Dollar's back to future
Australians should get comfortable with a currency sitting well below parity, with economists surveyed by BusinessDay tipping the dollar to remain weaker against the greenback.
The dollar will end this year about US91¢ , according to the average of our economists, with only one tipping the currency to climb back to parity against its US counterpart.
On average, the panel forecast the currency to be US89¢ by the middle of next year.
The economists believe the dollar is overvalued, despite having lost more than 13 per cent of its value against the US dollar since mid-April. But they warned the Reserve Bank against intervening to bring it lower.
If the Reserve wanted to speed the dollar's fall, they said, it should stick to conventional means such as interest rate cuts and "jawboning".
"There is little doubt that the Australian dollar has been overvalued insofar as the currency has failed to appropriately reflect underlying fundamentals," Macquarie's global head of economies Richard Gibbs said.
Monash University's Jakob Madsen, said the Australian dollar was overvalued by about 10 per cent. The head of economics at the Australian School of Business, Nigel Stapledon, said "fair value" for the currency was "somewhere over US80¢".
Steve Keen, known as "Dr Doom", was the most bearish. Dr Keen, who was hailed for accurately picking the global financial crisis, said the dollar has been "absurdly overvalued ever since it exceeded US70¢".
Dr Keen expected the dollar to fall to US70¢ by the end of this year and remain trading at that level by the middle of 2014, adding he would not be surprised to see it slip even further.
In contrast, JPMorgan economist Tom Kennedy forecast the dollar to rise back to US100¢ by year's end and lift further to US110¢ by mid-2014.
The economists said they expected a pull-back of the US Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program would push the US dollar higher, and thus lower the Australian currency, which in turn would be a boost for the local economy.
They agreed on what the Reserve Bank should and could do about the strength of the dollar — nothing much. "A policy of benign neglect" towards the dollar should be continued, BT Financial Group's chief economist Chris Caton said, as any intervention to lower the currency would be "futile" given the strong influence of global factors on its movements.
Citi's chief economist Paul Brennan said the central bank should keep its jawboning strategy to talk the dollar down, while St George Bank's chief economist Hans Kunnen had a succinct response.
"The currency floats. Leave it alone! I.e. [Do] nothing."