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Wednesday, 22 May 2019 06:53 pm

Weak dollar hits refugee money exports

Mar 14th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

dollarmainThe falling New Zealand dollar is making it harder for refugees to support family members around the world.

The currency has slumped 35% against the US dollar in the past 12 months, eroding its value and reducing the real amount refugees can send overseas to their families.

The sharp decline in the Kiwi dollar has meant families struggle to find more money to send, says the executive chairman of Wellington’s ChangeMakers Refugee Forum, Adam Awad.

As it is often the sole source of income for family members back home or in refugee camps, the reduction forced by the weaker exchange rate can put their lives in jeopardy.

“[Refugees] work as much as they can to send money back, or otherwise their families will die,” Mr Awad says. “What it means to us is that we will pay more.”

It is difficult to explain why they cannot send the same amount of money back to their family: “If you say to them ‘it’s the financial crisis around the world,’ they say, ‘what does that mean?'” he says.

The refugees – already working long hours, often in menial positions – feel under pressure to try to put aside more money.

This stress will likely increase as, according to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in its first-quarter monetary policy statement today, the currency will continue depreciating until the middle of next year.

Commenting on the central bank’s statement, ANZ National Bank also favoured a lower dollar, saying it is critical to restoring balance to the country’s economy.

The dollar last Thursday rose above 51 US cents for the first time in two weeks after the central bank cut another 50 basis points from the official cash rate, taking it to a record low 3%.

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is a graduate of Whitireia NewsWire. He's a reporter for BusinessWire (yes - he does like the wire theme), where he writes daily stories updating currency movements. And he still spends far too much time reading blogs.
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