We’re All ForEx Traders Now

Remarkable to me how many people are newly discovering that either accidentally or on purpose they are newly foreign exchange traders. This quote from a WSJ piece earlier in the week drove that point home:

Hungary is at the center of the storm. "We have problems once again that we thought were gone years ago," says Judit Berczeli, a divorced mother of two who is struggling with her foreign-currency mortgage on a small apartment on the outskirts of Budapest.

A run on the currency threatens the country’s businesses and households because the cost of existing debts is soaring, while banks are choking off new lending. Many Hungarian companies and consumers also have borrowed heavily in euros, Swiss francs and other foreign currencies, where they could get lower interest rates and against which the forint had done well for years. With its fall, they are all the more strapped for cash.

Ms. Berczeli, a 40-year-old manicurist, pays her mortgage of €200, or about $250, in cash each month. On Wednesday she went to the bank to exchange some of her forints, and found that it cost 284 forints to buy one euro — up from 240 forints a few weeks ago. "This is striking pretty close to home," she says.

[via WSJ]

As Vince Farrell says, what in the world is a single mother in Budapest doing playing in current markets for mortgages? Sadly, however, she is not along, as incredible cross-currency moves are slamming people, tacit or actual forex traders alike.