A review of things you need to know before you go home on Thursday; building consents up strongly, Tiwai Pt gets a stay, some students to return, swaps flatter, NZD slips, & more

A review of things you need to know before you go home on Thursday; building consents up strongly, Tiwai Pt gets a stay, some students to return, swaps flatter, NZD slips, & more
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Here are the key things you need to know before you leave work today.

NBS cut its rates for fixed 1 and 2 year home loans.

No changes here today.

Residential building consents jumped in November, partly as COVID catchup, partly encouraged by very strong demand for housing where supply is very constrained. Auckland consents are now at record high levels.

Meridian Energy (MEL) and Rio Tinto have agreed an electricity pricing deal to keep the Southland aluminium smelter open for another four years, but it still needs the Government to concede transmission pricing levels. From December 14 to January 7, the Meridian share price rose +44%. It has since declined and after this announcement it has fallen to $7.89, a drop of -16%.

1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began, will be allowed back in to finish their studies.

You can't tell much from the non-residential consent data for November, mainly because it is distorted with odd, one-off elements. For example it includes a large ($100 mln) consent for an Auckland hotel. But the one thing you can say is that public buildings remain at the heart of these signals.

There is no slackening of demand for NZ Government bonds, but there is a sharp reduction in what Treasury is offering. Today they offered $450 mln in three durations and received bids for $2.073 bln, a vast oversubscription that left $1.6 bln unsatisfied. Bidders are raising their yield requirements however with the May 2024 issue resulting in a 0.31% yield and up from the prior equiavlent tender a month ago. The April 2027 tranche went for a yield of 0.57% while the May 2014 went for 1.86% yield which was also higher than the prior 1.73% at the December tender.

Job ad website Seek said ads were up +19% quarter-on-quarter to end the year, but were down by -7% in Q4 compared to same period in 2019. They report the sectors with the highest job ad growth are ICT, Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics, and Trades & Services.

The World Gold Council is reporting that ETFs shed gold holdings for a second straight month in December, selling more than -40 tonnes back into gold markets, on top of the -109 tonnes they dumped in November. This is the most for a two month period since the end of 2016.

In Australia, their competition regulator the ACC is signaling "a regulatory war" against tech giants Google, Apple and Facebook this year, warning they pose a danger to consumers and the competition landscape. At the same time however, their boss has pushed back at Kevin Rudd, declaring the Murdoch news empire is nothing to worry about. Only in Australia can the regulator see "self preferencing" of apps and ad revenues as an issue (and they are), but not see the corrosive damage the one-eyed campaigning Murdoch gutter press does to their democracy. The ACCC should be about a level playing field, not one that frees up one side to win a dominant position, especially in 'news'.

Sydney's apartment rents fell -7.8% in 2020, with most of that (-5.1%) in Q4. Hardest hit were the central city, east, and inner west markets, with rents at 8 year lows. Rents on Sydney's lower north shore are the cheapest in 9 years.

Gold ended its New York session down -US$10/oz earlier today to US$1845/oz and -US$15 below the prior afternoon fix in London. But in subsequent trade it is making a small recovery, now at US$1850/oz in Australian trade.

Wall Street ended today up a minor +0.2%. The ASX200 is up +0.3% in early afternoon trade. The NZX50 Capital Index is down -0.2% in late trade. Shanghai has opened -0.4% lower, Hong Kong has opened up +0.4%, while the very large Tokyo exchange is up with a good +1.3% gain in early trade there.

We don't have today's swap rate movements yet. They were marginally flatter across the curve yesterday especially at the long end. If there are material changes when the end-of-day swap rates are available today, we will update them here. The 90 day bank bill rate is up +1 bp at 0.28%. The Australian Govt ten year benchmark rate is softer by -5 bps at 1.04%. The China Govt ten year bond is also down -3 bps at 3.14%. The New Zealand Govt ten year is down -7 bps at 1.03% and below the earlier RBNZ fix at 1.06%. The US Govt ten year is down -3 bps at 1.08%.

The Kiwi dollar is lower that this time yesterday at 71.9 USc but it has been much lower in between. On the cross rates we are lower against the Aussie at 92.8 AUc. Against the euro we have slipped slightly to 59.1 euro cents. That all means our TWI-5 is now at 73.2 and a relatively small daily retreat.

The bitcoin price is rising sharply again, up +14% from this time yesterday at US$37,499. Volatility is back again, +/- 9% in the past 24 hours.

This soil moisture chart is animated here.

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

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Is The Australian newspaper and Sky News TV as bad as this depiction? “one-eyed campaigning Murdoch gutter press“.
The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, ABC etc all seem to offer little in the way of deep business insight as the mainstream.

Nobody offers 'deep business insight'.


By the time you've read that, you'll be more informed about 'deep business insights' than any Pollyanna-adjectiving reporter (there are sod-all who can justify 'journalist'; journalism requires truth-seeking) anywhere.


821 pages, sure I'll get right on it.

Well the business model doesn’t really support fully fledged journalists anymore I guess. As Big Tech is gobbling up all the advertising revenue.

I think that depiction is fair. Murdoch has made billions by getting people to hate eachother.


If you get your 'news' from Sky News "After Dark" TV shows, or The Australian, you will be right down the alt-right rabbit holes. The regular news offerings by journalists in both (and even some Fox News segments) are much less extreme, but the Murdoch press is prioritising "commentary" at the expense of verified news reporting these days. It is a twist they have signaled over the past year or so.

