Bulletin – September Quarter 2016 Sensitivity of Australian Trade to the Exchange Rate Abstract

The exchange rate is an important determinant of Australian exports and imports. Movements in the exchange rate affect the relative prices of traded goods and services, and thus the competitiveness of domestic producers of exports and import-competing goods and services. This article provides estimates of the sensitivity of Australian exports and imports to changes in the exchange rate at the aggregate and component level. Other things equal, a 10 per cent depreciation in the real exchange rate is estimated to increase export volumes by around 3 per cent and decrease import volumes by about 4 per cent after two years, which implies a cumulative net exports contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) of around 1½ percentage points over this period. However, the aggregate responses of exports and imports disguise substantial variation in the responses of the components. Trade in services is generally more responsive to movements in the exchange rate than trade in goods, although it takes longer for the full effect to be seen in services trade volumes.

View the article