Parity with the Australian dollar, question mark

Well, we certainly don’t have charming names for our currency, but we do have cool animals on our coat of arms (and, for that matter, everywhere else).

It’s because they cannot run/walk backwards, by the way. Which I never understood – I can guarantee that they can turn around and run forwards in the same, general, direction of ‘away’ very quickly. In a fight they can also tear you to shreds (don’t even think of it unless your nuts and face are retractable. Or re-growable), but then so can most of our animals, and the rest are poisonous anyway.

I digress. My point was that we bring cute illustrations to boring news stories about our currency plodding through what ails the rest of the OECD well enough, our currency in particular having just settled above USD.90 for a day and attracted its first lofty talk of parity, after a few days in the doldrums

AUD USD

(annoying, but October 9th isn’t on there. I won’t point the bone myself, being also too lazy to make my own graphs). It is a combined effort, really. We’re up against most currencies just as the US dollar is down against most currencies. Parity – the more broadly-defined one – has us well-up against the US dollar as a result.

I shall have to ask my parents whether anything has become cheaper as a result of all of this. Our balance of payments has changed relatively little – and is still stupid: we export mostly primary products, and import mostly a thing called Elaboratly Transformed Manufactures – think of it as sending ore or raw sheet metal to Japan, and importing back the cars. It’s something we really ought to work out how to do cost-effectively ourselves. Mind you, we run a tab of only about AUD12bn or so per year on a GDP of AUD1tr (these things are hard to pin in terms of the US dollar, now, of course). It isn’t a high price to pay, but we’d be better-off with the skill-set for Elaborate Transformation here, rather than overseas (or, in my case, there, rather than overseas. But then overseas becomes here. Crap).

The bad part? A strong dollar means we can – and will – import more readily, and those problems with getting our goods out of our ports have not much improved, which is constraining the speed and scale (not to mention profitability and ability, generally, to capitalise fully on our new popularity) of our exports.

I’ve yet to see Rudd properly make the infrastructure problem an electoral one, though. Productivity, yes, but that isn’t the same thing.

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