I must admit, I was a little bit shocked by this week’s interest rate announcement.
I mean, yes, inflation was low, but what else was there calling for an interest rate cut?
The Australian dollar ($A) to US Dollar ($) (AUDUSD) currency pair has long been a concern for RBA Governor, Glenn Stevens, who last year said he’d like to see the Aussie sitting around 74 cents.
Sure, the dollar recently surged to over US77.5 cents. But in January, it was below US69 cents. And when – not if – the US Federal Reserve continues to hike interest rates, the Australian dollar will likely be put under more pressure, especially if commodities continue to go backwards.
A lower dollar makes an importer’s life tough because they have less purchasing power abroad, but it is great for exporters and those who conduct business internationally and receive US dollars as payment.
Currently, the ASX provides a way for savvy investors to buy blue-chip shares and benefit from this trend.
For example, Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) is Australia’s largest investment bank. It’s also geographically diverse, generating a significant amount of its revenue in US dollars. The bank’s share price is often volatile but it offers a meaty, partially-franked, dividend to shareholders.
Another top Australian company riding the US dollar wave is Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH). The biotechnology company specialises in hearing aids and related accessories, and services customers right around the globe.
Finally, a different – and arguably safer – way to play the stronger US dollar and stock markets is via an exchange traded fund or ETF. The iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF — found on Google Finance as ISGLCOSTP CDI 1:1 (ASX: IXI) — is the perfect example of a way to get exposure to global shares in US dollars. It may sound complicated but, basically, this ETF tracks all 1,200 shares included in the S&P Global 1200 Consumer Staples Sector Index and when you buy a ‘unit’ of the ETF, you get exposure to those shares.
The Australian dollar was always expected to fall against the US dollar but the recent interest rate cut has moved that expectation forward. Therefore, it’s crucial you set-up a strategy to diversify your wealth sooner rather than later.
To get foreign currency exposure you needn’t open an esoteric trading account on margin with some dodgy internet broker. Instead, you can buy quality blue-chip businesses which pay stable dividends to boot. That’s what I’ll be doing.
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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns Cochlear shares and has a financial interest in the iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.
The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF. 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.