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A review of things you need to know before you go home on Friday; SBS Bank sets new low 2yr mortgage rate, PMI's rise, ANZ admits misleading, Melbourne back in lockdown, swaps settle, NZD stable, & much more

A review of things you need to know before you go home on Friday; SBS Bank sets new low 2yr mortgage rate, PMI's rise, ANZ admits misleading, Melbourne back in lockdown, swaps settle, NZD stable, & much more
ID 22702269 © Daniaphoto |

Here are the key things you need to know before you leave work today.

SBS Bank has extended its current one-year 2.29% fixed home loan rate to include 18 month and two-year terms. This means they now have the lowest two-year rate of any bank. And they are offering up to $6000 as a cash incentive.

No changes here today either.

BNZ reports: "The Performance of Manufacturing Index roared back to positivity in January, with an index reading of 57.5. This was a far cry from the 48.3 it stumbled to in December." New orders led the way with an unusual January rise, especially for large firms, and especially in the Canterbury region.

The FMA says ANZ had admitted making misleading representations in providing credit card repayment insurance to some customers. A hearing to determine the penalty was held today at the High Court at Auckland.

The price of copper has risen sharply recently and is now at its highest in nine years. Buyer demand is anticipated to rise from sharply rising demand by manufacturers of 'green' products. Silver is anticipating the same rising demand. Share prices for the associated miners are rising too.

Fonterra's share price (FCG) has risen to a two year high as markets price in improving results, betting their back-to-basics strategy is paying off.

Rakon (RAK) says it is trading much better due to significant new orders. Their shares have risen more than +10% so far today.

Retailer Kathmandu Holdings (KMD) says it is surviving the pandemic disruptions and retail closures by its acquisitions of the Rip Curl and Oboz brands. Sales through the Kathmandu retail channels are down -30% while those through Rip Curl are up +21%. Kathmandu brand sales have also been impacted by low demand for insulation and rainwear resulting from the lack of international travelers to the Northern Hemisphere. Overall revenues are down -18% in H1 to January 2021. The NZ Super Fund holds 5% of KMD. The CEO has resigned.

The date today is in symmetry - a palindrone day in the dd-mm-yyyy format. 12022021

It has been revealed that New Zealand’s first batch of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is set to arrive in New Zealand next week subject to transportation plans and quality temperature control. Border protection workers will get priority, followed by health care workers. Australia is getting its share at the same time. These shipments come after after the European Commission formally approved a shipment to leave the EU (possibly after diplomatic pressure.)

Bus patronage in Auckland is not recovering. About to be released data for January will show patronage down -30% from the same month a year ago. In December, official data recorded the year-on-year decline at -18%, in October and November as -33%. Subsidies from taxpayers and ratepayers will need to increase sharply to keep the existing service on the road. And it is not like other public transport services are picking up the slack. Train patronage will be down a massive -70% in January too. Ferry patronage will be down -21%. These are all much larger declines than the "work from home" trend implies. Certainly Auckland's commute road traffic suggests nothing like these sort of reductions are happening elsewhere. So far there is no debate about how to respond to what passengers are signaling, and signaling very clearly.

Food prices are still rising faster than overall inflation. They rose +2.1% in the year ended January 2021 even if they were flat month-on-month on a seasonally adjusted basis. Compared with January 2020, fruit and vegetable prices increased +6.9%, meat, poultry, and fish prices decreased -1.7%, grocery food prices increased +1.2% and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased +3.9%. (In January 2020 food prices rose +3.5%, so the rate of increase has fallen noticeably.)

After the flow of new rent increases eased to only +0.6% pa in the March-November period in 2020 amid the pandemic, there are now clear signs the pace of increases is rising again. In January they were up +2.6% nationally, driven largely by the +6.6% rise in the Wellington region (where there is chronic and purposeful under building and a clamp on "development"). (The pace of increases in Wellington are the fastest since mid-2019.) In Auckland the rise in January was only +0.6% year-on-year, according to the latest data from Statistics NZ. Many provincial centers are also experiencing rises with the average at +3.3%. Fortunately for Auckland, the extended rise in new building there is keeping a lid on further increases.

In Australia, at midnight tonight Melbourne is back into a snap 5-day stage-4 lockdown resulting from a confused escape into the community of an unknown strain of COVID.

Gold is trading in Australia, and soon in Asian markets. So far today it is at US$1824, down -US$15 from this time yesterday and down -US$1 from its New York close. It is down -US$16 from its afternoon London fix.

The S&P500 ended its New York session with yet another day of directionless trading but ended +0.2% higher with a minor rally at the end of the session. The NZX50 Capital index is down another -1.0% in late trade today with big selloffs for the energy gentailers. This local index is heading for a -3.3% fall for the week. The ASX200 is down -0.3% so far today in early afternoon trade. It is heading for a flat weekly result. Remember Shanghai and Hong Kong are closed for Chinese New Year, while Tokyo is open and is down -0.3% in early trade. The Nikkei225 is heading for a weekly +2.3% gain.

