19 Jul 2013

Repatriating super funds tipped to push dollar higher

6:32 pm on 19 July 2013

One of the forces likely to push the New Zealand dollar higher against its Australian counterpart is New Zealanders repatriating their superannuation funds.

Bank of New Zealand currency strategist Mike Jones says the Australian Tax Office estimates there's about $NZ21 billion worth of unclaimed funds sitting in Australian superannuation funds.

A good chunk of that money belongs to New Zealanders who have left Australia.

Mr Jones estimates the funds which could be repatriated could be anywhere between $4 billion to $8 billion.

He says the legislation has only been recently enacted and there is a lot of uncertainty about how much money will come back from Australian superannuation funds into Kiwisaver accounts.

Mr Jones says there's potentially some upward pressure from the money which does return to New Zealand in the coming years.

He says other factors likely to push the New Zealand dollar higher are relative interest rates and relative commodity prices in each country.

Mr Jones says it's a source of strength for the New Zealand currency that interest rates are set to rise, where as interest rates are likely to be cut again in Australia as the economy weakens.

He says New Zealand commodity export prices for dairy are holding up at very high levels, where as in Australia prices for gold, copper, iron ore and other resources have fallen sharply as the Chinese slow-down has gathered pace.