Countries using the Australian Dollar
The Commonwealth of Australia. This includes Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Norfolk Island
Independent Pacific states of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu.
The Australian Dollar on the markets
The Australian Dollar is the fifth-most-traded currency in the world. Preceding it are the US dollar, the euro, the yen and the British Pound Sterling.
By mid 2011 the Australian Dollar has found itself increasingly aligned to the prospects of the Chinese market which has become an important destination for Australian produce and raw materials. It is for this reason it has become known as a 'commodity' currency. Also joining the Australian Dollar in this club is the Canadian Dollar, South African Rand and New Zealand dollar.
In periods of global economic expansion the Australian dollar has benefited while traditionally defensive currencies such as the dollar, pound and yen have suffered.
However, the reverse is also true, as exemplified by the market downturn of August 2011. The Australian dollar has fallen heavily alongside global markets and commodity prices.
Brief history of value vs US Dollar
On Monday 12 December 1983, the Australian dollar was floated, allowing its value to fluctuate dependent on supply and demand on international money markets. The decision was made on 8 December 1983 and announced on 9 December 1983.
In the two decades that followed, its highest value relative to the US dollar was $0.881 in December 1988. The lowest ever value of the Australian dollar after it was floated was 47.75 US cents in April 2001. It returned to above 96 US cents in June 2008, and reached 98.49 later that year. Although the value of the Australian dollar fell significantly from this high towards the end of 2008, it gradually recovered in 2009 to 94 US cents.
On 15 October 2010, the Australian dollar reached parity with the US dollar for the first time since becoming a freely traded currency, trading above US$1 for a few seconds. The currency then traded above parity for a sustained period of several days in November, and fluctuated around that mark into 2011.
On 2 May 2011 the Australian Dollar hit a record high since the floating of the dollar. It traded at a $1.1011 against the US Dollar.