One reason those others you list may seem less 'deep' to you is that none of them will publish without proper credible sources and verified facts. Murdoch will, or make them up if they don't have them. It has bred the Australian Nationals as a political party, as extreme as any US Republican.

For my sins, I follow them all. It's part of the job. It is a tough gig however watching fact-free offerings from Rupert's stable.

Agree - That's the problem - how do you choose what's what

Verfied Fact
Commentary on Verified Facts
Balanced Opinion on Verified Data
un-Balanced Opinion on Verified Data

Unverified Facts
Commentary on unVerified Facts
Balanced opinion on un-Verified Data
un-Balanced opinion on un-Verified Data

Fair enough.
I too read across all news outlets - & yes, recognise the biases. I just think SMH deserves reasonable criticism as well for an ‘only liberal’ bias.
Difficult to find mid-range media now .
This is quite an interesting biography from a writer who worked for both Murdoch, and Fairfax etc

Yeah, they are. The Australian is OK at reporting the facts, but like every other Murdoch paper, they have an absolutely rabid anti-Labor bias. I don’t think Rupert ever got over his run-ins with the printers’ Union in the 70s, he thinks unions are worse than anything. Also very very pro-coal, global warming denialist angle. I know these papers very well, they’d consider someone like Stephen Joyce a flaming communist.

I read Stephen Joyce’s article... all four or five paragraphs in today’s herald.

To summarise... hey the housing ponzi is now out of control and so there’s no point in the government doing anything.

He must be doing more harm to National than good.

So we're building more homes but fewer factories, offices and shops. This is more less a carry forward of the pre-Covid-19 i.e. Nov 2019 vs Nov 2018.

Doesn't take a genius to predict how horribly this could end for the economy.

Not a problem. Immigration taps will be opened in a year to two years time. They all need a place to live and will provide cheap labour. Economy has always gone gang busters on tourism and education. Just a short delay before it fires up again whether Labour or National.

Not building enough factories.. that can’t be right..... haven’t we had positive pmi numbers for years with the exception of the pandemic?

The problem with the PMI measure is that when a firm closes down or moves its production to Asia then they no longer do the survey so the numbers never take that into account....

When they do medical studies they allow for this survival bias... because people can die ands that’s important but if it’s manufacturers then they don’t... because well they arent important I guess

I suspect a lot of politicking has been going on behind the scenes with Tiwai Point settlement. We have a few parties involved here Meridian with some govt appointed directors. Transpower who transmission fees I suspect are totally independent of Meridian. ie Transpower bill Tiwai separately from Meridian, the electricity authority who with a nod and a wink from govt won't put their oar in to upset govts requirement to keep Tiwai on the go.
Transpower will also have been squeezed to reduce transmission fees, with suitable covert arm twisting by the govt.
If Transpower does not announce either upgraded existing or new transmission lines north to take all of Tiwai's output that Meridian supply then there'll be the same game repeated in four years time, whether Labour or National are in. Politicians have very short memories.
I'm sure Labour will take all the kudos for this settlement.

Dont forget ....
Meridian and Contact got pinged $70 million for spilling $30 million worth of power

Bitcoin up again. This is for anyone who still wants to bang on about Bitcoin being another tulip craze https://www.bloombergquint.com/markets/bitcoin-is-unlike-any-other-bubbl...

Brainwashed people don't know they're brainwashed.. and their is an insane pride in believing you're not.

Terms like 'alt-right', 'left/right wing', 'liberal', 'conservative', 'progressive', 'woke', 'conspiracy theorist', etc.. those are all compartmentalizing thought, clouding the lens of reality.

Television Programming: hello.. we've all been subjected to brainwashing since we were kids.. television is Jesuit theater after all. It's only taken a few generation to transform the Education System into the Information System. The Dead Poets Society our Education System is NOT!

This is Crazy:
Ok, sooo, we know Twitter, Facebook, YouTube have been suspending/purging accounts. The media seem either applauded or delighted. But what if that's just more brainwashing. Why are people EVEN on these platforms that; track you 24/7, sell your personal info, track your contacts, record you IP address, sites you visit, literally feed you information someone (anyone) has paid for you to see, etc

This technology is designed to keep you coming back.. how many likes? Did I get a comment on my comment? Bing, Bing, Bing.. you have a new message at anytime, day-or-night. Now the NZ government is openly scanning through social media (where possible). It's toxic and discussing behavior.. there is such a thing as being too available. You're being brainwashed if you're on social media. It amplifies the toxic and IS modifying your behavior.

You're also probably addicted: Are you addicted? ?? No? Well, delete one of your accounts permanently, Right Now.. can't flush the drugs can you junky! President trump was a Twitter addict. It's an addiction crisis on a global scale, addiction makes you grumpy, mean, blaming of others, etc.

Let's take the stick out of our own eye, then we can see and think clearly to have a conversation. All these political labels only serve to dehumanize people. It's alway, "they're the other", doesn't matter what happens to them because, "they're other". It's scary where that thinking leads and it's pernicious by nature!

Just some thoughts.

You're spot on Zack. It's heartening to see the younger generations thinking for themselves, and exposing the foolishness of the establishment. The human spirit is alive and well. Couple that intent with peaceful civil action, and your generation will be lauded as heroes in the future.

As an aside, in 2019 I deleted all my social media. Accounts that I'd had for over 10 years. Best thing I've ever done. Interest.co.nz is my only guilty pleasure.

I upticked this comment. If you're reading this Zack you are also slipping into the rabbit hole by checking your likes.