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Aussie Overvalued, Brazil Won’t Let Real Rise, O’Neill Says

Australia’s currency is overvalued and Brazil’s weak economy means it won’t allow the real to appreciate, according to Goldman Sachs Asset Management Chairman Jim O’Neill.

“The currency I find the most interesting is the Australian dollar,” O’Neill, 56, said at a Goldman Sachs seminar in Tokyo today. “The Australian dollar is significantly overvalued.”

O’Neill said it is “easy to dislike every major currency.”

The so-called Aussie strengthened 0.3 percent to $1.0324 today, reversing a drop of 0.3 percent. The currency is extending its longest stretch above parity with the U.S. dollar since it was freely floated in 1983. In addition to resource investment, Australia’s dollar has been boosted by foreign purchases of government debt.

Brazil’s central bank this week raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time since July 2011 in a bid to tame inflation. Policy makers have swung between selling currency swaps to prevent the real from falling too quickly and offering reverse currency swaps to protect exporters by reining in gains.

O’Neill will step down this year from his current role as chairman of Goldman Sachs’s asset-management division, which he has held since 2010, according to a February announcement. He joined the company in 1995 as a partner, became head of global economics, commodities and strategy research in 2001 and was added to the European management committee in 2006.

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