13 Apr 2013

Dollar continues to surge

10:09 am on 13 April 2013

The New Zealand dollar has continued to surge and has broken through the US86 cent mark.

About 10pm on Friday, the kiwi was sitting at around US86 cents after earlier reaching US86.77 cents.

The currency also hit a record 79.57 on the Trade Weighted Index, which measures the dollar's value against the currencies of its major trading partners, before slipping back slightly.

The New Zealand dollar kiwi has appreciated strongly since the Bank of Japan launched its latest efforts to kick-start its economy, prompting investors to seek higher returns in countries with relatively high interest rates such as New Zealand and Australia.

Westpac market strategist Imre Speizer says the gains are also underpinned by signs the economic recovery is picking up pace, and it is likely the dollar will keep rising and could exceed US90 cents.

The Manufacturers and Exporters Association says every increase in the dollar wipes more revenue from those producing goods for export.

Chief executive John Walley told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Friday there is an underlying drive across the sector toward cutbacks and in some cases, closure or moving offshore which is bad for jobs in New Zealand.

Mr Walley says any rise against the US dollar has a significant impact as exporters sell largely in that currency. He says a 1% change in the currency has an impact of about 10% percent on profit.

A foreign exchange specialist says manufacturers and exporters struggling with the high exchange rate could try asking the Government for financial help.

Peter Cavanaugh, of Bancorp Treasury Services, says many businesses hedge the price at which they sell their product but they may also need to change the price, buy cheaper raw product, or change the business structure.

He told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme it may also be worthwhile for businesses to lobby the Government for more research and development funding to develop more value-added products.

Mr Cavanaugh says sectors that can't change prices fast enough, such as horticulture businesses selling to Japan and lamb exporters to the United Kingdom, are selling at a loss.