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Yes, I noticed too. The thread about the Africa Ran caused me to look at the conversion rate for Aussie dollars. I was very happy with that, but I don't get it, with the economy as it is right now here in the U.S.
I own pieces of 6 young racehorses. Three are in the US and three in Australia. Not only are the monthly expenses in Australia lower than in the US in absolute terms, but after taking the exchange rate into account, Australia is really a bargain. With training costs of about $2,000 per horse per month this is not insignificant. I knew this going in but current world events have magnified the difference
THe currency exchanges over the past year or so have had positives and negatives. Whilst the Kiwi and Aussies dollars were high against other currencies we had cheaper overseass holidays, imported goods etc and now with the exchange rates going the other way the reverse is happening for the other currencies but our exports are getting more dollars so its swings and roundabouts.
Its all a direct reflection of rapidly falling mineral and energy commodity prices such as iron ore, coal, bauxite, nickel, gold, etc. Australian exports are now worth less in US $ (or Euros ) while their imports have become more expensive. Since resource stock prices have reached unprecedented levels, a substantial correction was unavoidable. There was no way that major mineral consuming countries, such as China, Japan, Korea and, of course, the EU member states could continue paying hugely inflated commodity prices over a long term. Of course, this applies not only to prices of Australian exports but also to Canadian, Brazilian, Russian, etc. That's why we have corresponding rapid decline in the relative values of the Can. $, Russian rubels, and other floating currencies. It will take time for the commodity markets to stabilize as market fundametals for each commodity is different.
Today, the Austr. dollar is still worth $0.67 US while the Canadian dollar fell rapidly as low as US $0.78 That will make winter travel in the USA for Cdn. snowbirds quite a bit more expensive. What a difference in just a couple of months !