New Zealand exporters need to be competitive with the currency around 80 US cents, as the New Zealand dollar is staying around that level, Finance Minister Bill English says.
The currency hit a new four month high of 83 US cents overnight, and reached a new all time high of 63.2 euro cents. It is up from about 73 US cents in late November last year, after it had fallen from its all time high over 88 US cents at the start of August.
“It keeps moving back to 80 cents. We thought it looked like it was going to drop off in the latter part of last year, but it’s gone back up to 80 cents,” English said to media in Wellington today.
"The good news is that it maintains consumers’ purchasing power, so it’s helping them to pay off their debt, and our exporters have adapted to it pretty well. So despite the fact that it’s historically high, our manufacturing sector has been growing and our primary production sector's just had the biggest export quarter it’s ever had,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say ‘no worries’ – it’s a headwind. But we need to ensure our exporters can be competitive at 80 US cents, and they are showing the can be. I think that’s positive for our future.”
(Updates with video)