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The Dollar's Slide Has Just Begun

Re "Why the ever-widening trade gap is so worrisome" (Business Outlook, Mar. 1): The euro was introduced at the beginning of 1999 at a rate of 1.1740 to the dollar. At the time, the U.S. current account deficit was approximately $300 billion. Today the euro is around 1.25, a 6.5% dollar devaluation since 1999 (a minor move for a four-year period), while the U.S. current account deficit has grown 83%, to $550 billion, in 2003. Yes, the dollar has devalued by 33% against the euro during the past two years, but U.S. importers have mostly eaten the price hikes rather than pass them on to end users.

A little arithmetic tells me we're probably in for considerably more dollar devaluation down the road.

Suleyman Tonbul

Oberreiden, Switzerland Re Robert J. Barro's "It's the spending, stupid -- not the deficit" (Economic Viewpoint, Mar. 1): Taxes on income from speculation, interest, or dividends do harm savings on first sight. But organizations that control those savings actually work often against both their clients and their national economies by investing in stocks or financial markets and forcing the companies they invest in to act and react in favor of so-called shareholder value. In today's capitalist world, investments in facilities, production, and, most important of all, human capital should be strongly supported and the resulting revenues tax-free.

Ibo Neumann

W?rzburg, Germany It is indeed gratifying that young and new talent in the Bombay film industry is getting more of a chance than ever before ("Invasion of the young turks," Asian Business, Mar. 8). One gifted filmmaker who deserved a place in this article is Rajat Kapoor, whose film Raghu Romeo was premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival in August, 2003. It was shot in 40 days, had a total budget of less than $150,000, and was greatly appreciated by audiences in Locarno and other festivals.

In fact, the money was raised from movie lovers worldwide via the Internet, a unique way of financing. Yet this movie is still struggling for an audience as it has not yet found a distributor.

Ashok Kishore

Pfaeffikon, Switzerland

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