US retail sales up but factory production down; Canada house sales strong; China also battles air pollution; EU growth weak; mortgage rates cut in Australia; UST 10yr yield at 1.58%; oil unchanged and gold up; NZ$1 = 64.4 USc; TWI-5 = 70.2

US retail sales up but factory production down; Canada house sales strong; China also battles air pollution; EU growth weak; mortgage rates cut in Australia; UST 10yr yield at 1.58%; oil unchanged and gold up; NZ$1 = 64.4 USc; TWI-5 = 70.2

Here's our summary of key economic events overnight that affect New Zealand, with news equity investors still don't know what to make of the global risks although bond investors are moving to safety.

Equity markets are ending the week in a subdued mood, still trying to assess the likely impact of the sudden spike in official Covid-19 cases reported this week. The S&P500 is lower on the day as the close approaches, but it will still be up about +1.7% for the week. European bourses also fell by a small amount earlier, (although London was down -0.6% at the close). Yesterday, Shanghai ended the week up +0.4% and that is a weekly gain of +1.4%. Hong Kong had a similar move, although Tokyo ended the week with a -0.6% decline.

In the US retail sales rose marginally in January, up +0.3% from the prior month, but on a year-on-year basis they are up +4.4% from January 2019.

American industrial production fell however, down -0.8% in January from a year ago. Clearly, the rise in retail sales isn't based on locally manufactured goods. The drop is the first time a January has shrunk since 2016 and continues a string of seven monthly year-on-year declines. This time the reasons given were "unseasonably warm weather" which held down the output of utilities and Boeing's cutbacks.

But consumers aren't worried, with one measure of sentiment rising a little in February.

In Canada, existing home sales rose +12% in January from the same month in 2019 with prices up +11% on the same basis. The property market is especially 'hot' in Toronto. Local mortgage rates there are falling.

In China, the COVID-19 numbers are still rising, up to 64,500 and a +4000 rise from Thursday. The death toll is up to 1384 from 1368 this time yesterday. This time a week ago, the Chinese were reporting 31,400 and 638 deaths. The lockdown of Hubei province is getting even more strict. The toll on front-line workers dealing with the emergency is frightening.

And China doesn't only have the coronavirus to worry about. Air pollution, especially in Beijing, is really bad again and that is despite much reduced economic activity due to the virus cutbacks.

And more research is suggesting that the impact on China and many other Asian economies is going to be tougher than earlier assumed. (See page 11.)

In Europe they released their Q4 GDP outcome and it revealed only tiny growth.

In Australia, their largest home loan lender has trimmed fixed mortgage interest rates, promoting an eye-catching 2.99% one, two and three year rate, down from 3.29% and largest cuts to this level for investors. But as regular readers will know, these are 'package rates' that involve a range of fees and other cost obligations, so their "comparative rate" is a better way to match them with New Zealand rates. On that basis, the new CBA comparative rate is between 4.37% and 4.59%. Aussies still pay far more for fixed rate loans than we do.

The UST 10yr yield is now just on 1.58% and lower by -3 bps since this time yesterday - and unchanged over the week. Their 2-10 curve is less positive at +15 bps. And their 1-5 curve is still negative at -7 bps. But their 3m-10yr curve has slipped from positive to a negative -2 bps. The Aussie Govt 10yr is down -3 bps at 1.05%. The China Govt 10yr now at 2.89% and firmer by another +1 bp. The NZ Govt 10 yr is also down by -3 bps overnight to 1.38%.

Gold has risen yet again today, up another +US$7 to US$1,584/oz. However, for all the uncertainty gold is only heading for a +1% gain for the week.

The Fear & Greed index we follow is still neutral. The VIX volatility index is now just under 15.

US oil prices are holding at just over US$51.50/bbl. The Brent benchmark is also stable at just on US$56.50/bbl.

The Kiwi dollar will start today softer at just under 64.4 USc. On the cross rates we have held 95.8 AUc. Against the euro we also unchanged at 59.4 euro cents. That means our TWI-5 is now at 70.2 and +0.6% higher than this time last week.

