The Australian Dollar, AUD, A$
Since its float in December 1983, the Australian dollar has become the fifth most traded currency globally. The Australian dollar has historically been considered a commodity-based currency with strong exposure to Asian economies and has tended to trade inversely to many major currencies. In addition to global growth and resultant commodity demand, the Australian dollar is also influenced by interest rate differentials, global share prices and international geo-political issues and, as such, has generally experienced volatility.
The Australian dollar receives relatively low levels of intervention by Australia's central bank, the Reserve Bank, and benefits from general Australian economic and political stability.
Since floating, the Australian dollar reached a low of 47.75 US cents in April 2001. In October 2010, the Australian dollar reached parity with the US dollar for the first time since free floating and in July 2011 hit a high of $1.1080 against the US dollar.
Current Exchange Rates: Reserve Bank of Australia Exchange Rates
There are a range of banks, FX providers and online FX Services offering competitive products, services and strategies to execute FX and manage risk. These include spot and forward foreign exchange transactions, foreign currency accounts and call and put options.
The Australian economy for inward investors
- Economic Growth 2.4% (twelve months to the December quarter 2017) National Income, Expenditure and Product from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
- Inflation 1.9% (twelve months to the December 2017) Consumer Price Index from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
- Cash Rate 1.5% overnight money market rate set by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).
- Unemployment Rate 5.5% (January 2018) Labour force statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
- Employment Growth 3.3% (twelve months to January 2018) Labour force statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
- Average Weekly Earnings A$1,567 (November 2017)
Australian Economy Snapshot - Reserve Bank of Australia
Australia has an open, varied, export-oriented economy consistently ranked among the strongest of advanced economies in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). Australia is the world’s 13th largest economy and is in its 27th year of consecutive annual economic growth. Australia’s economic growth and prosperity reflects increasing connections into the Asian region.
Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia, forecasts the Australian economy to grow faster in 2018 than in 2017. “Business conditions are positive and non-mining business investment is increasing. Higher levels of public infrastructure investment are also supporting the economy. Further growth in exports is expected after temporary weakness at the end of 2017. One continuing source of uncertainty is the outlook for household consumption. Household incomes are growing slowly and debt levels are high.”
Employment grew strongly over the past year and forward-looking indicators point to continuing solid growth in employment. Wage growth remains low however the stronger economy should see a lift in wage growth over time.
Inflation remains low, below 2 per cent and is likely to remain low for some time, reflecting low growth in labour costs and strong competition in retailing. A gradual pick-up in inflation to slightly about 2 percent is expected as the economy strengthens.
The housing markets in the major capital cities including Sydney and Melbourne have slowed but with little change on a nationwide basis. Tighter credit measures have been have been helpful in containing the build-up of risk in household balance sheets, although the level of household debt remains high. Reserve Bank of Australia RBA (Central Bank). Statement on Monetary Policy
State by State differences
The largest state economy in Australia is New South Wales which contributed 33% to economic output (June 2017). This is followed by Victoria 23%, Queensland 19%, and South Australia 6%.
There has been economic differences between the Australian States due to the effects of the end of the resources boom. The economies of the mining states – Western Australia and Queensland – have been most impacted. States with less exposure to mining – New South Wales and Victoria – have seen a relative improvement in economic conditions.
The unemployment rate is currently 5.5% (January 2018).. According to the Reserve Bank, it will edge lower over the next two years with some spare capacity in the labour market. ABS Employment & Unemployment
Australia has a diversified, services-based economy. Services account for around 75% of real gross value added. Financial and insurance services is the largest contributor to the economy (9.4%) and has expanded strongly since 1992. Other significant sectors include construction, health care and social assistance, professional, scientific and technical services, manufacturing and mining. The highest growth industries in Australia are:
- Information Media and Telecommunications,
- Transport, Postal and Warehousing
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
- Financial and Insurance Services
Australia is open to global trade and investment and has reduced tariff and non-tariff barriers both unilaterally and through negotiated trade agreements. Beneficial bilateral trade agreements have been negotiated and formalised with Japan (Jan 2015) and Korea (Dec 2014).
The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) come into force on 20 December 2015. The agreement unlocks significant opportunities for Australia in China which is Australia’s largest export market for both goods and services, accounting for nearly a third of total exports, and a growing source of foreign investment.
On 8 March 2018, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) was signed.
The Reserve Bank of Australia sets the Cash Rate Target which is the market interest rate on overnight funds. In August 2016, the cash rate fell 0.25% to 1.5%. The target cash rate is set monthly at the RBA's board meetings.
The Inflation rate is calculated as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly and annually. Inflation rose 1.9% over the twelve months to December 2017, compared with a rise of 1.5% over the twelve months to December 2016. The Australian government seeks to achieve a target inflation rate of 2-3% on average over the cycle.
Sovereign Credit Rating
Australia has a strong (AAA) credit rating by all three major rating agencies:
- S&P: AAA
- Moody’s: Aaa
- Fitch: AAA
In 2017, Moody’s noted Australia’s AAA credit rating reflects high economic, institutional and fiscal strengths and that the economy will extend its uninterrupted 26-year record of economic growth into the foreseeable future.
Commonwealth Treasury of Australia (Finance Ministry)
Statistical data on the domestic economy including national accounts, labour force and CPI figures, can be found on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website
Australia and State Summary Trade & Economic Statistics, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade