Heading for parity?

Canadians celebrated when the Canadian dollar (“the loonie”) hit parity with the U.S. dollar in September last year. At the time, there was some speculation about whether the Australian dollar might follow suit. You’re going to see some more speculation over the next few days. Fundamentals aside, there are two main things that are serving to push the Australian dollar up: the resource boom in Australia and the spread in the interest rates between the two countries, and the latter of those is about to jump.

The US Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 75 basis points a week ago in a surprise, out-of-cycle move. Today they are expected to announce a further cut. Apparently the markets are predicting that there’s an 80% likelihood that it will be a further 50 basis point drop. Next week on the 5th of February, on the back of some truly disastrous inflation figures, the Reserve Bank of Australia will probably raise their rate by 25 basis points.  That would be an enormous, 150-point increase in the spread in the space of just two weeks.  On that basis, it’s not at all surprising that the markets are already pushing up the AUD.

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