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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Groceries are getting more affordable on the Continent, and if you’re in England, a pint hasn’t been this cheap in more than two years.

The military exchange rate climbed to $0.70 to the euro Friday, as the dollar hit its highest market value in nearly a year. The English pound’s military rate fell to $1.80, as the dollar hit its best market value against the pound since April 2006.

The more robust dollar means cheaper goods off base, but it also means lower cost-of-living allowances and post allowances.

Troops’ COLA fell nearly 15 percent in most of Germany this month, while civilian post allowances in the country dropped at least 16 percent.

Post allowance rates at bases in the United Kingdom fell more than 14 percent and servicemembers’ COLA in the U.K. dove more than 11 percent.

Troops often base financial decisions on their cost-of-living adjustment and tend to focus more on that than their purchasing power off base, said Lt. Col. Thomas Seelig, policy director for the 266th Financial Management Office.

"Nobody’s jumping for joy," he said.

The dollar has been steadily strengthening against both currencies for several weeks. The euro had been between $1.50 and $1.60 for about seven months and the pound had hovered around $2 for about 18 months.

Some military personnel who like to spend time off base are happy to see the rising dollar.

Army Spc. Mary Berger, who serves with the 66th Transportation Company, lives on base at Kleber Kaserne but likes to go out in Kaiserslautern. She’s rooting for the dollar to eventually pull even with the euro.

"I spend a lot of money downtown and it’s expensive," Berger said.

Some stay sheltered from the fluctuating exchange rates by keeping their money on base.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Ford, who works at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, said he hasn’t noticed the dollar’s recent rebound.

"I’ve pretty much shopped at the commissaries and exchanges, so it hasn’t really affected me," he said.


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