|ISO 4217 code||AUD|
|Central bank||Reserve Bank of Australia|
|Inflation||2.2% (Australia only)|
|Source||Reserve Bank of Australia, January 2013.|
|Pegged by||Tuvaluan dollar and Kiribati dollar at par|
|Symbol||$, A$ or AUD|
|cent||c or ¢|
|Coins||5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2|
|Banknotes||$5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|Printer||Note Printing Australia|
|Mint||Royal Australian Mint|
The Australian dollar (sign: $; code: AUD) is the currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, including Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific Island states of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu. Within Australia it is almost always abbreviated with the dollar sign ($), with A$ sometimes used to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is subdivided into 100 cents.
As of 2011, the Australian dollar is the 5th most traded currency in the world, accounting for 7.6% of the world's daily share. It trades in the world foreign exchange markets behind the US dollar, the euro, the yen and the pound sterling. The Australian dollar is popular with currency traders, because of the comparatively high interest rates in Australia, the relative freedom of the foreign exchange market from government intervention, the general stability of Australia's economy and political system, and the prevailing view that the Australian dollar offers diversification benefits in a portfolio containing the major world currencies, especially because of its greater exposure to Asian economies and the commodities cycle. The currency is commonly referred to by foreign-exchange traders as the "Aussie".
With pounds, shillings and pence to be replaced by decimal currency on 14 February 1966, many names for the new currency were suggested. In 1965, the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, a monarchist, wished to name the currency the royal. Other proposed names included more exotic suggestions such as the austral, the oz, the boomer, the roo, the kanga, the emu, the digger, the Quid, the dinkum and the ming (Menzies's nickname). Menzies's influence resulted in the selection of the "royal," and trial designs were prepared and printed by the Reserve Bank of Australia. The name for the currency proved unpopular and was later dropped in favour of the dollar.
The Australian pound, introduced in 1910 and officially distinct in value from the pound sterling since devaluation in 1931, was replaced by the dollar on 14 February 1966. The rate of conversion for the new decimal currency was two dollars per Australian pound, or ten Australian shillings per dollar. The exchange rate was pegged to the pound sterling at a rate of $1 = 8 shillings ($2.50 = UK £1). In 1967, Australia effectively left the sterling area, when the pound sterling was devalued against the US dollar and the Australian dollar did not follow. It maintained its peg to the US dollar at the rate of A$1 = US$1.12.
On 27 September 2012, the Reserve Bank of Australia stated that they had ordered work on a project to upgrade the current notes. It stated this was necessary because of the addition of many new security features but declined to state any. It is expected to take several years for the notes to be issued.
In 1966, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. The initial 50 cent coins contained high silver (80%) content and were withdrawn after a year after it was found that the intrinsic value of the silver content exceeded the face value of the coins. One-dollar coins were introduced in 1984, followed by two-dollar coins in 1988. The one- and two-cent coins were discontinued in 1991 and withdrawn from circulation. In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of decimal currency, the 2006 mint proof and uncirculated sets included one- and two-cent coins. In early 2013, Australia's first triangular coin was introduced, to mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of Parliament House. The silver $5 coin is 99.9 per cent silver and depicts Parliament House as viewed from one of its courtyards. Cash transactions are rounded to the nearest five cents. As with most public changes to currency systems, there has been a great amount of seignorage of the discontinued coins. All coins portray the reigning Australian Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, on the obverse, and are produced by the Royal Australian Mint.
Australia has regularly issued commemorative 50-cent coins. The first was in 1970, commemorating James Cook's exploration along the east coast of the Australian continent, followed in 1977 by a coin for Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee, the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, the Brisbane Commonwealth Games in 1982, and the Australian Bicentenary in 1988. Issues expanded into greater numbers in the 1990s and the 21st century, responding to collector demand. Australia has also made special issues of 20-cent, one-dollar and two-dollar coins.
