The allure of the gyrating dollar

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The Australian dollar has been performing an interesting dance - and foreign exchange traders should be among the beneficiaries.

First it was down, then it was up, now it's down again; the Aussie dollar has been all over the place as the world tries to dodge the fallout from the US sub-prime housing crisis. For FX traders positioned on the right side of the volatility, it should prove good news in terms of profits - and therefore bonuses.

High volumes and high volatility will be less helpful if you fancy getting a job as an FX trader, however. Jonathan Barratt, managing director of Sydney-based Commodity Broking, says the FX industry's "massive expansion" won't translate into new hires: "The trades are electronic: it just means traders are putting more through."

But Tony Shaw, FX specialist at Select Personnel, says both domestic and global banks are adding trading staff, and that a shortage of good candidates at home means they're recruiting offshore - particularly in larger markets such as the UK.

Good traders (i.e. those positioned on the right side of the dollar's gyrations) can make a packet. Matthew Clarke at Bradman Recruitment says base salaries are usually a mere AU$70k to AU$80k. But bonuses can be five times this and top traders can make more than AU$1m in total.

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