A$ slide cheers travellers, students

A$ slide cheers travellers, students

The traditionally strong Australian dollar has finally gone down under, with travellers, students and property buyers among those who immediately stand to benefit.

At the start of last month, A$1 cost as much as S$1.27. Last Friday, it was about S$1.18, its lowest level since July 2010.

Ms Jennifer Tham, whose son Leroy Wan, 23, is a diploma-year student at Curtin College in Perth, said his school fees are now cheaper in Singdollar terms.

Ms Tham, 49, who sends her son about A$12,000 every six months for school fees, said the most recent payment cost her S$1,400 less than usual, as a result of the weaker Australian dollar.

"I will observe whether the Australian dollar continues to go down - if it does, I will take the opportunity to change more cash for him," said Ms Tham, who works at a local bank.

Earlier this year, the cost of a non-medical, four-year degree in Australia added up to S$272,338, based on an exchange rate of A$1 to S$1.27. Based on last Friday's exchange rate, the same degree will now cost about S$20,000 less.

If the Australian dollar falls to as low as A$1 to S$1.15 over the next few months as predicted by OCBC forex strategist Emmanuel Ng, the savings will rise to S$25,000.

Singaporeans vacationing in Australia during the June holidays are finding they have more to spend. At the start of May, a vacationer could get A$787 for every S$1,000. At last Friday's exchange rate, he would have got A$847.

For now, Australian tour prices - which can range from about S$1,800 for a five-day trip to Cairns to S$3,300 for an eight-day trip to Tasmania - have not come down.

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