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Fluctuating Yen

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

If the Yen continues to "plunge" versus the US dollar (and the Euro) will this be reflected in knife prices, or are they more or less independent of currency swings?

post #2 of 5

most knife sellers online will only take advantage of that fact to make a buck and will NOT pass those savings on to the consumer. but buying directly off a knife maker might be a different story.

post #3 of 5

If the Yen continues to "plunge" versus the US dollar (and the Euro) will this be reflected in knife prices, or are they more or less independent of currency swings?

Good question.  A lot of Japanese knife prices went up in the six months or so, and the increase is obviously not the result of currency valuation -- since the dollar has actually strengthened compared to the yen. 


What caused it, I don't know.  The phenomenon is widespread but not universal. 


Because the higher prices are reflected by Japanese online retailers like JCK, and because the online knife retail business is so competitive, it's a strong inference that retailers are just passing along price bumps from wholesalers and makers.


It looks as though -- for once, and about time too -- the Japanese government is serious about keeping the yen weak in order to promote exports.  Whether Japanese knife makers will adjust their prices accordingly is anyone's guess.


In the meantime, we're going to have to keep an eye on prices and be open to changing our opinions about which knives are better values than others.   



post #4 of 5

BDL's point is very well taken. The issues here are very complex, because there are many different types of manufacturers, and lots of middle-men, and competition is greatly complicated because it is international. All that together with the intricacies of the government's handling of the yen... what a mess!


For those who aren't expert economists -- i.e. folks like me -- it depends a good deal on why you want to know. If you're looking for a knife and wondering what will happen to prices soon, the best I can say is that you might want to post what you're looking for in particular. Somebody might have some insights.


If you want to know more generally, for some reason, I would suggest that you cut-and-paste the Japanese brand names into a Word file somewhere. Then search Rakuten, in Japanese, for the particular makes and models. Compare this against the manufacturer's own website (if they sell by web) and a range of mail-order places.


For example, when I was in Japan in 2008-09, I was amazed at how cheap Aritsugu Tokyo knives were by comparison to their pricing in the US, and Masamoto, while much more expensive in Japan, was immensely cheaper via Rakuten retailers than anywhere in the States. Today, however, the base prices have changed a lot. Masamoto prices in the US are much more competitive, and Aritsugu Tokyo prices seem to have risen across the board in Japan but less so in the US. And so it goes. I don't want to generalize, but I think overall it's something you can't generalize about. lol.gif

post #5 of 5

Not sure if it's a reflection of the changing yen, but aframestokyo's prices on Aritsugu A-Types just dropped recently. The 140 Petty from $98 to $90, and the 240 Gyuto from $193 to $179. These are the only ones I can comment on, since I got them a few weeks ago, before the price drop of course. frown.gif


If Takeshi did drop his prices due to currency changes, then hats of to him. smile.gif

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