Here's my summary of the key events overnight that affect New Zealand, with news of some eye-watering cost increases coming for Aussie businesses.
But first in the US, durable goods orders increased +2% for a second straight month in January, and faster than markets expected, suggesting their factory sector is in good shape.
But things are slightly softer in their giant services sector with the rate of expansion slowing to its tamest pace in five months.
World trade, as measured by air cargo volumes, is still growing, up +6.9% in January from the same month a year ago. However airlines report this is a slowing from the growth levels we saw at the end of last year.
It is not only airlines who are feeling confident about trade; in the US truckers are too. Orders for new heavy-duty trucks rose in February for the fourth month in a row. Fleet owners ordered 22,900 big rigs used in long-haul trucking, up +5% compared with January and a +28% increase from a year earlier. February orders pushed the backlog of trucks ordered that haven't yet been built past 100,000 units.
Away from the limelight, it seems Fonterra is making significant progress in going up-market in China with its core ingredients. Investors are noticing as their shares have risen +18% in the past eight months. Still, that may not be enough to save tomorrow's dairy auction, which looks like it will post a sharp -10% fall in WMP prices. Dairy farmers may find their payout under threat again, which will hurt more than any rise in Fonterra's earnings and dividend.
And in Australia, a new and dangerous trend is developing fast - surging electricity prices. Many businesses are facing 100% increases; jobs and investment decisions are at risk. The closure at the end of the month of a large coal-fired power plant in Victoria is the catalyst for the hikes, but hot weather demand and rising "green" power costs make alternatives tough to find. New Zealand may look an attractive alternative to many Australian manufacturing businesses.
In New York, the UST 10yr yield is now at 2.51% after a dip down, then up in early afternoon trading.
Oil prices are unchanged today, at just over US$53 for the US benchmark, while the Brent benchmark is just under US$56 a barrel.
The gold price is also unchanged at US$1,226/oz.
But the New Zealand dollar has fallen and is now just under 70 USc. On the cross rates we are down at 92.3 AU¢, and against the euro at 66.1 euro cents. The NZ TWI-5 index is down to 75.6 and its level lowest since just before Christmas.
If you want to catch up with all the changes yesterday, we have an update here.
The easiest place to stay up with event risk today is by following our Economic Calendar here ».