Current Australian 5-, 10- and 20-cent coins are identical in size to the former Australian, New Zealand and British sixpence, shilling and two shilling (florin) coins. In 1990, the UK replaced these coins with smaller versions, as did New Zealand in 2006 - at the same time discontinuing the five-cent coin. With a mass of 15.55 grams and a diameter of 31.51 mm, the Australian 50-cent coin is one of the largest sized coins used in the world today. In circulation, the old New Zealand 5-, 10- and 20-cent coins were often mistaken for Australian coins of the same value, owing to their identical size and shape. Until the size of the New Zealand coins was changed in 2004, Australian coins below the dollar in value were in circulation in both countries. There is still some confusion with the larger denomination coins in the two countries; Australia's $1 coin is similar in size to New Zealand's $2 coin, and the New Zealand $1 coin is similar in size to Australia's $2 coin. As such, Australian coins are occasionally found in New Zealand and vice versa.
The first paper issues of Australian dollars were issued in 1966. The $1, $2, $10 and $20 notes had exact equivalents in the former pound banknotes. The $5 note was issued in 1967, after the public had become familiar with decimal currency.
The first polymer banknotes were issued in 1988 by the Reserve Bank of Australia, specifically polypropylene polymer banknotes (produced by Note Printing Australia), to commemorate the bicentenary of European settlement in Australia. All Australian notes are now made of polymer.
Value of the Australian dollar
|Rank||Currency||ISO 4217 code
| % daily share
|United States dollar||
|New Zealand dollar||
|Hong Kong dollar||
In 1966, when the Australian dollar was introduced, the international currency relationships were maintained under the Bretton Woods system, a fixed exchange rate system using a U.S. dollar standard. The Australian dollar, however, was effectively pegged to the British pound at an equivalent value of approximately 1 gram of gold.
The highest valuation of the Australian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar was during the period of the peg to the U.S. dollar. On 9 September 1973, the peg was adjusted to US$1.4875, the fluctuation limits being changed to US$1.485–US$1.490; on both 7 December 1973 and 10 December 1973, the noon buying rate in New York City for cable transfers payable in foreign currencies reached its highest point of 1.4885 U.S. dollars to one Australian 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 27 July 2011, the Australian dollar hit a record high since the floating of the dollar. It traded at a $1.1080 against the US dollar.
Economists posit that commodity prices are the dominant driver of the Australian dollar, and this means changes in exchange rates of the Australian dollar occur in ways opposite to many other currencies. For decades, Australia's balance of trade has depended primarily upon commodity exports such as minerals and agricultural products. This means the relative value of the dollar varies significantly during the business cycle, rallying during global booms as Australia exports raw materials, and falling when mineral prices slump or when domestic spending overshadows the export earnings outlook. This movement is in the opposite direction to reserve currencies, which tend to be stronger during market slumps as traders move value from falling stocks into cash.
The Australian dollar is a reserve currency, and it is one of the most traded currencies in the world. Other factors include a relative lack of central bank intervention, and general stability of the Australian economy and government. In January 2011 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Alexei Ulyukayev announced that the Central Bank of Russia would begin keeping Australian dollar reserves.
Exchange rate policies
Prior to 1983, Australia maintained a fixed exchange rate. The first peg was between the Australian and British pounds, initially at par, and later at 0.8 GBP (16 shillings sterling). This reflected its historical ties as well as a view about the stability in value of the British pound. From 1946 to 1971, Australia maintained a peg under the Bretton Woods system, a fixed exchange rate system that pegged the U.S. dollar to gold, but the Australian dollar was effectively pegged to sterling until 1967.
With the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system in 1971, Australia converted the traditional peg to a fluctuating rate against the US dollar. In September 1974, Australia valued the dollar against a basket of currencies called the trade weighted index (TWI) in an effort to reduce the fluctuations associated with its tie to the US dollar. The daily TWI valuation was changed in November 1976 to a periodically adjusted valuation.
On 12 December 1983, the Australian Labor government led by Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Treasurer Paul Keating floated the Australian dollar, with the exchange rate reflecting the balance of payments and other market drivers.
Design and denominations
Australia was the first country in the world to have a complete system of bank notes made from plastic (polymer). These notes provide much greater security against counterfeiting. The polymer notes are cleaner than paper notes, are more durable and easily recyclable.
Australia’s currency comprises coins of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and one and two dollar denominations; and notes of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar denominations.
Many forms of currency were used in the Australian colonies after the arrival of the first European settlers in 1788. In the rough early conditions barter was necessary, and payment in commodities like rum sometimes replaced money in transactions. Some of the first official notes used in Australia were Police Fund Notes, issued by the Bank of New South Wales in 1816.
