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RBNZ deputy to talk dollars with coin fanciers

RBNZ deputy to talk dollars with coin fanciers, may not drop policy hints

By Tina Morrison

July 3 (BusinessDesk) - Reserve Bank deputy governor Geoff Bascand is to discuss the New Zealand dollar at a conference this weekend, although the coin fanciers in the audience are unlikely to get any hints about current policy.

New Zealand is holding its first ever international numismatic conference and fair in Wellington and Bascand is scheduled to deliver a speech titled The Evolution of New Zealand's Currency on Saturday. Some 120 people have registered to take part in the conference, which will include a walking tour of numismatic sites of interest, including a special exhibit of medals held at parliament, the Reserve Bank Museum, Archives New Zealand and the BNZ Museum at Harbour Quays.

The speech comes as the New Zealand dollar is trading near a record high on a trade-weighted basis and a three-year high versus the greenback. Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler signalled in May that the bank would be prepared to intervene by selling the kiwi if it remains high while commodity prices fall. The majority of traders and strategists surveyed by BusinessDesk this week said the currency could break through 88.40 US cents this week to reach the highest since being allowed to trade freely in 1985.

The Reserve Bank is in a tight spot as it raises interest rates in an attempt to slow inflation from an expanding economy, even as it is thwarted by local trading banks able to source cheaper money from overseas to lend to locals. While the bank feels weaker commodity prices should be weighing on the kiwi, investors continue to favour the currency as they remain focused on the higher yields available in a global environment of low interest rates.

Any currency trading at the Wellington conference is likely to be focused on rare or unusual coins, medals and banknotes.

The New Zealand dollar recently traded at 87.67 US cents. It was forecast to trade between 86.40 US cents and 89.90 cents this week, according to a BusinessDesk survey of 10 traders and strategists. The trade-weighted index was recently at 81.35 and last week touched a record 81.71.


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