A US one dollar bill sits with Australian currency

Australian dollar decline holds best hope for economy to escape trade war fallout

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A US one dollar bill sits with Australian currency

PHOTO: The Australian dollar is trading very close to ten-year lows, well below 70 US cents. (Giulio Saggin, file photo: ABC News)

Market watchers are growing increasingly worried about the escalating trade war between the United States and China.

Key points:

  • The Australian dollar has been within 10 basis points of its decade low of 67.41 US cents, set in a flash crash on January 3 this year
  • A 20 per cent slump in iron ore prices has contributed to the Aussie dollar’s slide
  • Economists say the lower dollar should provide a boost to export earnings, especially in industries like tourism and education

US President Donald Trump vowed last week to impose 10 per cent tariffs on the remaining $US300 billion ($441 billion) of Chinese imports that are not currently subject to tariffs from the September 1.

China has since retaliated by devaluing the yuan to its lowest level in more than a decade.

Financial markets have not taken the news well, sending share markets across the globe sharply lower and pushing the price of an Australian 10-year bond — considered a safe haven asset — to a record high.

As a result, the yield (or percentage return) on the 10-year bond has fallen to a record low.

“I think it’s a sign of just how badly things have deteriorated,” senior Westpac currency strategist Sean Callow said.

What next in the US-China trade fight?

But he also said a lower Australian dollar would provide the economy with a bit of a financial cushion at a critical time.

“For those who are visiting, with their stronger currency, they may go for that fancier dinner, or a bridge climb, or stay at a posher hotel, or whatever it may be, so tourism is definitely one of the beneficiaries of the weaker dollar,” Mr Callow observed.

The latest trade figures from the Bureau of Statistics show the lower dollar is already bringing plenty more cash into the economy.

Australia’s trade surplus rose 30 per cent in the three months to June, meaning more money is coming into the economy than going out.

American tourist Mary Schrader is in Uluru with her family enjoying some of the best experiences Australia has to offer.

US tourist Mary Shrader at Uluru riding a camel.

PHOTO: Mary Schrader is visiting Australia from the US and says the lower Aussie dollar means she can spend more. (Supplied: Mary Shrader)

“Oh my gosh, it’s just so beautiful, and the people are lovely, and it’s just gorgeous,” she said.

“It’s cultural, it’s spiritual, there’s nature, there’s so much to do, and there are many active adventures.

“It’s kind of a little bit of everything we love.”

Ms Schrader has already climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

She told PM she would spend even more in Australia if the US dollar continued to rise against the Australian dollar.

“Now that you mention it, you know, we were looking at some artwork that we may able to spend on now,” she said.

There could be even more money heading to Australia, according to anecdotes from the tourism sector.

Head of sales and marketing at Sydney’s Bridge Climb, Jordana Kirby, told the ABC they were already seeing more bookings from the United States as a result of the lower Australian dollar.

“Our forward bookings are looking very strong, especially for the leisure market and US travellers,” she said.

PM asked Ms Kirby if the increase in bookings could be traced back to the falling Australian dollar against the greenback.

“I suspect it would, especially if our forward bookings are anything to go by,” she said.

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