Australian Dollar

Australian Dollar Analysis, News and Forecasts

The Australian dollar, Aussie dollar (AUD) is one the world’s great commodity currencies. Founded in 1966 and floated in 1983 the Aussie “battler” is the 5th most traded currency in the world despite the economy being only the 12th largest by GDP.

The Australian dollar spent much of its first two decades post-float consistently devaluing from the pre-float value of $1.48 US dollars in 1974 to a low of 47 cent in 2001.

Subsequently it broke this huge downtrend with the rise of the Chinese economy and it’s insatiable demand for raw materials – especially those inputs into steel production, iron ore and coking coal – which Australian was endowed with in abundance. It topped this enormous turnaround in 2011 at $1.11 versus the US dollar.

As the super cycle entered decline so too did the Aussie, falling to a low of 68 cents in 2016 and still falling.

However, the Australian dollar  had became popular as a small reserve currency holding with foreign central banks. As the value of the currency virtually halved during the bust they kept buying. Because global central banks were fighting both low inflation and oversupply worldwide, many engaged in an overt currency war, deliberately devaluing their currencies to capture or protect global market share of production. This was exacerbated by private sector flows pursuing the “chase for yield”.

This proved a challenge to Australian macroeconomic managers as the commodity bust persisted. Without the lower value, the Australian economy was unable to compete in non-resource sectors. The Reserve Bank of Australia embarked on a series of interest rate cuts, jawboning and, eventually macropudential policy, to bring the Australian dollar to fair value.

There are five drivers to the currency. Australia’s relative position vis-a-vis Chinese and its own growth; interest rate differentials, the strength or otherwise of the US dollar; the terms of trade and sentiment. Each of these tips into any fair value model but over time the primary driver is the terms of trade. The relative strength of each waxes and wanes with wider trends. For instance, during the “tech bubble” of the late nineties the Australian dollar was battered lower by poor sentiment as it was seen as a pre-tech dinosaur. After the “tech bust”, the currency rapidly recovered as sentiment turned favourable for real assets like commodities.

MacroBusiness covers all apposite data and wider analysis of these issues daily.


Macro Morning: German hope rocket

Stocks were driven higher by the much better than expected ZEW sentiment survey in Germany with a big bounce from 31.5 to 48.2 this month for a much better result than the 35 the punditry were expecting. The Eurowide ZEW survey was equally amazing coming in at 42.4 from 31.2 last. How business sentiment has


RBA & Treasury push for higher Australian dollar

The new and outspoken RBA board member, Heather Ridout, yesterday added the RBA’s voice to keeping the dollar elevated. From the AFR: “The Japanese election and statements by politicians had contributed to a significant depreciation of the yen since November.” Fair enough. We all know that the jawbone is a powerful tool for the senior


Macro Morning: Silent night

A boring a night for stock investors with the US out and Europe a bit mixed. The FTSE fell 0.16%, the DAX was up 0.47%, the CAC rose 0.18% while Milan and Madrid both slid 0.51%. The Italian elections are coming up fast so that might be a cause of market angst again soon depending


Industry policy cannot offset the Australian dollar

The Gillard government has released its new industry policy blueprint and it looks reasonable enough. Although Business Spectator gives it a caning, more even-handed analysis is available from Peter Roberts at the AFR: The extra $350 million to support innovation investment funds (IIFs) is a bold recognition that there remain market failures in our venture


Macro Morning: Walmart crash

Friday night was mixed with UK retail sales tanking 0.6% versus an expectation of a rise of 0.4% in January. US industrial production was also weaker than expected falling 0.1% in January against an expectation of a rise of 0.2% but the New York State Empire manufacturing survey was up sharply  to 10 from -7.78 last


Macro Morning: GDP whacks euro

Terrible numbers out of Europe overnight and likewise weak growth in Japan so as Houses and Holes posted earlier much of the world shrank in Q4 2012. Certainly the Japanese weakness was unsurprising but the data out of Europe, particularly Germany, was truly disquieting and suggests that the ECB will need to ease and if a


Macro Morning: Golden crumble

Early strength in European stocks and the euro gave way in US trade overnight and gold is breaking lower once again. Interesting last 24 hours in markets with the S&P hit 1525 for the first time since 2007 but reversed to sit lower at present. Euro was stronger initially after comments from the Russian Finance Minister which


