3 blue-chip ASX shares for a falling Australian dollar

Credit : Will

The Australian Dollar (A$) -> US Dollar ($) (AUDUSD) has fallen a further 2.82% over the past month following huge falls in commodity prices, China concerns and a pickup in the US economy.

However, since key commodity prices peaked in 2011, the Australian dollar has descended from $US1.10, through its long-run average of US 76 cents, to its current level of around US 69.96 cents.

Undoubtedly, that’ll make your international travel plans more than a little expensive next time you go to book a holiday.

However, it also means that Australia’s exporters of goods and services, including agricultural and manufacturing companies, have a chance to be more competitive on international markets. The potential benefit for shareholders is equally impressive.

For example, if ResMed Inc. (CHESS) (ASX: RMD) (a leading global biotechnology business listed on both the ASX and New York Stock Exchange) sold $US1,000 of respiratory devices in 2011, they had an Australian dollar value of around $910. Fast forward almost five years and $US1,000 in sales becomes more than $1,400 (Australian).

Of course, there are other things to consider. And ResMed does record sales in US dollars, so a stronger currency can hurt its revenue in the short term.

However, that simple example emphasises the potential benefit of having exposure to foreign currencies through ownership of shares in quality blue chip companies right here on the ASX.

In my opinion, along with ResMed Inc., another two blue chip shares worthy of closer inspection against a backdrop of the falling Australian dollar are Cochlear Ltd (ASX: COH) and Westfield Corp Ltd (ASX: WFD).

Cochlear, like ResMed, is a leading biotechnology business that continues to go from strength to strength. The company generates around 85% of revenue outside the Asia-Pacific region, with the ‘Americas’ segment not only the company’s largest revenue contributor but also its fastest growing (in dollar terms).

Meanwhile, Westfield Corp is the global arm of the shopping centre giant. It generates around 86% of revenue from the US market alone, with the remainder coming from the UK. Westfield is not only a play on currency movements and a reliable dividend payer, it’ll also benefit from renewed strength in the US and UK consumer markets.

Foolish takeaway

The Australian dollar has slumped beyond its long-run average and is arguably closer to fair value than it was a handful of years ago, so the largest falls are likely already factored in. However, if the Australian dollar continues to remain depressed for some time, investors should strongly consider doing their own due diligence on the three companies listed above.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of ResMed Inc. (CHESS) and Cochlear. 

Owen welcomes your feedback on Google plus (see below), LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. 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.

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