Global rates make currency crash unlikely, strategists say
While some pundits may be predicting the crash of the dollar to a low of US60¢, do not count on it was the emphatic message from currency strategists.
On the extreme end of the spectrum, speaking to CNBC in the US, MBMG International managing partner Paul Gambles said he expected the dollar to fall to US60¢ in the next 18 months.
"I would be surprised if the Aussie dollar is still holding above US90¢ to US99¢ by the year end but once the move comes then parity to 60 could happen within a matter of just a few months," Mr Gambles said.
It is a view not shared by currency experts around the country, despite the Reserve Bank cutting the official cash rate to 2.75 per cent, its lowest level in more than half a century.
Westpac chief economist Bill Evans expects the Reserve to cut rates by another 25 basis points in June, noting there are "ample precedents" for a May-June move. He anticipates rates will bottom out at 2 per cent by the first quarter of 2014.
"Over the past 10 years the bank has moved rates on four occasions in May, with two of those occasions being followed up in June," Mr Evans said. "Certainly we expect that over the course of the next month it will become clear that business investment intentions are soft, both business and consumer confidence are fragile and credit growth continues to remain subdued."
But the RBA's attempt to curb the high Australian dollar is likely to fail, as foreign central banks continue to print money to prop up their own economies.
Macquarie global head of economics Richard Gibbs, who expects the dollar to finish the year about US102¢, said the RBA's attempts to make the yield on the dollar less attractive will likely be offset by near-zero interest rates in major economies and the printing of money by central banks around the world. "When the price of money is zero [in the US], you've got to take a fair bit of heat out of the attraction here for that to curb."
Even when quantitative easing measures ended, Australian trade volumes would remain elevated and so would the dollar, said Deutsche Bank currency strategist John Horner. "Over time the Australian dollar will decline but that will be a function of a stronger US dollar. We've got the Australian dollar declining back to the mid-80s over the next two to three years."
ANZ currency strategist Andrew Salter, who expects the dollar will remain about US105¢, said: "There is still demand for the currency from overseas investors ... and that is going to persist so long as nominal return in the rest of the world is low."