Bitcoin is now at US$10,288 which is a +1% rise in a day and a strong +5.2% gain for the week. The bitcoin rate is charted in the exchange rate set below.

The easiest place to stay up with event risk today is by following our Economic Calendar here ».

Our exchange rate chart is here.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

China has near to 7% of the world’s land mass. Sure making a mess of it. Air, water, land, people. Nasty back yard to have in the neighbourhood.

Largely because we in the West have encouraged them by taking advantage of their false economies based lack of environmental protections & H&S regulation.

My favorite is solar panels which people claim to be green as they're zero emission at the point of generation. Never mind the fact that their lifetime carbon cost is twice that if hydro - with the coal fired production and environmental impact out of sight and out of mind...

We are all making a mess of it. They are particularly bad because their mercantilist model has ensured industry ends up there and concentrates the waste. I feel sorry for them. This will not end well.

Given all this, maybe Europe’s recent lurch downward shouldn’t have been all that surprising. It obviously was if only because the public had been handed the usual shiny QE distraction, the renewed puppet show to take everyone’s eyes off the realness of the real economy. Sentiment has been higher but actual conditions, industry in particular, is increasingly lower.

Greta needs to move to the US and get her childhood back. "The United States saw the largest decline in energy-related CO2emissions in 2019 on a country basis – a fall of 140 Mt, or 2.9%, to 4.8 Gt. US emissions are now down almost 1 Gt from their peak in the year 2000, the largest absolute decline by any country over that period."


Yes because they’ve outsourced so much to China and other low cost countries with poor environmental standards.

Timmyboy - if only you had some facts to back up your opinion - "US factories are polluting way less — but it's not because of offshoring. ...In a NBER working paper, Georgetown economist Arik Levinson estimated that more than 90 percent of the drop in US factory pollution since 1990 was due to companies adopting cleaner production techniques — things like switching fuels, becoming more efficient, recycling, or adopting pollution-capture technology."

Yes but these offsetting measures are expensive so it’s easier to offshore. Read this mornings briefing. USA manufacturing down, consumption of stuff is up.

No. Cheap US gas makes it cheaper to onshore. For instance the largest plastics plant on the planet is in the US - not China. If you bothered to read the link you would know that. "..the decline in pollution wasn't driven by offshoring. US factories were genuinely finding ways to cut emissions. In fact, the industries that saw the biggest drops in pollution intensity actually grew as a share of output."

And we can point to more 'reports' like that. Then we can track the money - usually via something like Cato to someone like the Koch clan.

Here's the truth, not that you need to differentiate (just look at the 'made in' plate on anything you buy, tells you everything about offshoring):

So lame PDK. " Levinson's paper isn't the first to suggest US factories are genuinely reducing pollution by adopting cleaner production techniques. It's just that earlier studies, including one by Levinson, had only measured this indirectly — and were based on far less comprehensive data. Other papers have found similar trends in Europe."

Does DC pay for this breitbart feed, or do you do it for the party?

Why the personal attack? The Americans have done a spectacular job at protecting their environment. Sometimes it seems the greenies would rather the world burn than hear good news.

As timmyboy points out above, outsourcing your pollution to Asia and third world countries != protecting the environment.

We used to send Auckland's waste plastic to China. Where is it going now?

Landfill I believe.

Depressing answer but not surprising. Now can someone explain why I wash my plastic and glass bottles and carefuly put them into the green bin with yellow lid? Are my aluminium and steel tins recycled? When was recycling last discussed by the Greens or have they found something more trendy?

Some plastics are still being recycled, Grade 1 & 2 plastics are recycled locally, but AFAIK grades 3-7 are now just waste. Metals are recycled, they are easily separated, graded and remelted. Glass i'm not sure about, pink batts are supposedly made from recycled glass, but I dont know how much supply they can possibly use up.

The pragmatic thing to do would be to restart the Meremere waste to energy project. Pity the know all greens blocked that plan and the best they would come up with was to ship plastic waste to China. Good one greens. I guess more money for the councils and their mates with boondoggle "recycling" schemes.
Can have waste to energy plants in Tokyo but not Meremere.
"The plan was to burn up to one million tonnes of trash a year, generating nearly half as much electricity as the Huntly Power Station."

