Here's my summary of the key events overnight that affect New Zealand, with news of regulator frustration at worsening bank behaviour.
But first, tightening financial conditions and uncertainty over China pose risks to the US recovery, Janet Yellen testified to the US Congress today. These are remarks that some have jumped on to speculate that further rate hikes may be off the table. But a closer reading of her testimony suggests chances are still slim the Federal Reserve will reverse the rate tightening cycle it began in December. Offshore analysts are talking up the prospect of a hike pause, but domestic analysts don't see the same imperative. Yellen's remarks don't actually indicate any change in direction.
In China, new data shows that more than US$113 bln was sent out of the country in January alone by both Chinese companies and residents, as they continue to evade tightening capital controls. That is now 22 months in a row of strong outflows and the third highest on record.
This surge has become a source of growing concern around the world and has Beijing scrambling to support its currency. Recently-released data showed the country’s foreign exchange reserves fell to their lowest level in almost four years in January.
In Australia, financial regulators APRA and ASIC have each set up a group to focus on fixing corporate culture which they see as having become 'inappropriate' based on the reward systems in place. The banking industry is their primary focus. Basically, they are trying to teach 'ethics' to bankers. Apparently years of oversight have had no impact on behaviour standards that have clearly fallen. They have now taken to 'lecturing'.
The US WTI oil price is holding at its lower levels. The US price is now just over US$28 while Brent is just over US$31/barrel. Overnight Russia has floated the idea of a supply cut, but to lukewarm and not universal enthusiasm. Maybe that is because BP said it sees US shale output doubling in the next nine years.
The gold price has settled a little lower today at US$1,193/oz.
The NZ dollar has moved very little overnight. It is now at 66.6 US¢, at 93.9 AU¢, and at 59.2 euro cents. The TWI-5 starts today unchanged at 71.1.
If you want to catch up with all the local changes yesterday, we have an update here.
The easiest place to stay up with event risk today is by following our Economic Calendar here ».