Big companies evade currency battles
BY JACK EWING AND MOTOKO RICH
If there is a currency war going on, global corporations are doing their best to become noncombatants.
Political leaders like Wolfgang Sch?uble, the German finance minister, may have been growling about U.S. actions that could weaken the dollar, pushing President Barack Obama to fend off charges last week that policy makers were trying to give U.S. exporters an unfair advantage. But for years, companies on both sides of the Atlantic have been realigning their operations so that exchange rates matter much less than they used to.
Indeed, for all the outcry in diplomatic circles, a weaker dollar is not likely to help the U.S. job market in the short term, economists and business leaders say. Nor is it likely to scuttle the modest European economic recovery, which depends heavily on exports from Germany and other countries.
At least since the 1980s, many big companies have been making more and more goods in the countries where they are sold rather than shipping the products abroad. For large swaths of global trade, this effectively takes exchange rates out of the equation.
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