Here's my summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am in association with Bank of New Zealand, including news that Chinese factory output fell for the fourth month in a row in February, according to the HSBC-Markit flash PMI (Purchasing Managers Index).
This measure of what purchasing managers inside factories are seeing is a leading indicator of production and therefore GDP in the world's fastest growing major economy, which is also the largest trading partner for Australia and New Zealand collectively. See more here at Bloomberg.
The HSBC-Markit flash PMI also found export orders from China fell in February by the most in eight months as demand from southern Europe shrivelled. Europe is China's largest buyer of exports. See more here at Reuters.
The outlook for China's economy is now crucial for New Zealand's economy and the outlook for interest rates, given hopes for our economic recovery depend on China managing a 'soft landing' that allows imports of New Zealand products and commodity prices to stay at near record levels. A hard landing in China would increase the chances of interest rates staying lower for longer. See more here from BNZ on wholesale interest rates dipping slightly in New Zealand after a sharp rise.
Meanwhile, the Markit Eurozone flash PMI showed the European economy tipping into recession in February. See more here at Reuters.
US stocks were down around 0.4% in late trade after weaker than expected growth in existing home sales in the United States and a poor result from Dell. See more here at Bloomberg.
All these 'risk off' factor saw the New Zealand dollar ease back from its highs agains the US dollar to around 83 USc in morning trade. See more here in BNZ's currencies report on our site.
Meanwhile, closer to home and a year on from the earthquake in Christchruch, not much has been rebuilt.
Fletcher Building and Trade Me
Fletcher Building's profit fell 13% to NZ$144 million after a slowdown in house building on both sides of a Tasman and a very slow start to the Christchurch rebuild, where Fletcher is the government's project manager and doesn't see much rebuilding work starting until later this year.
It also lowered its forecast for full year profits and warned of restructuring costs for its Laminex division and a strategic review of its insulation arm. Fletcher's shares fell another 2% to NZ$6.51 and are down 46% from a high of NZ$9.52 in April last year in the immediate aftermath of the quake. See more here from BusinessDesk on our site.
However, the news was much better from Trade Me. It's maiden profit result as a listed company was a half year net profit of NZ$36.4 million, which was above the forecast in its prospectus. Its shares were down 2 cents on Wednesday at NZ$3.14, but remain 16% above their December IPO price.
Trade Me is benefiting from the move in retail sales online and sees growth in the shift to mobile. It is sticking with its prospectus forecast. See more here from BusinessDesk on our site.