Nila Sweeney

The dollar hit a new post-float high on Monday morning trading at 105.7 US cents, the highest level since the currency was floated in the early 1980s.


A special thanks needs to be said to China and India, with their insatiable demand for Australia’s iron ore and coal. The soaring price of Australia’s commodities has boosted the dollar to new heights.


The big question is: where to now? Some economists are tipping the dollar to hit $1.10 US cents or even higher, but no one is foolish enough to think the current state of affairs will last forever.


So if you’re looking to take advantage of the situation, now is the time to strike. Here are Your Money Magazine’s top choices:


1. Invest overseas
If you’ve got the cash, then consider investing in overseas shares using local funds. As the Aussie dollar grows in strength the best value will be found in European and US companies. You can invest through Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) that are traded on the ASX like shares. Investors can buy ETFs that track major US and UK indices, as well as particular sectors and commodities. Eventually you will want the Aussie dollar to fall by the time in time for when you exit the investments.


2. Invest locally
Because a strong local currency benefits importers, consider buying local shares from major retailers. Many are getting their products at cheaper prices, but are not passing on that discount (or at least not the full discount) to consumers – so margins for importers are increasing. Importers that have done well on the Australian share market include: JB Hi-Fi, David Jones, Woolworths and Harvey Norman.


3. Overseas property investment
Properties in the US in certain areas have been selling for a song. But property investors need to go in with both eyes open. Read Fool-Proof Your Foreign Property Purchase  for tips and tricks.


4. Take an overseas holiday
Now has never been a better time to visit the US. Flight Centre is currently advertising flights from Sydney to LA for under $1000. Disneyland, Las Vegas, Hollywood Boulevard – Aussies can tick off items from their bucket list in one go! Meanwhile flights to London are being advertised for as little as $1383. Other potentially cheap travel destinations include countries that mostly trade in US dollars.


5. Overseas business trip
It’s a good time to suggest that overseas trade show or conference to your boss. And if you’re able to take some holiday time as well, you’ll get free personal trip out of it.


6. Shop online
The most popular items to shop for include electronic goods, fashion and books. The best deals can be found from US and UK retailers. While most major retailers will ship to Australia, there is a way to secure goods from smaller US retailers that do not have an international shipping policy. The Australian-owned www.priceusa.com.au allows consumers to find goods from US stores online and put in an order through the website for a fee of 5%. The website then uses American agents to buy the goods and ship them to Australia.

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