Currency Armageddon? A Word about the Hated Dollar

The “death of the dollar” will have to be rescheduled.

Sharply higher yields on Treasury securities and the prospect of more rate hikes by the Fed – in a world where other major central banks are still stewing innocent bystanders in the juices of NIRP, negative yields, and “punishment interest” – sent the hated dollar, whose death has been promised for a long time, soaring.

It soared against the euro. Or, seen from the other side, the euro plunged against the dollar, to $1.039, the lowest level since January 2003; down 35% from its peak of $1.60 during the Financial Crisis; down 10% from its 52-week high in March of $1.16; and down 2.7% from $1.068 yesterday before the Fed announcement.

Pundits are once again declaring that the euro will fall to “parity” with the dollar, as the ECB has been wishing for a long time, though it cannot admit officially that it is trying to crush the euro to give member states an export advantage. That would be “currency manipulation,” which is frowned upon in other countries. But a big wave of “money printing” and forcing yields below zero “to stimulate the economy,” whereby the currency gets crushed as a side effect, is OK.

Tourist destinations and flagship retailers in the US watch out: for your euro tourist customers, things are getting very expensive in the US, and some may choose to buy less or travel to cheaper countries.

The yen plunged 3% since the Fed announcement to ¥118.4 to the dollar. It’s down 15% since September. But it’s still higher than it had been in mid-2015, when it had sunk as low as ¥123 to the dollar.

By comparison, the Canadian dollar has been relatively well behaved, after the Bank of Canada systematically crushed the bejesus out of it from 2013 through 2015, sending it to a low of C$1.46 to the US dollar in January 2016. But with the partial recovery of the price of oil, and an admission by the BOC that the loonie had dropped enough, it has since zigzagged higher though it too lost nearly 2% since the Fed announcement. But at C$1.34 to the US dollar, it is still nearly 9% higher than it had been at end of the multi-year rout early this year.

And the British pound has dropped 2.5% since the Fed announcement, but at $1.24 currently, the pound is still higher than its end-of-the-world post-Brexit low of $1.18 in early October.

So the dollar index (DXY) shot to 103.5 currently, above 103 for the first time since January 6, 2003. The index measures the movement of the dollar against a basket of these currencies:

  • Euro (57.6% weight)
  • Yen (13.6% weight)
  • Pound sterling (11.9% weight)
  • Canadian dollar (9.1% weight)
  • Swedish krona (4.2% weight)
  • Swiss franc (3.6% weight)

This is not an ideal currency basket for the US, given the trade relationships of the US. Most notably, it does not include the Chinese yuan and the Mexican peso, though China and Mexico are among the top trading partners of the US, along with Canada and the Eurozone.

Here is the DXY since yesterday morning. It shows how the dollar jumped instantly upon the Fed’s announcement and has since continued higher (via TradingView):

But a longer-term perspective – “longer-term” being half a year these days – shows just how much the dollar has soared, with the moves since the Fed announcement, while big, just adding some extra fuel to the fire: the index has jumped over 11% since June, from 93 to 103.5 now (via TradingView):

Currency moves like this tend to balance out over time within a trading range, unless … inflation kicks in lopsidedly and eats up the value of just one currency. Then that currency gets crushed permanently, both in terms of its purchasing power at home and against other currencies (see Venezuela). Inflation has once again kicked off in the US. But it’s a slow process. And the “death of the dollar” will have to be rescheduled.

The 7th week of US Government debt “carnage” continues unabated. Read…  Yellen Speaks, Yields Spike, Mortgage Rates Jump, Oil Plunges: But Why?

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  69 comments for “Currency Armageddon? A Word about the Hated Dollar

  1. Nevertheless, a dollar crash is baked into the current composition of USA debt, finances, economy and obligations, to name a few.

    When ? Can’t say, such things are unknowable. It’s like a version of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, you can know a quantum particle’s position or its momentum, just not both at the same time.

    We can know the what of the future : CURRENCY CRASH. But not the when. The when is always the hardest part, a truism.


    • Frederick says:

      Very true Georgie Timing is tough Remember all the “fake”news pundits on all the financial shows attacking Peter Schiff for his call on the 2008 housing/banking debacle? He was just a couple years early is all but ultimately they all ate a big bunch of blackbird It will happen again count on it

    • nhz says:

      we also don’t know which currency will be the first to have a fatal crash …

      I agree that a dollar crash is in the cards, but there are many more horses in the glue factory.

