A review of things you need to know before you go home on Monday; more mortgage and savings rate cuts, service sector booming, regional assistance extended, swaps and NZD slip

A review of things you need to know before you go home on Monday; more mortgage and savings rate cuts, service sector booming, regional assistance extended, swaps and NZD slip

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

TODAY'S MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
TSB Bank cut its floating rates by -25 bps.

TODAY'S DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
ASB has cut many of its savings accounts today and many of these rates are very low. For example ASB's FastSaver is now 1.50%. Not only is that very low, it is a cut of -30 bps. ASB is another bank making savers pay for the OCR cut, plus they are taking another -5 bps for their shareholders. It makes 'sense' I suppose when you realise that ASB is just a grown-up mortgage bank. 66% of their loans are mortgages, the largest proportion of the major banks. (See Note 18 in their 2015 Annual Report.) Kiwibank moved its term deposit 'special' from a 4 month term to a 5 month term, offering 3.55%.

SERVICE SECTOR IN RUDE HEALTH
Because it is 'good news' it will probably go unnoticed, but today's PSI index from BusinessNZ was spectacularly good. This index of our services sector is now back at the highs we last saw prior to the GFC. A portend?

FOUNDER RETURNS TO HARMONEY BOARD
Neil Roberts, founder, major shareholder and co-CEO of Harmoney, has returned to the peer-to-peer lender's board as a director. Roberts stood down on July 24 with no explanation given by the company. Companies Office records show he returned to the board on December 11.

SPECIAL REGIONAL ASSISTANCE
The Regional Business Partner program is being extended for another 5+ years. This program has apparently assisted 10,000 regional firms so far, and another 5,000 are targeted to benefit in this extension.

REALLY?
Economists surveyed by the NZIER now see inflation back within the RBNZ's 1% to 3% target band next year.

NOT SO SWEET
Aussie stocks are slumping on the resources rout. The ASX200 is down -1.2%. And now our cousins have another thing to worry about. India is about to release substantial stockpiles of sugar on to international markets, undermining Australia's position in these markets. This comes after sugar has gotten a lot of bad press recently over its health dangers.

WHOLESALE RATES SLIP
Local wholesale swap rates fell today, down -2 bps across all terms 2 to 10 years. That is no where near as an aggressive as we saw in New York over the weekend. The 90 day bank bill rate is unchanged today at 2.74%.

NZ DOLLAR SLIPS
The Kiwi is at 67 USc. It has pushed higher again against the Aussie to 93.4 AUc. Against the euro it is at 61.1 euro cents. The TWI-5 is now at 72.1. Check our real-time charts here.

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The Aussie Commerce Commission have clobbered Reckitt Benckiser for patently misleading product targeting, with hopefully a big fine to follow. On being found out they had this to say:

“Nurofen did not set out to mislead consumers,” a Nurofen spokeswoman, Montse Pena, said in a statement on Monday.

Ohhhh reaaaaalllllyyy?

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/14/nurofens-maker-admits-mi...

Pretty sure Nurofen get up to the same nonsense in NZ.

No doubt our very own Commerce Commission will be all over them like a rash now (turns blue from holding breath).

they are busy wetting the bus ticket so its ready for slapping them with

Westpac's chief economist has just come out and mentioned that the Auckland housing market has slowed down with a thump. Surely he must be wrong as property never drops in price. Just watch more listings hit the market as this gets out into the public arena. And I presume Westpac will be getting a bit tighter with its lending. It will not want mortgagee sales happening where they have to pursue personal guarantees to recover shortfalls.

be interested to know what data they source in house. do they get feedback from their brokers

Watch in amazement as real estate industry spokespeople spin this into oblivion. Must stay on message.

ASB doesn't seem to be able to alert their customers about changes to interest rates. Even on the "customer focused" website, they seem unable to give simple, easy access to deposit and term rates.

Welcome to banking in 2015 where savers are an insignificant minority and mortgagors are where the money's at.