Thanks Pragmatist & Profile for the info. My son in a city in northern France has his apartment heated by waste heat from a waste incinerator. Why none in NZ?

Hmmm, zero mentions of the Greens in that article. Nice try tho. Seems like quite a few good reasons why waste to energy is a shitty idea, and recycling (of the stuf that can be recycled) is a better idea. Waste minimization being better yet.

Quite a bit was stockpiled in a yard in Thames, where it would periodically catch on fire. I'm not sure if it's still there.


Can I suggest that you take a good look at what Trump has done to the Environmental Protection Agency-remember Scott Pruitt? and what he is proposing in his budget. he wants to cut environmental protections-in effect to gut the EPA-and open up huge areas of conservation land to mining.

The US has wonderful national and regional parks and I am planning another desert road trip for next year-while it's still there.

From your good friends at the IEA. Shooting the messenger is so low rent Praggers.

No-one with any analytical or clinical sense understands the Chinese virus data. Even the highly conflicted WHO - desperate not to upset the CCP, and perhaps bank a better income - iis trying to get clarifications. But would you want to be the party official whose hospital, suburb, district, region, whatever, reports higher than usual infections, higher than usual deaths? Forms are filled accordingly.

Trump Pump Stock markets....little or no well spent. Saving the Nation.. Duh.

Just keep printing is only zeros and onesies...

America can also kiss it's Justice System good bye, we did try to warn you America that Trump would be far worse after being allowed to walk away from his trial without a scratch. Apparently Mr Barr is now complaining that Mr Trump "undercuts" him by tweeting, making it "impossible for me to do my job".
BBC article: Trump says he has right to act on criminal cases.

Hardly. Barr said Trump has never tried to influence him directly and if he did, it wouldn't work anyway. The American system is strong and perfectly designed to prevent any one man or group from bringing it down. This hysteria is part of why Trump's reelection is in the bag.

The Dem's are a shining example of a party that are complainers not doers. How many years of claiming Trump is this and Trump is that, several attempts to bring him down all resulted in failure. If they got elected it would be a shambles.

If you actually read the article, instead of parroting your own prejudices.

I've switched off to the Dem's poor me, we still can't handle loosing to Trump rhetoric.
Corrupt politicians you say... yep each and everyone of them.
Lets get rid of Trump and put someone else like Hillary in, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth...

At least there are some non corrupt candidates to choose from; Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg. Biden is too dodgy and Hillary isn't even in the race so you don't need to worry about that. ;)

Link: Which Democrats Are Leading the 2020 Presidential Race?

I wouldn’t be classifying two of those three candidates “non corrupt”.

The US justice system is based upon shameless self serving expediency: Guantanamo’s Ugly Taint on U.S. Diplomacy

There is some pretty solid judicial history that has enshrined the independence of the US judiciary at its highest level. Go right back to the much maligned Vice President Burr presiding over the impeachment of Justice Chase. Chief Justice Marshall over the trial of Burr himself. Both of these in the face of hostile manipulation by President Jefferson. Come right up to Attorney General Elliott Richardson vs President Nixon. The USA can find the right person for the right time well enough. President John Adams said that his gift of Chief Justice Marshall to the American people was his greatest achievement. Great foundation stone for an independent judiciary for the emerging nation,

Yes agreed, Though why is Trump allowed to walk between the rain drops???

Well CJ you are justifiably questioning the most inexplicable & unfathomable state of political affairs the USA, and any other democratic nation, has ever seen. Yes walk between the drops alright. Fall in the swimming pool and stay dry too. Much fewer & lesser scandals sunk the like of Gary Hart, John Edwards. I think he totally spreadeagled the Republicans right in the very beginning. So desperate for power, it was a terrifying prospect that he would run as an independent & split the vote of the elephant. Just careered away from that point. No President has availed and wielded, enforced the power of the office like this. Not Jackson, not Lincoln, not the second Roosevelt.

