Gareth Vaughan, sitting in for Bernard Hickey, details the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am in association with BNZ.
US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke says the economic outlook remains “unusually uncertain.” Speaking to the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke said the Fed was still prepared to take further policy actions should they be needed to boost economic growth.
The Fed’s Open Market Committee last month repeated a commitment to keep the benchmark interest rate close to zero for an “extended period” to help the economy recover. So further tools designed to boost the economy could include reducing the rate paid on banks’ reserves held at the Fed and using the central bank’s balance sheet, Bernanke said.
Meanwhile, given current US job creation levels he said it would take a "significant amount of time” to restore the almost 8.5 million jobs lost during 2008 and 2009.
Around the time Bernanke was speaking, the New Zealand dollar slipped from about US71.85 cents to US71.15c as US stocks dropped and treasuries rallied.
Global banking activity picked up in the first quarter, according to data from the Bank for International Settlements.
"For the first time since September 2008, after a cumulative contraction of almost 11%, international banking activity in aggregate rose by 2% or $US700 billion in the first quarter of 2010," the bank for central banks said overnight.
This was highlighted by a significant recovery in developed countries with banks in Britain and the United States issuing about half of the increase in loans.
Meanwhile, reports out of China suggest the Government there may implement a property tax in 2012 on a trial basis to try and cool the country’s surging property prices.
But, due to the difficulties of implementing such a levy nationwide, the tax might initially be rolled out just in a few cities.
According to an ANZ report, the tax could rake in 120 billion yuan (NZ$24.8 billion) of revenue annually for the Government based on a rate of 0.8% of the market value of properties and if levied on people with multiple homes.