Here are the key things you need to know before you leave work today.
MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
Housing NZ Corporation lifted their one year fixed rate from 4.80% to 4.89%.
DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
The Co-operative Bank has moved its 3.50% 'special' from five months to six months.
RECORDS, DRIVEN BY CITIZENS
Net migration gain remains at record high of 71,300 in 12 months to February. There has been no let up in Auckland's population growth pain as net migration remains at 71,300 a year. Migrant arrivals numbered 128,800 in the February 2017 year, a new annual record. We have never seen citizen returns at this level before. Citizen departures peaked in October 1979 at 64,300 and are low running at only half that level. Total migrant departures are now only 57,500. The February result gave some suggestion that net migration might be closing in on its peak.
The growth in tourist numbers was slower in February, with overseas visitor arrivals up just +1.8% from a year earlier. A shift in the timing of Chinese New Year dragged Chinese tourist numbers down, although the fall was mitigated by a significant lift in visitors from the US, and a smaller increase from the UK. However, underlying growth looks to have softened as the industry reaches capacity during the peak season - three-month annual growth of +8.1% was the weakest since August 2015.
CREDIT STRESS APPEARING?
Have we put away our credit cards? Data out today suggests more of us have. In February we sent -0.6% less this February that in the same month a year ago locally, and -3.9% less using them overseas. However, overseas visitors spent +2.9% more in the same period. One reason might be that we are having trouble paying off our card balances. They are up +3.1% over the same period to just under the record levels we owed on them in December. Another interesting detail is that positive credit card balances are now up to $105 mln, the highest we have seen in almost a decade. Using a credit card with only positive balances can be a smart, convenient no-fee way to pay for stuff (although only for those with self-discipline).
RBNZ ISSUES BANK OUTSOURCING DRAFT
The Reserve Bank has published an exposure draft of its revised outsourcing policy. The policy applies to banks whose net liabilities exceed $10 billion being ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Westpac and Kiwibank. Banks must have direct ownership and/or legal and practical control over their back-up systems, although the system doesn't have to be located in New Zealand, the Reserve Bank says, but can't be provided by a parent bank or related party. Consultation on the exposure draft closes on May 26.
AUSSIE HOUSING PRICES
Aussie residential property prices rose +7.7% pa in 2016. It is all about their two largest cities. Melbourne recorded the largest through the year growth of all capital cities at +10.8%, followed closely by Sydney at +10.3%. The total value of Australia's 9.8 mln residential dwellings increased AU$274.2 bln to AU$6.4 tln. (New Zealand housing is now worth NZ$1 tln.) The mean price of dwellings in Australia is now AU$656,800 (=NZ$717,000. In New Zealand the mean (=average) is $675,000.)
IT'S NOT JUST ELECTION MANIPULATION
We have a major issue with our FSPR regime bringing reputation damage to New Zealand. But hopefully it is nothing like the damage some major British banks have done in working with the Russians. Britain’s high street banks processed more than NZ$1 bln from a vast money-laundering operation run by Russian criminals with links to the Russian government and the KGB. HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts are among 17 banks in the UK, that are facing questions over what they knew about the international scheme and why they did not turn away suspicious money transfers.
WHOLESALE RATES STABLE
Rates for terms of one to three years are unchanged today. But they slipped -1 bp for longer terms. The 90 day bank bill is also unchanged at 1.95%.
NZ DOLLAR STABLE
The NZD is holding its exchange rate at 70.5 USc. On the cross rates we are now at 91.3 AUc and 65.5 euro cents. The TWI-5 is still at 75.4.
You can now see an animation of this chart. Click on it, or click here.