Monday, November 10, 2014

Mixed currency outcomes for tourism

The recent (misleading) Cairns Post report on arrivals, departures and the tourism deficit included some discussion of the currency. It is important to remember that the headline news $US rate won't reflect the range of currency outcomes across tourism markets. In a previous post on long term correlation of tourism and the exchange rate I used the Trade Weighted Index (TWI). While the $AUD is around its low for the year v the $US the TWI remains above its low for 2014.

I downloaded the most recent spreadsheet from the RBA of daily exchange rates for a range of currencies over calendar 2014. This is the current range of variation for the $AUD as of last Friday relative to the average for 2014 against each:


TWI is shaded green as the benchmark. The $AUD is still above its 2014 average for some key tourism markets and particularly Japan with the Yen being driven down under Abenomic QE. Others such as the UK and South Korea would barely be able to perceive any change.

 Although a change in currency relativities across the spectrum may also change the relative value of destinations. An intending traveller in either Japan or the USA, despite being at opposite ends of this scale, would have perceived insignificant change in currency value between either Australia or Europe as a destination. Skiing in Japan maybe starting to look cheaper relative to Aspen, or Mt Hotham, for some domestic enthusiasts.

The ABS don't aggregate the Euro on arrivals data and only list Germany among the top 10 nations. However an aggregated Eurzone would rival the UK and be ahead of the USA at #4. The non-euro Scandinavian currencies have also been similarly weaker recently relative to the $US with the Swedish Krona charting its own unique course in recent years and the current topic of some controversy among monetary wonks as their central bank appears to have successfully managed to induce only recessionary deflation.

It really deserves a more detailed longer term analysis but I was too lazy. Long term currency relative to Purchasing Power Parity may also be worth a look relative to tourism. Would have to check but I think the PPP estimate for the $AUD is somewhere below US80c which is where the latest currency forecast consensus now seems to be heading for 2014.

Note: Conus has a post today on backpacker tourism which may also have some currency relevance.

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