Here are the key things you need to know before you leave work today:
MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
No changes to report here. This 2017 review may be helpful.
Barfoot & Thompson's December result reveals low sales volumes and very low new listings signed up. But average and median prices are holding up as fewer buyers are meeting seller expectations.
RENTS ON MOVE
Meanwhile, rents in December are creeping higher. Data out from MBIE's Tenancy Bond Services shows the national median is now $415 per week, a new record high and +5.1% above the same month a year ago. In Auckland, median rents for a 3 bedroom house are $625/week (+0.8%), in Wellington it is $580/week (+4.5%), and in Christchurch $410/week (-2.4%). It is rent levels outside the three main centres that are rising faster.
THE AG MIRACLE CONTINUES
New data out in Australia reveals just how buoyant their cropping production has been recently. The largest crop, wheat has had a production increase of a massive +33% in one year. The next largest, barley, had a production increase of +44%. For canola is is +47% and for oats and almost unbelievable +67%. They had a truly exceptional year, one that happened completely under the radar. And to be fair, it is ag performance not only confined to Australia. It is these sort of ag increases that is allowing world populations to rise as poverty declines and living standards jump.
MORE THAN TWICE AS QUICK
New Zealand has held on to its #20th place in a global survey of internet speeds, at 64.3 Mbps. We are just ahead of China and just behind Spain. #1 is Singapore at 161.2 Mbps. But it is Australia that is the struggler. It is #55 and down two places at an unflatering speed of just 25.9 Mbps. (But we shouldn't get too cocky - our mobile internet speeds are nothing to crow about. Ours is #16 at 40.9 Mbps and down three places, while Aussie is #7 at 49.9 Mbps and down one place. Government investment gave us a world-class fixed broadband infrastructure; it is the private operators, Spark and Vodafone who have not us kept up.)
WHOLESALE RATES LITTLE CHANGED
Swap rates are slightly firmer +1 bp across most durations. The 90 day bank bill rate dropped today to a new record low of 1.86%. In China, their sovereign 10y yield has risen to 3.95% today and that is a 40 month high. Their two year has dipped today and that has pushed their 2-10 curve out suddenly to a positive +30 bps. Last week it was less than +10 bps. The NZ Govt 10yr yield is up +2 bps at 2.78% today and that is the highest it has been since November.
NZ DOLLAR STRENGTHENING
The NZ dollar is continuing is New year rise and is now at 71.8 USc. On the cross rates we are at 91.3 AUc and 59.6 euro cents. This puts the TWI-5 at up at 73.9 and a level we haven't had since October. In contrast, the bitcoin price is at $16,020 and a minor slippage since this morning.
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