Foreign Exchange Guide to Australia
In this guide we review :
- Australian dollar info - general info about the Australian dollar
- Australian dollar in the markets - recent AUD moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Travelling in Australia - currency & money saving tips
- Buying Australian dollar cash online - travel money for Australia
- Sending money to Australia - save on Australian dollar bank transfers to Australia
- Australian dollar exchange rates - latest info & charts.
Australian dollar (AUD) general currency information
The three letter currency code for the Australian dollar is AUD and the symbol is $. It is the domestic currency in Australia, Christmas Island, Cocos Keeling Islands, Heard And McDonald Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Norfolk Island and Tuvalu.
The Australian dollar is the fifth most traded currency in the world, it trades in the world foreign exchange markets behind the US dollar, the euro, the yen and the pound sterling. The Australian dollar is popular with currency traders, because of the high interest rates in Australia, the freedom of the foreign exchange market from government intervention, the stability of Australia's economy and political system, and the view that the Australian dollar offers diversification benefits in a portfolio containing the major world currencies, especially because of its greater exposure to Asian economies and the commodities cycle. The currency is commonly referred to by foreign-exchange traders as the Aussie dollar.
Australian dollar (AUD) in the markets
Against the US dollar, having climbed to a 28-month high above 0.81 in early September, the Australian dollar spent much of the next three months losing value. AUD fell roughly six cents by early December to 0.75 but fortunately was able to piggyback off an impressive year-end rally in commodities. The commodities-sensitive Australian currency rose steadily in the final three weeks of the year along with the price of oil, which breached $60 per barrel for the first time since 2015; copper, which had its best December in three decades; and iron ore, which remains Australia’s largest export and which rose to a 16-week high. AUD/USD ended the year up 8.4%.
In 2018/19, the “Aussie” is set for a double-digit fall to just 68 US cents – a level unseen since 2009 – according to Westpac. In a note to clients in December, Westpac cited the reduced attractiveness of Australian yields as its reason for pessimism. A decade ago the benchmark interest rate in Australia stood 300 basis points above that in the US. Following the Federal Reserve’s December increase in US rates, Australia’s long-held rate premium has now completely evaporated, reducing the attractiveness of AUD.
A lower AUD will please exporters and those at Australia’s central bank. Recent RBA statements have said that the currency’s appreciation in 2017 will “contribute to subdued price pressures in the economy” and will weigh on the “outlook for output and employment.”
Against the New Zealand dollar, AUD fell back from October's high of 1.129 to 1.1 by year-end for a 5.9% gain on the year.
Australia currency and money saving tips
There are no limits on the amount of currency that can be brought in or out of Australia, but travellers must declare hard currency equivalent to AUD10,000 or higher. Australia is not usually considered a budget destination, in fact Sydney and Melbourne are consistently ranked as two of the world’s most expensive cities but if you’re careful with your spending it’s still possible to make your money go a long way, especially when the Australian Dollar is weaker.
Most nationalities will need to get a visa before you travel. Beware of scam adverts claiming to help you extend a working holiday visa. Several British nationals have had their visas cancelled as a result.
If you're a Singaporean national, there's good news in relation to visas which is that from January 2018 a new, long-term, multiple entry visa will be available. This will allow Singaporeans to stay for up to three months at a time over a six year period.
Australia Trip Checklist
Travel money for Australia
Save money and time by Ordering your Australian dollar online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the AUD cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Australian dollar otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Sending money to Australia
There are no limits on sending money to Australia and the government allows unhindered access to foreign investors. Investments over a value of AUD244m (or over AUD1.078bn for investors from the US and New Zealand in non-sensitive sectors) must be pre-screened, but all other capital inflows are unrestricted. The IMF’s Global Housing Watch has Australia ranked as the third least affordable place in the world to buy a house – behind only Belgium and Canada.
When sending money to Australia it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 3 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Australian dollar amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted AUD amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Australia.
By comparing the rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Australian dollar deposited into the recipient bank account in Australia and less margins and fees kept by the banks!