18 Aug 2011

High dollar expected to restrict spending by rugby visitors

12:20 pm on 18 August 2011

The Reserve Bank expects the high New Zealand dollar to act as a drag on spending by foreign visitors during the Rugby World Cup.

But it still expects foreigners to spend $700 million during the tournament, which starts on 9 September.

Radio New Zealand's economics correspondent says the kiwi is particularly high against the South African rand, British pound and US dollar at present.

Along with the euro and the Australian dollar, the bank says these are the currencies of most visitors coming to the tournament.

Reserve Bank analysts say most visitors will have a fixed budget and the erosion of their own currencies' purchasing power due to the high kiwi will cut into spending.

High debt levels in all of the major participating countries, except South Africa, also means spending will be lower than it could have been.

Still, the analysts expect foreigners to spend $700 million here during the tournament, equivalent to 1.4% of Gross Domestic Product.