After 1901, when the Australian colonies federated into a single Commonwealth, the federal government became responsible for the currency. The Australian Notes Act was passed in 1910. In 1913 the first series of Australian notes was issued, based on the old British system of 12 pence to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound.
In 1963, Australia initiated the change to decimal currency. More than 1000 submissions were made about the name of the new currency unit. The Prime Minister of the day, Sir Robert Menzies, proposed the ‘royal’. The ‘dollar’ was eventually chosen as the name, and decimal currency was introduced on 14 February 1966.
Shortly after the changeover, substantial counterfeiting of $10 notes was detected. This provided an impetus for the Reserve Bank of Australia to develop new note technologies jointly with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
The revolutionary polymer notes were first introduced in 1988 with the issue of a commemorative $10 note, marking Australia’s bicentenary by featuring the theme of settlement. The note depicted on one side a young Aborigine in body paint, with other elements of Aboriginal culture. On the reverse side was the ship Supply from the First Fleet, with a background of Sydney Cove, as well as a group of people to illustrate the diverse backgrounds from which Australia has evolved over 200 years.
- The $100 note features world-renowned soprano Dame Nellie Melba (1861–1931), and the distinguished soldier, engineer and administrator General Sir John Monash (1865–1931).
- The $50 note features Aboriginal writer and inventor David Unaipon (1872–1967), and Australia’s first female parliamentarian, Edith Cowan (1861–1932).
- The $20 note features the founder of the world’s first aerial medical service (the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia), the Reverend John Flynn (1880–1951), and Mary Reibey (1777–1855), who arrived in Australia as a convict in 1792 and went on to become a successful shipping magnate and philanthropist.
- The $10 note features the poets AB "Banjo" Paterson (1864–1941) and Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962). This note incorporates micro-printed excerpts of Paterson’s and Gilmore’s work.
- The $5 note features Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Parliament House, Canberra, the national capital. (Note that a special centenary issue of the $5 note featured Sir Henry Parkes and Catherine Helen Spence in 2001.)
Polymer note technology was developed by Australia, and Australia prints polymer banknotes for a number of other countries. In 1988, Australia introduced its first polymer bank note and in 1996, Australia became the first country in the world to have a complete series of polymer notes. Australia’s notes are printed by Note Printing Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Note Printing Australia prints polymer notes for a growing number of other countries including Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Western Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Many other countries are showing a strong interest in the new technology.
All Australian coins depict Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, with different images on the reverse of each coin.
- The $2 coin, which replaced the paper two dollar note in 1988, depicts an Aboriginal tribal elder set against a background of the Southern Cross and native grasstrees.
- The $1 coin, which replaced the paper $1 note in 1984, depicts five kangaroos. The standard $1 design, along with the 50, 20, 10 and 5 cent designs, was created by the Queen’s official jeweler, Stuart Devlin.
- The 50 cent coin carries the coat of arms of Australia: the six state badges on a central shield supported by a kangaroo and an emu, with a background of golden wattle, Australia's floral emblem (see fact sheet on Australia’s coat of arms).
- The 20 cent coin carries a platypus, one of only two egg-laying mammals in the world. It has webbed feet and a duck-like bill that it uses to hunt for food along the bottom of streams and rivers.
- The 10 cent coin features a male lyrebird dancing. A clever mimic, the lyrebird inhabits the dense, damp forests of Australia’s eastern coast.
- The 5 cent coin depicts an echidna, or spiny anteater, the world’s only other egg-laying mammal.
The 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins are made of cupronickel (75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel). The one and two dollar coins are made of aluminum bronze (92 percent copper, 6 per cent aluminum and 2 per cent nickel). The two dollar, one dollar, 50 and 20 cent circulating coins occasionally feature commemorative designs.
