Thousands of investors hit hard

The investments of many of the 380,000 people who have joined the KiwiSaver scheme have taken a battering with the dramatic slump in sharemarkets.

New Zealand and world sharemarkets have taken a dive in the past fortnight after falls in the United States.

Fears of a recession there and massive losses in US housing markets by big lenders have triggered waves of Americans bailing out of share investments.

New Zealand shares yesterday suffered their biggest one-day loss of $770 million.

In the past two weeks, about $4.5 billion has been knocked off New Zealand share values. Since October, about $8.5b has been lost from Kiwi shares.

The impact on KiwiSaver investors depends on how much of their money put into a fund of their choice is invested in shares and property, which are taking a hammering, and how much is in safe investments like fixed-interest investments, managers say.

KiwiSaver was launched six months ago, with more than 380,000 people so far having paid $300 million into 162 managed funds.

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