Long rates moved sharply lower yesterday. We don't have today's swap rate movements yet. If there are material changes when the end-of-day swap rates are available, we will update them here. The 90 day bank bill rate is unchanged at 0.29%. The Australian Govt ten year benchmark rate is up +2 bps to 1.21%. The China Govt ten year bond is unchanged at 3.26%. And the New Zealand Govt ten year is holding lower at 1.32% and now about where the earlier RBNZ fix was, at 1.31% (-6 bps). The US Govt ten year is up +1 bp from this time yesterday at 1.16%.

The Kiwi dollar has made a very minor recovery from this time yesterday and is now at 72.3 USc. On the cross rates we are have slipped slightly against the Aussie to 93.2 AUc. Against the euro we are little-changed at 59.6 euro cents. That all means our TWI-5 is slightly firmer at just on 73.6.

The bitcoin price is now at US$48,334 and up 8.5% from this time yesterday. At 1:45pm today it hit a new record high of US$48,926. Volatility remains elevated at +/- 45.3% 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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Would be interesting to survey all the plane loads of NZers flying quarantine-free to Australia every day.
Assume many are staying, returning, working, etc.
some may be intending to return to NZ, & book/pay their own quarantine.
Australia getting the economic benefit?

What a debacle Air New Zealand is.

The Government should have let this lot fail (to repeat the obvious) and picked up the pieces as a nationalised carrier afterwards. Virgin Airline stuff.
Today we get:
" The airline is burning through between $65 million and $85 million in cash a month" and a capital raising to dilute exiting shareholders even more. (not that the current share price would tell you)

The National carrier can never fail.
It would not be in NZ Inc’s strategic interest to let AirNZ fail. It’s beyond simply profit here and now.
The real threat is the Climate extremists looking to shut down all future air travel.


MB - actually, the real threat is human-kind trashing its habitat (quite a small orb, it is) to the point where the human species will wipe itself out.

Don't blame this or that echelon, and for ...... sake, don't keep believing that accumulating computer-held digits is more important - because that certainly fails the Sapient threshold.

MB I reckon you are right and life will never be the same. This is it. I am so glad we made travel a priority. I met long lost cousins in England 6 months before lockdown. Pretty soon the fossil fuels will be for the elite only and its bikes for the of us. This is not about concern for the environment.

I sure hope you’re right. We really don’t need all those planes cruising around burning tons of fuel just to move people around for worthless business trips etc.

Obviously your definition of a climate extremist is different to mine? For me, the climate extremist is the self entitled, basic science denier, happy to fry the planet, mistakenly thinking ignorance means absence of consequences.

Air NZ’s cash burn is honestly not that bad compared to overseas carriers. And it really would be a bad idea to let them fail - as an isolated nation, bad things could happen if we left our air routes entirely to the tender mercies of the market.

Really...would another kiwi start up just replace them when the time is right? Having flown them recently...I would not miss them, like the All Blacks it's just marketing?

Its great!!! They wont refund my tickets from last year, I get worthless credits that won't even cover half the flight I had, and now I am bailing them out.

I have said this for years, Air NZ can get $^&*#(@

Granny Herald reports desperation in Queenie. It sounds like a humanitarian disaster down there. Last I heard, house prices were on the up.

Queenstown will have to substitute more debt and speculation for tourists. Some are trying this procedure out with some success in other global markets.

Queenstown is awful. Boult and his mates did business on the "killing the golden goose" model. Covid shows that up in a big way.
We live near. The only reason to go near the dump, is the airport and the big box retailers

I agree. We used to live close and only went to Frankton for groceries. We couldn't wait to leave town. Boult has destroyed what is left of the place.

Talking of inflation...Hastings council are looking at a 40% rate increase over 6 years! Ouch

Mostly due to building and maintaining roads. That money needs to come from fuel tax, it should be user pays not subsidised by general rates.

Last year, it was five commuting bus trips per week, costing $42. Now, I work two days in the CBD and three days at home. Early bird parking has gone from $29 per day to $20, because there is less demand. With masks required on buses, I figure that my car is safer. At a push, when masks are no longer required I might take the bus. Multiply that over a wider population and I’d say 30% down is better than expected.

I’d imagine it’s not so much bus usage that has decreased just trips to the CBD in general. Assuming Covid is eliminated it will mostly come back again.

I see on the NZX Meridian is now down to about $6 from $9.50 4 weeks ago (over 30% drop). Blackrock must have been out of their minds to take Meridian to a PE of 100. It is generally agreed this stock is worth $5 at the most by realistic observers. Some seriously overpriced stocks about. Be careful out there....

Agree, didn't make any sense for them to pump the price up, except for its effect on their other holdings. Perhaps they are more interested in anything outside the US, and Meridian looked safer than anything else.

All buses and trains within cities should be free, all the time, for everyone. Pay for the service by a toll on private cars clogging arterial roads.

And if we have all this spare transport capacity into the city maybe it’s time to convert more of the space away from roads and into something much nicer.

BTC touching new ath and Apple pay just integrated Bitcoin payments. Bullish.

Next up, Apple adds BTC to balance sheet. It'll be 100k BTC before the end of April folks.