Say that I'm watching a Swedish movie from the 1970s where a bank gets robbed and the robbers get away with 10 million SEK. I might then like to know how much that corresponds to in U.S. dollars today, taking both historical exchange rates and inflation into account.

Does anybody know of a web site that can calculate this kind of information? More generally I would want to be able to enter what currency amount X1 I have in year Y1 and get the corresponding currency amount X2 in year Y2.

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    My gut says "try Wolfram Alpha" but somebody who knows it better ought to test the theory and post an actual answer, with example queries, if it can do the job. A Google Docs spreadsheet with some logic and data might also work. Aug 15, 2013 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


FRED could do it. They've got the exchange rates, they've got the inflation rates as time series. They've also got various tools to link it to applications or databases. They won't, however, answer your exact question directly, a little bit of coding (and thought) is needed.

Here's why it's not uniformly possible to answer such questions: Even given only 2 currencies and 2 dates, you still have the possibility to exchange SEK for USD in year Y1 and then observe US inflation; or you observe Swedish inflation from year Y1 till year Y2 and then exchange SEK for USD.

The outcome might be totally different because inflation differentials won't be priced into forex quotes, whereas interest rate differentials will be (keyword carry trade).

A more thorough (but unbacktested) approach would be to obtain some sort of average over all such possible transactions. For instance: Do the exchange for every CPI publication, and observe Swedish inflation till then and US inflation from then on. Of all the USD amounts you end up with take a suitable average.

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    I was just planning to write up an answer like this referring to FRED. When it comes to free economic data, as a data source it's hard to beat. Aug 16, 2013 at 18:45

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