AAP Finance

‘Absolutely nuts’ currency flash crash

By AAP Newswire

The Aussie dollar has mostly rebounded from a dramatic flash crash that hit many currency pairs but is still trading at its lowest level in three years.

The Australian dollar plunged 3 per cent against the US dollar and 6 per cent against the Japanese yen in seven minutes, beginning just after 0930 AEDT on Thursday.

It briefly hit a low of 67.49 US cents, its lowest level since early 2009, before making up half of its losses in another five minutes.

The American dollar, the Aussie and the British pound also crashed against the yen about the same time before similarly rebounding.

"It's been absolutely nuts," Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group in Melbourne, said

"Obviously everyone's scratching around to find an explanation."

Weston said it appeared the American dollar first collapsed against the yen, and that dragged the major currency pairs with it.

Trading was thin at the time, with United States markets closed and Japanese traders on holiday, said Weston, who blamed the flash crash in part on algorithmic trading.

"The algos have just followed this all the way down," he said.

"It comes at a time when the markets are very anxious anyway."

Some traders also suggested that the crash began when Apple Inc shocked investors by warning its first-quarter revenue would be less than expected because of weakness in China.

At 1600 AEDT the Aussie had recovered most of its losses against the greenback, trading at 69.46 American cents.

That is still its lowest level since February 2016 and 0.57 per cent lower than Wednesday.

It had also rebounded against the yen.