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90 seconds at 9 am with BNZ: Rising NZ$; Rising food prices; Food riots; GST-free personal imports; Trade balance

90 seconds at 9 am with BNZ: Rising NZ$; Rising food prices; Food riots; GST-free personal imports; Trade balance

David Chaston details the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am in association with Bank of New Zealand, including news that the exchange rate is a cent higher since Christmas eve against the US and starts the week at over 0.76. NZ$ vs UKP hit its alltime post-float high 50c this time last week, and the kiwi euro starts this week at its all-time high against the euro kiwi.

All this is against the backdrop of rapidly rising commodity prices, especially food prices. It is something hitting developing nations hard, with food and petrol riots breaking out in North Africa.

The Dow is high on record earnings and new signs of a modest recovery. But employment growth in the US is pretty modest as well.

The key industrial commodities of oil, gold, and copper all took a run-up over Christmas, but are pulling back now.

Closer to home, a big fight is brewing in Australia over GST-free access for personal imports – but their retailers are surprised at the lack of sympathy they are getting on this. No doubt we will follow what they decide.

On Christmas eve, Yellow Pages revealed the extent of their writedowns, and they were mammoth.

Today we will be covering the November trade balance, which has averaged more than $700 mil in the red over the past 5 years, but is expected to be very much lower in this latest data - it should be given our peak commodity prices. NZ is on track for a trade surplus of well over NZ$1 billion in calendar 2010, compared with NZ$0.5 billion deficit in 2009, and over NZ$5 billion deficits annually in the previous 5 years. It’s been a huge positive turnaround and helps explain why our currency is well supported.

And we expect the Barfoots data for December today, showing how Auckland’s real estate market did.

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First para - I think you mean that the kiwi is at highs versus the Euro, not the other way around?