Australia’s coins are produced by the Royal Australian Mint, which is located in the nation’s capital, Canberra. Since opening in 1965, the Mint has produced more than 14 billion circulating coins, and has the capacity to produce more than two million coins per day, or more than 600 million coins per year. The Royal Australian Mint has an international reputation for producing quality numismatic coins, and won an international award for ‘Best Silver Coin 2006’ for its Silver Kangaroo coin design.
|Current AUD exchange rates|
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- Banking in Australia
- Brass razoo
- Coins of Australia
- Economy of Australia
- Note Printing Australia
- Section 51 (xii) of the Constitution of Australia
- McGovern, Gerry; Norton, Rob; O'Dowd, Catherine (2002). The Web content style guide: an essential reference for online writers .... FT Press. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-273-65605-0. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
- The Canadian Style. Dundurn Press/Translation Bureau. 1997. ISBN 1-55002-276-8. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
- "World’s Most Traded Currencies". dummies.com. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Australia Foreign-Exchange Trading". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Report on global foreign exchange market activity in 2013" (PDF). Triennial Central Bank Survey. Basel, Switzerland: Bank for International Settlements. April 2013. p. 12. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- Yeates, Clancy (2 September 2010). "Aussie now fifth most traded currency". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- "The Royal Controversy". Museum of Australian Currency Notes. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- "Currency Notes of the 1930s". Museum of Australian Currency Notes. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- "Introducing the New Decimal Notes". Museum of Australian Currency Notes. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- Media Release: R.B.A.: Upgrading Australia's Banknotes http://www.rba.gov.au/media-releases/2012/mr-12-27.html
- ABC News Triangular coin celebrates Parliament House's birthday http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-09/first-triangular-coin-celebrates-parliament-birthday/4679654
- "World’s Most Traded Currencies By Value 2012". http://www.investopedia.com/. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- The total sum is 200% because each currency trade always involves a currency pair.
- World Currency Yearbook, 1984. p. 75. ISBN 0-917645-00-6.
- "U.S. / Australia Foreign Exchange Rate". Retrieved 26 July 2011.
- "20 years since Aussie dollar floated". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 8 December 2003. Archived from the original on 11 October 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- "Global risk weighs on Howard's agenda". CNN. 12 November 2001. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- "Australian Dollar Falls Before RBA Meeting: New Zealand's Drops". Bloomberg. 30 June 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- "Australian dollar hits parity vs US dollar". Reuters. 15 October 2010. Archived from the original on 18 October 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- Davis, Bradley (4 November 2010). "Australian dollar hits new post-float high after US central bank move". The Australian. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "AUD/USD Slides After Topping 1.10 Level - Westpac". Retrieved 2 May 2011.
- "Sky News: Aussie dollar hits new highs". Sky News. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- "Westpac Market Insights March 2011". Westpac. p. 4.
- Gary Dorsch (14 Feb 2006). "Analyzing the Australian Dollar - Up, Down, and Under". SafeHaven.com.
- "Russia to Keep Australian Dollar Reserves From February". Davos, Switzerland: RIA Novosti. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
- "1350.0 - Australian Economic Indicators, Mar 1998". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 8 December 2006. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- Krause, Chester L., and Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501.
- Pick, Albert (1994). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: General Issues. Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (editors) (7th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-207-9.
- Sound recording of 1966 Decimal Currency radio advertisement held at the National Archives of Australia
- Australian Decimal Currency
- Reserve Bank of Australia: Current Banknotes
- The Perth Mint is Australia's precious metals mint, making non-circulating/collector coins in silver, gold, and platinum.
- Note Printing Australia is the printer of Australia's notes, and also inventor of the abovementioned polymer banknotes, and world exporter of this technology.
- Current value of the Australian dollar (as measured by CPI) (source is RBA) (Note that a higher CPI figure indicates a reduction of value for the Australian dollar.)
- The Money Tracker site allows users to track Australian banknotes as they circulate around Australia.
- Images of historic and modern Australian bank notes
- Reserve Bank of Australia - daily value of AUD against 13 currencies, special drawing right and trade weighted index
- Reserve Bank of Australia - historical data of AUD since 1969 (various .xls files)
Ratio: 2 dollars = 1 pound
|Currency of Australia, Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, Norfolk Island, Nauru, Kiribati, Tuvalu
New Guinea pound
Ratio: 2 dollars = 1 pound
|Currency of Papua New Guinea
1966 – 1975
Papua New Guinean kina
Ratio: 2 dollars = 1 pound
|Currency of Solomon Islands
1966 – 1977
Solomon Islands dollar