The Australian dollar surged higher overnight, inspired by the dovish comments handed down by Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the US Federal Reserve.

Yellen reiterated her ‘cautious’ stance under which she has suggested there will be just two more rate hikes in 2016.

As quoted by The Australian Financial Review, Yellen said: “I consider it appropriate for the committee to proceed cautiously in adjusting policy… This caution is especially warranted because, with the federal funds rate so low, the FOMC’s ability to use conventional monetary policy to respond to economic disturbances is asymmetric.”

The US dollar weakened as a result, pushing the Australian dollar higher. In fact, the dollar surged more than 1 US cent to a high of US76.38 cents – nearly 12% higher than its low of just US68.28 cents in January.

Unless the Australian dollar can reverse course and head lower in the near future, the Reserve Bank of Australia could well be forced into action. According to some analysts, that could mean as many as two interest rate cuts before the end of the year in order to push the dollar back to a more comfortable level, suggested to be around US65 cents.

While I think the dollar is likely to head lower, over time, it could well be supported around these levels at least in the near-term (some analysts even suggest it will climb towards US80 cents). This is partially due to the lack of ‘jawboning’ from the Reserve Bank of Australia, as well as its well-publicised intentions to delay another interest rate cut for as long as possible.

In the meantime, however, companies such as JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH), Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX: MYR) and Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd (ASX: HVN) will likely benefit given their high level of imported goods.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.