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Economists at the country's biggest bank say based on their bank's card data, spending has returned to 'normal' - but there's no sign of any catch-up on spending that was 'lost' during lockdown

Economists at the country's biggest bank say based on their bank's card data, spending has returned to 'normal' - but there's no sign of any catch-up on spending that was 'lost' during lockdown

Economists at the country's biggest bank say based on their bank's card data there has indeed been a post-lockdown 'bounce' in spending - but it's only a lacklustre one, and "actually pretty modest".

And they say there's been no sign of Kiwis playing 'catch-up' with their spending to make up for lost time during the lockdown restrictions.

ANZ NZ senior economist Liz Kendall, in a NZ Insight research note said there were now welcome signs of a bounce in activity.

"But don’t be fooled; while the disruption is easing, the recession is just beginning," she said, echoing remarks made in ANZ's latest Business Outlook Survey, also released on Thursday.

Based on ANZ card data, Kendall said: "The recent bounce in spending looks lacklustre, especially once you factor in how much spending was 'lost' during lockdown. We don’t expect the current buying flurry to continue, with the full impact of economic weakness yet to be felt."

She said a short-term bounce in activity was to be expected, reflecting pent-up demand, "but we expect spending to settle at a much lower trend".

ANZ card data, showed that daily spending had returned to "normal" since lockdown conditions were eased (figure 1.

But there was no sign of catch-up to make up for the output lost based on spending since March (figure 2).

"Seen in this light, the bounce so far has actually been pretty modest, especially given how much spending has been “lost” as a result of the lockdown. There is a queue for appointments at hairdressers, certainly, but no one is getting two haircuts to compensate for their previous shabbiness."

Kendall said the recession was "going to be nasty" and this is just the beginning.  She noted that the Reserve Bank has estimated this will be the biggest drop in GDP in at least 160 years, reflecting the unprecedented lockdown measures that shut down large chunks of the economy.

"Economic activity is past its lockdown lows, but the broader fallout is only just starting to be felt. And it’s the longer-lasting impacts that hurt the most.

"Persistent impacts on firm cash flow, household incomes and wealth positions will determine the extent of job losses, firm failures and cancelled investment. The extent of these impacts has not been fully borne out yet, but unfortunately will be large."

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44 Comments

Just picked up new dishwasher from Harvey Norman, guy told me it was the busiest June they have ever had.

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Amazing. Feel like I’m the only one in the country to have locked up their credit card. If it’s just a bit of catch up spending, that’s understandable but can’t possibly be sustained. Winter is coming.

Winter is indeed coming - Heat pumps and Dehumidifier Sales are jumping as people rush to purchase items that will help them survive winter in their landlords ‘leaky rot boxes’.

Landlords pay for heat pumps but nice trolling

Yeah, heatpumps in all my rentals and I don't have one in my own house. Keep telling the missus that with global warming Aucklanders don't need them. Couple of oil fin heaters do the trick for the week or so it gets a bit cold in Auckland over winter.

The way we did it when we were kids: "Just put a jumper on."

Gotta have some use for all those puffer jackets Kathmandu sells into Auckland.

I worry that some people out there don't realise the talk of some helicopter/free money was just an off the cuff remark rather than a set in stone commitment.

Indeed, my own take is that useful long-ish-life assets are far better off sitting in my modest abode and workshop, rather than their cash equivalents sitting in a bank account, squarely within the RBNZ's OBR cross-hairs.....

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Tricky one. I need a new dishwasher as well but the Presbyterian in me says carry on washing the dishes by hand. But I agree, as savers, we get no favours for leaving the hard earned in the bank and I’ve stopped trying to understand the share market.

Harvey Norman had great special $300 cheaper than Noel Lemming = Deflation

Andrewj, are you on commission? Has that rain in recent days been any good for you? Our raw milk supplier in Waipukurau are drying off some of their cows earlier than normal as no grass.

That part of Waipukurau is very dry still, we are still in a drought, no creeks flowing and empty dams. It's just getting cold and frosty , my italian rye is growing but everything gets so slow from now till the end of August.
Great to get raw A2 milk from a local source. I see Mpi dicked then around but backed down. My wife left the door down on the dishwasher, children mucking around tripped and landed on it, apparently that's common and always fatal for the machine.

Those of us with delicate little scottish hearts struggle with waste and needless spending, wife's often balance us out, there's always another hour in the day.

LOL. I’ve always found wives to be very expensive to run. We never learn.
If raw milk is a food safety issue then I think MPI should spend a bit more time focussing on imported foods - Chinese pork anyone?

Before pasteurization, consuming milk was considered dangerous and did kill many people at the turn of last century

My 3rd great-grandfather died at 33 in the 1870s from contaminated milk but the processes applied by raw milk suppliers today are a little different. I’ll take my chances.

mine fell of his horse and drowned on the way back from the pub after a mates funeral.

