The Reserve Bank believes its suite of monetary policy measures have kept the lid on the Australian dollar, when rising commodity prices would have normally seen it much higher and made it less competitive.
RBA assistant governor for financial markets Christopher Kent has told a online seminar the bank’s range of measures announced in November – which included cutting the cash rate to a record low 0.1 per cent – have placed downward pressure on the Australian dollar.
The extension of the Reserve Bank’s bond-buying program in February by a further $100 billion, which aims to keep long-term market interest rates and and borrowing costs low, is also having an impact.
Even so, Dr Kent told the Australian Corporate Treasury Association – formally known as Finance & Treasury Association – the Australian dollar is trading at the upper end of its range of recent years.
“There has been a general improvement in the outlook for global growth … and a marked increase in many commodity prices,” Dr Kent said.
“Indeed, the price of iron ore has increased by around 40 per cent since November.”
This would have seen a much larger appreciation in the Australian dollar than actually occurred, he said.
“I think the difference between what history suggests and what we have actually got suggests the bank’s policy measures have contributed to the Aussie dollar being as much as five per cent lower than otherwise, ” he said.
The Australian dollar was trading was 77.39 US cents on Wednesday, down from 77.95 US cents late on Tuesday.