      • John M says:


        You betcha there’s great number of horses in the glue factory..

        • OutLookingIn says:

          Its just that the USD is the best looking horse in the glue factory!
          It will be the last horse standing.
          Currencies have begun to topple, with the weakest going first.
          Following on up the line until it becomes the USD’s turn.
          Just a matter of time.
          Look for the “war on cash” to really start heating up.

      • Jerry says:

        It will be the Euro.

        The USD is still the only game in town because it is the only market big enough to park big money when danger is in the air. The China market is not mature enough yet, most probably 20 years away.

        The Europeans have never understood freedom and liberty. When they turfed out the monarchies they made people surrender their rights from the monarchy to the group. Europeans see wealth as a static quantity that has to be conquered, forcibly taken or pass legislation to take your property by force, like in Austria today where they passed a law against a little old lady that owns Hitler’s House which they are now going to forcibly take from her. They are always willing to use force against the individual.

        Americans were the first people to recognize that wealth has to be created, they coined the sentence, lets go and make some money.

        America became the wealthiest nation in the space of about 200 years while on the looters continent they still struggle with zero growth and lack lustre living standards.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          >>> “…a little old lady that owns Hitler’s House which they are now going to forcibly take from her.”

          In the US, properties are being “taken” ALL THE TIME, routinely, under our “eminent domain” laws – to make room for an expressway, a pipeline, an airport, a Walmart, a high-end condo development, etc.

          The little of lady in Austria as well as the owners in the US are being compensated for their property. In the US, the final price is often worked out in court.

        • nhz says:

          you clearly haven’t even the faintest grasp of history.

          Personal freedom in many former EU countries (centuries ago) was far bigger than in the current USSA. Wealth creation same story: several EU empires created vast wealth by invention and discovery, not by looting like the current US. Maybe you don’t know but e.g. the Dutch VOC was ten times bigger in capitalization (correcting for inflation) than the biggest US companies of today. Initially much of that wealth was based on wealth creation and not on looting and slavery (like Chinese slave labor?).

          Unfortunately, when empires grow they move from creation and benign policy to looting and oppression, and the rot from within starts. Europe is just a few centuries ahead of what is going to happen in the US pretty soon, empires don’t last forever. It’s funny how you talk about “looters continent”while your own country is raping and looting the whole planet (admittedly, sometimes they use their EU government proxys to do most of the dirty work, like in Ukraine).

        • Kam says:

          Apparently while you were busy reading comics, you overlooked reading Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”.

        • Ron Johnson says:

          The U.S has lost its place as the freest economy in the modern era. A number of countries in Europe have lower taxes and fewer impediments to business start ups. The U.S. has become an oppressive Empire just like all of the Empires before us, and the decline of America is guaranteed unless the government changes direction very quickly. We know that Hillary would have continued or even doubled down on current policies. We don’t know what will happen with Trump. That uncertainty allows us optimists to hope for the best, and I think that’s the engine driving the increase in the dollar.

        • Chris says:

          You don’t know what you are talking about!

    • Otto Maddox says:

      Let us not forget the tremendous deficits and financial debacle that awaits the US due to (1) rising interest payments on the debt, and (2) massive increases in federal spending due to the Boomers retiring.

  2. r cohn says:

    No doubt finances in the US are in horrible shape,whether it be municipalities,states or the Federal government.
    But by definition the dollar crash has to be relative to other currencies or against tangible assets.What currencies is the dollar going to crash against?
    The Euro,where the strongest country , Germany, has a debt not far from that of the US and whose weakest countries(Greece ,Spain ,Portugal,Italy would all be bankruot without the ECB propping them up with imaginary money .The Eurozone is facing considerbly more debt due to military spending increases as the US decreases its support for NATO
    The Yen ,where the government has bought so much debt that it now controls over %50 of the total stock etf’s
    The Yuan .The Chinese have wasted billions of dollar in building unused infrastructure and whose government has wasted more billions on propping up unprofitable enterprises.
    Gold .A currency where any government can confiscate holdings with the stroke of a pen.Look at what is happening in India.The feds can and have raided households looking for precious metals and have “stolen ” them if a significant bribe is not paid.
    I abhor the huge amount of debt spending since Reagan became President.But irresponsible spending is a disease which seems to be pandemic among other countries

    • nhz says:

      “The Eurozone is facing considerbly more debt due to military spending increases as the US decreases its support for NATO”

      military spending going up from e.g. 1 to 2% of GDP is nothing compared to the huge amount that is being spend by EU countries on e.g. healthcare, social security, government pensions, education and all kinds of other ridiculous subsidies and entitlements.