Absolutely Foxglove. But one wonders how long can Trumps loony tune parade can carry on for? Sure, I can see that Trump has whittled down the Republican party to a bunch of of mostly scared old men keen to hang on to their retirement plans, though kudos to Mitt Romney for having a back bone well at least for now until Trump decides to fire him like the others that tried to stand up to him.
Can Americans really be so dumb to vote for Trump a second time around? When they know that all Trump cares about is Trump. Perhaps he really will become a fully fledged dictator, he's certainly acting like one. BBC The Inquiry, How Do Dictators Survive So Long?

Can Romney change parties? He would walk in as a democrat.

CJ, regret as a pundit I am useless. I was totally dumbfounded when Trump got the GOP nomination and then even more so that he became President. Hopefully I will be even more dumbfounded when a Democratic contender beats him!

Stock market or houses (house + mortgage loan).

What is more risky for $10,000.
Ungeared into the stock market, or

$10,000 plus 40,000 to 50,000 loan into housing.
- reality being the 10k into housing needs be 100k (cash & asset revaluation). To get the 400,000 to 500,000 small home/apartment (no car space).

Would such a policy be helpful here?

Regarding the Coronavirus (Covid-19) it may be impossible to know the actual death toll in China so far, since many may have passed away in their self quarantine and even in the health facilities. Apparently patients are pass away inside observation rooms before getting tested or admitted. In the attached link to the BBC article, some witnesses have stated: "The dead bodies were wrapped and taken away by parlour staff," he says. "I don't know if they will be counted as deaths [caused by the novel coronavirus]."

BBC article: Coronavirus Wuhan diary: 'He got a hospital bed three hours before he died'.

If the rate of doubling continues then it would take 17 weeks to infect the whole world. As it runs out of hosts I think the peak will be likely a good bit before that.

Your very optmistic?

It's 'you're' -- LOL

Mr T,

Give up. It's a waste of your time. I know.

Just simple math Frazz, no emotion involved. I'm using DC's comment on double time as a basis (glad to see he understands doubling times) and applied a simple formula.

Could mutate into something more deadly too.

Funniest thing I've seen this morning:

Will we be extending the china travel ban, any need to extend it?

We are considering taking this opportunity to raise the overall quality of our social capital, by exporting trolls.

Have a nice trip

Thanks PDK, I will take the win.
- while the rest of us discuss ideas and activities.

Hows NZ Government comms today Henry...any moans,gripes,short comings or general suggestions how you would do a better job? NZ cases still zero so screening is working to date it seems.

Still playing catchup. The self quarantine is a muddle arrivals have not been registering.... The register seems to have taken a week to set up. You do the maths....

The number of passengers arriving directly to New Zealand from mainland China has decreased from approximately 2000 per day to 500 passengers or less.

The Ministry of Health is continuing to work with border agencies to ensure people who left mainland China after 2 February 2020 are aware of the need to self-isolate for 14 days and register with Healthline.

The growing number of registrations with Healthline is encouraging. 585 registrations for self-isolation were made yesterday and as at midnight 13 February just over 3000 people have registered since the register went live at 5pm on Friday 7 February.

Healthline's dedicated COVID-19 number, 0800 358 5453, is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Ministry is encouraging anyone who has not yet registered as a result of their travel to China, to do so. This will help ensure we can regularly check on people’s welfare and wellbeing while they are in self-isolation, while supporting New Zealand’s overall response to novel coronavirus....

Fazzy think of it this way.
Look at what PM of Singapore is doing.
It offers contrast to local methods employed.
- notice the difference in style?

Peak Prosperity outlines.

Whose Fazzy?

Travel restrictions extended

Restrictions on travel from China which were introduced to prevent the spread of coronavirus have been extended for eight days.

Encouraging Wu Flu maths.
Suspected 10 times the official figures.
Time from infection till symptoms show and medical help sought 5 to 14 days. Time from admission till the test is taken and results hit the press another few days. Maybe an average of 14 days till reporting of infection. A doubling of infections in a week and 4 x's in 2 weeks.
Then there is the people who do not report symptoms as they don't want to be put in a quarantine 'hospitial' and just handle it at home. Yes infections rates would be 10 times higher which the maths shows isn't that bad of a death 'v' infection rate / medical help needed.
That is all reliant on the actual reported death / infection rates being made available though...

