Soaring kiwi slashes cash from cows

Dairy farmers are bemoaning lost revenue. Photo by Sally Rae.
Dairy farmers are bemoaning lost revenue. Photo by Sally Rae.
The high value of the New Zealand dollar has cost Fonterra's farmer-shareholders about $1 billion in lost revenue, Federated Farmers dairy spokesman Willy Leferink says.

"Increased production from our farms - not just dairy I need to add - helped to offset the high dollar. Yet the dollar's strength came with a $1 billion opportunity-cost for Fonterra's farmer-shareholders.

"That might have some calling for the new Reserve Bank governor's head, but we cannot blame him. The dollar is being kept high by what our Government is spending. It is something like $8 million every single hour, so why don't we start there?" he asked.

Mr Leferink was commenting on Fonterra's annual profit result of $1.03 billion for the year ending June.

At the same time, Fonterra's payout was down 19% to $6.40 per kg of milk solids and came with a warning it would drop to $5.25 next year.

However, Mr Leferink may have some time to wait before the dollar drops to a level satisfactory for Fonterra stakeholders. The ASB Kiwi Dollar Barometer shows that on average, businesses expect the dollar to peak at US85.6c around the middle of next year.

That is higher than the ASB forecast of a peak of US84c in mid-2013.

Businesses have a much lower expectation of the long-term average of the dollar, reckoning the kiwi to average US63.2c over the next 10 years. In contrast, the kiwi averaged US69c in the past 10 years and ASB expected the average over the next 10 years to be higher than that.

The Barometer tracks exporters and exporters and their exposure to foreign exchange risk by surveying businesses with annual turnovers of at least $1 million.


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