Friday, January 04, 2008

More signs of the dying dollar

India's Taj Mahal slams door on weak U.S. dollar

NEW DELHI — In yet another troubling sign for the greenback, at least one of the seven wonders of the world is now off limits if you have only U.S. currency in your pocket.

India's tourism minister said today that the dollar will no longer be accepted at the Taj Mahal and other national tourist sites.

For years tourists visiting most sites in India were charged either $5, or 250 rupees.

After falling 11 percent in 2007, hitting nine-year lows to hover around 39 rupees, the dollar is out.

Charging only rupees now seems more practical and will save tourists money because "the dollar was weaker against the rupee," Tourism Minister Ambika Soni told the CNN-IBN news channel.

"Before the dollar lost its value, there was a demand to have (admission tickets) just in rupees," he added.

The Taj Mahal, India's famed white marble monument to love, began refusing dollars in November.

It means just one more place where American tourists will have to shell out more money — now nearly $20.

And it's likely to get worse in booming India.

"We expect a slight appreciation of the rupee to continue, although it won't be as dramatic as last year," said Agam Gupta, head of foreign exchange trading at Standard Chartered Bank in India.

The dollar has fallen against most major currencies, and it has lost ground against the rupee due to an influx of foreign capital, Gupta said.

The dollar hit record lows of $1.4967 against the euro on Nov. 23, the weakest since that currency began trading in 1999, and was down against almost every major currency today.

Original article posted here.

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