March 19, 2020 / 3:01 AM / 15 days ago

NZ says financial system cashed-up to meet demand amid virus crisis

WELLINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) - The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) said on Thursday the banking system has plenty of cash on hand to meet demand under any circumstances, addressing concerns of cash availability amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“As an example, the Reserve Bank has at least two years’ worth of replacement cash available to feed into the system if required,” Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby said in a statement.

New Zealand’s banks, the companies that transport cash, and those that supply cash-handling equipment are all prepared for operating during all circumstances, including any unusual challenges that COVID-19 may pose, he added.

RBNZ is also asking shoppers and retailers to practice good hand hygiene as cash is just one of a number of frequently touched surfaces encountered.

“Retailers should use common-sense when it comes to cash. Businesses are not obliged to accept cash, but declining it may end up disadvantaging people who rely on its use,” he added.

New Zealand has reported 28 cases of coronavirus infections, but no deaths. Globally, total infections have crossed the 200,000 mark while more than 8,000 people have died. (Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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