Which currencies is the Aussie dollar stronger against?

author-avatar By on July 27, 2021
Which currencies is the Aussie dollar stronger against?

Remember the good old days when we were at parity with the US Dollar? Yeah, the good times had to end eventually, but there are some countries where the AUD is performing well.

In the past year or so the AUD has generally taken a beating against major world currencies such as the US Dollar, Great British Pound and the Euro, but there are a few countries where the Australian Dollar has a favourable exchange rate.

  • We’ve calculated how the Aussie Dollar has performed over the last year, as well as provided a reference point using The Economist’s 'Big Mac Index' so you can get a feel for how expensive things are in that country. (The Economist says a Big Mac costs $6.55 in Australia).

Of course, we haven’t compared all countries, as we don’t envision many Aussies heading to South Sudan any time soon, for example, so here are a few of the more popular destinations the AUD has performed well against in the past year. Keep in mind that exchange rates can and do change all the time.

The following exchange rate assessments were made on 27 July 2021.


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Argentine Peso - ARS

argentina

The AUD is up a massive 39.7% against ARS. This time last year the AUD bought 51.02 pesos. At the time of writing it purchased 71.28 pesos.

Two years ago, the AUD was purchasing less than 30 pesos, but it should be noted that Argentina is currently experiencing very high and sustained inflation levels of around 40-50%, which devalues the currency.

  • A Big Mac costs 380 pesos (or AUD $5.33)

Chilean Peso - CLP

chile

The AUD is up 2.19% against the CLP. This time last year the AUD bought 549.51 pesos. At the time of writing it purchased 561.52 pesos.

  • A Big Mac costs 2,990 pesos (or AUD $5.32)

Brazilian Real - BRL

brazil

The AUD is up 2.69% against the BRL. This time last year the AUD bought 3.72 reais. At the time of writing it purchased 3.82 reais.

  • A Big Mac costs 22.90 reais (or AUD $5.99)

Turkish Lira - TRY

turkey

The AUD is up 38.6% against the TRY. This time last year the AUD bought 4.56 lira. At the time of writing it purchased 6.32 lira.

Note that this figure should be taken with a grain of salt as Turkey is currently experiencing high levels of inflation, around 10-12% per annum.

  • A Big Mac costs 19.99 lira in Turkey (or AUD $3.16)

South African Rand - ZAR

zar

The AUD is up 1.58% against the ZAR in a month. In June it was purchasing 10.75R. At the time of writing it purchased 10.92R.

  • A Big Mac costs 33.50R in South Africa (or AUD $3.07)

Hungarian Forint - HUF

hungary

The AUD is up 7.41% against the HUF. This time last year the AUD bought 210.58 forints. At the time of writing it purchased 226.18 forints.

  • If you’re hungry in Hungary, a Big Mac costs 900 forints (or AUD $3.98)

Colombian Peso - COP

colombia

The AUD is up 9.80% against the COP. This time last year the AUD bought 2631.25 pesos. At the time of writing it purchased 2889.03 pesos.

  • A Big Mac costs 12,950 pesos (or AUD $4.48)

Norwegian Krone - NOK

norway

This time last year the AUD bought 6.50 krone. At the time of writing it purchased 6.51 krone, so a very slight appreciation.

  • A Big Mac is NKr57 (or AUD $8.76)

Costs and Considerations of Exchange Rates

There’s a few considerations to make before setting off to the countries with the most favourable exchange rates or the cheapest Big Macs.

International Transaction Fees

One of the main considerations is the fact that this comparison is using what’s called the 'spot rate', which is what you see on TV or on Google when looking at exchange rates. Your debit card or credit card may offer a poorer exchange rate or tack on extra fees for overseas use.

That’s why it could be a good idea to look into debit or credit cards with no international transaction fees, as well as no ATM fees.

Economic Conditions

Keep in mind that weak currencies may be that way because of its nation’s high inflation rates. Take Argentina for example, with its 40-50% inflation rate, as well as Turkey, which hovers around 10%.

This means that prices of goods can fluctuate wildly, and your Big Mac may cost a lot more in the future. High inflation could be due to political or economic instability, usually as a result of trade deficits and governments devaluing their countries' currencies to make their exports more attractive.

Safety Considerations

Note: This advice on travel warnings was made before the COVID-19 travel lockdowns. All countries now have a 'Do Not Travel' warning.

Aside from the cost of travelling, how safe a country is may also be a big consideration for you. Smart Traveller regularly updates its reports on countries around the world, and the ratings at the time of writing for the countries mentioned were:

  • Argentina: Exercise normal safety precautions
  • Chile: Exercise a high degree of caution
  • Brazil: Exercise a high degree of caution
  • Turkey: Exercise a high degree of caution
  • South Africa: Exercise a high degree of caution
  • Hungary: Exercise normal safety precautions
  • Colombia: Exercise a high degree of caution
  • Norway: Exercise normal safety precautions

Ratings can be determined by political and economic (in)stability, crime rates and terrorism, as well as outbreaks of viruses and other dangers. Please also note that Smart Traveller regularly updates these ratings, and even something we take for granted in Australia, such as a federal election, may cause violence and protests elsewhere.

The Big Mac Index: A Flawed Metric?

While the Big Mac Index is a fun way to look at what’s called 'purchasing power parity' to determine like-for-like cost of goods in different countries, there are a few flaws. One of the biggest ones is that a country may have high taxes on fast food or sugary drinks, thus disproportionately inflating the price. The second flaw is that countries dominated by different religions may limit or ban the use of beef, thus influencing the Big Mac Index. The third flaw is that regional differences exist: a Big Mac may be priced differently in New York City compared to Little Rock, Arkansas for example. The fourth is countries may have to import ingredients used to make a Big Mac, inflating the price. The Big Mac Index is a useful guide, but there’s more to consider when it comes to travel costs.

Savings.com.au's two cents

The Aussie dollar has taken a beating against many currencies in the last few years - both major and minor. However, it has experienced a slight surge against currencies in the wake of the pandemic.

While it’s useful to look at countries where our dollar is performing strongly, it’s not the be all and end all of travelling. There’s a lot of other considerations to make, and just because a country is cheap doesn’t necessarily make it enjoyable or even safe to travel to. While getting more bang for your buck travelling to these destinations is tempting, it could be a good idea to pick a place you actually want to travel to.

Article first published 12 February 2020, last updated 27 July 2021.


Head Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

Argentina: Photo by Toimetaja tõlkebüroo on Unsplash

Chile: Photo by Pablo García Saldaña on Unsplash

Brazil: Photo by Raphael Nogueira on Unsplash

Turkey: Photo by Daniil Vnoutchkov on Unsplash

South Africa: Photo by KYLE CUT MEDIA on Unsplash

Hungary: Photo by Dan Novac on Unsplash

Colombia: Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Norway: Photo by Michael Fousert on Unsplash

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Harrison is Savings.com.au's Assistant Editor. Prior to joining Savings in January 2020, he worked for some of Australia's largest comparison sites and media organisations. With a keen interest in the economy, housing policy, and personal finance, Harrison is passionate about breaking down complex financial topics for the everyday consumer.

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