This link was posted by someone else a few days ago. If I read it correctly, 5 million left Wuhan in the two weeks prior to 23 January lock down. The researchers tracked the phones of 60,000 of those. They ended up in 380 countries. That's 3 to 4 weeks ago. Are we seeing the infections that would be expected from that? If not, why not?

Interesting isn't it... if we believed the doomsayers we should already have 100s of cases in NZ, and the entirety of Europe should be awash in it too.

Getting back to as requested when rates outside of China or not directly China connections gets over 100. We're at about 700 at least now and another 23 today.
The 5 mill that left were in the early days when there were few infections in China but still quite apt got out.
Maybe the A typical Chinise NZ tourist is a slightly different breed. More adventurous and likes open spaces more than others and hence have less contact with built up city areas. Lots of factors at play. Bloody lucky not to have any, that's a fact!

According to this map there are only 586 cases outside mainland China, and i'll think you'll find I said in the western world, not outside China...

I may have thrown Hong Kong in as well. I fairly sure you'll still find that 586 is more than 100 notification number you requested.

And once again since you seem a bit slow, Western world, not just outside china. And not linked to travel to china. So yeah, you're maybe 1/3rd of the way there if that.

Can you make a link to comments re NZ...first I heard?

Various places, reddit, facebook. twitter etc. Lots of chicken littles running around saying we are doomed.

Yep facebook, Twitter etc.. I found the perfect filtration system for those. Canceled my account! Perfect.

Fair call, don't have a twitter account, and not a huge facebook user, but reddit is ..interesting. some useful subreddits that aren't complete trash, but r/newzealand has some interesting characters to say the least. I'm sure several form here are on there.

Long incubation times are a factor. But also (thankfully) hot dry weather and lots of UV are very helpful in limiting spread. There's a reason winter is 'flu season'. Also severe cases seem to be more common in older chinese men who have history of heavy smoking (60-70% of them) and perhaps worse due to appalling air pollution in China - Chinese may be inherently more susceptible. Here's hoping we are going to be OK, but some possibility that there are mild cases here as yet unnoticed.

We get conflicting news on numbers etc, what I tried to do was maybe put a different spin on it to explain the differance and positive explanation between the conflicting info. .
What we do know is no one actually knows the full extent and where it's going.

Soi we dont know what we dont know then?

Correct and the more we know the more we realise we don't know much at all.

what we do know is that China is shutting down. I talked to a mate and his brother drives a forklift in Sydney port, he has been laid off as no ships or a lot less are coming in from China.
We know meat is being stored in NZ and Aust, we know the wool industry is slowing fast as has forestry with forestry workers laid off all over the country.
We know that milk sales have declined and China obviously has reserves so no rushing back into the market. We can deduct from this that our export receipts are being shot to hell.

'Preventative action taken by Australian and NZ exporters

In the last week, many beef and sheepmeat exporters in both Australia and New Zealand had adopted similar preventative steps to minimise the oversupply problem in China in the hope to create some breathing space to help China’s market to recover.

Some of these steps included:

Chinese buyers asking exporters to push back shipments to late February and early March
Packers have looked to sell their product away to alternate markets
Packers are holding product in outside cold storages in both Australia and New Zealand.
In areas where rain has not been abundant, some packers in both NZ and Australia had slowed production down deliberately to take the pressure off from shipping to China.

One of the key underlying concerns was credit, Mr Quilty said, with some exporters still nervously waiting for payments on product that has arrived in China, while others spoke of deposits now starting to flow into their bank accounts after the CNY holiday period.

Many packers reiterated the need to be vigilant on payments and watching closely their creditors’ lists.'

I would say that another month of this is going to really bite,

I would suggest that now is a great time to ' buckle up'. Even if China gets back to normal soon it's going to take time to clear the backlog, they won't be eating twice as much for two months to catch up.

Take the afternoon to explore, explore what is an extensive body of work.
Kindle your way through risk management and good governance.

Heres a starting pathway.

The Art of Preventing Stupid
How to Build a Stronger Business Strategy Through Better Risk Management

Perhaps try Voltaires Bastards Henry, might blow a few of those ideas out the window for you. Method without morals, it is how we arrived to the position we are in. I note that from time to time you do actually question that.

