The Australian dollar has been under pressure all year; as a commodity-based currency, it was among the first to struggle due to the impact of the coronavirus. Now, as the countries implement various forms of lock-down and governments scramble to deliver aid packages to support workers and stalled businesses, the picture has become more complex and there is further volatility in the FX market which is causing fluctuations in the Aussie.
The initial stimulus plan announced by the Australian government, including AUD 25,000 to small businesses and AUD 750 to every welfare recipients, did nothing to help the Australian dollar. The measures were announced in concert with a second rate cut from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which also announced a funding facility for SMEs and a 0.25% target rate for three-year government bonds. Neither did anything to help the Aussie, which fell by an average of 2.1% against a basket of currencies, including three cents to the pound.
It isn’t all bad news; the RBA’s AUD 5bn stimulus by buying up government securities did give the Australian dollar a boost and it made gains against the US dollar. The move was seen as a positive for local stock markets which could help the currency in the coming weeks, although investors remain cautious. News from the US Federal Reserve inadvertently provided assistance to the Australian dollar this week at a time when the pound succumbed to the sustained pressure of the crisis. The Aussie made gains against sterling following the Fed’s plans to buy government-backed debt, which led to brief optimism in global financial markets. This optimism extended to a belief in the efficacy of the second coronavirus stimulus package from the Australian government. The relief is now equivalent to almost 10% of Australia’s GDP.
At the moment, statistics are largely being ignored but the provisional purchasing managers’ indices from Australia showed a surprise 50.1 for the manufacturing PMI. The composite measure came in at 40.7, however, because the services PMI was recorded at 39.8. The reason that the numbers have such little impact is that such a drop in performance is expected across the globe. The challenge for the Australian dollar is that investors expect that the current crisis may put the country into a prolonged recession.
Against the pound, the Australian dollar remains volatile. Both currencies are under pressure and much relies on the effectiveness of the respective government efforts to stem the spread of the virus as well as the economic measures designed to support the economy. The US will also be a factor for both currencies because of the impact on global financial markets and the US dollar is currently under pressure after a support package was stalled in Congress and the government aid response to aid was found lacking.
The situation is changing by the hour and if you’re looking to send funds back to the UK or elsewhere in the world, it’s worth working with a currency specialist like moneycorp. As well as allowing you to organise your transfer online or over the phone while you’re staying at home, great rates, low fees and expert guidance on the rapidly evolving market will help you make the most of your money and get it where it needs to be in such difficult times.