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June 2005 issue of the Reserve Bank Bulletin

30 June 2005

The Reserve Bank today released the June 2005 issue of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin. The first article of the Bulletin discusses the outcome of the recent review of New Zealand's 'silver' coinage, which will see the move to smaller and lighter 10, 20 and 50 cent coins, and the withdrawal of the 5 cent coin from circulation.

The article also reports on New Zealand's experience with polymer bank notes, which were first introduced in 1999, together with changes to the processes used to distribute cash to the registered banks.

The second article reviews trends in household savings behaviour over the past 15 years, along with other developments in the household balance sheet. The article notes that growing levels of household indebtedness mean that households may have become more sensitive to changes in interest rates and incomes. The article also briefly considers the implications of New Zealand's ongoing reliance on foreign savings for the macro-economy at large.

The third article provides an overview of developments in New Zealand's corporate sector over the past few years. A key finding is that the corporate sector has enjoyed strong profit growth and increased margins on the back of strong economic growth. Indebtedness in the sector as a whole appears to have been falling with a sharp rise in investment activity funded from retained earnings or new issues of equity.

The fourth article provides an overview of New Zealand's retail sector. The article reports strong growth in retail sales over the past five years, but also finds that the scale of the sector (the number and size of retail operators) has been expanding at the same time. This appears to have constrained profitability for retailers as well as maintaining competitive pressure within the sector.

This issue includes a recent speech by the Reserve Bank Governor on the latest policy developments in banking regulation and supervision in New Zealand.


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