Here are the key things you need to know before you leave work today:
MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
TSB has reduced its 1 year special rate to 4.49% from 4.55%. It has also cut its 2 year special rate to 4.64% from 4.69%.
TERM DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
TSB has cut its 2 year term deposit rate to 3.85% from 4%.
ZURICH TO BUY ANZ’S AUST LIFE INSURANCE BUSINESS
ANZ has agreed to sell its Australian life insurance business, OnePath Life, to Zurich for A$2.85 billion. The deal will see Zurich sell its products through the bank’s channels for at least 20 years. It will see Zurich become the largest life insurer in Australia, with a 19% share of the market. The sale, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, won’t affect ANZ’s New Zealand life insurance business.
There are reports of people in the US taking out mortgages to buy bitcoin. Closer to home, a developer is selling a Marlborough Sounds section for bitcoin. The developer is reluctant to put a price on the section as the currency is fluctuating, but says there are a lot of people in cryptocurrency who may be looking to change their bitcoin into hard assets. If a sale was to eventuate, it would be the first bitcoin real estate transaction in New Zealand.
MANUKA HONEY DEFINITION RELEASED TO PROTECT TRADE
The Ministry for Primary Industries has released a definition for Manuka honey to safeguard the product’s value and reputation. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says: “Our trade partners and consumers in many countries want to know they are getting the real deal and this definition will provide them that assurance. If we didn’t introduce this standard then other countries may have forced one on us.’’
NEW BOVIS FINDINGS
The Ministry for Primary Industries has identified four new properties with the bacterial cattle disease, Mycoplasma bovis, and suspects another property’s been hit too. One of the properties is in the Hastings district, three are within a farming enterprise in Winton, and the suspected property is near Ashburton.
HARMONEY SEEING RISE IN SME LOANS
The number of borrowers after loans for “business cashflow” purposes from Haromeny is on the up. Now making up 15% of all the peer-to-peer lender’s loan applications, “business cashflow” is the fifth most common reason borrowers are seeking loans. The most common reason remains debt consolidation, followed by home improvements, "other" and holiday expenses. Harmoney estimates $100 million will be loaned for business purposes via its website within the next year. Currently, the average loan amount for business cashflow via Harmoney is $25,000.
GUEST NIGHTS UP EVERYWHERE BUT AUCKLAND
Good weather, an extended ski season, and the timing of school holidays have seen national guest nights increase by 4.8% in October, compared to October last year. Auckland was the only region in the country to experience a fall in guest nights from a high last October.
A NOTE TO HANOVER INVESTORS
Eligible investors in the Hanover settlement, who haven’t yet made a claim for their money, are being encouraged to do so before February 16. Deloitte says there are still 600 eligible investors who have either returned incomplete information or are yet to make a claim. Around 85% of eligible investors have received their money.
WHOLESALE RATES UP SLIGHTLY
Swap rates were marginally higher today, with the 2 yr to 7 yr rates up +1 bp and the 1 yr and 10 yr unchanged. The 90 day bank bill rate has made a new record low of 1.88%.
NZ DOLLAR UP
The NZ dollar has risen from this time yesterday to US69.2c. On the cross rates it is also higher at AU91.9c and 58.8 euro cents. This puts the TWI-5 at 72.4. The bitcoin price is at US$16,818.
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