Sagaci Research’s KFC Index uses the prices of KFC™ chicken buckets in different countries to estimate foreign exchange (FX) rates for 20 African currencies vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar. These “implied” rates are then compared to market FX rates in order to assess whether a given currency is overvalued or undervalued against the greenback.
Like The Economist’s Big Mac Index, the KFC index is based on the theory of purchasing power parity – the idea that, in the long run, FX rates will move towards an equilibrium that equalises the prices of goods in different countries.
What is the KFC Index?
The KFC Index estimates whether African currencies are overvalued or undervalued against the US dollar by comparing the local currency price of a bucket of KFC chicken to its price in the US.
KFC was chosen as the point of comparison because it is by far the largest fast food chain in Africa, with outlets in more than 20 countries.
How is it calculated?
An “implied” FX rate for each currency is calculated by dividing the local price (in the local currency unit) by the US price in USD.
If this implied rate is less than the actual (market) FX rate, then the local currency can be said to be undervalued against the USD. Conversely, if the implied rate is greater than the actual rate, then the local currency can be said to be overvalued against the USD.
To take the example of South Africa, the implied FX rate (ZAR price of a KFC chicken bucket/USD price) of 7.0 was significantly less than the actual ZAR-USD FX rate of 18.7. This implies that the South African rand was 62.6% undervalued vis-à-vis the US dollar at the end of Q1 2020.
Conversely, in Gabon, the implied FX rate of 646 was greater than the actual FCFA-USD FX rate of 607, implying that the CFA franc was 6.4% overvalued vis-à-vis the greenback.
What are its limitations?
There are a host of factors that determine the pricing of KFC chicken in different markets beyond FX rates. These include the purchasing power of local consumers, price elasticity of demand (the responsiveness of demand to changes in price), taxation, and input costs – most notably the cost of chicken, which is sourced locally.
As a result, the KFC Index’s estimates of the overvaluation or undervaluation of various currencies are strictly notional.
In Africa, McDonald's is only present in Morocco, Egypt and South Africa, while KFC has operations in more than 20 countries, making the latter a much more useful benchmark. The index provides insight into African currency valuations and consumer purchasing power, in addition to making exchange-rate theory more digestible.
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The KFC Index Report: Q1 2020 (Full report – Pdf)
- Date: April / 2020
- Countries covered:
- Format: Pdf
- Type: Report
- Pages: 8
- KeyWords: Kenya / FMCG / Uganda / Consumer / Angola / Botswana / Cote d'Ivoire / Egypt / Gabon / Ghana / Morocco / Mozambique / Namibia / Nigeria / Senegal / Sudan / Tanzania / Tunisia / Zambia / Zimbabwe / Shopping Malls / Retail / South Africa / KFC / KFC Index / Lesotho / Exchange Rates / Mauritius / Purchasing Power Parity / PPP / FX