There’s so much discussion about the Australian currency vs the US dollar that we sometimes overlook the movement of the Australian dollar against our other major trading partners. Of course, in IT the greenback is the key ratio, but many other countries are important parts of the IT supply chain, key markets for our exports and sources of inbound tourism.
To get a sense of how Australia was competing, we took a snapshot of the Australian dollar against a basket of currencies from our major trading partners, China, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, Thailand, Korea, Singapore and the US. The only currency that appreciated against the Australian dollar over the last five years was the Japanese Yen, which bought 94 Australian cents back on January 1, 2007 and now buys $0.87, a drop of 7 per ecnt. The folks at Sony and Panasonic will have to work that little bit harder.
Of our major trading partners, the UK is the currency that has moved the most. Back in January 2007, $1 would get you just 40 pence, leaving Australian visitors to London scrabbling to afford their tube fare. In July 2011 it buys 67 pence, an increase of 66 per cent and an astonishing shift in competitiveness between the two nations.
Companies like ARM would surely have been greatly advantaged by this. Other than the UK, the Korean Won fell the most. In 2007, an Australian dollar bought 732 Won and in July 2010 that had soared to 1146 an increase of 56 per cent. It would be reasonable to assume that the shift in currencies has advantaged Samsung’s ability to compete in the Australian market.
The next page has a full table of currency movements over the last 5 years.