      And I really doubt that if the US pulls out of NATO EU countries will suddenly increase their military spending to make up for it. Maybe they will wisen up and see that Russia isn’t an enemy at all and that they can do without all that expensive offensive capability.

      As to gold: you can confiscate paper gold with the stroke of a pen, just like you could do this with stocks, bonds or real estate (except in India, the last three categories would give FAR more bang for the buck than stealing from the tiny number of private gold investors). It’s a lot more difficult to confiscate gold that people have at home, or in custody in a vault in a foreign country.

      • Willy2 says:

        – Expenditures on Healthcare, social security, (government) pensions education, subsidies (think: military spending) & entitlements in Europe are actually slightly lower in than in the US.

      • Winston says:

        “Maybe they will wisen up and see that Russia isn’t an enemy at all and that they can do without all that expensive offensive capability.”

        Many have their own domestic weapons manufacturers who, I’m sure, will do their best to make sure that doesn’t happen and with Cold War v2.0 between the US and Russia well under way, I don’t see Russia cutting back on their end. They’re deploying all kinds of new stuff including new rail based nuclear armed missile carriers intended to be very difficult to find among the civilian train cars they appear to be.

    • You said this, “A currency where any government can confiscate holdings with the stroke of a pen. Look at what is happening in India. The feds can and have raided households looking for precious metals and have “stolen ” them if a significant bribe is not paid.”

      In America in 1934, gold was supposedly confiscated. But the executive order and its effect was not quite that simple.

      First of all, most Americans, not being as jaded and cynical as we ( some of us ) are today, willingly complied with the order. Secondly, each household was allowed to keep 5 GOLD COINS ( meaning double eagles, which weigh a nominal ounce ) per person.

      QUOTE FROM WIKI ON Executive Order 6102 :
      “Order 6102 specifically exempted ‘customary use in industry, profession or art’—a provision that covered artists, jewelers, dentists, and sign makers among others. The order further permitted any person to own up to $100 in gold coins (a face value equivalent to 5 troy ounces (160 g) of gold valued at about $6,339 in 2016). The same paragraph also exempted ‘gold coins having recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusual coins.’ This protected recognized gold coin collections from legal seizure and likely melting.”

      Under the order, a family of four could keep 20 ONE-OUNCE COINS, a small fortune in those days. Hell, 20 one-ounce coins today — worth about $22,000 — is still a fortune, since half of all Americans do not have $1000.00 in savings.

      Collectibles were exempted, and you can still get hundred year old double eagles for a fair price.

      Everyone says gold was confiscated, but few have read executive order 6102.

      And now, there is a lot of overlap among the people that love gold and the gun loving crowd. Obama spoke of them, in part a few years ago. I call them the guns god and gold crowd.

      Try to take their gold while they have their guns and a god who made gold to be money in the “holy bible” .

      Just remember what happened out west recently when the government ( BLM I think ) tried to restrict grazing rights on federal land.

      In reality, the US Government did not confiscate gold from working people due to the five ounce per person exemption. Dutiful compliance with the order notwithstanding.


    • Frederick says:

      Thats true of any form of wealth actually There is “bailin”legislation on the books and they are trying their hardest to ban cash so soon there will be no options for the little guy but I guess thats been the plan all along No matter what you say I still trust silver and gold over any fiat paper including but certainly not limited to the dollar

    • DV says:

      The two assets to look for is gold and oil.

  3. Greatful again says:

    Haters gotta hate. The USD has been climbing since the summer of 2014. The DXY was at 80 then, it just hit 103. Rising DOW and real estate were showing the money flows, now treasuries are starting to rise against a world of ZIRP alternatives. With the rise of global instability, there’s every reason that this trend will increase. Which will then probably lead to a US recession…which will allow the USD to increase in purchasing power domestically. I’m sticking to my USD accumulation strategy, despite my haters.

