If you ask James Clark what his golf handicap is, he may well answer: “A retail price index that you just wouldn’t believe.” For the benefit of those of you who don’t read the FT’s letters page on a Saturday, Clark, a BAT executive based in Cambodia, recently wrote that “the global financial community appears to have overlooked the underlying fundamental cause of the recent Far East currency crisis.
Namely, access to and affordability of golf courses.”
Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, he claims, have all suffered currency devaluations of at least 30%, while at the same time enjoying an abundance of cheap courses. Currency falls have been much less severe in Singapore and Hong Kong, both of which have few – and expensive – courses.
He also argues that countries with plenty of cheap golf courses should be excluded from Emu.
Is he one sand-wedge short of a full set or has he found new causal “links”?