Heavy, Balzac is an easier read.

Here is the anecdotal stuff. We have two kids and their partners overseas. All in their mid 20's. The ones in Guatemala are teaching and have been sending kids home this last week with flue like symptoms. The others recently arrived in Morocco and have been quite sick with flu type symptoms. Do they have Wu Flu. Probably not. Have they or do they intend to see a doctor. No. Even if they did see a doctor, would they be tested? Unlikely. Do those countries even have the capacity to test? Uh?, who knows but even if they did, not in any number. So even if they do have it will they ever know? Doubt it. Do we start to see more deaths when the young fit travelers pass it onto vulnerable people?

Did anyone else think Hosking's rant about roadworks in Auckland was hilarious?
Here's a guy who has openly advocated for our high immigration policy. And at the same time cautious use of public money.
Total moron.

That would require reading Hoskings.. so no. Why would you give that tool airtime?

A narcisist that I use as the perfect example when trying to explain the condition.

Michael Pettis

Very good article listing the possible economic impacts of the coronavirust. It quotes Yu Yongding as saying: “In the face of the deadly virus, all problems of debt, inflation and asset bubbles are secondary. China can worry about these later when the situation has calmed down.”

He’s probably right, but it doesn’t prevent these “problems” from being a huge worry. China’s overreliance on debt to maintain growth began well before 2008-09, but Beijing’s response to the global crisis caused such a sharp ...acceleration of debt that many analysts believe (mistakenly) that this is when China’s debt problems first emerged. I suspect the response to the coronavirus may be similar: it won’t show up in the GDP growth numbers so much as in “debt, inflation and asset bubbles”.

Christchurch is sister city to Wuhan

Here is Christchurch mayor's message to Wuhan

Beijing has ordered people returning to the city from holidays to quarantine themselves for 14 days to try to contain the coronavirus spread...

The official Beijing Daily newspaper said people failing to obey government orders to quarantine themselves on return from the holidays would be punished. But it was not immediately clear how that would be enforced, or whether the restrictions would apply to non-residents or foreigners arriving from abroad.

Beijing has a population of more than 20 million people and the annual National People’s Congress, where thousands of Communist Party delegates pour into the city, is due to start on 5 March.

That quarantine will have nasty economic effects. Apparently millions living in Beijing are from elsewhere, so those returning millions in quarantine will take billions out of the economy.

Driving around where I live (Eastern Bays) there appears to be an influx of for sale signs?

Economic model failure. Short term economic models maybe costly. Nobody knows how much.

Nobody knows the $ cost, $ being paid now, of this legislation. The model being used now to pay $, is proving to be wrong.

The model results said energy prices would rise. Energy prices have declined. Govt. is paying companies because the model said energy prices would rise.
Companies energy prices have fallen.

Mind you there is no comment on the relative international energy price (for trade exposed industries) - and how does ag fit in?

This is a real pickle.

Major polluters have potentially been making "windfall gains" from an oversight within the country's main tool for addressing climate change.....

The quantity of free credits each company gets is based on a formula with various factors. Among them is the Electricity Allocation Factor (EAF), a rate calculated in 2011 that estimated future electricity price increases caused by the ETS

It has since emerged the EAF is inaccurate. Numerous assumptions made in setting the rate did not come to fruition, including lower than expected electricity demand and lower gas prices....
Emissions Intensive, Trade Exposed (EITE) industries – have received free credits equating to 90 per cent of their emissions, almost entirely insulating them from the cost of their pollution.

The reasoning is that these companies are particularly exposed to international competition, meaning a carbon price here could unduly disadvantage them globally. The recipients together provide thousands of jobs, many of which are outside major cities

When asked for an estimate of the financial cost to the Government of any over-compensation, Shaw said: "We're working on developing the evidence base for this."

Tomorrow is the day National will announce tax cuts, and is the day they win the election.
It's simple, offer tax cuts and swing voters like me swing.


Speak for yourself. I pay top rate tax and would certainly not vote for a tax cut that primarily benefitted people like me.