  4. Bill Roth says:

    The effect on the debt seems to get lost in these articles. Should interest get back to the historical norm Interest on the 20 trillion and climbing debt will eat up over half of the entire budget. Then it is inflation big time.

    • nhz says:

      also, the housing market would crater and many homeowners would be bankrupt; not good for the taxbase ;-)
      And if it continues for a bit longer, many big companies could be in big trouble too with their record debts in a shrinking economy.

      • Greatful again says:

        You mean like in the USA in 2008? The biggest borrower in the world won’t like debt to get too expensive. How about a recession? The 10 year hits 5%, economy crashes. Rates head south again. Gets too nasty, QE is always an option.

    • John M says:

      Bill we can all see the obvious as Greatful Again does. Yet would you chase the USD or stawks here? I won’t. Silver and gold have no third party liability.

      • Kreditanstalt says:

        I’m very curious about WHO would buy US$ at these nosebleed highs.

        BTFATH again…

        • economicminor says:

          “WHO would buy US$ at these nosebleed highs.”

          If you have debt denominated in US$ you have no choice but to buy them to make your payments. Lots of foreign debt and foreign corporate debt and contracts in US$.

        • Frederick says:

          Im curious why the Chinese would be buying US real estate in overpriced dollars and in a bubble That eosnt sound like a very good idea to me They might be better off looking in Eastern Europe where they can get a real bang for their buck or yuan

        • d says:

          “They might be better off looking in Eastern Europe where they can get a real bang for their buck or yuan”

          They are currently under the heel of an Authoritarian, Repressive, one party state, extortion racket, that does not recognize the rule of law. Or the level of wrights, various other states do.

          Why would they move in, next door to another that is even more expansionist and aggressive that their own state??

          chines like the legalized fraud system in the US.

          They understand it, and know how to work it.

          Further in the US they have no land border with china or Russia, so unless it gets very bad, they are safe from them

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Real estate is not “overpriced” until prices are starting to sag. Until that point, the rule applies that you cannot lose money in real estate :-]

        • economicminor says:

          I’ve been wondering the same thing?

          Unless they think that their real estate is way more more expensive and they believe their economy is also much more fragile.. Or it is another government conspiracy? Or just corruption and criminals trying to get some of their money out before they are found out?

      • Bill says:

        Silver and gold is what I am stockpiling I keep 6 mos. cash available (not in bank) House paid for, car paid for. What stocks I have are in mining and commodities. But, I hope it is all for naught.

  5. Willy2 says:

    – The USD going higher in combination with US Yields rising are/could be the first signs of the USD currency crisis.

    • Willy2 says:

      – To see a currency crisis, one should be looking at the bond market, NOT the currency. And rates for T-bonds have risen.

  6. Mike R. says:

    The run up in longer term interest rates since Trump was elected is all a bit suspicious to me. The strengthening of the dollar seems to have followed the interest rate rise, which makes sense.

    The fact that Chair Yellen admonished the incoming administration about too much fiscal stimulus when the economy seemed to be doing just fine was rather interesting. Her forecast for several more rate hikes in 2017 seemed to be a warning shot across the bow.

    I’ll be very surprised if the rise in the 10 and 30 year rates if they hold, doesn’t show up in some pretty clear slowdown of the economy in the next couple of months; certainly by spring.

    When that occurs, Trump may be educated as to who is really managing our sick economy.

  7. Tom Kauser says:

    The dollar screams higher, but who is buying it to purchase what?
    Each tick up means less global reserve currency for everyone?

    The fed needs a recession or the market might push the fed to do 16 more quarter points?

    How many rate hikes will it take to get back to more normal rate hike odds?

  8. Paulo says:

    Well, we’ll probably have another record year for tourism in Canada. Along with US travelers, we get a lot of Germans coming to view Grizzly bears and other eco tours. It definitely keeps Canadians home and from shopping below the 49th.

    Plus, our forestry industry will still go gangbusters for awhile yet, at least until Trump starts his protectionist moves. Hang in there, everyone. It looks bumpy.

    • Justme says:

      >>Along with US travelers, we get a lot of Germans coming to view Grizzly bears and other eco tours.

