency valuations of the past with those of today provides a perspective on the buying power of the currencies in question. For example, the South African rand was stronger than the U.S. dollar in 1975. In those days, one South African rand equaled $1.30. By contrast, in 2008, one rand can only buy $0.14. The devaluation of the rand occurred as a result of a decline in South African productivity and the associated inflation that decreased the country's buying power.

(For more on this topic, see Forces Behind Exchange Rates.)

This question was answered by Selwyn Gishen.

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