Swan jawbone blasts Australian dollar higher

Wayne Swan really needs to learn how to make better use of the Treasurer’s jawbone. The AFR story that I covered this morning about Swan’s commitment to market-based currencies last night coincided with a surge in the Aussie of about three-quarters of a cent. I’ve circled the impolitic moment: Now, maybe it would have happened


The Australian dollar tells a naive truth

From the AFR today: Treasurer Wayne Swan has declared Australia’s support for letting financial markets determine exchange rates, amid rising unease about a global currency war. Mr Swan’s move adds Australia’s voice to those of other leading nations concerned that countries are actively devaluing their currencies to boost exports and growth. In an attempt to calm


Demand for Australian government bonds falls

Adding to the weakening Australian dollar meme, ANZ has a note out discussing weakening (although still strong) demand for Australian government bonds. The recent fall in Australian bond tender bid/cover ratios reflects a small softening in safe-haven demand, increased credit issuance, and investor preference for riskier assets. We think demand for ACGBs will be upheld and further continued weakness


Volunteering to be Europe

Stephen Bartholomeusz of BS wrote late yesterday that: While it will be overshadowed by Julia Gillard’s nomination of the date for the next federal election, her comments on the Australian dollar occupied a meaningful slab of her address to the National Press Club today, indicating that the continuing strength of the currency is a front-of-mind


Australian dollar leaps on BOJ disappointment

It may be hard to believe but the Bank of Japan just disappointed markets with its announcement that it target 2% inflation and print another $2 trillion Yen to buy everything in sight. From Bloomie: The Bank of Japan set a 2 percent inflation target and said it will shift to Federal Reserve-style open-ended asset purchases in


Will the RBA intervene in the Australian Dollar?

Cross posted from The Australian Dollar made a high at 1.0525 last night and with the Fiscal Cliff avoided, stock markets ebullient, commodities independently strong even with the overnight US dollar strength and Chinese and US PMI’s signalling an economic recovery there seems to be little headwinds to an Aussie dollar that can trade


Print or be damned, Capt’ Glenn

Yesterday Capt’ Glenn of the RBA got a lot of international press for his utterances blaming profligate central banks and their printing habits for undermining the division between fiscal and monetary policy and driving up the dollar. From Sober Look: RBA’s Governor, Glenn Stevens today took a jab at the four major central banks (Fed, BOJ, EBK,


When waning Aussie bond enthusiasm is not enough

Cross posted from FTAlpahaville The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its cash rate on Tuesday to 3 per cent — making a total of 175bps worth of cuts since November 2011, and bringing the rate to its lowest level since the depths of the financial crisis. The RBA’s governor’s statement alluded to the bank’s discomfort over the stubbornly high


Swiss pile into Australian dollars

From Bloomberg comes the news that the Swiss are buying Australian dollars as a part of an explicit mercantilist strategy: The Swiss central bank pledged to keep defending its franc cap and left borrowing costs at zero to protect the economy from “exceptionally high” risks as the euro area’s crisis intensifies. …The central bank, which


Azerbaijan helps itself to some Australian dollars

From the WSJ: Azerbaijan, the Caspian nation best known for its caviar and petroleum, is buying Australian government bonds, joining a growing list of sovereign investors acquiring debt Down Under in a trend that has seen the Aussie dollar labeled a potential safe-haven currency by the International Monetary Fund. The former Soviet republic’s US$33 billion


Commodity currencies versus the $US

I was struck by this chart from Merrill Lynch this moring. Clearly the Australian dollar has not only decoupled from the economy and commodity cycle, it has also gone its own way versus the other commodity currencies, and how! As an experiment, here are the key metrics of each of these commodity exporters. First, interest


Morgan Stanley sees 88 cent AUD in 2013

Morgan Stanley sees the Australian dollar substantially lower in revised forecasts for 2013: We remain bearish AUD, and note that despite a fairly robust set of Chinese data over last weekend, AUD failed to make any substantial gains. Indeed, the end of the commodity super cycle and a slowing domestic economy are likely to weigh


RBA printing for its peers?

From the AFR: Further evidence that the Reserve Bank of Australia may be passively intervening in currency markets by selling Australian dollars off-market has been released by the central bank on Thursday morning. The total volume of “other outright” transactions, which take place between the RBA and other central banks and overseas institutions, reached $483


China and Australia in bilateral currency deal

From the AFR: China’s central bank governor has indicated a long planned currency deal with Australia is set to go ahead, as it would provide greater stability to the growing trade relationship. The head of the People’s Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, said direct trading of the yuan and Australian dollar was a “natural outcome”,