      Definition of eco tour: Burning 100s of gallons of oil per person to fly from Europe to Canada (and back) to see a polar bear that is endangered by, well, burning too much oil.

      • Paulo says:

        Yeah, I agree. I also did not mean to infer I like it. I think the phony eco tours are a pain in the patoop but few come to my redneck part of the woods, anyway. You simply would not believe what people spend money on doing. I know a couple at the north end if Vancouver Island that offer such a tour. They have a jeezly big boat, drop a crab trap and a prawn trap and blast out to the west coast to see a whale or sea otter. Their boat is powered by a humongous outboard. The tourists love it. Also, the big lodges have these insanely huge zodiac inflatables with twin 200 hp outboards. They strap the tourists down with seat belts, give them ear muffs and survival suits to wear, and blast up to Robson Bight….about 80 miles each way. I see them go by when I am out fishing in Johnstone Strait. A more misreable bunch of people I have never seen, but they pay a fortune to do it.

        I don’t understand it at all. I also don’t understand why people go to malls, all-inclusives, or ride go-carts in a big circle, but they do.

  9. Kreditanstalt says:

    Lasting price inflation, without continuing expansion of the monetary base, is an impossibility.

    Just a matter of waiting for unjustified animal spirits (“chasing momentum” & “betting”) to run out. Or for government and central bank impotence to become obvious and fail.

    Whichever comes first…

    Chart-watchers, statistics fans and market technicians usually cannot see the forest for the trees, but sometimes a simple, logical assessment is correct: the many fundamental trends auguring for lower paper asset prices, for deflation, for growing un- and under-employment, for shrinking profit margins and for lower bond yields don’t seem to have changed.

  10. Keith says:

    Deflation first. Serious mind numbing deflation

    • Bill Roth says:

      I agree. That is the time to stock up before it swings to inflation and probably hyper-inflation.

      • John M says:

        I’d disagree with deflation first. We’ve had deflation from 2011 to beginning of 2016. Over production of commodities brought on the deflation.

        Now with the bankruptcies we’ve seen in Walter Energy / Allied Nevada / BTU = Peabody / (or near bankruptcies = CLF) Folks fracking we’ve seen a curtailment of product. So Oil has rallied from $26 to $50+/bbl. Coal & Iron ore are up 100% since January. Nope from where I am sitting you’re seeing early stage inflation with a blow off parabolic curve maximum prices coming.

        CLF X AKS are getting the parabolic curve treatment soon.. They’ve all had a good run. Yet a better run is coming IMO..

        • Keith says:

          The deflation we have seen are just early warning signs of what is to come. TPTB know what is to happen. They will be cash ready when the storm hits and be prepared when it hits rock bottom. Then they will buy up all the lines of business at dirt cheap prices from those who were preparing for inflation.

        • Justme says:

          >> They will be cash ready when the storm hits and be prepared when it hits rock bottom.

          No. They will not be ready, they are too busy chasing momentum to be ready. Instead, once the crash comes, the top 0.1% will sell their impaired assets to the FED at face value (QE), and then turn around and buy the impaired underlying assets for pennies on the dollar. This is the business model for the FED cronies.

          Regular people need not apply, only banks and bank cronies.

    • Tom kauser says:

      Waiting for the shockwave

  11. Chicken says:

    According to US FED (aka criminal enterprise), US inflation is on track thus need to raise rates three time in the next year.

    $US going up, up NS wY, LOL, DEth of the dollar is some gold bug wishful thinking, more likely the EU breaks up once Germany wakes up to realize the ECB has loaded their credit card with tons of southern europes NPL debt.

    Who knows, Germany might just like a lower euro, certainly good for exports.

    Japan had and still does, tons of debt and yet the Yen rallied for decades.

    Gold is hyped by carnival barkers, $700 coming as Dent keeps saying..

    • Bill says:

      I agree with you on the Euro. Japans big advantage is that they are a nation of savers and borrowing is mostly internal. China is buying up every oz. they can. China has just been approved as a reserve currency. As of the first of the year there will be 1.6 billion more prospective gold buyers. Islam has never been allowed gold before but they have approved it starting the 1st. of the year.
      I get Harry Dents newsletter also. Trouble is I also get Stanberry, Agora, Rickards, Schiff, Bonner,and a few others who are saying 5000.00 gold. So who knows?

