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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

READING LETTUCE LEAVES


SANJOY CHOWDHURY, REGIONAL STRATEGIST at Fraser-AMMB Research in Singapore, thinks Southeast Asia's currencies have fallen too far. He calculated their value against the U.S. dollar by comparing the price of a McDonald's Big Mac hamburger in key Asian countries, a variation on the method used by Britain's The Economist magazine. Theoretically, a Big Mac anywhere on the planet should have the same amount and quality of beef, bun and lettuce leaves -- and should sell at the same level in dollar terms. Any variation from the U.S. price represents undervaluation or overvaluation. "Asian currencies have overshot downwards," concludes Chowdhury. "As things calm down, we will definitely see more appreciation." But that is not likely to happen in Hong Kong, which pegs its currency to the greenback.


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