A review of things you need to know before you go home on Tuesday; NZ dollar drops on weaker REINZ data, Clare leaving Power succeeding? Truckometer suggests stronger Q3

A review of things you need to know before you go home on Tuesday; NZ dollar drops on weaker REINZ data, Clare leaving Power succeeding? Truckometer suggests stronger Q3
For Tuesday, August 12, 2014. Image sourced from Shutterstock.com

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

The only change today was from BNZ. Now, all but one bank has settled on just below 6% as their key two year mortgage rate. The different one (HSBC) offers an even lower rate.

No rate changes again today.

After peaking in April, its been all down for the REINZ/RBNZ stratified housing index. The July level is -2.2% lower over than period, although still up +5.9% over the same month a year ago. It's basically all driven by Auckland and Christchurch which are up on this stratified index by +12.2% and 13.9% respectively, year-on-year. Volume data indicates a slow winter.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics today released its June quarter house price data for their "eight capital cities" index and that was up +10.1% from the same period a year ago. Most of that was driven by Sydney which was up +15.6%. Melbourne was +9.3%, Brisbane +6.8%, Adelaide +5.6%. The rest are rising at less than 5% pa.

The latest data (for June) of the tourist accommodation sector shows growth reduced to a crawl. Guest nights and overall occupancy rates were only up very marginally. But then, June is the low point of the year, after the summer season and before the ski season.

CEO Peter Clare is leaving Westpac NZ following a medical procedure. David McLean is the acting CEO. Is Simon Power a contender as a permanent successor?

The government today said it will invest at least $350 million over the next four years to build new schools and classrooms in the rapidly growing Auckland region.

A huge class action lawsuit against most big Aussie banks has been launched in Australia. It involves claims that credit card late fees have been improperly charged.

The ANZ Truckometer data for July was released today and it paints a continuingly strong picture of economic activity. The ANZ Heavy Traffic Index rebounded 2.6% in July. The index suggests quarterly Q2 GDP growth may well be lower than  recent outturns but the strong July month result is a good start to Q3.

More than half of working New Zealanders already have plans on what they will do with their retirement savings, suggesting that the message about planning for retirement may finally be starting to sink in, according to new research from AMP.

Swap rates were unchanged today from yesterday. But the 90 day bank bill rate rose 2 bps and is now at 3.69%.

The NZ dollar is dropping on the weak REINZ report. In fact, by the time you read this it may well be even lower. Check our real-time charts here. The NZ dollar is now at 84.2 USc, is at 90.9 AUc and the TWI is now under 79. Lower dairy prices didn't move the dollar, but tame house price movements certainly has. Go figure

You can now see an animation of this chart. Click on it, or click here.

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Data released today
AU Housing Price Index August QoQ up 1.8%
NZ Housing Price Index August MoM down 0.7%
NZD/AUD immediately falls 0.05%

People will know I have maintained there is a correlation between foreign capital movements and NZ house prices (not immigration, capital, though the two can be a bit related). If the news from the housing market did shift the dollar like this, rather than it being a Just So Story to explain coincidental offshore activity as having a local cause, then the effect would be more dramatic than I was estimating.

Is it not more likely that the drop in the NZ$ is attributable to commodity prices rather than house prices .
After all , we dont export houses.

AU-HPI released 11:30 am AEST 1:30 pm NZDT
NZ-HPI released 12:30 pm AEST 2:30 pm NZDT
NZD-AUD started falling 11:15 am AEST and continued for 2 hours - no commodity data announcements

What is it then? 
We may as well be exporting houses. It is just that the buyers cannot physically move the product but they can still rort the system by charging locals a rent for them.
Our real hope is that the exchange rate goes over a cliff and they all panic and want out. 
We saw it at least once in the last few years and then it was the Asians who were the best at clearing their portfolios at any cost. Bargain hunters, stand by!

It's quite possible the currency cowboys in the treasury depts of the banks were bored today, and when the news came out they saw the opportunity to do an arbitrage or perhaps an unwind