Yeah well Air NZ aren't helping themselves or us, no flights Auckland to Christchurch, Friday or Saturday

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The biggest drop in GDP in "at least" 160 years. That's 1860. You would have to go back to the great Moriori stock market crash of 1298 to find a bigger drop.

Thanks, good chart! I always enjoy looking at historic data.

It is so easy spending free money. Socialism is the best!

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We've been spending it on houses that we sold to each other for two decades. That lack of investment in other areas is about to catch up with us really quickly.

Yes I can’t see what might help pull NZ out of this mess.
Very little tourism, less oil and gas, most farming commodities predicting reduced incomes, very little manufacturing in NZ anymore.
What is going to be NZs next big industry that will earn us foreign dollars?

On average 65% of NZ'ers wealth tied up in property. 28% in the US. We definitely need a bit of investment diversity in this country.

Like the Reserve Bank pumping up the property market over the last decade, transferring wealth from savers to asset owners.

My .2c worth..

- Went to the barber...line out of the shop
- Where my 20 year old daughter works (high end women's fashion in an Akl Mall) record sales numbers
- Looking at getting a new heat pump and ventilation system for home....they're so busy I cant get someone to quote
- I need a roofing repair - cant get anyone to come and look as too busy, the one who did is booked solid with a 5-6 week lead time

Obviously n =1 and some verticals (Bars, Tourism) are much much more heavily affected but its not all doom

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Thats the thing. 80% of people are still working and life still goes on.

For example. Both my wife and I are lucky enough to still be working 100% salary. Neither of us were essential, and neither of our companies were eligible for the wage subsidy. We just swapped the office for home.

Then our Microwave broke on day one of L4 (It was old, so can't really get annoyed) but over the 4 weeks of L4, lawnmower gave up, phone got damaged, kids clothing/shoes got worn out/outgrown. It's all just stuff that you can get when required. Only under L4 and L3 you couldn't.

So we get them when we can. Which means purchasing all at once this month, rather than spreading them out as and when they happened over the last 6 weeks.

But on the whole our spending will drop. L4 provided a unique opportunity to reassess how we live. Unfortunately it is the local sector that will suffer due to our choices. Cafes, Fast food, and other luxury services have happily been replaced by more cost efficient and family oriented options.

yes,out n about today,traffic nearly back at normal,mall buzzing,sunny day...where else in the world would you rather be...USA,Sweden?

And if you are in the 80% and you have a mortgage coming up for re-fixing,you should have a lot more disposable cash...'happy days'

https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/back-your-backyard/121651419/wildwire-wan...
Before Covid-19, Wildwire Wanaka was heavily reliant on overseas tourists. However, the company has offered deals to local travellers, and been so overwhelmed by bookings, it's even had to hire new guides.

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My .2c is the opposite. I am balls deep in a reno and suddenly everyone is free and available to work for me ASAP, that's architects, planners, drains, gas fitters, tilers, windows, joiner, builders. I have been twiddling my thumbs for much of the last year trying to get trades onsite (had to wait months just for a geo-tech survey) and suddenly they're all free at once! 6 months ago I was chasing them, now they're chasing me.

I had to check the Urban Dictionary to make sure that expression meant what I thought it did.

Balls deep in a reno sounds like a good time somewhere on the French Riviera

Yes i have had people follow me up for quotes i got 6 months ago. They could not be bothered at the time. This might be a good wake up call for arrogant building and trade businesses. Most of them didnt even bother to return calls last year or sent quotes out on time. Hopefully some sense comes back into pricing

Exactly why the sweeping generalisations beloved of article writers and some commenters are bollocks once Locality is taken into account...

Still seems like many businesses are semi-shut down and working at reduced capacity.
I’m not talking about social distancing either, but office jobs who can work from home are still on holiday and apparently can’t answer enquires or make sales.
I am in the position where I am trying to spend money on some major purchases for my farm and my house in town and businesses don’t seem interested in even answering enquiries or giving quotes.
None of the businesses I am dealing with are laying off staff, and it seems like they really need to be hiring more staff if anything.

Who is going to go to work after discovering that the nanny state is going to look after them no matter what. Even the specuvestors are being bailed out. Seriously, why bother?

Because we all need to serve someone.

Or some thing

When the people at the top of politics and reserve banking are the speculators there's little surprise that all efforts have been made over the last decade plus to push up property prices.

They need to hire more people to make up for the lost productivity of everyone working from home?

The tsunami of liquidity unleashed by Reserve Banks has buoyed consumer spending and assets. What we do not have yet is inflation data, if too much has been added too early they will have to back out or delay further measures.

Not much point putting any weight on those figures, so many businesses are still fundamentally shutdown or producing very little throughput. I'm still dealing with all the deferred tasks from before lockdown so I am not adding anything new in terms of output either. It will take 3 months to get a clearer picture. On that note I have used less than 2 full tank loads of premium petrol in my vehicle in 3 months. That undelines the situation nicely I think!

Days to the General Election: 20
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.