Sappi Confident Regardless of Strong Rand

 |  Includes: SPPJY, SZR
by: Emerging Money

Despite global fretting about companies based in countries with strong currencies being unable to compete, there are plenty of strong-currency exporters out there that are doing well.

For example, Sappi (NYSE:SPP) says strong demand for its glossy paper should boost profits well into next year even though the rand has been gaining ground.

The rand is a good instance of a currency that may be causing more hysteria than real competitive pain for local exporters. Although the South African currency is one of the strongest in the world thanks to its exposure to gold and other commodity prices, its appreciation is often misleadingly reported in the financial press.

While the value of the rand has indeed jumped 30% in dollar terms "since the start of 2009," the fact is that 27 percentage points of that advance actually came during 2009 -- and nobody was complaining then.

Since the start of 2010, the rand has only advanced another 8%, adding 3 percentage points to that near-two-year performance.

Likewise, the Brazilian real is often considered "ground zero" in the currency wars, but the real actually appreciated 34% in 2009 -- last year -- and only 3% so far in 2010. Where were the alarms in 2009?

Still, the climate has been great for currency-backed ETFs like SZR , which theoretically tracks the rand.

Disclosure: No positions