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If the USD:EUR rate was 1.05:1 and now is 1.1:1 does it mean it is 'higher' now ? It is confusing because the numerical value is higher but the actual relative value of the USD is lower.

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A higher rate is one that is more favorable to you, so it completely depends on which direction you are converting. In your example, it would be higher if you have Euros and are converting to US Dollars.

I think your confusion stems from the fact that you are considering the relative value of the USD, but are using 1 EUR as the baseline instead of 1 USD. The exchange rates you used are 1:0.9524 and 1:0.9091 when flipped around, respectively, making it clear that you get less for your USD in the second case and the rate is "lower".

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