      • Kam says:

        “China has just been approved as a reserve currency.”
        Since the Yuan is pegged to the USD, it means the USD is approved again as a reserve currency.

  12. Realist says:

    It will be interesting to see when the effects of a strong USD will be seen in Emerging Markets countries. USD denominated debt that has been cheap compared to debt in domestic currencies is now turning sour, ie payback of said debt will consume more and more of hard earned weakening local currency and wreaking hawoc with balance sheets. I saw similar things happen 25 years ago with debts denomainated in foreign currency and it wasn’t nice, not at all, bankrupties, severe unemployment, you name it.

  13. Chicken says:

    What happens when the electoral college is hood-winked into flipping? There’s no end to the nonsense.

    • DH says:

      We could only be so lucky.

      • polecat says:

        Lucky about WHAT, pray tell ???

      • d says:

        Yes but dont get your hopes up.

        Same with impeachment.

        du 30 admits to premeditated murder.The opposition says that’s impeachable and du 30 supporters turn round and say.You cant get the votes;.

        What sort of law makers vote on party lines instead of the law.

        corrupt ones just like p45 supporters.

        2019 before there is any hope of impeaching p45. Then only if the dems get some more seats in 2018

      • Chicken says:

        How is more of the same repression considered luck? All promises broken aside from those that serve left and right coast.

        • d says:

          Repression is what you are going to see again, and saw the last time.

          When central elected BABY BUSH.

  14. Uncle Frank says:

    One would think overseas buyers would be piling into Treasuries at these spreads with their own government bonds at negative yields. Perhaps they are purchasing U.S. equities instead and hoping for rising dividends.

    • Tom kauser says:

      Once capital stops getting destroyed in yen carry perhaps you will be correct ? Whatever’s left of course!

    • nhz says:

      For those in Europe it’s much easier IMHO to buy EU equities, they also enjoy every bit of destruction of the euro currency but without the currency risk when you buy foreign stocks. Nobody knows what the Euro/US$ exchange rate is going to be when you sell those US equities …

      And purchasing of bonds is mostly done by pension funds and (central) banks who have their own rules for what they can or cannot purchase.

      As to rising dividends: I cannot imagine dividends will get anywhere near attractive levels with the current lowest dividends in history and nosebleed valuation levels of US stocks.

  15. Dana Webb says:

    I think the only way we will really know the dollar has crashed is when you go to the store, and a loaf of bread cost a weeks worth of wages. But if you look at the Diminishing Marginal Productivity of Debt in the US economy it would appear it’s all downhill from here.

    • economicminor says:

      “you go to the store, and a loaf of bread cost a weeks worth of wages”

      That would be chaos. Especially when the US is one of the largest exporters of food. Can’t even imagine what that would be like or what kind of violence that would bring about.

  16. Rich Monk says:

    Real estate, like stocks is only a good bet if you sell and realize a gain otherwise it is just an imaginary thought of profit on a piece of paper or email that really does not exist other than in your head. To be rich is to own a home ( place to live, and not as an investment) with no mortgage, and PM’s in hand,
    along with food, water, guns, ammo, etc…..

  17. FranSix says:

    In the initial steps towards hyperinflation, I imagined that yields would rise first, leading to forex gains. There is some irony that the commodities supercycle has given up the ghost before forex gains in the dollar.

    You might have anticipated bind yield advances to occur in the Yen, but yields in the Japanese bond markets have remained subdued, and Eurozone yields are plumbing new lows.

    The one place this imagined initial surge in forex values due to bond yields rising is in the U.S.

  18. Neilo says:

    r cohn has it nailed … “What currencies is the dollar going to crash against?” … can anybody give me a clue ?

    • d says:

      How about all of them ???

      p 45 does as he stated, and defaults “renegotiation you know”

      Then the US $, impersonates the currency’s of Zimbabwe and Venezuela becoming worthless to everybody, basically overnight.

      You are getting the crash of the dollar, confused with its replacement, as the reserve currency of choice.

      As it stands today, as cohn stated there is currently no alternative good choice.

      P 45, could make Euro Sterling and Yen, in a basket, a good choice.

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