The past month has seen the Australian dollar soar higher as oil and iron ore prices rebound off multi-year lows and the domestic economy posted stronger-than-expected quarterly gross domestic product growth at around 3 per cent.
At the end of 2015 market commentators, economists, and analysts were falling over themselves to predict the continued fall of the Australian dollar throughout 2016.
However, the opposite has occurred as the RBA’s cash rate of 2 per cent remains attractive to yield-starved global investors, who are still finding relatively attractive returns buying money market securities and longer dated government debt priced in Australian dollars.
As a result the Australian dollar now buys nearly US 76 cents and is around 10% higher than lows it hit towards the end of 2015.
Among other major economies in Europe and Japan central bank rates remain at emergency low levels, with expectations as to the pace of the US Fed’s rate hiking cycle also now tempered. This is due to increased concerns about the overall state of the global economy, tumbling oil price and its consequently deflationary pressures.
In New Zealand the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) last week cut cash rates to 2.25 per cent and signaled it’s ready to cut further in an attempt to navigate deflationary risks created by plunging petrol prices and the falling cost of global economic output.
However, the RBNZ expects tourism and inward migration to remain “strong”.
This means companies like hotel and casino operator SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited-Ord (ASX: SKC) or Auckland International Airport (ASX: AIA) are likely beneficiaries of increasing tourism and greater consumer spending power as the cost of debt eases.
Elsewhere globally focused cloud-accounting business XERO FPO NZ (ASX: XRO) is likely to see a boost to its NZD denominated revenues if the New Zealand dollar steadily deflates throughout the rest of the year.
If the Australian economy continues to surprise to the upside and the commodity price rebound proves sustainable then investors can expect the local dollar to keep climbing through 2016.
This means now may be the time to start thinking about investing in shares on large US exchanges like the S&P 500 or tech heavy NASDAQ, with many of the tech giants like Alphabet Inc, Twitter Inc or LinkedIn looking interesting opportunities after some recent heavy price falls.
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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson has no position in any stocks mentioned.
You can find Tom on Twitter @tommyr345
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.