Here are the key things you need to know before you leave work today.
MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
SBS Bank has raised its rates for 1,2, 18 and 24 month 'specials' although it left its standard rates unchanged. The increases were +14, +4 and +10 bps respectively.
DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
BNZ has shifted its TD special from 9 months to 8 months. That means its 8 month rate has risen from 3.00% to 3.65% while its 9 month rates has slipped back from 3.60% to 3.50%.
Consumer sentiment as measured in the WestpacMM survey has fallen in March from the December level. There is no surprise here as this survey confirms what the similar ANZ one has already shown. Westpac do note that "households are in the mood to spend – but on entertainment, rather than goods".
Service sector confidence is down a little, according to the BusinessNZ-BNZ monthly survey. But the absolute level is still very strong and it is this sector that allows us to post growth gains, even though manufacturing and rural are currently weak.
January is the peak tourism month and we posted new all-time records, according to Stats NZ data out today. But the growth rate is falling away. Not only are their capacity constraints in key markets (Auckland is desperately short of hotel, motel and even Air-BnB accommodation), but more locals are choosing to vacation overseas.
A DOUBLING STRATEGY
From a standing start, the Government wants 64,000 electric vehicles on the roads in five years (the end of 2021). That involves a doubling each year. In 2016 we started with 1,513 (Australia had 520). But it seems we have added about 1,500 so far in 2017 raising the total to 3,005 registered. With a target of 4,000 by years end, we should make that easily at current adoption rates. However, remember, there are 3.2 mln cars here now, so we will need some serious doubling after 2021 to dent the fossil-fuel fleet. (If we are able to double adoption in another five years after that, we will reach 2 mln EVs by the end of 2026.)
AN UNRESOLVABLE TENSION
Fonterra's half year financial results are due this week. And so is the next dairy auction. Farmers won't be happy to know that the derivatives market keeps marking down the price of milk powders. But the Fonterra share price is rising and are currently near four year highs. A low milk price helps Fonterra's profitability.
WORKERS CASH IN
Insider trading is a problem for public equity, bond and financial markets; it is illegal and you can go to jail for trading with insider knowledge. But insider trading is becoming an issue in housing too, it seems. In Australia, up to 20% of one Sydney apartment development has been snapped up by staff of the developer. Scarcity breeds distortion, and generates all sorts of unwelcome incentives - even if it is not illegal in housing.
WHOLESALE RATES FALL
As expected, wholesale rates have fallen today and flattened somewhat. Th two year is down -1 bp, the five year is down -3 bps and the 10 year is down by a similar amount. The 90 day bank bill is down -1 bp to a new record low 1.95%.
NZ DOLLAR RISES
The NZD is back up to the recent-normal and now at 70.4 USc. On the cross rates we are now at 91.2 AUc and 65.4 euro cents. The TWI-5 is now at 75.4.
You can now see an animation of this chart. Click on it, or click here.